Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Burundi Looping, Learning And Laughter

There's a special kind of magic that happens when guild members get together to learn something new. An alchemist might be able to produce a similar effect (like turning lead into gold) from a recipe that combines lovely people, love of learning, and intention to make time for guild activities. When you factor in laughter, show and tell, yummy treats, and good lighting, the result is definitely magical.

The Flambeau Area Fiber Artists invited me to Ladysmith, Wisconsin, to teach Burundi looping last weekend. Eight people signed up for the class, which is a considerable leap of faith for a guild whose members are so geographically dispersed -- especially considering nobody really knew what Burundi looping was!

So here's the short version: "Burundi looping" is the name I use to identify a particular complex looping variation in which each stitch intersects with multiple previous rows. I learned it from Peter Collingwood's book, The Maker's Hand. Peter's example was a bag he collected in the African nation of Burundi. In looping, there's a strong tradition of identifying stitch variations with the places where they're used (or found). So for years, I've called this variation Burundi looping.

This structure is much less elastic than simple looping. And at a glance, it would be tough to identify it as single-element construction, let alone as first cousin to the most basic form of knotless netting. It looks more like a woven twill.

This is a workshop I love to teach. It includes a lot of technique, but the progression makes perfect sense and the combination of skills can be applied a lot of different ways, once you know them, and with many different materials.

The most disappointing thing about the workshop was that, once again, I didn't think to take more pictures. Right now, I'm really wishing I could show you a photo of Nancy and the double-weave pick-up coaster fabric she brought for show and tell. She wove as an "in between" project, for Pete's sake!

That's the kind of passion I see all the time in guild members. That's the kind of passion that inspires me.


  1. Put this on your list of things to get ready for a class - designate a picture taking person!

  2. You're right -- if it was on The List it might get done! Thanks, Kathy!


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