Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sample for chenille scarf

The loom stand is finished enough for testing.  I wound a warp for a rayon chenille scarf and wove about 8-10 inches with white, blue and black weft.

The sample on the right of the serger stitching is not washed and is quite stiff.

The sample on the left of the serger stitching has been washed and dried in the dryer.  It is nice and soft.  I'm having a hard time deciding whether to use the black weft or the medium blue(above the little tail of white yarn).

I'm leaning toward the medium blue because I like how the blue varigated stripe looks.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Table Loom Stand About Ready to Test

Bob is just about finished with the small table loom stand with treadles.  Tomorrow, I will wind a scarf warp to test it and see if we need to make any adjustments.  A nice chenille scarf sounds nice, since it is still so wintry up here.

I'm tying up the treadles with tex-solve cord but need about 2 more yards of it.   I will have to make do with some heavy linen cord for three of the tie-ups until I can get some more cord.

I'm pretty sure there will be some adjustments needed because the left couple treadles are a lot harder to raise than the others.

All in all, for not having any measurements to go by, I think it is turning out pretty well. 
Once the testing is done and adjusted, I will stain the stand to match the loom and then get some varnish on it.

It cost us about $50 to purchase the maple wood and some hardware and the cord, and now I will have another six treadle, four harness floor loom that will be portable enough to take to workshops.  It's just in time for taking to the linen workshop on March 10-12th.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Rug album completed

I took a little time today to add another photo album to my Facebook.  This newest album is a record of the rugs I have woven since I started weaving 5 years ago.
Handwoven rugs link to album.
Here are a few of my favorites.  This one was one of the most recent, finished last summer.  There were four rugs from this warp.  I used rug warp that I already had and the weft was a heavy cotton in a bundle of five or six strands in greens and oranges. 
If you click on the photo, you can see that the wide warp stripes are alternating burgundy and forest green in one stripe, and turquoise and blue in the second stripe.  They are separated by narrow white stripes. Because my warp colors alternate, I can keep any of the four warp colors on top by throwing a pic of narrow yarn between each pic of the heavy bundled yarn.  When I wanted the alternate color on top, I just skipped one pic of the narrow yarn.  It opens up all kinds of possibilities for color changes.  Threading green, burgundy, etc. in one stripe and burgundy, green, etc. in another stripe (as long as the stripes are an even number of threads) can also create another color in the same row. 

A huge cabinet of the weft yarn, in many "Fiesta" colors, was given to me by a wonderful friend when she was preparing to move to an apartment.  Three of the rugs were sold to help fund a church mission trip to Kentucky.

 This Giant Fancy Twill pattern caught my eye in one of the first weaving books I had lent to me when I first started weaving.  It was in the book, Weaving, Spinning and Dyeing, by Rachel Brown, page 176.  I was quite new to weaving when I wove it, and have since learned many things that I would do differently now, but the main thing that still makes it a favorite are the colors.  It was fun planning it out to get a nice mix, and I would do the colors like this again if I ever repeated this pattern.

A valuable class that I took a while ago was taught by Jason Collingwood.  The following sampler of techniques was done after I came home from the class.  It is also woven with the free heavy cotton yarn that my friend gave to me.  Most rugs of this type are woven with wool, but I wanted to see how some of the "Fiesta" colors would work up.  Unfortunately, I was testing it on the end of a rug warp and it wasn't enough to make a complete rug.

Colors of winter

I was reading someone's blog where it was suggested to take some pictures of the colors of the season or month for weaving inspiration.  It was a beautiful day out today, a little above freezing, so Bob and I took a walk with our cameras.  Here is a link to the challenge site:  Life Looms Large
As my photos show, we still have a lot of white up here!  It looks so pretty with the spruce trees and was so sparkling this morning when it was still pretty cold.

Two of our old sugar maples are "dying" to be tapped.  If they had, the sap would have been pouring out of them today.  The day was perfect for sap running, with above freezing temperature and a beautiful sunny day.

All of the old maples are dying.  This one especially needs to be taken down.  It is right next to our drive and the road and it already lost one huge limb in a storm a couple years ago.  We used to put two or three taps in this tree when it was healthier.

I love the different colors of brown and gray of these old trees.  This old sugar maple is so big we usually put four taps on it. It's about four feet in diameter.   I wanted to tap this year, but Bob doesn't think we will have enough time to boil maple syrup.  I'd like to at least do a couple gallons.  We are all out, and I miss having it in the pantry to use.

A little bit of Susan Lake can be seen to the right of the tree trunk.  The lake is still completely frozen.  

Snow doesn't really appear white unless the sun is on it.  This is close to sunset, and with the deer tracks and tree shadows, the colors are various shades of gray and blue-gray.  The snow is still pretty deep as you can see by the drag marks from the deer hoofs.
The birch trees are very beautiful, especially with a backdrop of cedar or a sunset.

Our old pear tree looks like it has been tapped hundreds of times--by woodpeckers! Interesting grays and browns and a touch of Norway Spruce green in the background.  

A close-up of a dried mullein plant with a backdrop of snow.  Still quite a lot of white and brown and gray and lots of texture.  As beautiful as all of this is, I'm looking forward to the addition of some spring green and daffodil yellow to the outdoor pallet.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Stand for My Table Loom

It is so nice to have a husband that is handy.  I have been wanting stands for my two table looms for quite some time.  Last weekend, Bob and I went to a local hardwood place and purchased enough maple to make both stands.  He has been working on the first one off and on this week, and finally progressed as far as attaching the loom to the stand.  The legs angling off the back of the loom are  ones someone else added to the loom.  It was fine for getting the loom off a table, but it was still hand operated to raise the harnesses.

Bob gets the night off tonight to go visit a friend, but hopefully he can start the treadles tomorrow after he gets out of work.  This is the test project, since we are just going from a picture with no measurements.  If this one works well, he will make another one for the wider loom.  If adjustments need to be made, at least he won't have to change both loom stands.

It will be so nice to have a handy loom to take to workshops, or to weave narrow projects such as scarves.  I hate tying up my bigger looms for those kinds of projects, but hate weaving on a hand operated table loom.  It's way too slow.

I signed up to take a linen class, taught by Kati Meek, early in March.  I may be asking for too much to have both loom stands done by March 9th, but am hoping they are. Then I can decide whether to take the 15" or the 22" loom.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lace Sampling Finished

I changed the linen warp on my sample loom from 18 epi to 24 epi to see which sett I liked best.  After this test, I think it was better at 18 than 24.  Maybe partway between at 20 would be better.  At 24 epi, the pattern is elongated but the plain weave is tighter.

Now I have to decide if I want to take the time to make some towels with this pick-up technique.  I was thinking about doing a gamp with it along with some people in the local weaving guild.  I figured I could use cotton instead of linen, and use three different colors for the warp and the same three for the warp.  Now that I know I can do this, I will have to get back the the planning stage. 

At one time, I did a summer and winter weaving with pink, yellow and lt. blue that looked like 6 colors, so I may do that.

My other idea was to use complimentary colors that can make the plain weave look irridescent.  That could be interesting too.  A lot depends on my yarn stash and whether I want to dye yarn.


Monday, February 15, 2010

Bronson Lace Pick-up Continued

The article I was referring to in my previous post was from the March/April 1992 issue of Handwoven, page 57.  It was an article written by Bob Owen, another Michigan weaver.  I don't know if he is still around, since he was retired when the article was written.  I learned a lot from the article about block weaves in relation to lace.

I drew up several designs, but chose to start with the one that was in the article.  A block means that each x on the graph represents a group of threads.  For this project, each block equals eight warp threads and eight weft threads.  The squares around the design are also blocks that will be the Bronson Lace weave, and the design will be plain weave. 

This particular design would require ten shafts without the pick-up method.  This method only requires three shafts. 

Here is my result of this design.
I wasn't real sure about the sett for this linen yarn.  This sample is sett at 18 epi, and it appears a little loose.  I decided to weave another design before cutting the samples off the loom and wet finishing them.  I knew they would look completely different once they were washed, with the floating yarns scooting together.

So, here is my next design.  It was a little harder to follow, with more skips and rows.  I kept getting a little mixed up because I kept wanting to make the blank spaces be the plain weave instead of the x's. 

This design turned out to be quite pretty.
While weaving this second motif, I snapped a few pictures of the pick-up process.

Raising shaft 3 raises groups of 3 warp threads.  I had 13 groups in my sample.  

A pick-up stick is used to pick up groups of 3 threads, according to the pattern.  This is the first row of the pattern A.
With the pick-up stick in place, shaft 2 is raised.

Since the shed is small, I used a stick shuttle to weave with.  This shows the pick-up stick against the reed and the stick shuttle weaving under the raised pattern threads and the threads on shaft 2.

The pick-up stick is then pulled out, and the pick is then beat into place.

Something else that I did with this pattern was to move some of my warp yarns that were supposed to be on shaft 1 onto shaft 4.  It was suggested in the article to do that to space out the heddles.  I moved every other one from the first shaft to the fourth shaft.  The tie-up had to change also (every time shaft one is lifted, four also has to be lifted).

I love the look of Atwater-Bronson lace.  This is the first sample after wet finishing.  Linen shouldn't be dried in the dryer because it can ruin the sheen of the threads.  I cold press mine with my marble rolling pin on my kitchen counter and just leave it there till it's dry.

My second sample, rolled and left to dry.  I'm happy with how both turned out, but I will experiment a bit more with the remainder of the warp.  I am going to resley the reed at 24 epi for the next samples to see which I like best.

Atwater Bronson Lace

I have a towel woven in linen, that a friend made, that I have always loved.  It has a dogwood pattern in plain weave, with the rest of the towel in Atwater-Bronson lace. It requires more than 4 shafts, or so I thought, until I came across an article about pick-up in an old Handwoven magazine.  It was worth trying, so I warped my sample loom last night while watching sappy Hallmark movies.

I'm ready to try the technique.  If it works, I may try a sampler of some designs I made. 

Dishes are done, now onto laundry and vacuuming.  Then I will allow myself to weave.  Hooray for a day off during the week.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Towels Are Finished

I just finished hemming the towels and getting final pictures of  them. 

This is woven with five colors of orange, with yellow for the hems.



This towel was woven with a thick/thin dark brown that I purchased.  It bled a lot when wet finishing it, so the colored yarns absorbed some of it.  It turned out quite muted in color.
   The towels woven with the white weft yarn showed off the warp colors.                                                                    
This photo is showing two towels, with opposite sides as the front of the towels.  Clicking on the photo will enlarge it, so the differences between the two sides can be seen.

This towel was one of the last to be woven.  I was still trying to use some of my dyed yarns. I chose three greens (light, medium, and dark)  and separated them with turquoise.  I used the Fibonachi sequence to determine how far to weave.  I used 2 and 3 repeats for the turquoise, and either 5, 8 or 13 repeats for the greens.  It's one of my favorites, but then, I always have liked plaid.
This towel was woven with another yarn that I purchased.  It was a bumpy turquoise, and bled so much, I could have dyed another large skein of yarn with the rinse water. 
This final bit was woven with yellow.  It's large enough to use for a dishrag, so my kitchen will adopt it.

My sister-in-law is the happy recipient of one of the earlier towels.  She is the person I have to thank for letting me learn to weave about 5 years ago.  She lent me a 4 shaft countermarche loom that she picked up at a garage sale for $50.  She couldn't pass up the bargain, but had never used it because she doesn't have any room for it in the house.  I still use it on occasion, and have started  teaching the granddaughters on it.  Thanks Mary!

It's nice to have a project finished.  Now time for bed.

Finished With Multi-colored Warp--Finally!

Other photos of this project can be found at:

The multi-colored warp has been on one of my looms for a couple months now, but it has been so cold up here in Michigan, that I haven't done much weaving during the week, since it takes so long for the studio to get warm.  I did get out there last night after Bob and Carolyn and I played a half game of Mexican Train.

This is the final bit of weaving.  It could be a sample, but I prefer that it be usable, so I'll probably hem it and use it for a dishrag.

Here is the tail end, with all my knots that I tied on to the previous warp.  I really did like this warp, but was getting a bit tired of it.

I finished up the last little bit of weaving and then had to start the finishing.  Once I unrolled everything from the loom, I had 5 1/2 towels.

I cut them apart and serged the ends and took them in the house to do the wet finishing.

Here they all are, soaking in hot soapy water.

 I hate it when yarn that I buy really bleeds color.  The one in the red bowl bled so much turquoise out, that I would be afraid to give it to anyone.  The one in front of the bowl bled so much brown, I didn't think it would ever quit.

I would be interested in hearing if there is a solution to the bleeding problem.  I thought about soaking them in soda ash and treating them like they were going to be dyed, but then thought that all the other colors would also absorb the turquoise or brown.  All the colors that I dyed were fine and only had a faint residue bleed out into the water. 

I stayed up way too long last night, trying to finish.  I got as far as pressing them and the hems and then went to bed.