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Archive for the ‘weaving’ Category

Nesting

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:

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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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Weaving Workshop in Seattle

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:

Twill:

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).

 

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When it snows…

In a push to finish UFO’s, I completed a knitted scarf that I started sometime last year.  It was about 2/3 done but falling farther and farther towards the bottom of the knitting bag.  The pattern is Noro Knots by the Irish designer Kieran Foley.  I knit one of these about 3 years ago using Noro Kureyon Sock and have found it to be very wearable, so I decided to make another one using Noro Silk Garden Sock in a colorway I really liked (#272).  For both of these I did 6 repeats of the charts, not 5 (well actually, on this one I worked only through chart C on the 6th repeat).  Very happy with it!

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In January I bought a WooLee Winder for my Jensen Tina II spinning wheel.  I like the wheel but was having trouble getting used to having to move the spun singles from hook to hook on the flyer.  I haven’t had a wheel with hooks for a long time.  The Majacraft Little Gem has a sliding eyelet, much like a Lendrum, and for the Hansencraft Minispinner the standard flyers have a sliding eyelet (you don’t even need to pinch and slide, just give it a little nudge with your finger).  I also have the WooLee Winder for the Hansencraft spinner and love it, especially for plying.

I was kind of on the fence about ordering this for the Jensen wheel, as it had gotten mixed reviews on the Jensen Ravelry group.  Some people love it and others have had trouble getting it to work right.  The flyer has a level-wind mechanism in one arm, much like a fishing reel, and it moves up and down evenly feeding singles onto the bobbin as you spin.

Anyway, mine works great in both double-drive and Scotch tension modes and it is making the eternal spinning project go much faster and more enjoyably!  I only bought 2 bobbins as I always wind the singles off onto plastic storage bobbins anyway, for later plying.

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We got a lot of snow the last couple of days, at least 10 inches I would say.

feb-9-snow

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Cats roasting by the (not so) open fire….

by-the-fire-feb-2017

I decided to put a short warp on my 32″ Macomber and do our weaving guild annual “challenge” project just to put it behind me and be ready when we share our efforts at the April meeting.  The theme this year is Lace and everyone signed up for a different kind of woven lace, breaking into study groups.  Three of us chose to do a project based on an article by Jane Evans in the May/June 2000 Handwoven magazine.  It allows you to weave motifs in Bronson lace using a “split shed” technique on 3 shafts, instead of pickup sticks.  You can either weave a lace motif against a plain weave background, or a plain weave motif embedded in a lace background.

It sounds intriguing and definitely a challenge!  But after reading through the method again I realized I will never in a million years actually choose to use this for a project, so have decided to do just a small sample to try it out and fulfill my obligation for this year’s challenge.  That meant putting on only a 1-yard warp in 20/2 pearl cotton.

These days I almost always warp my looms using my AVL Warping Wheel, which allows me to put a warp on the sectional beam with even tension, and without needing a tension box and multiple spools, then thread and sley from back to front.  But I can’t do that for a warp shorter than a couple of yards.  So I decided to try out Laura Fry’s method for putting a warp (wound on a conventional warping board or reel) onto the back beam under even tension, then threading and sleying from the front as I am used to.  This is shown in her DVD The Efficient Weaver.

Quickly realized that this warp is too short even for that, as it will not be wound onto the back beam at all.  So there seemed no point in trying out her way of rough-sleying a reed to act as a raddle and warp spreader at the front of the loom as you wind on.  I wound up just tieing the cross end onto the back apron rod so I could pull on it as I thread.  The lease sticks are suspended from two string cradles – actually the stick closest to the back rod is suspended, then the two are fastened together so as not to fall out.  Got this idea from Nadine Sanders’ “Warping on a Shoestring” DVD.

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October already?

I knew I hadn’t posted for a while. but it looks like it has been over a month – good grief!  Some family stuff has come up, but I have been weaving too so here is an update:

Rugs for the “Hearth” exhibit at Confluence Gallery, which ran for about 5 weeks and ended on October 8.  Some of these pictures go back to the last half of August, as I was getting inventory together for the show.  They sold 11 rugs and 2 shawls for me, which was wonderful!  Rick also sold his coffee table with the antique grate in the top.

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R272

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Rugs for the “Ponderosa Pine” show at Winthrop Gallery, which just came down this week.  Sold two of these, plus a shawl.

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Custom order rugs, wider at 36″ instead of my usual 32″ wide:

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R280

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Another set of mohair & boucle shawls, in a warp colorway I am calling “Blue Parrot”:

Blue Parrot warp on the loom

Blue Parrot warp on the loom

Blue Parrot shawl being woven

Blue Parrot shawl being woven

Woven in Ebony & Mahogany

Woven in Ebony & Mahogany

Woven in Lagoon and Peacock

Woven in Lagoon and Peacock

Here are the yarns I will start putting on today for some more shawls in a purple colorway:

boucle-set-5-yarns-1

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Ponderosa Pine

There is a new theme show opening at the Winthrop Gallery this week, with the title “Ponderosa Pine”.  I wanted to try weaving some mats with pine needle clusters as “weft” but just ran out of energy, time and loom availability to pull that off.  Maybe I will explore that over the winter.  The pine needles may be too brittle, especially the tips, but I saw something in a Swedish weaving book using bundles of rushes that gave me the idea.

Meanwhile, I finished off the current rug warp making a few more for the “Hearth” exhibit at Confluence Gallery, and two for the “Ponderosa Pine” exhibit in appropriate colors.  I am having fun using the new materials I got at the Pendleton Woolen Mill last June!

I also finished 4 shawls on a new mohair boucle warp, the third set so far.  One was woven with Jaggerspun 4/8 Zephyr  (50% wool/50% tussah silk) in the color “Sable” and I have put it in the Ponderosa Pine show.

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They have sold 5 rugs (maybe more) down at Confluence Gallery since the show opened and now I am out of rug warp and need to re-warp the loom this week just to try to keep up!  Not a bad problem to have, but still…

Here are the other shawls just completed.

This one is woven with Jaggerspun Organic Wool in color “Lagoon”:

boucle-set-3-lagoon

and this one and one other (which came out a little shorter, so I am keeping it for myself) were woven with Jaggerspun 4/8 Zephyr in color “Peacock”:

boucle-set-3-peacock

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A Little Weaving Progress

I finished another four shawls last week, this time using a combination of 5 colorways of Claudia Handpainted Yarns kid mohair boucle (long discontinued) plus one skein of Naturally of New Zealand kid mohair boucle (also discontinued).  The wefts were from Jaggerspun Yarns in Maine.  I have a wholesale account and buy it on 1-lb cones.  I also used doubled Rowan Kidsilk Haze or equivalent for the accent stripes every 3 inches or so.

4/8 Zephyr (50% fine merino, 50% silk) in Plum and Mahogany:

KS boucle set 2 zephyr

Green Line Organic Wool in Eggplant and Stone:

KS boucle set 2 green lineThese are unbelievably soft, lightweight and drapey.  Yum!

A couple of weeks ago I put the third and final warp for the plaited twill scarves onto my loom down at the weaving guild room.  The warp is 5/2 perle cotton and the wefts are 8/2 tencel used doubled.  The tencel is mostly from WEBS – their Valley Yarns 8/2 Tencel.  This week I started weaving on them; there will be seven scarves total.  So far I have finished two, in black and navy, and started the third one in grey blue.  I really like this color and may make two, one to sell and one for me!

pomegranate 2 warp

pomegranate 2 started

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