My CHT conference 2019

For those that don’t know CHT stands for Contemporary Handweavers of Texas. They hold a Biennial conference, always held the year after HGA’s Convergence conference. My conference was highlighted by being awarded second place for Fashion accessories in the “Members Exhibit”. I’ve been weaving for years so it was nice to receive this special recognition. This piece is difficult to photograph, but this little snippet, is true to the pattern and color. Colors in the piece are dark teal, olive green, and amethyst.

I chose to have my shawl in the fashion show. Here it is walking down the runway. Between the iridescence of the piece, the lighting, and forward motion of the model it was difficult to photograph. Please excuse my photos.

A field trip to Perennials, gave an up close view of how fabric lines, are created today. Perennials creates fabrics for indoors or out, custom rugs and trimmings. It is nice to see this process and that it is occurring in the state of Texas.

I took one hands on class and two lecture classes. This will be a loom stool that is woven with smoked reed and natural reed. I’m not a basketry person so initially this was a bit of a challenge. I’ll have to finish on my own time with the bundles of reed we were given.

Conferences provide the chance to interact with other weavers, expand our horizons, and walk away with the knowledge that our Craft is strong.

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On the Loom Huck Lace and more

It’s been a while since I’ve woven any Huck Lace. A new to me pattern this one is from “Weavers Best Huck Lace.” This pattern is by Dini Cameron, page 17. Huck Lace shows up best when a solid color is used in both the warp and weft. This is a scarf of 8/2 Lyocell (Tencel), sett at 20 epi. There are 3 motifs across the scarf.

Our last Guild meeting of the year was Hands on “Finishing Techniques – Tips and Tricks. There were five stations, Wet finishing, Rolled hems, Photographing work – Light box, twisted fringe, and Inkle bands.

I demonstrated twisted fringe and adding beads. When I add beads I often use a needle threader to make it easier and faster to add the beads to a warp end. A member had a good handweaving hack ” use type of dental floss used if you have a bridge or braces instead of needle threader.

This month there was a trip to Minneapolis, Minnesota to visit my mother. Since I grew up in the area we visited many of my past haunts. But alas I had to leave and came back to upper 80-90 degree days where winter coats are not required.

Minnehaha Falls

Come Park Conservatory, Mn

Learning Tapestry

This past weekend I took my 2nd tapestry class Held at the CHH Guild House.We spent a day learning different types of joins: Dovetail, slits, sewing up slits, and interlock joins. The 2nd day was learning about Eccentric weaving.

Closeup of an example of Eccentric weave by Theresa Coucher

Eccentric weave seems more spontaneous or free form since the weft can travel at a diagonal angle rather than perpendicular to the warp. I’ll be experimenting on this piece more with this technique. The above piece is what I wove in class. So tapestry is not fast weaving. There were several more experienced tapestry weavers in the class in addition to the teacher. It was wonderful that they were all so willing to share tips and tricks. We discussed pros and cons of weaving from the front vs back, setts, yarn types and sources to name a few things. So we’ll see where all my new knowledge takes me.

My 3rd tapestry and the first I designed. I worked off of a cartoon, a rough drawing placed behind the warp to guide one in weaving. After my beginning Tapestry class it was suggested that I do some Hachure and a circle. Hachure is a tapestry technique where 2 different colors alternate. Not a perfect circle but not bad for a first try. So I was prepared for my next class.

We’re in Bloom!

Off and Running

The new year has begun with new opportunities for artistic expression. My looms are warped and ready for the shuttles to be thrown, with the yarns to be beat in place, growing the new fabric.

A 12 shaft twill, fabric for more towels. Unmercerized cotton is used since it is has greater absorbency than mercerized cotton.

The colors in the second photo are truer. There was more natural light coming in the windows when it was taken.

The treadling is changed in this piece, giving us a different graphic design. There is not a true plain weave with this threading. Not having a true plain weave will create a better towel since plain weave does not shrink as much as the twill with wet finishing. This will give hems that should not flair out.

We’re getting more rain tonight as I write. it is not supposed to amount to much which is good. We do not need more flooding since some of the rivers are high from waters being released upstream.

There still are occasional blossoms on the roses to brighten the days.

Weaving a Merry Christmas! 🎄

Hard to believe Christmas is almost here. I’ve been caught up in decorating, the buying of the perfect gifts, wrapping, baking and holiday gatherings.

I haven’t found much time to weave. This was woven on my new 8 harness, Jane table loom, with Tempo Treadle.

I had fun playing with different weft yarns. And found the metallic really set off the pattern. yet one of the textured yarns just hid the pattern.

In our house Christmas isn’t Christmas without those special cookies. Peanut butter blossoms, Russian tea cakes, Chocolate Crinkles, Spritz, Sandbakkel cookies and maybe something else if inspiration hits me.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

How time Flies

It’s hard to believe the holidays are right around the corner. Yes I’m still weaving whenever possible. This year I took on another role for the Houston Handweavers as President. Some say being president is an easy role. Yet trying to keep everyone engaged, while trying to help improve the health of the guild can be difficult task. But I decided that the guild was important to me so when no one else stepped up I said yes.

The above weaving uses 8 harnesses and 10 treadles. This advancing twill is an 8/2 twill, sett at 24 epi for a towel. I realized that one weft repeat had been left out throughout the piece. It will still be functional, but looks even better when treadled like this:

The transitions between boxes is much smoother with this one pick added to each repeat. Can you see the difference.

This could be interesting with different colors used in the warp for each box but a solid weft.

The temperature didn’t get low enough to do in these cannas. The Palm tree canopy may have helped to protect them.

Scrap Happy Towels

The idea for these twill block towels came from blogs written by other weavers earlier this year. It seemed there was a trend to see what one could do with the leftover yarns and/or fabrics used in ones craft.

It always seems a shame to throw away good yarn that remains on a bobbin when a project is finished. Also there are those cones with just a wee bit of yarn left. Some these have been lingering in a basket and small box for quite a few years.

So I decided to create a warp using these ends of 8/2 unmercerized cotton. There may also be some cottolin yarns, since for a time I never identified the leftover yarns. A bit of a yarn hoarder I am, since you never know what one might need the leftover yarns for. I measured a 5 yard warp randomly placing colors. With all the different yarns, winding was a bit tedious. The weft I used was a 8/2 Stone color, from a new spool of Brassards cotton yarn.

8 shaft, 12 treadle twill blocks were used to create the pattern. I changed up the block pattern in some of the towels as you can see above. So Towels were made from those left overs. Waste not want not.

My Convergence 2018

View from Peppermill Hotel room of mountains, just try to ignore the aircondioning units on roof. This was as close as I got to these mountains.

Of the 3 seminars I took my favorite was by Inge Dam; “Borders and Selvages Inspired by Ancient Techniques”. This was not a hands on class, but tables were set-up so she could demonstrate how tablet weaving can be done on edges and within a woven piece. She was very sharing of the knowledge she has attained.

Fashion show garment. Second place in Fashion show.
By Inge Dam

Close-up of tablet weaving done within the fabric.

Collapse Deflected Double weave was another seminar I took. Denise Kovnat shared a wealth of DDW samples and drafts. The collapse occurs by using an active and non-active yarn or a yarn that shrinks and one that doesn’t.

A fun activity was the Fabulous MGM Costumes. A historical look at MGM shows and costumes.

We were able to see many different costumes, including shoes and headgear. Some costumes were more revealing than others. All the crystals were Swarovski, making them heavy as well as expensive. In today’s world these costumes would have been to costly to make.

Convergence was a whirlwind of classes, art exhibits, and special events. The keynote speaker: Jason Collingwood gave a humorous look at his weaving life story. Attendees were very open and sharing. After viewing all that creativity during the conference the question is how will it be applied to my own work.

Towels from the Stash

The yarn stash, has been taking over my house. Well at least the bedroom designated as my studio. If I walk into a yarn store I will surely walk out with at least one cone of yarn or a couple of skeins. This will happen even with no project in mind. The yarn just needs to be pretty or a color that may be missing in the stash. The warp yarn for the above towel was purchased many years ago at Fine Line Creative Arts Center, in St. Charles, Illinois. It is a variegated flake yarn that was a millend. Even at that time variegated cotton yarns were difficult to find. So of course it came home in the suitcase, with another cone of different colors and grist to take their places upon the shelves of cotton yarns.

Every year I’ll weave a set of towels that are inspired by fall foliage. So the cotton variegated, flake cone was used as the warp yarn. ( It created a large amount of lint when weaving. Vacuuming of the space was definitely required on completion of weaving 🙁. I used different colors of 8/2 cotton for the weft. The twill weave is difficult to see the pattern due to the variegated colors. The pattern did give a nice texture.

In my last blog, Snowflakes in Summer, a reader requested the drawdown for the snowflake design so here it is:

So now the Spring loom is empty. I had measured a warp, when My foot kept me from weaving, from all those bobbin, and spool ends collected for many years. (“Waste not want not”, I guess this is a clue to how I was brought up). So the new towel warp is awaiting threading on the loom.

I’ve returned from HGA’s 2018 Convergence Fiber Arts Conference in Reno, Nevada. The telling of my experiences will have to wait for the next post.

The iridescence of this dragonfly is amazing. They also help to rid us of all those pesky mosquitoes.

Snowflakes in Summer

Each year the the Contemporary Handweavers of Houston have a Swatch Swap that any member can join for a nominal fee. At the end of the previous year members pick the subject matter with this year’s subject being “Seasons”. Participants can interpret this as they wish.

This is the weaving I needed to finish when I found myself in the boot for Achilles tendinitis. So I wove this 8 shaft, 8 treadle, twill, one footed.

The warp is a baby blue, 10/2 Mercerized cotton, sett at 30 epi. For the weft I used a double shuttle with with one shuttle white 10/2 unmercerized cotton, and the second shuttle a translucent white metallic yarn. The finished fabric has a nice sparkle from the metallic yarn and will be made into table runners. The actual fabric is a prettier blue than what I was able to photograph.

I chose winter for my season. Living in Houston I miss snow. I especially miss it after the endless days of heat and humidity. I grew up with snow in Minneasota and still find it magical. Of course I don’t miss the subzero temperatures or the dirty gray snow piled along the roadways, but fluffy snow coating tree branches, and the ground will always bring fond memories of bygone days.

I am out of the boot. The foot still is not 100%, so on trips I throw the boot into the suitcase just in case.

I will be attending the Hand Weavers Guild of America Convergence conference in Reno, Nevada later this week and hope to see some of you there.

The Iris is from my mother-in laws garden, in Superior,Wisconsin.