But I didn’t mention what I should have talked about, that I only got a yard of the blue silk and then decided to use that for the binding as well as the one side of the front and cut the binding and found that I could not work with that narrow a piece and went back to the store and they were all out but the proprietor liked it too and had made a shirt out of it and had some scraps left and brought them back to the store and gave them to me whereupon I could finish the binding. hahhahahaha and I never once despaired.
I did it, I took the plunge and decided to learn to sew. Over the past few years I have made a number of muslins for a blouse, a tunic, and this vest. The yarn for the warp was dyed by Janet Stollnitz, 4 luscious colors of silk. The weft is black. The weave is an interleaved twill, tromp as writ, with a very standard use of twill blocks in the tieup. There is just enough variation in the two twill lines that there is no exact repeat anywhere.
I really like the back as it shows the weave off very nicely. Oh, the front?
Guess who didn’t have enough handwoven material. But you knew that.
A fellow guild member, Eve Connor, offered to teach me how to sew several years ago. Every Monday we meet at her home in her wonderful studio, and together work on a project. Sometimes I am able to carry on independently, sometimes I require a lot of hands on. She is patience personified and I have been very fortunate to have her “hold my hand” through this. Lots left to learn, lots. There is no way to adequately say thank you except perhaps to turn to someone who might need mentoring and pass on what I know about weaving as Eve has helped me with sewing.
Its been a while. My SIL ( my font of knowledege of all things internet) emailed me recently asking if he should delete the blog. Coincidentally I was thinking about restarting it. The question then becomes why should I. Are blogs outdated? Is there a serious reason to take the effort and time to post? Hmm, I think I asked this when I first started. As I looked back at what I had written in 2014 and 15 I was amazed at what I had forgotten that I had done, some of it not bad. Also coincidentally, I had a short email conversation with Alice Schlein who just published a new monograph on Lampas— Lampas for Shaft Looms ( I highly recommend). She said she would like to read my blog! So, Alice, thank you for the encouragement. And I know I will like having a better (read that any) record of what I have been doing in the weaving realm.
I have talked about learning to sew for several years and I kept putting it off. It would be an investment in time, money, and I would have to find yet another space for another craft. Our CA bungalow only stretches so far! I had some very good excuses.
My friend Bettes came through Berkeley not too long ago and stopped for a day to visit, a total delight. She wanted to make a pilgrimage to the local fabric store and I went with her. I dunno, I was there, I wanted to do it, I finally signed up for classes.
After starting the first project, thinking that this vest was going to cost in the neighborhood of way too much, I began to have second thoughts. I am too old to learn a new craft. It takes a good ten years to become proficient, blah blah, blah.
Then I came across this article in the New York Times Magazine. Scroll down and you see a picture of an elderly woman intent on a canvas. Hmmmm, she started selling her paintings at the age of 89. But I read too fast and thought she started painting at the age of 89. No matter. She started something. If she could start at 89, well, surely I can start at 70. It was inspiring.
First vest is almost done. I even think it will fit.
I thought I was putting on 4 yards for potholders. I mean, how many does any person need? After winding on a few sections and winding and winding, I finally looked at the warping wheel. oh. I failed to move the arms to a different position so the warp became a 6 yard warp. Well, the purpose of the project was to use some excess 8/2 cottton.
Trying to visualize the drawdown in a computer program was near impossible. The color rotation was annoying to create, and because the fabric is sooooo warp faced, I could not see if treadling would produce the pattern I wanted. Too many little white areas. Just didn’t work.
OK, first attempt at treadling what I thought would work, um, no.
Better, but not what I had in mind.
Hmm, maybe I should actually look at what the threads are doing on the loom instead of random guessing. This is the one time I wish I were working on a loom with treadles instead of the computer driven loom, just a bit easier (read lazy) to improvise treadling sequences.
Ah, that was the key! Looking to see what threads were actually being lifted on any given pick.
Several wefts were tried, several ways of beating it in were also tried. I finally ended by using two shuttle of mop cotton and beating once both were inserted into the shed, I was very concerned while weaving these that they would not be thick enough to be useful potholders but that was not the case, they work fine.
With a 6 yard warp I thought I would have somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 potholders. Another oh. I forgot about take up. That thick weft took the number down to about 18.
I have some happy friends but I don’t want to weave these again. If you want one, buy it from Erica Pfister, she does a great job on them.
This is a post about organizing regional gatherings for weavers, specifically, members of Complex Weavers.
It must have been sometime in August when I learned that Bhakti Ziek would be coming to the San Francisco area in January. I started a conversation with Bhakti immediately about subject matter, target audience, etc. We decided on a two pronged approach, one for experienced Photoshop users and one for those who are curious about the process. I then needed to alert and lure as many as possible to take these workshops to cover the cost of the venue, the teacher and travel. I provided housing for Bhakti, one of the best advantages of organizing! I had the membership list from CW, access to the Yahoo list for Northern CA, the CW website and newsletter, and our guild newsletter.
Finding a venue in this area is not for the faint of heart, especially at the prices we want to pay, but I did find one, 5 minutes from home for the 2 day advanced class. That venue needed to be close to a hotel, restaurants, transportation. The one day event took place at our regular guild venue in San Francisco, no special requirements. All that is left to do is set the price based on a simple budget, and then follow up with details..
The reward? A great class, learned a lot, brought a wonderful group together who mentioned the possibility of the “first annual…”.
The one day group was in fact two groups, AM a larger number who were introduced to Bhakti’s work, the PM group, a subset of people who wanted to see how Photoshop works for weavers. They were too busy to get a photo!
One more reward, woven by Bhakti.
Several months ago I decided that I wanted to know if it was practical to use the structure Beiderwand for my fine thread warps. It is not a commonly used block structure and does not appear on every block substitution list in weaving programs. I knew it was a compound weave, used extensively for bed curtains in Germany centuries ago.
Rummaging through my own books I found a number of definitions of Beiderwand (which is why I am not attempting to define it here), but not that little clue that I wanted. The answer! Complex Weavers Library. Of course! It is an amazing resource for members. The librarian, Tim Flint (yet another incredible Complex Weaver volunteer!), sent me a marvelous box, 2 sets of samples and a monograph I would not have found elsewhere.
Now, who could not be fascinated with what is beyond a cover like that? And the samples were equally as interesting.
I have not decided on if or when I will use this structure. I am busy procrastinating on threading the darn potholder warp.
Really? some people don’t like the internet? or at least the technology that it entails. Ah, but what a joy this last month. I have heard from several people since I wrote about these potholders, including the lovely Gretchen Mueller whose potholder was the impetus for this whole project.
There was a lot of thinking through to be done. What yarn? Erica did not say anything about size when I posted to her. I thought 5/2 was used and believed I had some, but no, on inspection, it was 10/2. But I did have a stash of varying amounts of 8/2. Maybe a double strand would work. In fact Gretchen used a 8/4 carpet warp. Sett, go with experience, so I adapted the numbers Erica gave me. Now how to get it on the beam. No way was I going to put the draft from Photoshop into a weave draft. I printed out the PS design and marked it in 7 card sequences for each inch for beaming with my warping wheel, back to front. If you think I came to this as quickly as I wrote it… how I wish!
See previous post for what it looks like today, still a lot of progress to me made before I start thinking about all the problems I should have already solved!
Only one loom, I don’t know how other people keep track of more than one! I had a treadle loom once upon a time, but when I started weaving with the electronic lift I found I could not go back and forth from loom to loom, kept losing that kinesthetic memory.
What will it be? Good question. I hope those potholders I mentioned earlier. Been a slog to get this on the loom. A new respect for Gretchen Muller and Erica Pfister!
Happy New Year from ever sunny California, may your looms sing/zing/ all year.
Many years ago, (20?) I bought some potholders from Gretchen Muller. I have had no contact with her since that purchase.
Grody! Of course! I have used this for all those years, happily.
Then, for some reason never to be remembered, as I surfed the web, I found these:
Really? Can’t be just happenstance. And in fact, Gretchen taught Erica Pfister how to weave these. http://pfisterrugs.com/ and she has them for sale. Go buy!
I was enchanted, I want to weave them myself. So I emailed Erica. She has graciously given me some hints and i have done a little research. The patterns came from Mary Meigs Atwater, Byway in Handweaving, and I have found them also in Le Tissage aux Cardons. The translation is available here from Barbara Shapiro, an incredible San Francisco artist.
So the problem is how to move them from a four hole card weaving draft to a shaft loom draft. There are hints. Erica gave me a few, as did an article in Handwoven. Nov/Dec 1999 First Dinner Party, Cardweaving Patterns for Placemats by Triinu Kartus.
You can see that color is the key. Another use for Photoshop! Who knew? So I have designed, or rather emulated a design, from the masters and came up with this.
Now I have to translate this diagram to a weaving draft, figure the sett, very very close, and see if the loom will lift the shafts. Now, did these wonderful weavers worry about the direction of the threading, 1-2-3-4 vs 4-3-2-1 or not? and the warping will be a royal annoyance with all the color changes. Hmmm.
Stay tuned. It could take awhile.