Wednesday, December 12, 2012

You got me going in circles

twill circles
My friend B made a stop at Yarn Barn last summer and picked up some lovely dyed bamboo.  The skeins were dyed in various, variegated colorways.  I had asked B to get a blue/green, which she did, but she also picked up a red/orange skein.  I decided to use the red/orange in a draft that has been sitting in the to-do pile for some time.

The draft is for a four shaft twill that creates a pattern that reminds me of little medallions.  I love that it is only four shaft for ease of setup, yet the finished scarf looks much more complex.  The scarf pictured was done with a black wool/silk weft.  I did a second scarf with navy wool weft.  I was very pleased with the result and think this pattern will become part of my regular rotation.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

More yarn

Like all fiber addicts I have lots of yarns.  One needs to have choices.  Sometimes I buy retail from shops either in my area or when I am traveling, but usually I order online.  Over the years I have ordered from WEBS.

Recently I found myself in western Mass and realized that it was WEBS country so I scheduled time for a stop.  Everyone in the area seemed to know about WEBS and gave it positive reviews.  PLUS, they have a very comfortable waiting area for the spouses.

I went online and made my list based on what was in stock. Since I was traveling by air, I tried to keep my selections down to a couple of pounds.

It is a very large building and has a dizzying selection of yarn, equipment and books.  I really had fun wandering through the front showroom, and the back warehouse.  I was able to get just about everything on my list.  Also, the sales folk were very helpful and pleasant.

My one tip, which may only apply if you are looking for cones, is that you should call ahead to make sure they have what you need at that location.  I was unable to find the navy alpaca/silk that had been listed as in stock on the website.  When I asked I found out that they have another warehouse (I want to browse through that one) that has all the overflow.  If it is not in the retail warehouse you have to order.

I wish I had a WEBS in my neighborhood!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Too Subtle

I wanted to try a shadow weave in chenille.  I decided to do a sample to evaluate the colors I wanted to use, the structure (sett, ppi) and the effort required to produce one scarf since shadow weave requires two shuttles.

This is one time that the sample really paid off since the colors I chose do not provide enough contrast to really appreciate the effort.  As you can see from the picture, the pattern -- diamonds --is barely visible.  A little too subtle....for me.

I know someone will love it.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Cotton Chenille Boundweave Rug

cotton chenille boundweave
I started weaving more when I got hooked on rugs.  First it was rag rugs. Then I took a class with the wonderful and talented Jason Collingwood.  His class took me from cotton warp and rags into linen warp and wool.  In addition, I learned precious technique tips.

Recently, I decided I needed to try Boundweave rugs.  I had been reading Clotilde Barrett's "Boundweave" and it seemed natural to try the sampler in the book by making some rugs.  I am using a cotton rug warp with 3 strands of cotton chenille as weft.  Since I expect at least 10% shrinkage from the weft I chose a 36 inch width.

I have finished one rug.  I am trying a variety of color sequences as per the sampler from the Barrett book.  Doing on-the-fly 'design' is quite stressless!  Even though boundweave is slow, it is satisfying to watch the patterns emerge.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Diversified Plain Weave Not too Scary

The diversified plain weave scarves are off the loom, wet finished and fringe is almost complete.  I am very happy with the results! (And so is my study group buddy)

The grid formed by the black 20/2 cotton thin warp/weft
really locks down the chenille so that structures with multiple thread floats are possible.  Magical!  The finished fabric has a lovely drape.

I have ideas floating around in my head for over sized designs in chenille.

The over sized houndstooth was the study project but I try to put on enough warp for 2 (or more) of any project.  I decided to only use one color weft for the second scarf which gets rid of the color-and-weave effect.  AND, weaves more quickly. I choose a brighter shade of orange since the black grid tones down the colors.  That scarf is shown on the left  It came out looking more interesting than I could have guessed, and more complex.

My study buddy and I both agree that we are going to try this structure again since it really opens up the possibilities for chenille because it takes out the worming problem.

 This project is based on an article published in the May/June 2012 issue of Handwoven magazine.  The draft to the left is snipped from the draft program I use.  NOTE: the draft only shows the chenille threads.  The actual threading also requires two threads of 20/2 cotton, threaded on shafts 1 and 2, before each chenille thread.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Scary slow progress

Usually my slow progress is because life gets in the way of weaving.  For my current (and first) diversified plain weave project the slow progress is because I found I needed to slow down my weaving.

I am probably about average in weaving speed.  Since I am a hobby weaver, I can go at a consistent pace that is not overly tiring.  With this project I need to take extra care with my beat and advance my warp more often.

I am very happy with the look of the piece as it takes shape. It really looks like fiber pixels.  I love the oversized design in chenille.  ( You may recognize this as Susan Poague's  project from Handwoven Mag #160) And so far tension has not been an issue.

Maybe I will have this done by Halloween!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Scary Warp

diversified plain weave
No this is not the scary warp because of the halloween colors.

This is my first attempt at a diversified plain weave.  I warped using chenille as the thick fiber and 20/2 cotton as the thin fiber.  I tend to be a perfectionist and the process of winding the chenille with the unruly 20/2 pushed me to my limits of maintaining order.  Not only is this my first diversified plain weave, it is also my first time using 20/2 in the warp.

A friend and I decided that our summer study would be diversified plain weave since neither of us really understood the structure.  Once we realized that it creates a stabilizing grid, the chenille project seemed a natural.  My friend B does a lot of chenille weaving and is looking for a way to ... well, diversify.

The project will produce two scarves.  The black and orange color choice came from school colors for scarf one.   So the same colors will be used for weft.  For the other scarf I am thinking of using something much redder with the black to tone down the halloween look.

Although as I begin the weaving process it is nice to be thinking of the cooler days of Fall!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Pink Blanket with Binding

Saturday was the shower for parents-to-be of a baby girl. I did an M&O blanket for the new baby.  It has a white cotton warp with a pink perle cotton weft.

I like to add binding to the edges of my blankets to avoid fringe. I like the binding to add some visual interest so I usually make my own bias binding from cotton fabric.  I chose a stripe with baby colors since I was not sure what the nursery decor would be.

I am happy to report that the parents-to-be loved the blanket.  I hope baby will too.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

My daughter asked me to make a shrug. I think of shrugs as knit items, but was willing to try a woven version. I decided to work in chenille so that I could put on a long warp and use it for another project. I used a straight twill structure. The warp is fuschia, the weft is purple.
shrug view 2
I was not sure about the correct dimensions so I fudged them using a sewing pattern as the model.  I, and more importantly my daughter, thought it came out really well!  I left a very short fringe at the wrist, but would probably go with a hem in the future.  Also, I this was not woven doubleweave so there is a seam under the arm.  I will b trying a doubleweave and different fiber on the next experiment.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

M&O Baby Blanket

Cold season sidetracked me for a bit. Now that I am feeling better I have returned to the baby blankets. I am using a lovely 'kinked' white cotton for my 39" wide warp. You could not believe how soft this cotton is even before wet finish. I picked up this yarn from a local retail knitter. (I should have bought more ;) ) The warp is long enough for two blankets.

The weft is a variegated cotton flake from Yarn Barn. I was not sure if I would like the pastel variegation, but I really am pleased with the result. It seems perfect for the gender neutral blanket. Hopefully I have enough of the cotton flake for both blankets. Maybe I need to do a yarn order ....

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


I was sidetracked from weaving recently by the need to re-organize my space. My weaving space needs to do double duty as a guest room. The room is 12ft by 14ft. I have two floor looms -- a 45" LeClerc and a 36" Harrisville -- plus a desk. The guest part is an xtra-long twin bed along with a small side table. I wanted to give guests a little more elbow room so I decided to trade a free-standing shelf unit with some wall mounted shelves.

Since I have alot of storage space 8 feet up, my long term plan is to mount shelves high on each of the walls. The first installation is the IKEA LACK style floating shelfs and wall mounted units. IKEA has a number of choices for small spaces and wall mounting. I originally was going to do narrow free-standing units. But I like that the LACK shelves have open sides so that the cones can overflow. The first high shelves are now mounted above the closet. These are very convenient for large and seldom used cones...well maybe more convenient when I get a bigger stepstool!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Calculating Warp and Weft Needs

I was (finally) reading my Fall 2011 "Shuttle Spindle & Dyepot" magazine and found an interesting take on warp/weft calculations for a project. There are many good references on the web for doing these calcs. (for example: or

What I liked in Marcy Petrini's approach is that it looked at yarn requirement from the yardage (as in square yard) perspective, not just the linear perspective. Marcy uses the square yard technique when doing on-the-fly estimates ... probably when in a shop lusting over a new find. While it seems to be most useful for weavers who are creating yardage, the article did cover how to think of any project in terms of square yards. I was not able to find the article online, but if you get SS&D have a look at the "Right from the Start" column.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Baby Blankets

I have completed several baby blanket projects over the last 3 years. The last project was two wool blankets in the M & O pattern. I loved the finished blankets pictured here. I need to make a few more blankets and have decided to do the M & O in cotton. Since the gender is not known at this time, I am going to stay with yellow and green. Maybe in combination with a multi colored flake cotton. I will post warp pictures as soon as I get it on the loom.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Year

New year resolution is to weave more!! My goal is to weave a little bit every day. Maybe I should move a loom into the family room?

I also plan to take a workshop or two, and to use more handwoven in garments. So many projects, so little time.

I just took these lovely holiday guest towels off my harrisville. As usual, the holiday weaving extends into the new year. It gives me a really early start for next december.

The towels are cotton warp at 20epi with cottolin weft (doubled). The complex pattern slowed me down a little, but I loved watching the pattern emerge again and again.