Berit Engen WEFT and D'RASH – A Thousand Jewish Tapestries

(Photo: Rivkah Gevinson)

Doing It My Way:
All I Need is a Frame and a Fork

Small in size for a loom, it is, like a Torah scroll, portable, a feature that has contributed to the survival of Judaism. I can even take it apart, roll it up, put it in a backpack and hitchhike - which I did for a year in Europe when I was twent-yone.
I hammered nails into the top bar in order to separate the warp (horizontal threads) which I mostly measure to be three loops per each two centimeters. Most of my frames are constructed with stretcher bars which I buy in different sizes in art supply stores. This particular frame happens to be a beautiful batik frame from India who a fellow traveller gave to me. As long as the frame can lean on something, I can place it on my lap and can weave just about anywhere.  

My grandmother's silver fork with her engraved  initials. I use it for pushing down the weft threads. As a child, I was always told that I inherited my patience from her. 

Tight-fitting shoes help my mind staying focused. My weaving without using sketches behind the warp threads (which is not commonly done)  is not a free-flowing process inspired by whatever I feel, but rather a demanding and often unsettling endeavour in which I always have my thoughts on the finished tapestry.


I find high quality yarn deeply inspiring, and the light-reflecting linen yarn has always been my my preferred medium. I need nuances of warm and cold, and of and light and dark yarns in every color. These are just a few of the 200+ spools and color variations I keep in my yarn inventory.
Shortest in my class and nicknamed "the mouse," as a child I was afraid of all animals except for my grandfather's sheep whose wool gave us warm blankets and cozy hides. Norway produces superb wool yarn from a unique breed of sheep for tapestry  weaving, but  from the onset I felt drawn to the high quality, Swedish linen yarn with its shine and long fibres. (One of the companies that I buy from: Also, the wool seemed to be died in warmer hues and the linen yarn in colder. The latter suited my color sensibility and love of snow, ice, and water. But I relish and emotioanlyy need to work with all hues, and mysteriously, it is as if the shiny linen fibers give the warm hues another dimension.
With my frame, fork and affection for flax fibers combined with my patience  I am proud to be part of the communit of weavers continuing this ancient tradition as described in this article:

P-LOT Weaving with my most basic need fulfilled: daylight.

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