Category Archives: Handwoven towels

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.

IMG_4020

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

 

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.

 

IMG_5516

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

 

 

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.

Linen and Huck

 

img_0820Linen and Huck lace weave go beautifully together. The loom was threaded with a bleached 16/2 linen  in an 8 shaft Huck lace pattern. These two towels and the following gray towel were woven on this warp.

img_0821

The guild annual sale has come and gone. An amazing amount of work goes into putting on this event. It always amazes me how many towels we sell.

img_4984

img_4986

Cotton, linen, and cottolin towels of every weave structure. Inspiration for future projects the sale is full of. Since I weave more than I can use or gift, this is an event I participate in to support my guild. Hopefully it will continue to take place in future years or I will need to find a different outlet for my work.

img_0822

Possibly a swallowtail, it’s definitely larger than the monarchs that visit. Not sure if he was resting, injured or drying his wings.

Changing the tie up and treadling

img_0807Blocks of plain weave alternating with blocks of waffle weave. Magically it could be woven on the same warp as my last blog post, simply by changing the tie-up and treadling. My only regret is I was only able to sample this weave since I had had such fun playing with color.

img_0803

I wove 7 towels using five different color Wefts. One color weft for each  towel above, cayenne, burgundy, pumpkin, elm green, and gold. I’m always amazed with color interactions. Some day I’ll put another warp on the loom to weave more of the waffle weave.Which was #519, page 144, A Weaver’s Book of 8-Shaft Patterns.

These towels will be some of the handwoven items for sale at the guilds upcoming CHH Handweavers Holiday Sale, Nov 17 – 19, 2016. Click on the link to see a post card.

 img_0791

So I’m trying to think fall and cooler weather, even though there’s a high of 85 degree’s  today. This picture wasn’t taken in Houston but in Madison, Wisconsin where we attended a nephews wedding.It helps me remember it’s Fall when it feels like summer.

Fire II

imageOn the loom are more towels that I’ve named Fire II. I used the colors gold, pumpkin and cayenne in the warp and burgundy in the weft. The gold looks lighter in this  photo. The pattern came from A Weavers Book of 8-Shaft Patterns, Edited by Carol Strickler. I consider this book a must have for anyone with an eight shaft or harness loom. This is pattern #520 found on page 144.

image

Next up a pumpkin weft color gave a much different look. Nothing changed in weaving but the weft color. I also plan to weave a couple of towels using a different tie-up and treadling. other  weft colors in some towels.

image

We finally made it to Quintana Beach. First time this year.  It was worth the wait. No seaweed on the beach or masses of people. An added bonus, an abundance of shells to collect.

 

To fold or not to fold

6 harness twill

The first towels of the year. These cotton towels let me play a little with color. Two shades of blue, a soft green and natural colored yarns were used. When the towels are opened:

Plaid twill towel

Large horizontal border stripes are visible. How do you fold towels? Do you fold in half or fold with each side behind the towel and the towel center on view. Does it matter if your pattern is symmetrical or asymmetrical? What if there are warp color or pattern that will only show when the towel is folded in half or not at all.

Grand Rapids, MN

No this is not Texas in March. While visiting my Mother last week in Minnesota we went to see my sister in northern Minnesota. There was snow. Snow to walk through and snow to make into snowballs and throw. Back in Texas it’s warmer and a coat isn’t required.

Change the Color

Jewel on the loomSo I skipped threading the heddles and sleying the reed, by tying on a new warp to the last warp on the loom. From earthy Autumn to Jewel tones the warp has changed. These colors just made me feel happy as I wove. There will be 5 Cottolin (cotton and linen blend yarn) towels.

Jewel False Satin Towels

One of the towels will be for me and the remaining four are for sale in the Gallery at the Contemporary Handweavers of Houston, Guild House . The color in the photo on the loom is better than of the finished towels. Funny how different light sources affect the captured image.

image

This Santa ornament was added to our Christmas tree this year. It was made from a Mill Hill beaded counted cross stitch kit. The kits contain everything one needs to complete the project. The beads add sparkle to the piece. I’ve started stitching a new ornament for next year.  The tree is decorated for Christmas and awaiting packages to be placed beneath.

Weaving inspired by Autumn

Fall False SatinIt’s that time of year again. The temperature cools. The garden stores are selling mums and the trees will begin turning colors. I have often chosen to weave fall colors into my woven pieces. Shades of burgundy, oranges, golds, browns and green yarns are selected. I work off of memories of Fall in Minnesota, since here in Texas most of the trees won’t change for several months.

The weaving above will be towels of cottolin (a cotton linen blend). They are woven as an 8 harness broken twill, also called false satin. A true satin weave requires more than 8 harnesses to weave and so I can not do on my loom.

Every time one of these towels is picked up I will think of going for walks amongst maple trees changing colors and leaves crunching under foot.

Another Bronson Lace

3 shuttle

3 shuttle

These Bronson Lace towels have been on the loom for quite a while. There’s 2 left to weave so I need to get motivated. I’ve woven this pattern before and find that it’s one I come back to weave in different colors. This is an 8 harness weave. The pattern looks different depending on the number of different colors you use in the weft and where the colors are placed in the pattern. Here are some examples:

2 shuttle

2 shuttle

The top photo uses burgundy, black and gray in weft. The photo above uses only burgundy and black in weft. The burgundy looks pinker when crossing the gray. Need to remember this color interaction in the future. The photo below shows another 3 shuttle towel but with more shuttle changes.

3 shuttle

3 shuttle

Weaving a whole towel like this, was a little insane with all the shuttle changes needed to create the pattern. So only one towel will be woven this way. The pattern does work well as a border only.

So I’ll close with a nature shot.

Muscovy ducks at BJ's

Muscovy ducks at BJ’s

These ducks were on the sidewalk outside the restaurant bumming for handouts. They had no fear of humans, not a good thing. A little late in the year for this batch of ducklings.