Category Archives: Handwoven Items

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.

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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 ūüôĀ. 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.

Obstacles

It is difficult to weave these days, that left footprint is much too large for the treadles on the loom. Achilles tendinitis is the main diagnosis. I’m not sure how long I’ll have the boot as an appendage. Weaving isn’t the only activity it has impacted, no more daily walks in the park.

This shawl was woven right before being booted. It has lots of fringe to twist. That’s a good activity to pursue. Then there’s the shawl woven on the same warp with a different color weft with fringe to twist. The weft for the shawl below is “whippel blue”. The shawl above has an “iris” weft. Twisting all that fringe should help keep me out of trouble.

Slow weaving is progressing on a secret project for my guilds annual swatch swap. I’ve found that the 8 treadles are all within reach of my good leg by turning slightly on the bench. Not the most ergonomic process. I don’t want to be labeled a “thrum bag”, so a little weaving will be done over the next days. I’ll write about what I’m weaving after the exchange.

Do your injuries prevent your pursuing your craft or do you find ways to work around them?

Bronson Lace #2

After a botched posting, I’m back to share. Off the loom now is this black, white, and gray, Bronson Lace weave. You can see the center of this towel design. I love lace weaves, this is the first time I’ve woven this design. It began with a pattern found in the Weavers Book of 8 Shaft Weaves: Carol Strickler. A Bronson Lace design on pg. 186 #619. I modified the design found in the book to arrive at this pattern.

The next batch of cottolin towels will use these colors; the deep coral will be for the weft yarn, with a surprise color used in the weft for some of the towels.

The outdoor Amaryllis was in full bloom for Easter. It’s not looking so good now but has one bloom yet to open. What started with 3 bulbs a couple of years ago, has now become six. It maybe time to separate.

Oh no now what

Some days it seems one won’t ever get to the point of weaving beautiful cloth. A simple 8 shaft turned twill makes weaving fairly simple. There’s no need to even use the Tempo Treadle to help with weaving. Just treadle 1-4 two times than 5-8 two times and vala pattern repeat is done. One shuttle to throw so weaving goes quickly.

Weaving did go quickly but a few problems needed fixing first. I discovered when threading that there were not enough heddles on 2 of the shafts. Oh my! I could rethread so the heddles could then be moved around on the shafts. Instead I added string heddles which is a fairly easy fix.

A change in weft colors and varied treadling helped appease the boredom that can set in when weaving multiple towels on a longer warp.

The towels are off the loom and being hemmed. Some will find their way to the CHH gallery at the Guild House in Houston this weekend.

Now to setup the looms for the next projects.

This Amaryllis is blooming on a 24 inch stem. Normally their 10-16 inches tall. The bulbs outdoors are just beginning to send up their buds.

Weaving away winter blahs

The weather has been cold and dreary. The lack of sunshine makes photography very difficult. The above shawl is a 12 shaft advancing twill, woven with 8/2 Tencel. Two colors in the warp and 1 in the weft. I love the movement the pattern creates. After I wove it though I couldn’t decide what side I liked better.

So what do you like better, the brighter side or the side where the purple weft stands out?

The fringe felt like I would never finish twisting; 6 ends per group, 236 groups per shawl. Thank goodness for fringe twisters.

We took a trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. A nice break from the dreary weather. Walking the beach is something I have always loved doing. Very few seashells and those to be had were small. Couldn’t go in the Pacific Ocean here, Riptides. Galveston, is one of the closest beaches to where we live but the water is muddy, not as beautiful as the above beach on the pacific coast.

The trip included shopping and the purchase of this piece. I was attracted to the design and colors. Probably won’t use as a table runner as I assumed it was meant. Instead, it maybe cut up for bright pillows.

Back home I’m wearing sweaters and waiting for spring to plant flowers.

A sunset dinner sailing cruise was a memorable time.

Ringing out the year

The last project of the year, cotton towels is off the loom and waiting for the hemming to be done. The Spring loom is not empty though, a project to be woven in the new year is almost threaded so weaving can begin.

I had given myself permission in 2017 to improve my weaving equipment and I followed my plan. An 8 shaft Spring loom was acquired and I added 4 more harnesses giving me a total of 12 harnesses. I also added a Tempo Treadle to the 12 harness Spring and to my 8 harness Baby Mac. Now I have fewer weaving errors and can weave more complicated patterns.

The towels used 8/2 cotton, sett at 20 epi, I used a 10 dent reed with 2 ends per dent. When weaving this 12 harness shadow weave pattern Some of the towels were treadled differently. So if you compare the 2 pictures the patterns are different. Also I used different weft colors.

No new equipment is on the horizon for the coming year. Instead I will be trying to down size some of my stash and equipment no longer being used.

A Happy Creative New Year to all!

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.

 

 

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.