Tuesday, December 23, 2014

How to make a Harriet Tidball Christmas (thanks to grandma)

I have a whole stack of my grandmother's Harriet Tidball monographs. I am no longer a fabric/yardage type of weaver, but I hang onto these partly because they were grandma's and partly because, well, I can't get rid of old, interesting things.
My grandmother did a little decorating for Christmas and the most notable ornaments were long twisted things made by using a thick narrow warp and weaving metal rods in decreasing lengths as weft. When off the loom, the whole thing can be twisted and it stays. Grandma Marian would then decorate the rods with glitter glue and sequins and then twist them. They were hung all over her house every Christmas (along with the beautiful glass tree ornaments from Europe into which she had scratched my grandfather's social security number in case they were stolen--that Grandma Marian is really something).

Today while flipping through the Tidball monograph, I realized that the pattern for this decoration came from this very publication. Tidball instructs making tiny 4-inch decorative trees, probably to hang as a real Christmas tree decoration.

You can see by my grandmother's annotation on the photo of the small trees what she thought of them.
Yet I can tell you she loved the large version of these which are essentially made the same way.

Her trees were a couple feet high and hung from the florescent light banks in their living room (light for weaving!). Unfortunately I can't locate a photo of these crazy beauties.

Here are the instructions in case you want to make your own. If you try it, will you send me a photo? The first page is to make the small ones my grandmother thought were awful. The second gives you an idea how to make the larger twisted variety.

The monograph, should you have it on a shelf somewhere, also has some lovely ideas for making woven Christmas cards. Maybe one day when I have a little down time I'll give that a whirl. I'm sure I can find a free loom somewhere around here for that project.

Merry Christmas Handweavers!!

Update  12/24/14: A excavation expedition was mounted to my parents basement and one of Marian's decorations was uncovered. We didn't discover any of the twisty trees, but this one was hanging over her fireplace every Christmas for many years.
Source: Tidball, H. 1963. Merry Christmas, Handweavers, Shuttle Craft Monograph Ten, 21-22.


  1. Great Blog, as always, Rebecca. You have made my 2014 extra special. Your online classes changed my weaving life. Your witty way on and off the videos. Your instructive and sometimes laughable blogs. It's all there and it brings joy to my heart. May you and yours have a Merry Christmas and a joyful New 2015 Year. Love you

  2. I remember the "older" weavers in our guild having these green and red trees with the leno bands. And the Harriet Tidball monographs were well worn. Now that I'm an older weaver I'm sure my earlier projects, overshot placemats, would look dated as well.
    I'm picking up my tapestry weaving again and enjoy your videos.


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