Autumn colors

IMG_6265Every autumn I weave a set of towels in colors of changing trees. There’s not much inspiration here, but my eye can take me back to the years spent in Minnesota.

The towels are a twelve shaft shadow weave, of 22/2 cottolin sett at 20 ends per inch. I used any where from 3 to 5 colors in their weaving. 3 colors in warp, The weft colors were changed as cones were used up to avoid adding to the stash.

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The box above is the 4 shaft extension kit for the Spring loom. Not what I expected for all that money. Anyways it arrived a few days before Hurricane Harvey so was not assembled for several weeks. A few choice words were spoken during assembly.  ( Have you ever assembled IKEA pieces?) My recommendation is if you think you want 12 harnesses invest up front and purchase a 12 shaft loom.

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This bundle of joy arrived a month ago to my Son and Daughter-in-law. We are lucky to live 5 hours away, making it easier to visit my first grandchild.

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A Baby blanket was woven and gifted.

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I’m finishing items for the CHH Annual Sale. So if your in the neighborhood visit and support the Fiber artists participating as well as the Contemporary Handweavers of Houston guild.

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Signs of the coming winter with the Blue Heron returning to the community lake.

 

 

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What I’ve been upto

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Hurricane Harvey and it’s aftermath have caused a slow down or halt to any weaving the past 2 weeks. I’m lucky our house was not flooded. We were in a mandatory evacuation zone. After attempting to get out of town but finding roads blocked by rising waters. (A very scary situation) the  night was spent in a hotel parking lot. The next day we were able to drive to a hotel in another area. This was our home the next 5 days. Before leaving our home we tried to move what furniture we could to the 2nd floor. Furniture too heavy or big, stayed down. Two of the looms were on the first level. One was placed on top of the dining room table that was on blocks, and the second on wood blocks.

The above scarves were completed before all this drama. It is my first attempt at Echo and Iris.

 

It’s hard to believe there are 2 colors of 20/2 mercerized cotton in the warp that alternate. And 2 different colors in the warp that alternate. The color blending that occurs creates totally different colors. The different colors in each scarf are from changing the weft colors used.

So yesterday I spent some time weaving. I’m amazed at how calming I found that time. My thoughts and prays are with those who have suffered from the storm.

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Innovations in Weaving – Tempo Treadle

IMG_0903In March of this year I decided to buy a Tempo Treadle  from Lofty Fiber  to create error free weaving on my Baby Macomber loom. So what is Tempo Treadle ? It involves adding  magnets to your treadles, (attached with velcro), that are detected during weaving by a sensor array strip placed below the treadles. The array strip is connected via a ribbon cable to a “System Unit” or small computer with display that sits on the castle.

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So what does the System Unit do? WIF files containing the weaving design are uploaded to the system unit, which also contains the system software which is customized for your loom type and model. The unit can be used to track threading also showing warp thread colors and progress. If you stop before completing your progress your place will be saved. It will list harnesses that should be tied to treadles. Allowing double checking for tie-up errors. Tracking weaving and detecting errors is my motivator to purchase.

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When I chose  to weave more complicated weaving, often it resulted in undetected errors or ones that required a lot of unweaving. I was beginning to wonder if it was still rewarding to weave. The Tempo Treadle has brought joy back to my weaving. It beeps when the correct treadle has been depressed and  released during weaving.  A different sounding beep is heard when the wrong harness has been depressed and released. These sounds can be adjusted or turned off. It will save my position when stepping away or turning the unit off. It allows me to now weave a long complicated treadling. The above picture of a woven Bateman Blend fabric has a treadling repeat of 104, including the tabbies.

Currently it  is not available for all types of looms. The sensor array is loom specific, but the System Unit which is purchased separately from the array can be used on any loom that  has a Sensor Array on it.
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When  I started this journey with Dawne and Barry from Lofty Fiber a Sensor Array had not been designed specifically for the Baby Mac. They had me make many measurements to determine placement of the sensors and Sensor Array strip to customize for the Baby Mac. The loom needed to be placed on raised legs to create space for the array under the treadles? This is only done for some loom types. The array is bracketed to the side supports so it does move. The only draw back with this arrangement is that to move the loom requires removing the Sensor Array and brackets and legs. There are many additional features to the Tempo Treadle I have not discussed that ease the weaving process, click on TempoTreadle.com to learn more.

Now to get the other 4 harnesses that I have on order for my Spring loom,  then a Sensor Array can be added to it for error free, stress free weaving too.

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Catching up

IMG_4290How time flies. A weaving state conference, an out of state wedding attended, and recovering from a virus, all in the last 3 weeks.

The Houston weaving guild hosted, the Contemporary Handweavers of Texas Biennial conference 2017, in Sugarland, Texas. I was an attendee and volunteer, helping with the fashion show. As one of the behind the scenes people, I helped  with the preparations, judging and models, to pull off this event. A sigh of relief when at the end of the conference all the garments were picked up by their owners and my duties were done.

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This shawl was my entry in the members exhibit, and modeled in the fashion show. You may remember it from my previous post “All that Glitters“. It was very difficult to photograph. The metallic threads play with the light. I finished the shawl with hemstiching, twisted fringe and gold beads.

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My first class was Exploring  Scandinavian Art Weave, taught by Inga Marie Carmel.  I really enjoyed this class. In my first sampler my bird has issues due to adding to many weft repeats within a block. The second sampler at the top of the post looks much better. This is slow weaving, but I believe you’ll see more in my future.

 

The second day a class by Anastasia Azure, “Woven Metal Jewelry”, filled the day.  Never having taken a jewelry class I found this a bit challenging. On the final day I filled my morning with a Kumihimo class with Rosalie Nielson. An interesting lecture followed by a small hands-on project.

The following weekend my nephew Max & Kelly were married in Madison, Wi. The morning of we explored and found the National Mustard Museum in Middleton, Wi. It was quite interesting, even if you don’t slather mustard on everything you eat.

Sunday on our way back to Milwaukee we stopped and toured an estate known as “Ten Chimneys” in Genesee Depot, WI.  It was the home of Lynn Fontanne and Alfred Lunt who were Broadway legends.

The evening was topped off with a fantastic German dinner at Mader’s Restaurant, in Milwaukee.

First project

IMG_5674After a trip to Aruba I finished setting up the Spring loom to begin weaving.  It required learning new skills to get this far. Yes, I’ve been weaving for over 30 years but there are always new things one can learn about ways to use equipment.

Back to front, Front to back, how do you put on your warp. I had been warping from the front for over 30 years. It started when I was using mixed warps. Then I just got comfortable with doing it that way. So with the Spring I forced myself to learn once again how to warp from the “Back”.  The raddle with all the small divisions on the Spring seemed tedious, but that warp sure wound on nice. Threading texsolve heddles is quite different than metal heddles. After threading almost 500 Heddles I seemed to find a way to hold them to make threading more efficient.

Monday I sat down to weave. Of course 3 threading errors had to be fixed before continuing. My first 3 weft throws were good. Then I depressed the  4th treadle, or so I tried. I could not get a shed. I was  perplexed. Everything appeared fine. What had I done. The loom is tied up like a countermarche loom. Every heddle gets tied to a treadle whether used or not. Here in lay the problem. That particular harness had been tied to both a rising and sinking Lamm. A harness should only be tied to one or the other. Problem found and solved.

My first warp on the loom is for these cheerful towels. The warp and weft are both 8/2 cotton threaded 24 ends per inch.  An 8 harness overshot. By the time the warp is woven off I should be much more familiar with my new friend.IMG_4065

The view from our room in Aruba. The hotels were all along the beaches on this side of the island.

On the other side of the island the beaches are covered with dead coral. The water here is much rougher.  The second picture is a large volcanic rock.

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The sunset made for a beautiful evening dinner. The next two nights were cloudy, so this was our best sunset.

 

Look what I got

IMG_5499This is a new to me 8 harness Spring loom. I had been pondering for a year getting a new loom that would treadle easier than my current Kessenich 8 harness jack loom. But if I was going to get a new loom I wanted to have more harnesses and greater design capability.   At Convergence I explored AVL and Louet looms. I sat down and wove on their different models, both computerized and not. A computerized loom was not in my budget, so they were eliminated. I narrowed my search to a Louet Spring loom or a AVL Home loom.

On my birthday this year I gave myself permission to get a new loom.

Thanks to Ravelry where someone had listed in the Warped Weavers Marketplace group  “find of the day” a Craig’s listing for a used Spring loom in San Antonio. I had persued 2 other used  looms, but neither had worked out. After making contact with the seller I drove 3 1/2 hours to San Antonio the next day to see the loom. It was an older 8 Harness Spring loom a little dirty but in good shape otherwise. It came with various shuttles, an Ashford bench, a couple of books and some other items I won’t keep. It would not fit in my Ford Escape, which I knew when I went.  The following weekend we borrowed our neighbors Suburban and picked up the loom.

My husband helped reassemble the loom. The front and back beams needed to be removed to get it out of the previous owners home. The wood simply required a wipe down. The texsolve Heddles and tie- ups all got washed, now being sparkling white. Removing, washing and restringing the 800 heddles with the loom is something I don’t want to repeat.

My goal is to weave on the loom to get used to it, then add another 4 harnesses. I also would like to add a Temple Treadle to the loom. More about Tempo Treadle in my next post.

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This  fella I saw on my morning walk. It’s hard to get close enough to get a picture before they’re spooked and fly off.

 

Borders

 

 

IMG_5488A horizontal band or accent along or near the edge used to highlight a design is one definition of border.  When I design towels adding a border creates visual interest. The shadow weave towels just off the loom have borders at the bottom edge of the towel. More details about these towels can be found in a previous post In the Shadows.

The middle towel above does not have a border added.

For these shadow weave towels, the border is simply plain weave. The alternating colors create the horizontal and vertical pattern due to the threading of the warp. This border is a simple “color and weave” pattern. The towels border that has 2 bands of pattern is a plain weave, color and weave pattern known as log cabin.

Now that your all confused which towel do you prefer, no border, a border with a single band or block of accent, or the border with 2 blocks (the log cabin design)?

These towels can be found in the Contemporary Handweavers of Houston – Guild House Gallery in  mid May.

 

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I’m transitioning to summer blooms geraniums, marigolds and zinnias. The summer heat is almost upon us.

 

 

Wholly Lace

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Barbara E.    Huck Lace

“Wholly Lace”, was the theme for this years swatch exchange. Each year the Contemporary Handweavers of Houston have a swatch exchange. The subject varies from year to year. Themes tend to be structure based like this years or artistic. Swatch Swap has taken place since 1990. Twenty Seven years and this was only my second time to participate.

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Rosemary  – Swarthmore Lace

Samples of Bronson, Canvas, Huck, Spot Bronson, Swarthmore and Swedish lace are in our finished books.  Nine of us created a Huck lace variation.

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Linda’s    Bronson Lace

Next year’s Swatch Swap theme will be “Seasonal Inspiration”.  What combination of colors, fibers, structure and design will you choose to create your interpretation of the theme?

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Theresa – Canvas weave

 

In the Shadows

IMG_5379It is so nice to be able to weave again. The work is completed on the house, (sigh of relief). I have almost finished washing all the crystal and china to put back into the cabinets. It makes me wonder why I collect depression glass.

On the loom is an 8 harness shadow weave. They will be towels when completed. The 8/2 cotton is from Webs in a black and light gray. The colors alternate in the warp and weft, except at pattern block transitions where 2 shots of black are used. Keeps me on my toes. I really like the business of the pattern.

I was surprised at the size of this bubble bee collecting pollen from the snap dragons in pots on the deck. With temps the last few days in the upper 80’s those snapdragons are beginning to fade . Soon some summer annuals will be planted to replace.

Not Weaving

 

It’s hard to weave when your loom is folded up. The loom is waiting to be moved out of the room while the carpet padding is replaced. Then the existing carpet will be re-laid and cleaned. It has been a very unproductive time.

In desperation I dusted off the inkle loom and warped it. It had been a while so the 1st attempt at warping I cut off and threw away. It felt good to do something with my hands, while the construction people are in the house. About 1 1/2 yards of 1/2 inch wide trim this made. The trim is really too wide for loops on towels.

So I put a longer warp on the inkle and am weaving a narrow trim 5/16 inches wide. This should work on future towels. when finished there will be 2 1/2 yds, maybe a little more.

My large loom is open and back to its designated place. A Shadow weave towel warp is being threaded. The best part is our reconstruction is almost complete.