Thursday, December 12, 2013

Finished at last

Well I have finished this korowai and am very pleased with it. It is 125cm  wide and110cm long. I will take it into the koru gallery in Dunedin today but am willing to sell it for $4,000 myself if anyone is interested. It is all pheasant feathers with homespun wool tags. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Big cloak

I have changed my mind again and decided on just mawhitiwhiti for the top of the big cloak I am working on. 

I much happier with it now. It is plain enough to not clash with the feathers 

Turning Row

One of my friend's from Whiri Aroha, Ellen, showed me another easy way of explaining the turning row.
Hold the first whenu up (here I am using a double whenu).

Then take the second one from it and twist the first one around the back of the second one. 
Tighten up and carry on. Twist the up one around the back of the next second whenu. 
This can be done as a neatening row for the top of a korowai or as an outline feature either side of mawhiwhiti panels or taniko panels. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

End of Year Weaving Day

Today was the last day for our weaving group for the year.  We had a great exhibition of all our work this year and I was so proud of all our ladies had achieved. It was amazing looking at their work and seeing their excitement at what they had done and to think this is their first year of weaving.  Everyone is so supportive. Sadly many of our ladies couldn't come for various reasons but those who did had a great lunch and went home with goodies. Here are some photos of their work. 

However on further discussion about my big cloak we decided that I should undo the taniko as it was too busy and just do a black and cream taniko like this one. 
So back to work Monday to get that finished next week. 

Thank you all my lovely ladies for a wonderful year. I really have appreciated you, your hard work and your input into my life. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Big Korowai

I am working on the Taniko at the moment of my big cloak. It is looking good although the pegs holding the tags out of the way look funny. 

I hope to finish this next week so I can get the house ready for family. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Getting there

I suppose I am more than half way finished this big korowai. Unless of course someone wants to buy a shorter cloak.  I haven't decided what taniko to do on the top yet. If someone does want to buy this cloak I can customise the taniko for them. Just email me. 

We had a good group on Saturday with Robyn Ashton coming along with her muka cloak which is looking magnificent. The other ladies are doing well with their korowai too. Just two more days till we stop for the year. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

New big cloak

This is the latest cloak I have on the go. It has pheasant feathers and tags of homespun black wool. I am pleased with how it is coming on. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Plaits on the sides

Plaits on the sides are great for an edging. They help stabilise the edges and provide a check to keep rows straight. If you go down two bumps on one side then the other side should end up two bumps down too. My tutors have been saying this for years but it has only just clicked.
Put the aho strings through the plait and pull up tightly so they are hidden under the plait bumps. 

Design tip

Just discovered something I should of thought of years ago. When designing the body of a korowai where it is not all feathers pins are a great help. Planning on paper with all the maths involved in getting a balanced design is fine but when I actually do it I usually find I have forgotten to take something into account. Today I finally thought of putting pins in an empty of feathers row to help place the design. The pins show where the feathers will go.  Great because I had to move them several times to get both sides even and it was so easy.

Also tying up the extra length of whenu strings in bundles of twenty helped with counting. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

This arapaki is made from the feathers from two pukeko pelts, and some white hen feathers.  It was made using the new string used double. I have brought the ends of the string from the back through to the front to make a fringe.  I will take it into Koru Art and Jade in Dunedin in November.
I am not sure how it is best yet to use the string but I am trying it double as it is quicker to use and I still like the finish.  I have started a big one using it double and with pheasant feathers.  Having to be a bit slow with it as I am busy elsewhere at the moment.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Last week I finished these two kindi samples trying out the new string from ICB.  The top korowai is done using the string singly and the second one uses the string doubled.  The pictures are not really out of focus .  The feathers were quite fluffy.  They all came from the one rooster pelt.  I think I like using the string double as it was so much less work than single and seemed to be a bit more sturdy.  However we shall see what the folk at Whiri Aroha, up in Papakura, think.  I believe they are using it singly.  My tension was about 24 strings per 10 cm doubled and 34/ 10cm single.  Both gave a good clean back so that doesn't help me decide.  I will need to adjust my taniko patterns though as doubled makes a wider stitch than single.  Easy on the computer.
The two colour background pattern was an idea a friend in Australia showed me on our trip earlier this year.  Her's was absolutely gorgeous in black, red and silver.  I didn't like to copy hers at all but really wanted to try out the idea.  These are destined for kindis where I had already made one similar for another kindi in the group.  

I am just about finished a shoulder cape made with pukeko and white chook feathers.  Just pulling through the cord ends to make a fringe.  Next I may start a big cloak using pheasant feathers or maybe a big white one using some lovely rooster pelts from Lyann.  Pictures next time.

Monday, September 23, 2013


My three booklets have been published with new covers.  They are detailed under the books page in this blog.  They are full of pictures making it easy to follow the instructions.  One of the ladies in Sydney has made her first korowai just from my first booklet and says

'The booklet was great, the combination of the text and pictures really helped.  All very detailed and thorough and so helpful from the outset, the materials needed (and contemporised), the preparation and the actual weaving process, so much more than any other book I've read on the subject. It's truly an asset.
I feel really empowered by this, it's such a skill and a really valuable art to pass on to the next generations.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

New string

ICB has some new mop string.  It's thinner than their old stuff and more consistent in quality but I haven't decided whether it needs to be used double or singly yet.  This picture shows the two we have been using, the thick knobbly string on the right and the thin string we use double on the left.  The middle one is the new string.

 I have started two kindy cloaks, one using the cord double and one singly.

One of our girls has become very good at pelting chooks and gave me this lovely grey/gold pelt which I am using for these cloaks.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Sydney Trip

We had a wonderful holiday in Sydney catching up with family. But I also met with a few weavers one afternoon. They showed me what they had made and we had a very useful discussion about weaving in Sydney and where to get materials. The string is still a problem so I hope to get myself organised to sell bundles of cut string of various sizes for various purposes. 
Now that I am back I am trying to upgrade my books because some libraries are wanting copies. There are now three books. The first is 'Making your First Small Korowai' and is great for complete beginners. People can work from the booklet without any other instruction. The second is 'More Tips and Techniques for Korowai Weaving'. It goes into the options for each part of the korowai and design ideas so is really the next step on from the first book. The third book is 'Mawhitiwhiti Patterns and Woven Bags' which shows many of the criss cross patterns used in weaving and how to make the korowai type of woven bags. These booklets open out flat so that working from them is easy. See the books page on this blog. 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Sydney Trip

We are going to Sydney soon.  I will be at the Macquarie Centre Mall, North Ryde on Saturday 17th August.  Anyone weavers interested to meet up I will wait outside the cinemas by the Boost Juice shop at 2pm.  It is one floor up from the food stalls.  Bring some weaving pieces to show if you have some.  
I have written another two books which will be out soon.  One is about design options for korowai called More Tips and Techniques for Weaving Korowai and has lots of ideas and photos and is a next step on from the beginner book.  The other one is called Mawhitiwhiti Patterns and Woven Bags.   Hopefully they will be available when we return from Australia.  I will put them up in the book section then.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Weaving group

We have a weaving group with all some of the ladies I have taught meeting on some Tuesdays, Saturdays and Sundays.  They are all doing so well and are so enthusiastic.  I am learning from them as they learn from me and together we are making some really nice pieces.  Here are some of them and some of their work.

Lyann and her first piece
Lyann's child sized korowai in progress, using feathers from her own roosters that she has pelted.

Judy's third piece practising different techniques
Judy's jute string practice piece exploring different materials

Donna and her small shoulder cape

One of my first pupils was Elaine who has done many wonderful pieces over three years

Elaine's framed korowai

Another of Elaine's pieces for a frame.

 They are working on mawhitiwhiti samplers at the moment.  This has encouraged me to write book on mawhitiwhiti patterns which will be out soon.

Robyn's Muka Cloak

I am very excited by one of the first ladies I taught to weave a few years ago here in Taieri Mouth.  She has begun her first big cloak and it is out of muka she has made.  I couldn't teach her the muka bit so she has learnt from books, some Maori TV programs and mostly by trial and error.  I am so proud of her and stand amazed at what she is achieving.  Well done Robyn Ashton.  Maybe next year she will teach me.


Hooray I have finished my big cloak and it has been handed over.  My clients were pleased with it so all is well.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Matariki Arapaki

It being Matariki I decided this should have a starry taniko done with a sparkly copper string with black background.  It looks great.  I was actually quite pleased with these brown chook feathers especially toning in with the brown/copper pheasant ones.  The arapaki is lovely to feel.  I think this one will go to the shop in Auckland.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

We have finally managed to sort out some more of this blogging thing and hopefully may now be able to reply to your comments.  It was some technical thing.  So thanks to those who have commented in the past.  I have had some really nice things said about my mahi and I am grateful to you all.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Have finished the kindi korowai with a poutama pattern which goes with their logo.  I hope they enjoy it.

 Also I have nearly finished a brown feather arapaki with a black and copper taniko for matariki.

Busy busy busy.

 Last week I helped my mother with her new quilting booklet.  She has done well and I hope she sells a good few as I am sure they will be helpful.  If anyone reading this wants one I can arrange that for you.  They cost $25 plus p&p.