Archive for the ‘fiberarts’ Category

We stopped by Confluence Gallery in Twisp this morning to see how the new show looks.  They did a great job, as usual!  Here is the poster for the show, which runs July 1 – August 5.  That’s my dearly beloved in the center picture.

Basically they paired Mary Lou Harris’s photos (taken in our studios) with examples of our work.  There are 10 artists involved.  Here are a few general shots:

Jeremy Newman & Allison Ciancibelli, blown glass;  Hannah Viano, prints and paper cutouts

Robin Nelson Wicks, clay figures

Nicole Ringold, jewelry and Perri Howard, mixed media

Barry Stromberger, metal work

Rick Swanson, woodworker, and Ken LIbby, photography on metal

Katie Swanson, weaver

Rick’s special piece for this show is the coffee table made from Oregon walnut that he has had in his wood stash for 25 or more years.  He is calling it the Hologram Table, because as you walk around it various sections change from light to dark, depending on how the fabulous grain is picking up the light.




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I finished the first set of woven lace scarves using my hand-dyed wool warp and Jaggerspun Zephyr for the weft (18/2 wool silk blend).  I used the first 2 skeins that were dyed purple going into dark red, and dark red going into medium red, and got 3 scarves.  Left: woven with Deep Purple Zephyr, Right: woven with Iris Zephyr.

I have one more in Deep Purple to twist the fringes on, and then wash.  Yesterday I wound the other 2 skeins (medium red and kind of a salmon orange/brown) onto the warp beam and will hopefully get it tied on and ready to weave sometime this week.

Also finished up 2 more rugs:



Yesterday a doe with her 2 new fawns came though the yard.  Adorable!



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I finished up the 2 lace scarves and they shrank about 12% in length and 17% in width after washing.  But that is because they really bloom and soften so it is a good thing.

Woven with “Curry” Jaggerspun Zephyr:

Woven with “Peacock” Jaggerspun Zephyr:

They are incredibly lightweight and soft.  I am going to move along to tieing on with my hand-dyed wool and just stick with scarf versions.  They will be a LOT more colorful!

I also finished the point twill scarf that I wanted to do with some of my handspun (all the others were done with the merino/tencel in a color gradation).  I am very pleased with this, and it is for the upcoming show at Confluence Gallery in Twisp.  The handpainted merino & tencel spinning fiber was from Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks and I had 3 braids in the Autumn colorway.  One wasn’t split lengthwise before spinning, so had very gradual color changes in the singles.  One was split in half and spun back to back, so changed colors twice as often as the first one.  The other was split in quarters, and therefore had the most frequent color changes in the singles.  So when all 3 singles were made into a 3-ply I got a lot of interplaying color changes.

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New Scarves

I finished the second set of 4 merino/tencel scarves using the ombré color transition theme.

Here’s the blue one photographed with the table runner – I am submitting both of these for the show at Confluence Gallery in a couple of weeks:

I have also started a new experiment on my loom at the weaving guild room.  Last February at spinning camp I dyed 4 skeins of fine wool in a color gradient.

And at the weaving workshop in Seattle at the end of February, someone gave me a draft for a woven lace pattern that I thought might work for a shawl with these yarns.  But I didn’t want to experiment with my precious hand-dyed yarn, so I “conditioned” (soaked/washed) some of the undyed skeins and put a scarf warp on that is 2 motifs wide.  Here is the washed sample.  It shrank and bloomed a lot with washing!

It is woven with Jaggerspun Zephyr (50/50 wool silk in a finer weight than the wool warp).  I was experimenting with color and beat (picks per inch).  The gray one at the top was the most successful on both counts.  I like the gold one too, but it was beaten (just pressed with the beater, actually) too firmly.  I am just finishing the second of 2 scarves and will post pictures once they are finished (fringed and washed).

I am pretty sure I will proceed with this pattern for the hand-dyed shawls, using black Zephyr for the weft.  I’ll decide after the sample scarves are finished.  It’s a 66-row treadling repeat and I thought it was going to be a bear, but actually it’s not bad at all once broken down into 4-row sequences.


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We know spring has really arrived, and not just because it is greening up and the wildflowers are coming out on the hills.  Many of our nesting boxes have new residents!  The bluebirds are back, third year in their chosen box – ditto, nuthatches.  There are lots of swallows around and we moved the “duplex” to a better location and think we have takers there.  A Say’s Phoebe is nesting on one of the rafters in the carport.  We aren’t true birders but we do so enjoy sitting out on the deck with the binoculars, watching all the activity.

I finished off the handpainted warp from the Kathrin Weber workshop with a couple of table runners using the repp weave.  I am supposed to give a presentation tomorrow at the guild meeting about my experience, so it was a good motivator to finish these and then clean up and put away the workshop loom.  I didn’t know how much warp I had left so that is why one came out shorter.

Also finished the first 3 scarves using the ombré color transition idea and WEBS merino/tencel yarn.  I am very happy with these (they feel wonderful) and have tied on a second warp and have started another set.  It may be hard to see in these pictures, but the front and back are both attractive.  On the front, the black warp yarn forms the predominant pattern, and on the back it is the weft yarn that predominates.

The colorways below are:  Plum & Elderberry, Whipple Blue & Silver, Grey Teal & Grey Olive.











I also finished spinning up two Polwarth/Silk handpainted braids I bought at The Artful Ewe (Heidi Dascher) in Port Gamble last November.  One of the braids I split in half lengthwise, the other one into quarters (so the color transitions came more frequently).  Those 2 singles were plied with fine kid mohair, also hand-dyed by Heidi.  I have 2 skeins, with a total of about 600 yards.



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Spring Cleaning

I seem to have taken a break from weaving for the first few months of the year.  There were family issues, back issues, winter issues – whatever.  I just didn’t get out to the studio much.  But spring has come, we have events coming up, and I am more in the mood to get some projects going.

Also I needed to clean and organize my space.  Rick and I have signed up to be in a show at Confluence Gallery in Twisp that opens July 1.  It will be called

Methow Artists’ Studios Close up
Through a Photographic Lens
July 1 – August 5
Photographs of Methow Valley artists working in their studios displayed with the art they create.

The photographer is Mary Lou Harris, a commercial photographer from Seattle who is also a Methow part-time resident.  Her website is ML Harris Photography.  I believe she came up with the idea of the show and is working with a gallery curator.  Anyway, she wanted to come photograph us in our studios about 2 weeks ago and thus came the impetus to clean things up a bit!

Also, last Saturday we hosted a quarterly event called “Artist to Artist” sponsored by the Confluence Gallery.  Borrowing from their website:  “These events are hosted by an Okanogan region artist in their working studio…  Local and visiting artists are invited to attend Artist to Artist gatherings. The events provide educational and networking presentations which foster creativity, business skills, dialogue and collaboration within the local artist community, but also for an evening of socializing!”

There were a lot of other events going on that day and evening (not unusual for the Methow!) so we only had about 15 people come, some of whom we knew but also some new faces.  I wound up giving a “Weaving 101” demo as many people really did not know how a loom works at all, much less the process for measuring and winding on a warp, threading, sleying and getting it all ready before you even begin to throw the shuttle.  Anyway it was a fun evening, as well as another reason to clean and organize my space.

As far as moving projects forward goes, I finished 3 more rugs a couple of weeks ago:




Finished the sampler from the Kathrin Weber workshop I took in Seattle at the end of February on using painted warps:

plain weave with a thin and then a thick weft

(center) repp weave with alternating blocks and stripes

(left) turned taquete in 2 weights of weft, (right) twill

I have enough warp left on the workshop loom to do at least a couple of table runners.  I think I will go with the repp weave for those.  The fun thing is that the warp colors change all along the length of the warp, so the next pieces will be different in color at least.

I also put a new warp on the 32″ Mac for some scarves I have been planning.  They blend several ideas.  There is a gradual color change based on an article in Handwoven magazine last year.  I wanted to try out WEBS 2/10 merino/tencel and bought some last fall when it was on sale – black for the warp, and a variety of colors for the wefts.  I found a point twill pattern in Strickler’s 8-shaft pattern book that looked interesting (pattern #98 I believe).

Here is the sample after washing.  The fabric really bloomed after washing (well, soaking really – no agitation) – it became a lot softer and more drapeable as well.

“front” side – what I see when weaving

“back” side

I wove the first scarf in these colors, then started another one where the 2 colors are closer in value.  I think I like that one better as it is less stripey.

I am working on the third one now and will then take them off the loom and do the finishing work (twisting the fringes, wet finishing, etc).  So there will be more photos of finished scarves to come!



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Two Knitted Scarves

I have been away from home quite a bit so wanted some small knitting projects to have with me.  Plus, I just didn’t feel like launching into another sweater right away, although I have the patterns and yarn selected for a couple that I want to do.

First up was another Squirrel Cowl, which is my own pattern and available on Ravelry.  I used some hand dyed yarn that I bought a couple of years ago up in Vancouver BC at Sweet Georgia Yarns.  This is the dyers’ studio and operations office, but they do have a retail storefront there as well.  You can also get their yarns at many retailers in the U.S. and Canada.

The pattern calls for fingering/4-ply yarn on a US 5 needle.  I wanted to verify that the yardage I used was consistent with the pattern (as well as to have another cowl to wear), so I weighed the balls of yarn before and after and used that to calculate the yardage used.  I wound up using about 260 yd/75 gm of their Cashluxe Fine as color A – 70% superwash merino, 20% cashmere and 10% nylon in a dark teal semi-solid called “Riptide”.  For color B I used about 200 yd/62 gm of their Silk Crush – 50% superwash merino, 50% silk in a variegated colorway called “Stormchaser”.  So I think I am safe to stick with the requirement of 250 yds of each color for yarns with about 180 yds to 50 gm in the pattern.  This was Variation 2 of the pattern charts.

I also wanted to make the Reverse Psychology scarf by Mindy Ross after seeing the one a friend made.  It is written for a color gradient yarn and has bead placement on both edges and sometimes across the scarf.  My friend just used 3 different colors of fingering weight yarn and no beads, and it looks great.  So I did the same, using 3 colors of Koigu PPM that I had in stash.  Just change to a new color when running low on the old one (we both did this after doing one of the partial bind-offs with the old color, and then joining in the new color to finish that row).

Very fun and interestingly shaped scarf, here it is on the blocking mats and then draped on a mannequin.  It seems to drape a little differently depending on what edge you put against your neck, but I think they both look good!



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