Sunday, February 27, 2011

Is our work really work, or is it play?

I ran across this on another weaver's blog,
I liked it so well, I am borrowing it, as she did, from James Mitchener.

Master in the Art of Living

As a master in the art of living
you draw no distinction between
your work and your play,
your labour and your leisure,
your mind and your body,
your education and your recreation,
your love and your religion.

You hardly know which is which.

You simply pursue your vision of
excellence through whatever you
are doing and leave it to others
to determine if you are working
or playing - to yourself
you are always doing both.

James Michener

I think anyone doing creative work, whether weaving, writing, drawing, painting, quilting, designing, or any other multitude of creative endevors would agree.

I've started on a more intricate pick-up design for lace. I'm still working on it, but you can see what it looks like partially finished.  I'll keep tweeking it, till I'm happy with it. Many of my designs only make it as far as paper.  We'll see if this one ever gets on a loom!
This one requires an odd number of blocks in order to center the design.  I'm figuring on 39 blocks, with 8 warp ends in each block.  I'm thinking of rethreading the loom with the remainder of my warp from my other projects, after a make a couple more towels.

I finished another towel with the pick-up technique.  Here is a close-up of one of the three stripes, the very simple design, and a look at the zig-zag or trellis hemstitching.  There are three stripes of lace, each 10 blocks wide, separated by an inch of plain weave.

Have a creative day!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Green Rag Rug is Hemmed

The rag rug with all kinds of prints with green is complete.  I finished the hems last night, brought it in, dampened it on both sides, stomped on it a bit to set everything and left it to dry.  I still need to work on a tiny bit of waviness on the edges, which I suppose just requires a bit more weight on the edge threads.  I thought I had enough, but apparently not.

Here is a close up.  Since the strips were only one inch, doubled, there are four raw edges on the strips, and therefore, more lose threads.  Also, the way I joined the strips cause little tags of the ends to poke out between the warps.  If you don't like that in a rug, don't use my techniques!  I think it adds to the charm of a rag rug though.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Atwater-Bronson Lace Pick-up

Along with finishing weaving the rag rug last night, I also finished the hems (by machine) on the Atwater-Bronson lace towel I was working on.  This towel is a sampler of designs I drew on graph paper, when I was playing around with the possibilities for this lace pick-up technique.  There are twelve squares, each with a different design.  Each square consists of 10 x 10 lace blocks.  Each lace block consists of eight warp threads and eight weft picks.

I divided the designs into groups depending on how many blocks each required.  I just kept drawing until I had enough designs for what I wanted to do.  Since my squares were 10 x 10 blocks, I needed to use an even number design, or the design wouldn't be centered.  If I used the designs that are 7 or 9 blocks wide, I would thread an uneven number of lace blocks.  The x part of the design turns out as plain weave when woven.

This is one half of the towel.  The designs from my graph are:
Top row: 8-G, 6-E, 8-F
Bottom row: 6-I, 8-E, 6-B

This is the other end of the towel.  The patterns are:   Top row:  6-A, 8-H, 6-B (minus 4 x's).  Bottom row:  8-L (minus 4 x's), 6-C, 8-I
This is a very easy weave structure, and the treadling sequence is very easy to memorize.  My grandson Davey (age 8) was over last weekend, and he was able to weave some of it, and understood the pickup on this simple pattern, which is only 4 blocks wide by 3 blocks high:
As I mentioned in a previous post, this pickup idea came from an article by Bob Owen in the March/April 1992 issue of Handwoven, pg. 56-57.

If I was going to change anything the next time, I would have more lace, and less plain weave divisions.  But then, the possibilities are just about endless.  Unfortunately, I will probably not have enough time to ever weave all my ideas.

I'm going out to get that rag rug off the loom now.  

Monday, February 21, 2011

Technique for Joining Rag Strips Worked Great

I just came in from finishing a rag rug.  I really liked the method for joining my strips.  I showed it in a previous post, as I decided to try it.  I did move the sewing over to my industrial Singer 111, because it sews faster.  If anyone tries this method, just make sure the fabric joins are staggered.  I overlap my joins about 1".  The join won't pull apart, because it has a solid strip backing it.  I was using a lot of doll clothes scraps, so some of the strips were short.  My strips varied anywhere from 6" to full fabric width.  To avoid stripes in the rug with the longer strips, just flip it over in the shed to have the reverse side show.  I used a neutral sewing thread down the center of the strips, wrong sides together, and the thread doesn't show in the rug.

Here is the hem end, with glue.  I will let it dry overnight and probably cut it off tomorrow and get it hemmed.  The colors in this photo don't show the green very well.  All the fabrics that I used had some green in the pattern.

These show the color a little better.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Finishing a Long Rug Warp

The warmer weather the last couple days (out of the single digits and low 20's) has gotten me back out to the studio.  Yesterday, I started cutting some more calico strips from a huge box of scraps that my aunt gave me.

These are cut 1 inch wide.  I  just use my rotary cutter, ruler, and mat.

The rug is on my Leclerc Fanny.  I put quite a bit of green warp on a while ago, and the color is getting boring.  I think I like stripes in the warp better than all one color.

For this set of rags, I am putting two one inch strips, wrong sides together, and stitching down the center to keep the right sides showing.  I just kept adding new strips until I had enough to fill a shuttle.  The first shuttles worth is already woven, and shuttle two and three are ready to go.  I will get back at it again tomorrow after I get home from work.

I should take the first Atwater-Bronson towel out to the studio, also, and get the hems sewn in. 

 Right now, I'm just too tired.  Bed is calling--

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Ladder Hemstitching with Photos

I was looking for instructions for ladder hemstitching a couple days ago, because I can't seem to remember which side I should start the stitching. I did the first end of the towel without instructions, starting from the left, and it felt awkward, especially the second row. I could find directions for the first half of the two rows in some of my books, but not the second row.
I decided to try it again, from the right side (I'm right handed), and snap some photos as I did the steps. Now I can refer to my own directions in the future.
My towel started with a plain weave hem.  I wanted a hem about one inch wide, so I wove about 2 1/2" before starting the hemstitching.  I cut a tail from the weft, about 3-4 widths long. Thread a tapestry needle (which has a blunt tip) with the tail.

Starting at the right side, take the thread under the first bundle and up between the first and second group of threads. (Wrapping the first group is not shown, but is done like this photo.) 

Holding the thread taut, put the needle under the bundle again, and bring it up between the first and second bundle, two threads below the edge.  Tighten thread. 

Holding thread taut, the needle goes under the next bundle, up between bundles, and around bundle.  The needle exits two threads below. Repeat, as in the two photos, across the row.

Some of the first row. The spacing will look neat and even, if the thread is kept taut while stitching.

This shows two spacer rows woven in with a smooth, heavier yarn.  Make sure the heavy yarn is in the correct shed if it matters which direction your plain weave needs to be woven. Leave four widths of yarn at the right side, and weave several picks of plain weave.

Start the second hemstitching like the first, threading a tapestry needle with the tail.  Start with the needle under the first bundle, up and around the bundle, coming up between the bundles, two threads above the row.

Hold the thread taut, needle under the next bundle,

around the bundle, exiting two threads above.  Repeat across the towel.  

Finished ladder hemstitching.  The spacer yarn is pulled out after wet-finishing the piece.  Turn the hem.  Finish by hand, or as I did, by using matching thread and the zig-zag stitch on the sewing machine.  Adjust the stitch length, so each zig goes into a hole, and each zag catches the hem.

Zig-zag hemstitching can also be done using the same directions, with one difference in the second row.  Instead of using the whole first bundle, wrap around half of it.  Each successive group will be half of two groups from row one.

Although I was doing ladder hemstitching for these instructions, a single row can also be used to anchor the warp threads in bundles for fringe, instead of tying them in a knot.  It looks nicer, and doesn't take much more time, and your piece doesn't have hard lumps from knots.