Posted by: bschutzgruber | September 28, 2020

Accepting a Challenge!

“What you produce is entirely up to you.
There are no prizes apart from the delight of sharing
your unfettered creativity with others.
Let your imagination run riot!

I’ve been a member of the OnLine Guild, affiliated with the UK Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners, and Dyers for a number of years. For the past 5 years the guild has presented an Annual Challenge where members are invited to respond to a theme, either literally or to spark creativity, and undertake a personal project using any combination of skills and techniques, that include at least one of the core processes of spinning, weaving or dyeing. This year’s challenge is Trees. “Trees are the focus for this years challenge. Whether you are a tree hugger or not, most of us have an affinity for trees. They lend themselves beautifully to our disciplines with their changing colours, range of shapes and sizes, branches and bark, foliage and flowers.”

I have not participated in the previous Annual Challenges because I struggle with the concept of envisioning from inspiration vs attempting a literal depiction. But having taken an Abstract Landscape class through the Ann Arbor Art Center at the beginning of this year (See posts Abstract Landscapes – pt 1 and Abstract Landscapes – pt 2) and the fact that I live in the Great Lakes Woodlands Area of the USA where I am surrounded by fabulous deciduous trees and forests = this year’s theme called to me!

But it still took me a month of looking at the trees in my neighborhood and seeing photos other OLGuild members were posting for the Challenge before I closed my eyes and took the leap.

My inspiration came from the 9-acre natural area & woods behind my house.

I knew the end product would be a shawl or wrap of some sort. I wanted the vertical lines of the tree trunks to be vertical on the body so I rotated the photo 90° using my warp as the general background and and my weft to weave the ‘trees’. I also challenged myself not to purchase any yarn but to only use yarns already had in my stash. 

The warp has four different shades of brown – UKI yarns cocoa, mead, bark, medium brown in 10/2 cotton to represent the ground and a ‘it’s been in the stash for years’ space dyed green 8/2 cotton for the leaf area. Choosing the weft colors was more difficult as it took 3 tries before I settled on black 10/2 cotton for the trees and the UKI bark for the space between the trunks.

The weave structure is a 2/2 point twill changing weft colors in a random pattern to create the lines of the trees. I wanted the black weft yarn to create an upward point /\ for the trees and the brown weft yarn to create downward point \/ for the space between the trees so I worked off a standard point twill treadling pattern.

But with the warp set at 24 and 28 ends to the inch with lighter colors and the weft at 13-16 picks per inch with darker colors, my trees ended up with the \/ shape and the space between had the /\. Ah well… lesson learned for next time!

Fingers were crossed as it came off the loom, was washed, dried, and ironed.
Fringe twisted and shawl folded in half with a shoulder seam sewn.

I am pleased with the final result
and even more when I see ‘The Woods’ next to the woods!


  1. Lovely.

  2. That’s beautiful Barbara. I love the way you have done it – fantastic! 😊

    • Thanks, Alastair. It certainly took a lot of thinking and finger crossing! 🙂

  3. Wonderful story and beautiful final product! Congratulations. Jenny T.

    Sent from Mail for Windows 10

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