Archive for the ‘weaving’ Category

Hats & Guild Sale

I have sold several of my Mosaic Mojo hat patterns recently (on Ravelry and hard copies at Winthrop Gallery) and it reminded me to post some pictures.  Over the last few months I had spun up a number of small carded batts from a carding class I took years ago.  I plied them together in different combinations and wound up with small amounts of yarn in a variety of colors.  Since we can only sell knitted items at our annual guild sale that incorporate handspun yarn, this is what they were used for.  The ones below have handspun for the variegated yarn, and Cascade 220 wool for the solid color.

I sold 3 of these at the guild sale and took the rest up to Winthrop Gallery, where 2 have sold already!

Speaking of the guild sale, it is always the Friday & Saturday before Thanksgiving and held at our meeting room between Twisp and Winthrop.  One of our members does a great job of curating the show, and the room looked great.  It was well attended and we did well.

Here are the three cotton scarves I made using the “turned M’s & O’s” technique.  I hadn’t gotten pictures of them before the sale, but I am happy with how they turned out and will probably make more in a different color next year.

Now I am scrambling to make some more things for the galleries before Christmas.  I am almost out of scarves and just finished some yesterday, so pictures later.  I am almost out of rugs too but need to put a new rug warp on my loom before I can resume those.  Yikes!


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I am so far behind in blogging, it isn’t funny.  Partly lack of pictures, partly “life happens”.

I had registered for a weaving camp with Judith MacKenzie the first week of August, over on the west side of the mountains.  Almost didn’t go due to a weird thing that happened with my right eye, but it has cleared up on its own (not that I didn’t get it checked out).  So in the end I did go and am glad for it.  I had decided to try an idea for “turned M’s & O’s” using 16/2 cotton for the warp and 8/2 cotton or cotton flake for the weft, based on a project from a Handwoven magazine a few years back.

Set up my workshop loom, a “Baby Mac” (Macomber model CP) before I left and wove a small sample.  I recently added a sectional beam to this loom so I can use my AVL warping wheel to beam the warp and thread from back to front.

warp colors in 16/2 cotton

using the new sectional beam for the first time

sample for colors and treadling block lengths

Here are the three “things” I wove during the workshop.  I thought they were going to be towels but the floats are too long; they will be OK as table mats (like a short runner).  I really like the cloth, though. Judith thought I should pursue this idea for either scarves or fabric to make a tunic from.

with buff cotton flake

with light sage cotton flake

with shale 8/2 cotton

Other folks were working on the class project – flokati rugs.  I had done this before in 2011 with Judith, which is why I opted to do my own project.  But there was a lot of energy all around me!

a long flokati rug!

dear friends

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I had a number of ongoing projects come together in the last week or so, or at least ready for photography.

Extended manifold twill shawls – 20/2 mercerized cotton warp, tencel wefts in 6 different colors.  The pattern weft is WEBS 8/2 variegated tencel used doubled, with a 10/2 tencel tabby weft in a solid color.

5 shawls in a drawer

Mountain Stream with gold tabby

Lake Combo with emerald tabby

Wild Grape with adobe tabby

Sapphire with herb green tabby

Northern Lights with dark red tabby

Mountain Stream with moroccan blue tabby

I also finished two more small blankets or throws which have Jaggerspun Green Line organic wool for the warps, and my handspun yarn for the wefts.  I had enough of a teal Corriedale/alpaca handspun to do two alike.  Some of this had been languishing as a half-knit sweater for a couple of years, so I pulled it out, re-skeined and washed it, and made a better use of it!  This pattern is called a 2-line twill.

And finally I have been processing some of the unravelled cashmere sweater yarn into an 8-ply cabled yarn which I plan to use as weft for some scarves.  This process is greatly facilitated by the use of my Hansencrafts electric spinner with the WooLee winder.

It is so yummy and soft!

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Three weeks ago I went over to the west side of the mountains for a 2-day workshop through the Seattle Weavers’ Guild.  It was taught by Kris Abshire, a weaver, dyer and surface design artist who lived and worked in Alaska for most of her life, but now lives in western Washington.  This particular workshop is called “Serendipity in a Cup” and focuses on hand-painting warps and wefts for weaving.

Here are a few of the sample pieces she brought to show us.  She uses silk yarns for the most part, and Lanaset acid dyes.  All of these were woven on a single painted warp (not combined warps); some have surface design elements which she teaches in another workshop called “The Esoteric Cloth”.

We each had two silk warps and accompanying skeins of weft yarn to dye, for 2 scarves.  The yarn was a 12/2 spun silk from Sanjo Silk at the Silk Weaving Studio on Granville Island, Vancouver BC.  She also gave us the color palette formulas for her basic range of 50 colors that she uses in her own work.  There were samples of the colors on large rings, which helped later in choosing a set of 5-6 colors to start the first painted warp.

The first day was spent in discussion and then mixing colors to use for our first warp.  Then she showed us how to lay out the warp on plastic wrap and start painting.  It can be divided lengthwise into strips that are each painted differently.  By the time we actually got to work it was mid-afternoon and I couldn’t deal with the lengthwise strip idea, so I just “went for it” and painted a random pattern down the whole width of my warp.  I am not good at random usually, so this was a challenge!

Once painted, they were rolled up in the underlying plastic wrap, placed in a large ziploc bag, and steamed for 20-30 minutes.  There is no way to spread it out again once it is done, so I guess I won’t really know how this turned out until I put the warp on a loom and weave it!  We also painted the dye onto the skein of weft yarn, and steamed that.  My weft for this first warp is a dark navy blue.

Here are the first day warps hung to dry outside:

The second day, she had us borrow other people’s colors from the day before, mix things up, just go for color without using formulas and planning.  Yikes!  But we also had more time, so I was able to divide my warp into lengthwise strips and paint each of them with the same colors, but offset.  I have a thinner blue-black border with shifted color down the middle.  The weft is a reddish purple.

Again, I won’t know how it all turns out until I weave it into a scarf.  But even if I am not completely happy with this first effort, it was about learning the process.  It was lots of fun, even if a little intense, and I do want to try some of this on my own.

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I have embarked on a new project, which is taking apart a number of thrift store cashmere sweaters and “unravelling” them to recombine the fine 2-ply yarn into a yarn I can weave or knit with.  I was introduced to the concept at spinning camp in 2012, started picking up sweaters, and they have sat in a box until now.  Time to do something with them!

Some have been easier to take apart than others.  They always have to have been knitted in pieces and then “linked” together with what looks like a very fine crochet chain.  If the seams were surged, the edges were cut, and they can’t be pulled off into a continuous strand.  I have also learned that it is best to avoid cardigans (fronts were not continuous or were perforated with buttonholes) and items with pockets (too much trouble to take off and easy to damage the knit fabric).

Here was the first sweater, a short sleeve model, with the test yarn.  I am using the spinning wheel to twist 2 strands of the 2-ply cashmere together in the ply direction (to the left)so they are together and overtwisted.  Then twisting 2 of that yarn to the right to make a cabled yarn.  The end yarn then is a cabled 8-ply.

I am using a ball winder to pull off the 2-ply yarn from the sweater pieces.  And yes, I do sometimes need that magnifier for my Ott-Lite to see the little itty bitty teeny tiny chains I have to undo at one end, to get a clear thread to pull on and (hopefully) unzip the whole seam.

So far I have taken apart and “unravelled” 9 sweaters to get some basic materials for recombining.  I may try combining different colors of cashmere together, or cashmere with 2/18 Zephyr wool/silk.  I still have red, gray, and an assortment of warm pastel colors to work on.

These thrift store sweaters mostly cost $3 – $5, although I sometimes paid more if the cashmere seemed higher quality, or a wonderful color, or it was going to yield a lot of yarn because of being a large size or having cables.  I can always do some over-dyeing of the final yarn.

The upside:  I am getting a wonderful cashmere yarn in the weight I want for not much money, that I couldn’t easily buy.  My friend Andrea Eyre is making a 12-ply cabled yarn from recycled cashmere in a worsted weight, and her business name is R4, but I can’t find a web link for her.  You can also buy fine 2-ply laceweight yarn, e.g. on Etsy, and hold multiple strands together, but I don’t view that as being the same as having a constructed cabled yarn.

The downside:  I am putting a lot of time into it!  But right now, it is fun and exploratory and I do have all those sweaters…

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Tonight is the opening reception for the new show at Confluence Gallery in Twisp, titled Connecting Threads.  The description from their website:  “From the utilitarian to the purely decorative, fiber art is one of humanities oldest art forms. This exhibit will feature the wide range of modern fiber arts including, but not limited to, weaving, art quilts, felting, basketry, soft sculpture, embroidery, and hand-dyed textiles.”

They set it up this past week and it is pretty wonderful.  I went in on Wednesday and took a few pictures of my two extended manifold twill shawls in 20/2 perle cotton and tencel.  Also the small blanket or throw that is a series I am starting using my handspun yarn for weft, with Jaggerspun Green Line organic merino wool in 4 colors for the warp.

There are some woven jacquard pieces that appear based on photographs, very elaborate.  I hope the artist is there and I can find out more about these.  The labels say “handwoven” but are done on a computerized jacquard loom I presume.

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Tencel Shawls Underway

Just a quick post to show what I have been working on lately.  There is a fiberarts show coming up at Confluence Gallery in Twisp and I am trying to get some pieces done for that.  One of the projects is a series of shawls with 20/2 mercerized cotton warp and tencel weft.  They are much like the shawls I did a few years back using an extended manifold twill threading in Strickler’s 8-harness pattern book.  These will be some new colors and also a little wider.  One thing I like about this setup is how you can get different patterns with different treadlings.

The weft yarns are 8/2 variegated tencel (from WEBS) used doubled for the pattern weft, and 10/2 tencel for the tabby weft.  It is interesting to see how the tabby weft color sort of washes the whole thing with a background color on the cream 20/2 cotton warp.

Here are the color pairings I selected:

I put on 18 yards of warp and figure I can do 6 shawls.  I finished weaving the first three and took them off the loom several days ago.  Now have a whole bunch of fringe twisting to do, but they should be done in time for the gallery show.

Wild Grape Combo with rust tabby weft:

Lake Combo with emerald tabby weft:

It’s interesting to see the reversal of light and dark pattern on each side of the shawl.

Mountain Stream Combo with gold tabby weft:

By the way, that’s my new Louet Flying Dutchman shuttle carrying the pattern weft.  I had read about it on a couple of blogs and decided to go for it when Puffy Mondaes had it at 20% off with free shipping on Black Friday.  I really like it!  It takes a larger bobbin than my regular shuttles, so I can get more yarn on.  It is lightweight and comfortable to use.  The arched wire on the top is supposed to help when weaving a sticky warp (which this isn’t, but some of my “mixed warp” simple scarves with mohairs and boucles can be a problem).

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A friend rather pointedly told me that Twisp of Fate seems to have gone dark.  I am so far behind that it seemed pointless to try to catch up, in a way.  But to summarize….

Most of July was spent on a road trip to Oregon in our 1973 Airstream with the 2 cats, Juno & Stormy.  We visited family and friends in Medford & Ashland.

Rick’s birthday at La Pine State Park

Rick with daughter and newest great-grandchild

then headed east to the Malheur Wildlife Refuge and Steens Mountain, where we were too late for much bird life at the refuge, but at a perfect time for a drive up Steens Mtn to see wildflowers, views and a couple of herds of wild horses.

near the top of Steens Mountain

wild horses

then farther east to the Owyhee country where we did a lot of driving but did visit an interesting “ghost town”, Silver City Idaho, and saw some fantastic geologic features.

then worked our way north via Baker City to the Wallowa Mountains and towns of Joseph and Enterprise (which we first visited last year) – where among other things we took the tram ride to the top of Mt Howard above Wallowa Lake, continued to eat well in camp, and did some light hiking.

The cats did well despite some long days in the truck, and the heat!

Our last night was at Potholes State Park in southeast Washington, a beautiful park at the Columbia Basin wildlife refuge, to which we will return.

“Airial” at Potholes SP

Early August brought a gathering of my side of the family from California, Colorado and Maryland to visit our dad and the rest of us.  We took the Airstream over to Anacortes for 5 days to join in.

four generations

Along the way, I’ve woven some new rugs:













entered 4 handwoven items and 3 skeins of handspun yarn into the Okanogan County Fair

Been to the wonderful new Barnyard Cinema in Winthrop a couple of times… a brand new building with a beautiful space meant for screening movies and other events, and only 2 miles from our house!

Fall is in the air and it finally got cool enough at night to warrant an extra blanket on the bed, which is this fabulous quilt my sister made and gave to us back in August:

High Country quilt

That’s it for now!  I will try to be a better blogger going in to the fall.




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We are leaving tomorrow on a road trip to Oregon in the Airstream, with our 2 cats – Juno & Stormy.  This will be their third trailer trip!  We are so looking forward to having a vacation.  Everyone asks if we are going down the Oregon coast.  I am sure that would be lovely, and cooler, but we chose instead to visit family in the Medford/Ashland area, and then head east into central and northeastern Oregon to visit various wildlife and mountainous areas.  I am not sure how much blogging I will do when away from the home computer, but we will see.

I started the Windfeather pattern from the prolific and talented Carol Sunday, of Sunday Knits.  It is the High Country colorway and I am knitting the medium (stole) size.  Lots of colors and stitch pattern interest – I think it will be a good road trip project.

I recently found out that Sheila of Material Thoughts blog is also knitting this, but in a different colorway.  So we have a friendly competition going to see who finishes first!

I finished 3 rugs and took them to the Winthrop Gallery last evening.




Rick finished up two projects and is delivering the last one, a work table for a local quilt shop, as I write.  The one delivered yesterday was a concession case for The Barnyard Cinema that is nearing completion in Winthrop – it’s going to be cool!  So today will be devoted to getting the trailer ready to go tomorrow morning.


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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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