101) Silk, Spindles, Swag, and So, how do you make those little diagrams, anyway?

Today was the Christmas Special meeting at Rampton Spinners.  This one's a different beast from our usual meetings; there is a pot-luck lunch, and P&M Woolcraft come to visit.  We generally make it *very* worth their while.  I will admit to a certain restraint this year; I stuck to my budget and bought one book and two tools:


I'm quite excited about the flick-carder.  I've wanted one for ages, and I'm hoping it'll help a whole pile with some of the less processed fibre I have in my, umm, backlog.  The niddy-noddy is slated to become part of my spindling kit, which itself will live in my Rampton challenge bag; it's cute and tiny and my regular one just doesn't fit so well.

Last year, I got precious little spinning done at our Christmas meet, what with the shopping and the scoffing and the socialising, so this year I decided to take a spindle along rather than lug the wheel the whole long way.  I span a lot more than I anticipated:


This is part of my ongoing silk spindling project, which I think I photographed but did not really talk about back in July.  I have a long-standing habit of buying small packets of pretty silk whenever it takes my fancy; 10g here, 15g there.  A small habit, but they add up.  So I've been spindling my way through them at a leisurely pace, and they will all become warp for a luscious silk scarf.  The weft will be plain tussah silk, and may or may not be spindle-spun.  This is my spun silk so far:


It turned out to be a seriously spindlelicious meeting; Sarah aspindlerated several people (some already spinners, some not), and a couple of other people had brought spindles instead of wheels, too.  I'm certain I've never seen that many working spindles at one meeting before.

So, how do you make those krokbragd  pictures?
Ahh, yes, I've had a few people ask about these.  I didn't use any fancy weaving software to make them; I used PowerPoint  NB:  you don't even need PowerPoint to do this!!  You can do it in Word, too, or anything that allows you to draw rectangles and group them together.  Consider OpenOffice for a totally free alternative – it can even read and create Microsoft Office files!  If you don't know what I mean by grouping things in a drawing, you might want to check out the online help for your software.

So.  The fabric is reresented by a grid of rectangles.  Each row consists of three groups of rectangles.  A group represents a throw of the shuttle, and its rectangles indicate the places where the threads show for that throw:


This picture shows six groups spread out as if they haven't been beaten down to cover the warp.  The group at the top of the picture is selected:


The magic of grouping means that if you click on one of the rectangles in a group, it selects the whole group.  And if you change the colour of one of those rectangles, then the other rectangles in the group will also change colour:


So, by playing with the paint-pot/fill tool, you can colour in your grid any way you like, and it should be a 'weavable' krokbragd design.  Cool, huh??

Want to play with this? 
Drop me an email or a comment with your email address in, and I'll email you a copy of 'The Krokbragd Colouring Book'.  I would like to offer it simply for download, but I need to sort out hosting first!  I don't think you can offer downloads from TypePad accounts…


  • This is a PowerPoint presentation, but you can open it in OpenOffice.  I have no idea what the compatibility with Macs is like these days.
  • Be aware that PowerPoint files, like anything that allows macros, can include viruses/malicious content.  I run a virus checker.  So should you.
  • This is effectively an untested tool.  Sample, sample, sample!
  • This system doesn't account for the deflection of the
    yarn caused by being squished.  So these are theoretical patterns, and
    might not weave up to look exactly like they do on the screen (well,
  • Feel free to distribute this, play with it, give it to your friends, show it at your guild.  But please also leave the notice with my name and blog address in place, and if you show it to other people, credit would be nice!


  • Good post Alison! I’ll bookmark it for future reference!

    7th December 2009
  • Lisa

    Hello, I am a new weaver and I am fascinated with all the possibilities. I would love to see your file

    5th March 2010

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