I have been gone a lot the last couple of weeks, having experienced two different workshops that were almost back-to-back. Now home again, a little tired but full of new ideas and with workshop projects to finish up, I thought I would post today about the first one.
This was a 3-day workshop organized by the Seattle Weavers’ Guild and held at the Nordic Heritage Museum in Ballard (a neighborhood in north Seattle). It was with Kathrin Weber from North Carolina, a professional weaver and dyer since the 1970’s. More recently she has been teaching a lot and selling her hand-painted warps through her website and Facebook page (Blazing Shuttles). All of her warps are cellulose fibers. This particular workshop was called “Focus on the Warp” and was about how to use hand-painted warps in an intuitive manner, composing on the loom – it did not include dyeing.
We brought our looms to the class with a dummy warp to tie on to, and threaded for a straight draw. I was using my little Macomber model CP “Baby Mac” loom. 300 threads, 2 threads per dent and I used a 10-dent reed so I had a 15″ wide warp.
The first thing we saw when coming in to class the first morning was an array of beautiful warps and many woven samples. The warps were made for the workshop and had 100 threads each and were 4-1/2 yards long. Most of the first morning involved a presentation of her method for combining multiple warps on the loom, and how the various samples had been woven using such a warp.
Next we each chose 3 warps for our own project for a total of 300 threads. I chose two colored cotton chains, and one of dark charcoal rayon slub.
Here is someone else’s choice, which I thought was really pretty:
The warps are tied on in two steps, first all the evens (harnesses 2,4 and 6,8 if you have them) and then all the odds (harnesses 1,3 and 5,7 if you have them). The first step uses all three warps in a fairly simple stripe pattern (doesn’t have to be symmetrical). Then the second step is composed relative to what you did in the first step. Whenever two colors alternate on odd and even harnesses it gives you an opportunity for a block design when weaving. When the same color falls on both odds and evens, it will be a stripe when weaving. It was a lot to keep in your head, especially the first time doing this, and not totally understanding the implications of what you came up with.
There were a lot of tips, including how to take apart her warps, hold them in your hand for tieing on, tie on efficiently and securely, separate out the unused part of warp to use later without making a tangled mess, etc.
My step 1 (evens) tied on:
Steps 1 and 2 completed and ready to wind on:
Then came how to wind on evenly and neatly without making yet another big tangled mess! This was “only” 4-1/2 yards, some of the warps she sells are 7-1/2 or 10-1/2 yards.
Some other people’s warps were more free-form than mine and I admired them:
By the end of the second day, most people had their warps on and and were ready to start weaving samples. She gave us several things to try: plain weave in two different weft weights, repp weave to bring out the block structures, turned taquete showing block structures, and twill. Here were her samples all woven on the same composed warp.
Plain weave with a thin black weft:
Plain weave with a thicker black weft (more of a ribbed texture):
Repp weave (alternating thick and thin in black, switching between blocks randomly, not completely warp faced):
4-harness turned taquete, again alternating between blocks:
8-harness turned taquete:
I got through the repp weave sample on the third day, and will have to finish up the others here at home. Then I should still have enough warp left on the loom to weave some placemats or runners (with the rayon in there, I think not towels).
This was very interesting and stimulating! Her warps are beautiful and I can see using some of the tencel ones for scarves and shawls. I will have to work on how to produce some of my own warps from wool and silk yarns.
Here is a shawl woven by a former student/customer, using one of her tencel hand-painted warps (color changes along the length of the pre-wound warp) combined with black stripes and other stripes using a warp wound from hand-painted yarn (color changes around the skein and is more homogenous when wound into a warp).