Marshfield School of Weaving

Classes in Weaving and Dyeing 2014

Many things are happening at the school in and outside classes. Find all the current activities and lots of pictures at the School Blog, or find us on Facebook.

Show Sample

Beginning and Intermediate Weaving

The beginning weaving course is designed for both the student who is a complete beginner and for those weavers who wish to refresh their warping and weaving skills.  It focuses on giving the student a good solid background in making a warp, dressing a loom and in weaving a 45" x 72" wool throw.  Multiple warping on a large warping frame will be covered in depth as well as dressing the loom from back to front.  The proper use of throwing the shuttle, setting a tenterhook and maintaining an even beat will be emphasized as well as the proper finishing of the woven piece.  This class is taught on 19th c. counter balance barn frame looms,  but all the techniques may be easily transferred to contemporary jack or counter marche looms.
One Week Per Month, Call to Schedule

Intermediate and Advanced Weaving

The intermediate and advanced classes are for students who have knowledge of the basic weaving techniques and who now wish to focus on different weave structures and to perfect their technique.  These classes are custom designed to suit the specific needs of each student based on abilities, interests and scheduling needs.  Possible topics include drafting, working with fine threads, singles linen, summer-winter and overshot.
One Week Per Month, Call to Schedule

Beginner/Intermediate Blankets

Clothing Fabrics

Saki - Ori: Japanese Rural Clothing Using Recycled Cotton

The history of Saki - Ori weaving is only as old as the cultivation of cotton in the 1750's and the resulting weaving of cotton cloth. Cotton rags from the wealthier cites would arrive by ship to the remoter villages to be used by the inhabitants to weave their work clothing. In this workshop students will make a length of fabric for a simple work garment using hemp, cotton or linen for the warp and cotton rags for the weft.

Historically, most of the cotton rags would have been indigo dyed and there will be an opportunity in the beginning of the class for students to dye their own rags in an indigo vat.

Saki-Ori Close up

Herringbones, Checks & Houndstooth

This session will focus on weaving a length of clothing fabric in a fine woolen or worsted using a variety of twill threading.

Students will choose from herringbone, checks or houndstooth using two or more colors in the warp.

Herringbones and Checks

Scottish Tweed

Using imported Scottish tweed yarn from a small mill in Scottish Highlands each student will design and weave a 5 yd piece of wool tweed suitable for clothing.  Woven in a 2/2 twill herringbone in the traditional width of 32", the fabric will also be finished in the traditional manner of "waulking."

Scottish Tweed Sample

Clothing Fabrics in 2/1, 3/1, and 4/1 Twills

This class will explore the different fabric effects that can be achieved with unbalanced twills. Students will choose to weave a 2/1 ticking stripe, a 3/1 silk and worsted fabric (Bombazine), a 6 harness Dimity, and a 4/1 Satin Weave (Calimanco) and Jean cloth.

Unbalanced Twills

Clothing Fabrics in Linen and Cotton


This session will focus on the weaving of fine clothing fabric using a plied linen or cotton in naturally dyed colors. The student may choose from a historic stripe or check pattern or design one of their own.

Striped Linen

18th c. Clothing Fabrics

This session will feature some of the unique clothing fabrics that were woven in the 18th c. from a variety of different fibers.

Students will choose one of the following fabrics and weave a 3 - 4 yards length of material.

  • Calimanco & Camlets: fabrics in worsted wool in either a 5 H Satin or Plain Weave
  • Bombazine & Irish Stuff: fabrics with a silk warp and worsted weft in either a 2/1 Twill or a 2/2 Twill
  • Siamoises & Cherryderry: fabrics with a silk warp and a cotton weft woven in a Plain Weave
  • Ducapes & Gros de Tours: fabrics with a silk warp and weft woven either as a Plain Weave or a Rep Weave


Cherry Derry?

 Irish Stuff


Ikat Silk Scarves:  A silk warp will be tied, dyed with indigo or other natural dyes, then woven using a fine 30/2 silk yarn.  Examples of ethnic ikat fabrics will be on hand for inspiration.

Other options for this week are Bombazine & Irish Stuff, Cherryderry & Ducapes under 18th c. Clothing Fabrics above.

Calimanco Stripes

In my research and reproduction of the 18th c. fabric, calimanco, I encountered the ultimate use of colors in striped patterns.  In some calimanco designs there are more than 25 shades of different colors going from light to dark and creating the most striking overal "ombre" effect.  These fabrics were a testament to the skill of the designer, dyer, and weaver.  In this workshop we will explore the creation of stripes from the standpoint of color and weave structure.  How the same pattern an look so different when woven in a twill, plain weave or satin weave.  We will translate this type of multicolored stripes to dishtowels, clothing fabrics, or rugs - the student's choice.

Striped fabric


Rag Rugs and Krokbrag

This session will focus on the weaving of rugs using a simple weave structure to make weft-faced rugs. Starting with two harness rag rugs, we will progress to three harness krokbrag and then finish with four harness weft-faced rug.  The student will choose one of the three styles and weave a 30" x 60" piece with special attention given to the finishing of fringes, edges and binding.  Many examples of these three carpet styles will be on hand for inspiration. 

Rag Rug

Kilim Tapestry

Kilim is the term used for flatwoven rugs in the Middle East or Balkan countries.  The original kilim rugs were woven in beautifully intricate designs using all vegetable dyed colors. Kilim weaving employs a basic tapestry technique - slit - for the joining of colors and butterflies of yarn instead of shuttles. Students will weave a small rug or pillow top using pre-warped looms.

Kilim Tapestry

Ikat Dyed Warp-Faced Carpets

The use of ikat dyed yarns in warp-faced carpeting was a technique practiced in different parts of Eastern Canada in the 19th c. and was often referred to as Jaspé.  In this five day class the student will design a carpet based on documented examples and go through the process of tying and dyeing the warp for a 3’ x 5’carpet.

See also Venetian Carpets in the Historical Books section.

Ikat Warp Faced Rug

4 Block Rep Weave Rugs

Rep weave is a great weave structure of woven carpets and with a simple threading technique on four harnesses, four different color blocks can be achieved. Using a hand dyed British rug yarn for the warp the student will weave a 3’ x 5’ carpet.


4 Blk Rep Weave Rug

Rio Grande Rugs in Horizontal Stripes

The carpets from the Rio Grande area of New Mexico strongly resemble the rugs woven by the Navajo with the main difference being that they are woven on a four harness horizontal loom. Strong bands of color interspersed with diamonds, chevrons and stars are typical design features. Students will weave a 2' x 3' carpet using hand dyed singles wool.

Rio Grande Rug Sample

Dowry/Household Textiles

Singles Linen/Checked Linen

This workshop will cover all of the preparation steps and weaving techniques involved in weaving a piece of fine linen cloth.  Students will first measure out their warp into skeins, size these skeins with a 19th c. sizing receipt and then proceed to warp for either a pair of pillowcases or a set of checked napkins.  The method of warping an entire repeat of check with multiple strands will be demonstrated, as well as the techniques for achieving an even beat to square the checks in the weaving.  Techniques for proper beaming, bobbin winding and the use of a tenterhook (temple) will also be included.

Singles/Checked Linen Sample

5 Harness Spots Weaves from the Collection of the Vermont Historical Society

In a recent cataloging project at the VHS, a vast array of 5 H Spot weaves were uncovered - each with a unique and well thought out design and each executed in very fine linen.  In this session we will choose one of those pieces to reproduce using a fine 2 ply linen and explore the different tie up options for weaving 5 harnesses on a counter balance loom.

5H Spot Weaves from VT Historical Society

Shaker Linen Towels

Using documented shaker linen patterns, the student will choose a design and weave a pair of linen handtowels. Special emphasis will be put on warping and dressing the loom with linen.


Shaker Towel Samples

Fabrics for the Kitchen and Pantry

Before the advent of paper towels, plastic ziplock bags and tupperware, the 19th c. housewife needed to create her own storage containers and cleaning apparel.  In this workshop we will sample the different fabrics used for toweling, aprons, feedbags and storage sacks. Students may choose to weave a length of yardage from any of the above mentioned fabrics and we will also weave the tapes and cording used for apron drawstrings and bag closures.

Kitchen and Pantry Sample

Fancy Bedcovers

Often considered "la piece de resistance" of the wedding trousseau, the fancy bedcover was where the bride-to-be could display her weaving skills to the utmost.  In New England, besides the traditional overshot coverlet, other weave structures were also commonly employed such as twill diaper, summer-winter and bird's eye twill. Students may choose to come for one week and weave a throw sized example of one of the above structures or come for two weeks to weave a full sized coverlet.

Fancy Bed Covers

The Scottish Wedding Blanket

In the small, rural cottages of the Scottish isles the built-in box bed was a favored way of utilizing space and staying warm. The traditional blanket woven by Scottish brides was a plain white twill with a side border of seven indigo stripes (seven being a lucky number) - the side border being visible on the side of the bed. This is an elegant blanket in its simplicity and a great project for beginning weavers.

Scottish Wedding Blanket

The Overshot Coverlet

To weave a full sized overshot coverlet is a dream of many weavers but all too few actually commit to completing such an ambitious project.  This session will help the student feel more comfortable with the whole process of understanding the drafts, planning a full sized piece with borders and in achieving an even beat in the weave.  We will weave a narrow piece of fabric with top, bottom and side borders that will be seamed up the center so that it resembles a miniature version of a full sized piece.

Overshot Coverlet Sample

Whole Cloth Quilts

Using a fine hand dyed worsted wool, students will warp and weave a length of yardage (4 yds) to be seamed together for a small crib quilt. We will experiment with different finishing techniques - glazing, calendering and embossing and also begin to lay out the actual quilting design.

Whole Cloth Quilt

Couverture de Mariage

This unique cover for the bed was woven in the French Canadian provinces with a white cotton warp and very finely cut white cotton rags. The technique is similar to basic rag rug weaving but on a finer scale and with shots of cotton warp interspersed with the rags to create a striking striped effect. Students will need to bring a supply of white cotton sheeting for the weft.

Couverture de Mariage Sample

L'Amour de Maman - French-Canadian Dowry Textiles

In the French-Canadian settlements of Louisiana, women traditionally wove elaborate dowries for their daughter weddings. The dowry chest would have been filled with cotton towels, sheets and pillowcases, blanketing, "couvertures", and anything textile-related that the daughter would need to set up her new home.

In this session students will have an opportunity to weave a small portion of a dowry chest - a pair of pillowcases, a Couverture, cotton towels, a blanket, a Jaspe Rug. See the Dowry Textiles weaving intensive for more visual choices.

Dowry Bedding

Dowry Bedding

18th c. Upholstery Fabric

Harateens and Moreens

Harateens and Moreens were both commonly used fabrics for upholstery and bed hangings in the 18th century and the distinction appears to be in the manner that they were finished. Students will weave a narrow piece of yardage using pre-dyed fine worsted yarn in the rep weave characteristic of both harateen and moreen and then using a high pressure calendar press experiment with different finishing techniques such as embossing and watering.

Plain Moreen

Plain Moreen

Watered Moreen

Watered Moreen


Plain  Rep Weave and Striped Moreen

Two very different upholstery fabrics will be the focus of this session. The striped moreen is a worsted warp of up to seven colors and woven in a warp-faced weave structure. The plain rep is a solid color worsted warp but woven in a rep weave with a thick and thin weft.

Striped Moreen

Plain Rep Weave

Striped Moreen

Striped Moreen

Luxury Throws

This workshop will focus on weaving a 45" x 60" throw using some of the luxurious fibers available today:  cashmere, alpaca, mohair and superfine merino.  We will use twill weave structures in 4 and 8 Harnesses for a visual texture that won't detract from the lushness of the fiber.

Luxury Fiber Throws

Point Twills from German Draft Books

There is a Point Twill Sample in the Historic Books section.



See Calimanco in 18th c. Clothing Fabrics.



Weaving from Historic Draft Books

Huckabacks, M's and O's from 18th and 19th c. Draft Books

In this session we will compare the drafts of some of the earliest versions of Huckaback and M's & O's.  Using the draft books of David Bender, Timothy Bent, Jesse Marsteller, Jacob Angst, Thomas Jackson, Silas Burton and Isaac Snavely, we will look at the differences and similarities between their notations of Huck and M's & O's.  Part of the workshop will be devoted to learning about deciphering historic drafts and then the student will choose a pattern from one of the seven draft books and weave a length of yardage for napkins or toweling.

M's and O's Sample

Point Twills from 18th c. German Draft Books - 4, 8, 16 Harness

There are several wonderful German draft books available in printed form which have a multitude of complex designs for point twills that were used primarily with linen. We will choose 4, 8 or 16 harness designs to weave fine linen or cotton toweling. Some weaving experience necessary.

German Point Twill Sample

Venetian Carpets from the Silas Burton Draft Book

In this session we will explore the designs of an 18th c. carpet weaver from Connecticut in the weaving of a fine weight Venetian carpet.  Each student will choose one of the Burton designs then warp and weave a 3' x 6' carpet length using the exact colors called for in his drafts.

Venetian Carpet

Float Patterns from "Keep Me Warm One Night"

"Keep Me Warm One Night" is a fabulous resource of Canadian textiles from the 18th and 19th c. with many examples of overshot and summer winter weaves.  Students will choose a pattern from this book and weave a throw sized piece in cotton and natural dyed wool.

Overshot, Summer/Winter Samples

Dimities and Diapers from the John Hargrove Draft Book

Once again using an historic draft book as a design source, the student will choose one of the small-figured weaves from the Hargrove draft book to weave a piece of cotton yardage.  With fanciful names such as A Bumberet, Lady Rutlands Feather, and Worm and Cord, these fabrics were used for clothing, toweling and window treatments.

Dimities & Diapers from John Hargrove

5 Harness Spots Weaves from the Collection of the Vermont Historical Society

In a recent cataloging project at the VHS, a vast array of 5 H Spot weaves were uncovered - each with a unique and well thought out design and each executed in very fine linen.  In this session we will choose one of those pieces to reproduce using a fine 2 ply linen and explore the different tie up options for weaving 5 harnesses on a counter balance loom.

5H Spot Weaves from VT Historical Society

Weaving Small Items for the Holidays

In early December, choose from scarves, dishtowels, and runners.  For scarf ideas check out Stripes, 18th c. Cothing Fabric, Clothing Fabric in 2/1, 3/1, 4/1 Twills.  For towels, look at Shaker TowelsFabrics for the Kitchen and Pantry, and inspiration on the Blog:  Checked Linens, Jacques (and Kate's) Towels.

Descriptions of Dyeing Classes


19th c. Dye Receipts - Cotton and Linen

This two day workshop will run along the same lines as the one for wool in that we will dye quantities of yarn as well as a sample a variety of different receipts.  The primary dyes for this class will be indigo, fustic, cutch, cochineal, brazilwood and logwood.  The pre-mordanting of cotton and linen will be covered in depth as this step was crucial in achieving a lasting and deep color.  We will sample some of the colors used in the 18th & 19th c. called Prussian Blue, Egyptian Purple and Iron Buff.

19th c. Dye Recipts - Wool and Silk

In this two day workshop we will not only sample a variety of colors but also actually dye quantities of yarn for future weaving projects.  The primary dyes will be indigo, madder, fustic, cutch, cochineal, brazilwood and logwood.  With the use of different mordants and overdyeing we will achieve some of the long forgotten colors of Bottle Green, Venetian Scarlet and Saxon Blue.


Indigo Dyeing Intensive
Taught by Kate Smith, Zoe Sheehan-Saldana and Jane Quimby

In this four day workshop we will explore four different indigo vats - lye/hydrosulfite, copperas, zinc/lime and the urine and other fermentation vats. Using these four different vats students will also learn a variety of surface techniques including shibori, resist paste printing using blocks or silkscreens, discharge printing and wax resist.

Indigo Dye Samples

Natural Wool Dyes from Vermont Gardens, Meadows, and Hedgerows

September 7, 2014, 9:30am – 4:00pm

This single day class will focus on using vegetable dye materials that can be grown or harvested in Central Vermont. The dye garden at the school now has madder, woad, weld, alkanet, dyer's greenwood, tansy and a wide range of yellow flower dyestuffs. We will collect flowers, tree barks, nut hulls, and some different roots. The mordants will primarily be alum and iron but we will achieve a wide color range by overdyeing and color mixing.

Guest instructor Joann Darling is a seasoned horticulturalist and recipient of a Vermont Folklife Center Apprenticeship Grant focusing on the production of flax and linen.

The fee for this workshop is $125, and includes all materials. Please bring a dish to share for a potluck lunch.

Dyeing with Locally Grown Plants

Red Dyes and Their Applications, with Zoe Sheehan Saldana & Kate Smith

In this four day intensive workshop students will explore in depth the two major Red Dyes—Madder and Cochineal.

Part I of the workshop will cover the actual dyeing techniques of madder and cochineal and Part II will take that dye knowledge and apply it to the creation of surface techniques using silkscreening, hand blocks and direct painting on warps or yarn.

Part I (two days) Using both raw materials and extracts the students will start with yarn and fabric preparation, learn the use of different mordants and create a sample book of all the color options on wool, silk, cotton and linen fabric and yarn.

Part II (two days) On day one the students will produce the different mordant pastes and direct dyes to create a fabric pallette for future reference on cotton and linen fabric. Day two will involve the dyeing of the fabric pallette, learning the basics of silk screen application and use the mordants and direct dyes to create patterns and designs on larger pieces of cloth.

Red Dye Photo

Registration, Fees

The fee for all five day sessions for new students is $650.00 or $130.00/day plus materials; two weeks for $1,100.00 plus materials; or three weeks for $1,500 plus materials. The fee for returning students for five day sessions is $500.00 or $100.00/day plus materials.

The fee for two day dye intensives is $250.00 plus materials.
The fee for four day dye intensives is $400.00 plus materials.

To register, download the Registration Form or write us specifying the class and dates you want.  Include $50.00 per class deposit made out to Marshfield School of Weaving at least two weeks before the session begins.  The balance is due at the end of the class.  Mail registration and deposit to:

Marshfield School of Weaving
334 Jake Martin Road
Marshfield, Vermont


The $50.00 deposit is not refundable if you cancel.  The balance, along with materials cost, is due at the end of the class (sorry, no credit cards.)


Lodging is available at:

Lone Rock Farm (802) 426-3073
The Marshfield Inn (802) 426-3383
Hollister Hill Farm Bed & Breakfast (802) 454-7725
Comstock House (802) 272-2693
Vermont Grand View Farm (802) 685-4693


Directions will be mailed to you.  If you use GPS, please be aware that it might think the main school location is at the mailing address.  It's not.  Google, however knows the correct location of the school.  See Contact Us for a map and note of the local area.