Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Double Weave Blocks

I thought the schact 8-shaft loom in our local textile center needed a workout so I scheduled some time and decided to do a doubleweave piece. I had no real use in mind but did want to take advantage of the full 45" width since my 8-shaft is only 36".  I wound my warp of 5/2 cotton alternating stripes of red/magenta with yellow.  My warping trapeze (a wonderful gift from a dear friend) made beaming alone easy and fast.

I like designs that have enough uniformity to seem planned but not so much that I had to stress about following a treadling plan.

I settled on some double weave blocks that I could size on the fly using numbers from the Fibonacci series.  This allowed me to decide sizing at the loom without worry that it was going to get too chaotic. My plan was that one side of the piece would be predominately turquoise with blocks of color -- yellow, red, magenta and mixes of those colors. The reverse side would be the stripes with blocks of turquoise.

During the weaving process, since I was in the textile center, folks would come by and get drawn in by the bright colors.  The stripes were face up on the loom so it was easy to someone to see the reverse was solid blue and clearly different.  Some times I would be at a good spot to let someone stick a finger between the two layers.  Nearly everyone who stopped asked what was it I was making.  Since I had not decided that I asked each one what they thought it should be.  Most frequent answers were table square or baby blanket.  One fellow artist was emphatic that it should be hung and displayed.

Off the loom, when I was able to get a decent look at the turquoise side, it said wall hanging to me too!

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Weaving with Non-Traditional Materials

What a pleasure to take Giovanna Imperia's workshop on weaving with industrial materials! Giovanna brings a boatload of interesting materials to try as wefts, and supplemental warps.  These are materials that your local shops are not going to stock.  Materials included plastics, reflective fiber, glow-in-the-dark fiber, polyurethane, wire core, and polyesters.

Here are some of the samples I wove.  The warp was 10/2 cotton in 3 large stripes of black, black/gray alternating, gray. The photos were taken after the samples had been washed in machine with hot water.



In addition to explaining the properties of each material, Giovanna provided excellent guidance on how to sett, beat and finish. She also showed tricks on taming some of the more unruly fibers when measuring and weaving. Giovanna experiments with any interesting materials she can acquire from her various sources.  Many of these interesting fibers are only available in small quantities from Giovanna via her website at http://giovannaimperia.com/

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Pseudo Random

An article from the 1980s inspired me to introduce more randomness to the pattern of this summer&winter piece. This block design was done on the loom choosing whichever block stuck me at the moment.  The dots and dashes were alternated to create a notion of the dashes falling apart, or the dots piling up.

I used a Drop Spindle space dyed bamboo warp and 8/2 cotton pattern weft with 10/2 merc cotton tabby weft. What started out as two scarves will end up as a long vest when the rectangle panels are joined.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Chenille Crimp in Red

My adventures with loom woven crimp cloth designs (woven shibori) continues with another experiment using a rayon chenille warp with widely spaced, thin stripes of a varigated chenille.  The main cloth is plain weave, the pattern threads are woven in point twill. The weft is orlon.

Visually, I like the way the thin stipes poke in and out of the crimp pattern.  The weight and drape are comfortable for a scarf.  The width could be a bit wider.  This could be done by either making the warp wider, doing a partial crimp, or by doing a looser crimp.

More experiements on the horizon.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Undulating Twill Silk Scarf

Silk Scarf
This scarf was a first for me in that it is 100% silk.  I have used silk combination fibers before but never all silk.  The warp is a rather hefty fiber labeled 'Linear Silk'.  It was provided by the recipient and looked like twisted strands of long silk fibers.  More like a twisted roving than a spun yarn.

Given it was a color gradation (named Grey Mint) I wanted to use as warp and it proved strong enough.  I used a sett of 12epi and chose a simple undulating twill structure to show off the gradation.  It was on skeins and winding the warp was a little fussy due to some thin areas in the fiber that I had to work around.  Getting it on the loom went smoothly. The weft is a standard Henry's Attic cream colored silk.  I used it doubled to match the weight of the linear silk.

The weaving was straightforward other than care to not over tension.  I was a bit worried too much tension would stress the linear silk.

I followed an article on washing silk and it turned out really lovely.  After wet finish I decided on a braided fringe because the twisted warp was not going to work with a twisted fringe.

The scarf is  heavier than one would expect for silk yet the drape is quite lovely.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

The Joy of Blankets

There is a great joy in making a gift for a new baby.  I love weaving little blankets and try to make each one unique.  I do not always get feedback beyond the initial thank you. But in the past month I have had two Moms tell me the blankets are favorites of the child.  How great is that!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Doubleweave Wool Blanket

My DH has been hinting that HE might like to have a nice couch blanket to get through the winter.  For his birthday his wish was granted.  I decided to make it 60" wide and that meant doublewidth since my widest loom is 45".  I kept it simple with a plain weave structure. This is my second attempt at doublewidth.

I used a mix of wool yarns from my stash, including some NZ wool and mystery skeins. A small amount (brown in the pic) was really more of a knitting yarn meaning it had a bit of a stretch.  This meant a little more caution to not over tension.

DH was very happy with the gift and enjoys it when there is sub-zero temps in the air.

Friday, February 17, 2017

More Varigated Chenille

Last year I picked up a number of cones of varigated chenille from a weaving who was moving and sizing down.  Varigated chenille is not something that was on my radar.  But it was high quality chenille at a great price so who can resist.

I am currently finishing up a couple of lap throws using varigated and solid chenilles in a herringbone structure.  The sett is 18epi with weaving width of 40".

The warp looks lovely on the loom.  And the herringbone looks great even though it seems to be obscuring the variation in warp colors.  Am hoping that when it is off the loom everything will come together.  Will post another picture in the future.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Infinity Scarves

A long time without posts does not mean I have not been weaving!  Most recent project was an experiement with some varigated chenille I bought last year.  The colorways were mostly dark with green and orange tones.  (The sample colorway is listed on the cone as: hemp/cognac/forest green/dark brown) The project goal was to determine if using the varigated chenille alone in the warp could result in an appealing scarf.

I settled on a broken twill structure.  Warp was 6 yds sett at 18epi for a target of 3 scarves approx 65" each with a little extra for sampling other colors and fibers.

First up was the coral chenille weft.  It is so bright that I thought it would brighten up the dark warp, while the warp toned down the coral.  The result was my personal favorite.

Next, my color wheel helped me pick out a triad that pointed to purple as a good choice.  Seriously not one I would have picked on my own, but the color wheel did not fail me and the purple chenille is very nice.

Last choice was a very safe one in a neutral beige rayon slub.  Since the slub was so fine, I alternated sections of it singled and doubled to add some visual interest.

The picture shows the colors and overall resultant look.  Definately stripe-y.

Next experiment will probably intersperse more solid color with the varigated.  Maybe just enough varigated to give streaks of color.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Brighton Honeycomb

IMO Brighton Honeycomb is an overlooked structure. I like that it is waffle-y on one side (pink in my pic) and pattern on the other (blue).

My 8-shaft,  two shuttle effort was rewarded by cloth that shows predominately color 1 on one side and color 2 on other.

Everyone seems to appreciate the end result. My project was 8/2 cotton large towels for child.

I was inspired to try this structure by an article in Handwoven magazine.  The article was for a baby blanket project and I do think it would make a special blanket.

Friday, February 5, 2016

The Vultures are Circling for ezweb.com

In 1994, a couple of people had the vision, knowledge, luck and naivety to start an internet services company.  Sometimes you just do not realize that you are smack dab in the middle of an exploding innovation.

As part of setting up the company, we chose a name and picked a domain - ezweb.com  The company became a regional success and assets were sold in 1996.  But we have kept the domain name as a reminder of a critical concept in business success.  The Diffusion of Innovations (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diffusion_of_innovations)

In 1997, I had the pleasure of taking a class at UNM on the topic ... from Everett Rogers ... AFTER getting OUT of the internet business.  Needless to say, IT WAS EYE-OPENING.  While we were very smart, we were very naive.

Over the years, we have received hundreds of inquiries for the domain ezweb.com -- including one from a church.  As usually happens when the expiry approaches, the vultures begin to circle thinking we will make a google mistake.  We will not and the domain will be renewed.

Interestingly, even though the inquiries have tried to make the case for how critical this domain would be for one's business, not one inquiry has produced a serious offer.  It is about business after all.  In a recent conversation, the same couple of people who registered the domain all those years ago, decided it was worth upwards of 45K to us.

Seamless Poncho

 My cloth study group decided to do ponchos.  I never thought of myself as a poncho person, but found a fascinating article in "Shuttle, Spindle and Dyepot" on weaving a SEAMLESS poncho.

Half expecting a doubleweave structure, I was impressed by the author's persistance to create a seamless poncho as an extension of the V-Shawl. I was familiar with a V-Shawl so cutting off warp and using that as weft was OK.  Closing the loop required reading the article multiple times and re-tensioning the V-Shawl onto the front apron using clamps ...
 Being a small person, I always need to make sizing mods.  Before the poncho was on the loom, staring at me, as I stared at it, I reduced the size of the shoulder sections.  Once I saw the poncho on the loom, and after the first shoulder was already woven, I saw my error ... the neck opening was going to be way too small.  I was able to fix my error by weaving the second shoulder at the suggested width.  (see photo at left) The result is an asymetric opening that works for me!

The poncho can be worn fringe to front/back or fringe on the sides.  And, even though I have not worn a poncho in many years, it has been the perfect layer a number of times this winter!

I used some leftover wools sett at 8 EPI. The wide sett helped make the joins less stressful since there was room for threads to move.  The poncho was wet finished using delicate cycle on my front-loader. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Holiday Runner Finished

Weaving this 100 step pattern (plus tabby) on an 8-shaft table loom was time consuming.  I put on 5 yards and was able to do fit three runners.  This is a pic off the loom before wet finish.  Pic shows both sides.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Planning holiday table runners

As the stash reduction continues, I came upon some large cones of red cotton.  One is conshohocken softball cotton (which makes it pretty old) that is a 3/2 cotton strand wrapped with a fine cotton strand to create a uniform texture in the yarn.  The other cone is a darker red in mercerized 3/2.

The textured yarn has charm that is better shown by having longer floats.  I stumbled upon an interesting draft that I had saved on my computer without any notes that really explained who/what/where except the file name "networked-weaving-draft-3".  The draft below is my modification to exploit the motifs I found most appealing in the target width of approx 15inches.

The project will be woven on a LeClerc Dorothy 8 shaft table loom...that has been made more user friendly by adding some ergo touches.  I added some sugru handles to the beam takeup cranks, some bumpers to the front where beater strikes, and perhaps most important, finger pads on the hard plastic shaft pull.  Before adding these improvements in 2011, I was ready to retire this loom because the hard plastic pulls were too hard on the fingers for hours of weaving.  With the padding, it is possible to weave long periods. If you have one of these older looms, Sugru is a great product that is now widely available.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Double-width Doubleweave Blanket Finish

Double width wool blanket
 Just in time for the coming colder weather, the wool double width blanket is off the loom.  There was only ONE fix needed where the layers "crossed".  Easy fix with the wool weft.

The wet finish was done in a front loader using the wool wash setting.  I did check the progress at 10 mins but let it finish the entire cycle.  The amount of fulling was perfect.

In the first snapshot, you can see the overall look of the blanket.  Note the center line which was the fold for the two layers.

You can see the center line more clearly at the left of the second photo.  Even though the sett was a little more open by skipping dent during sleying, the end result looks like a design element.

I showed off my blanket at the guild meeting recently and was pleased that my talented friends also thought it was a success.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

DoubleWeave DoubleWidth

Looms take up space, and large looms take up a lot of space.  With the possibility of downsizing "looming", I may have to give up either my 8-shaft 36" Harrisville, or my 4-shaft 45" LeClerc.  Not having an 8-shaft floor loom seems limiting.  And not having my LeClerc workhorse (think BABY BLANKETS) seems even more limiting.

I like to use 40"-45" for baby blankets.  Easily done on the LeClerc.  I decided to try a double width doubleweave project to see if my skills are up for doing blankets in TWO layers.  I have only done doubleweave samplers following the excellent instructions published by Jennifer Moore in her "DoubleWeave Basics Book".

I had a bin of wools that needed to be used (part of the downsizing) and so I planned a project for a large wool throw blanket.  I decided to use the LeClerc loom because the Harrisville had another project going.

I put on a width of ~33" as two layers. Since the LeClerc only has 4-shaft that meant each layer could only be plain weave.  The opening would be on the right and the 'crease' or midline, would be on the left.  I also sleyed the sett more loosely right at the midline, and added a nylon floating selvedge.

The challenge of doublewidth is to only join the layers at the midline.  In this case it was the left edge.  During the first 12" or so I checked my layers every few minutes by lifting the shafts for the top layer and peeking in the side.  After 12 inches I felt more confidence and just wove carefully (and more slowly).  I did find myself catching threads, but less frequently than I worried.

Sure, but the real test is when it is off the loom.  I was SO VERY HAPPY when I found only one small error where the layers were joined!  The fix was pretty quick and easy since it is loosely sett plain weave.

I need to finish the twisted fringe and wash to see how the midline will look.  I will post some additional pics with the completed blanket.

It's Hard to Keep up with a Blog with all these Baby Blankets

I like M&O pattern for baby blankets.  The floats have never been a problem and the pattern adds great color and texture.  This blanket was done in all cottons.  The binding is a cute and colorful Owl print.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Orchard #2 in Boundweave

I recently finished the second orchard done in the boundweave structure.  I learned many things from my first piece (see post from 12.2013).  One of the most valuable lessons concerned my wool choices.  For this piece, 95% of the yarn is Collingwood rug yarn.  It is the perfect size.  However, the colors available are muted.  So brights, like the apple red, yellow and green, are from knitting yarns.

Also note the pig which required a break in the pattern repeat.  Wasn't sure it would work, but it really does call attention to the smudge of pink.

The structure is 6 shaft boundweave.  Warp is linen sett at 8epi.  Weft is wool.  Finished size is approx. 26"L x 15"W.

It is highly probable there will be one more Orchard in this series.  Meanwhile, I am looking into a modified brocade technique as the next experiment.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Tool to save LOTS of time

Being a weaver, I am not up on all the great tools available to the sewing/quilting crowd.  A few months back, while cleaning out some things from the house of an elderly Aunt, I came across a little box marked 'tape maker'.  Inside were three metal flattened cones of differing sizes.  I had not a clue what they were.

Luckily, a sister-in-law who quilts was there and told me they were used to make bias tape.  WOW!  It was like striking gold.  I make bias tape to use as blanket binding or seam binding.  I have googled making bias tape so many times and have never heard mention of any tape maker.  So I wondered if it was too good to be true.

When I started to make the bias tapes for the rosepath blankets, I dragged out the little box to give the tape maker a trial run.  Stuffed on the bottom of the box was one sheet of directions (dated in the 1980's) that made it all look VERY EASY.  And, so it is!!!

I cannot tell you how many hours I have already saved being able to iron the tape in ONE PASS.  Basically you thread your bias strip through the metal tip and iron the tape as it comes out.  Done!

This is one crazy, useful tool!

The blanket shown is the third of the Rosepath threading.  I did widely spaced stripes using pink, teal and multi-colored  cotton.  The binding is some flower-power Owls in the same colors.

MORE Baby Blankets

It has been a few months since my last post.  I have been busy doing three more baby blankets.  All were done on a Rosepath threading with various treadlings.  For two I used some lovely peach cotton I picked up at a 'stash reduction' sale.  The cotton was in skeins and was close to a 5/2 mercerized cotton in weight.  The warp was an 8/2 cotton in natural.  Owls are big this year.  The binding on the one pictured below featured owls and birds.