Category Archives: Current projects

Techonology Overload

We had to buy a car, I mean we really had to do something.  I loved my little Volvo for 14 years but it was time.  Looking at the new cars after driving this 14 year old sweetie was like walking into a new century.  Really??? I have to put my foot on the brake to get this car started?  And what is that little black button on the door handle ?  etc. But the killer was that I also needed a new phone.  The darn car would not work with my old phone, just too old.  Clearly you can see the issues here…

The technology push extends to the weaving world.  I have been working on learning Pro Weave with Dini Cameron who conducts online workshops to teach this very different approach to designing drafts.  Also I finally splurged and went with Photoshop Creative Cloud and got a new version of Symmetry Shop by Artlandia.   There were not big changes but at this point…. I think I was muttering something about “don’t move my cheese”, clearly chaffing under the self imposed “new”.

Onto happier thoughts… the loom is warped with two different variegated yarns from Just Our Yarn.  The threading is two interleaved advancing twills.  Ah, the wonderful Pro Weave Twill Databank, it is a large black hole of time but so much fun.  I used the threading on the vest shown in an earlier post and the twill databank to create drafts.  I  wanted to see what would happen with the variegated yarns.  I also wanted to see if this fancy new phone could take decent pictures.   I had thought I was going to use the gold and silver that are the first two samples.  Nope.

My daughter breezed through, looked at the samples and said it had to be the blue, so Maxfield Parrish.

I don’t know how people work with the small samples.  I never know if I will like something till I take if off the loom, finish it and let it sort of sit and look at me for about a month.

Happy to be weaving!

 

 

Trial and Error

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.

First attempt

 

OK, first attempt at treadling what I thought would work, um, no.

Second Attempt

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.

Final pattern

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.

Libraries

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.

Beiderwand

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.

 

 

Experimenting, not my thing

Many years ago, (20?) I bought some potholders from Gretchen Muller.  I have had no contact with her since that purchase.

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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:

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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.

ankh in 90 cards reduced

 

 

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.

 

In Between, or what to do next

The warp is off the loom, 2 scarves, and 1 piece that will become a small bag, are washed, pressed, waiting for finishing.   I was trying to recapture a piece woven in 2006. It was a fluke that it was ever woven.  Really, would you try this?  Looked totally ugly and I only had a small amount of warp left.  What could I lose in just trying it?  It’s the background in the header above.  Loved it.

Mult tabby draft

Not that I keep records but I was pretty sure the 60/2 silk was sett at 48 epi, so I just launched into weaving, testing colors.  Settling on a 60/2 slate blue (the reds just were soooo dominant) I slogged through ten inches and thought, my, this is taking a long time.  Details.  The 60/2 was weaving at 70 picks per inch (dominant reds, duh.).  Yea, that takes awhile.  Determined, I did finish that one scarf.  Did I want to resley?  No.  I just used a fatter yarn, this time a cashmere in black, and I changed the treadling.  Then, for the last stretch of the warp I chose a 10/2 cotton, knowing it would be a much less drapable fabric.  There was just enough warp to make a small bag.  Did it turn out as I pictured? No, because there was not enough warp that Nancy Roberts had dyed for me  a black silk was used as every other warp thread.  That really toned down the warp colors.

Black cotton weft
Black cotton weft

Cashmere weft
Cashmere weft

Slate blue weft
Slate blue weft

Should I finish the bag?   That means getting into inkle weaving and I am a pure novice.  Black hole of time.  How about ignoring the finishing for now and instead turning to kumihimo and make a braid for the lovely ornament I bought on Sunday–the yarn is from my beloved stash.

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Or…. I could work on the ??? projects that are sitting on the work table waiting for idle hands, the lampas pillows, or the silk cardweaving, or the cotton top in 4 color double weave……

I think I’ll eat lunch.

It Looks Frustrating

The warp was on the beam for a week before I had the stamina to sit down and tackle threading and sleying.  Still new at blogging, I forgot to take a pic of the warp behind the heddles.  It was gloriously chaotic, those pesky ends from the knitted blank love to curl and tangle.   I did manage to get a shot once the warp was threaded to give you a sense of the task.

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Yes, I use the “threading via treadling”  threading method ala Ingrid Boesel and I did have a one by one cross.  As the threads hang on the lease sticks at the back,  waiting for their turn to slip into the correct heddle, they rather like to “talk” to each other.  Then once through the heddles, they can easily curl back, wind around the adjacent heddle or thread, all kinds of mischief.  That means that sleying has to be done slowly and carefully, making sure the order is maintained.  Peggy Osterkamp says “The only thread that cannot tangle is one under tension”.  I am not sure if that is original to her, may have been a Jim Ahrens maxim, but I heard it from Peggy.   I think of it every time I work with one of Nancy Roberts’ knitted blanks.

Slow and steady, eventually conquering the warp, feels empowering.  (OK a bit of an exaggeration but not my much!)

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Collaboration

Working with others is not common in our weaving world, usually a loom only wants one weaver.  Producing a quality textile requires many skills though, the spinning of the yarn, the sewing of the garment, the dyeing of the yarn, you get the picture.  I feel lucky if I can master one part of the process.  I choose to weave.  My friend, Nancy Roberts has chosen to dye.

Nancy lives just down the street but it took a guild meeting 15 miles away before we really connected.  Nancy has done some weaving, knitting, spinning, but her real love is Machine Knitting and Dyeing, thus her web site www.machineknittingtodyefor.com

We have worked on a number of projects together.  This one took a year in 2009 and a third collaborator, Loretta Warner ( www. lorettawarner.com ) .

Double Weave Coat

 

We have since worked on a number of different projects, some good, some not so successful.  The current project is based on a warp I did a number of years ago.  With 4 cones I was able to go from black to a sort of periwinkle in the center.  It took many changes of cones throughout the warping, lots of counting.

Multiple tabby with dbl weave tieup (14-4)

With Nancy’s expert dyeing of a very narrow knitted blank, I was able to wind this warp directly onto the beam, no switching out of cones of yarn, endless counting etc.   It isn’t woven yet but just looking at the warp on the beam makes me happy.

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