Posted by: bschutzgruber | February 23, 2021

New Ways of Learning – Zoom

New ways of learning continue….
with two opportunities to participate in NOT in-person workshops.

Taking workshops via Zoom

Michigan League of Handweavers decided to hold a virtual conference for 2021 via Zoom with lectures, seminars, workshops and exhibits scheduled January through August.

Having attended the in-person conference several times over the years I was curious to see how instructors would adapt their workshops for NOT in-person sessions. I signed up for a 1/2 day seminar Silk Scarf Collage with Mary Sue Fenner (Wisconsin) known for mixing fabrics to make colorful creative wearables and a 3 1/2 day workshop Exercises in Color Blending and Texture with Jan Friedman (Iowa) known for her unique color blended tapestries, fiber collages, and scarves.

Silk Scarf Collage (2 hours)
Use your beautiful hand-crafted silk scraps and yardage to make a fun and creative silk scarf.

First hour:
Mary Sue explained her process, which types of silk work well (and which ones don’t!), showed examples of scarves, and demonstrated pinning and sewing techniques.

Second hour:
We went to work laying out our designs, pinning, and began sewing. As the seminar came to an end I had one side of my scarf stitched and was ready to continue working on my own with the other side.

Having the seminar scheduled for the morning was great as that gave me the afternoon to complete my scarf.  Because I was focused on the construction techniques I did not spend a lot of time thinking about over all design elements. I started second guessing my color combinations when I looked at the scarf laid flat and breathed a huge sigh of relief when I saw how it looks when worn!


Exercises in Color Blending and Texture (seven 2hr sessions over 3 1/2 days)

This workshop will concentrate on teaching you how to weave slow color gradations using color groupings.

I put a 2 1/2 yard warp on the floor loom – 12/6 seine twine, 10″ wide and 6 epi. We each received a fabulous package of color progression yarns, contrast yarns and silk fabric strips.

I had to get creative for viewing the demonstrations due to Jan’s camera placement but hey…. it worked!!

Friday evening session – Jan talk about what we would be doing, showed some samples of her work and demonstrated some basic tapestry weaving techniques. We had time at the end to begin playing with our yarns.

Saturday and Sunday were split into morning and afternoon blocks of 2 hours each. One of best parts of in-person workshops is being able to see what others are doing. In this case, we sent photos of our work to the moderator who shared her screen for the slide show.

Jan’s use of the the silk fabric strips to add texture and dimension is fascinating. I have a variety of ribbons in my stash and had a good time experimenting with them. 

At the end of Sunday I had completed Sample #1

ColorBlend Sample #1
(9.25″ x 20″)

Monday-Thursday were spent working on our own.
I wove 2 more samples playing with ribbons, accent contrast yarns, and working with the red and purple in combination.

ColorBlend Samples #2 and #3
(9.25″ x 7.5″ each)

We met again on Friday for a slide show of the work everyone had done and Jan talked about how she finished her work for hanging.

It was certainly was different taking these 2 workshops virtually!

It was nice having my entire stash at my fingertips rather than try to guess in advance what I might want to use.
It was very nice not to be driving to a venue during a snow storm!

Styles of presentation that work well in-person do not always work well virtually.
Tech Moderators are the BEST!

I will always prefer in-person workshops but I’m glad I gave these workshops a try.
Thanks to Zoom – I have new ideas for future projects.


  1. I’d love to have that box of yarn!. I’m an inveterate hoarder of scraps of ribbon etc if I ever acquire any with packaging, so thank you for the inspiration to incorporate them in a tapestry.

  2. A very interesting and useful documentation and assessment of your experience Barbara. I am needing to explore new ways of delivering different workshops for the new Zoom medium and all information is helpful. Lovely combinations of colours!

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