Category Archives: Travels

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.

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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.

 

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.

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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.

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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.

 

Finishing projects

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This chenille scarf is so soft and cuddly. It has wonderful texture and the black makes the colors pop. I only wish I had enough warp length to make two scarves and not just the one. The left over warp I wove off to make one or 2 small purses, yet to be assembled.

imageThis sewing kit I started in a HGA Convergence 2016 class “Books-Bags-Boxes and Beyond”, and finished at home. The rep fabric was woven by Lucienne Coifman. I added extra decorative stitching and beading for embellishment to personalize the kit.

I spent the past week at my sons home watching his dog while he has been on his honeymoon in Italy. I packed woven fabric and supplies to make purses, and bags for our guild sale in November. I cut out fabric and did partial assembly. Of course I did not bring along some key items needed for final assembly. So that will have to wait for my return home.

Tales From HGA Convergence 2016

 

imageI’m back  from attending HGA Convergence 2016 in Milwaukee, Wi. If you have never attended, it is an experience I highly recommend. From the exhibits, speakers and classes to the vendor hall, so much inspiration. Being able to talk with weavers from all over the nation and world in one place is invaluable. HGA Convergence includes other fiber arts beyond hand weaving: felting, dyeing, spinning and others.

Yarn Purchased at Convergence

The vendor hall had all kinds of equipment, yarn, fiber, books and clothing. This was some of the yarn I purchased from Giovannia Imperia, Interlacements, Lone Star Loom Room, Redfish, Webs and Yarnbarn of Kansas. There were tools big and small. I tried weaving on 6 different looms including three different compu-dobby looms. This is invaluable if possibly buying a new loom in the future.

Tools purchased at Convergence 2016

The shuttle is a Flying Dutchman made by Louet.  It has 2 unique features. A bar that will lift any warp yarns that are lower in the shed, and a guide for the yarn coming off the shuttle. I had never seen one before and actually tried weaving with one in the vendor hall and knew I had to have one. Next, there are two weaving swords the top darker one made by Kessnich Looms and the other by Schacht. The small shuttle I’ll use with my Inckle loom and tablet weaving. It has one edge that is sharp to help beat in the yarn. It also was made by Kessnich looms.

I took 4 classes learning new techniques in all.

Go Big with Color and Weave   Karen Donde

When a Single Harness is not Enough – Double Harness                                         Techniques.   Sara Von Tresckow

An Introduction to Natural Dying and Woven Shibori.   Catharine Ellis

Rep Weave – Books,Bags, Boxes, and Beyond.  Lucienne Coifman

The trick now is to apply some of what I learned.

Love that huck

Light Purple Huck laceI’ve been busy weaving Huck lace scarves. It is one of my favorite weave structures. The first were these lovely purple tencel ones. I modified the draft from one for 12 harnesses to weave on 8 harnesses. But it still creates a nice pattern.Silver grey huck scarf

Being happy with the first 2 scarves, I tied on a new warp. These used a silver-gray tencel for the warp and weft. Later I played with the extra warp making samples for possible later projects. Using different types of yarn for the weft, as well as a different weave structures to create a crimp weave samples too.

When  the metallic quilting thread was used for top of sample in photo 1, it remained soft after washing. This same metallic thread was used in the second sample photo. The crimp process gave a rough hand which would not work for a scarf. The third photo an 8/2 poly was used in weft giving a much nicer hand for this crimp weave sample.

If you’ve read this far I hope you enjoy the sunset at the beach in Cancun, Mexico, taken on a recent vacation.April 2016 557

Spring Has Sprung

Towel warp

Towel warp

Preparations have begun for a new weaving project, handwoven towels with a bright warp. The looms are full.  The Zig zag scarf from the previous post, is a slow weave project on the Baby Mac loom. It needs  frequent stops in weaving to look at the pattern on the backside with a mirror. I’m looking for errors which jump out on the back.  My other loom is waiting for the heddles to be threaded. So the towels will have to wait till a loom is free.

Today we went to Bayou Bend in Houston to see the Gardens.  The gardens wind thru out the grounds and feature azaleas in the spring. There are beautiful water features and statues among the plantings.

 

Bits and pieces

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Began weaving another color way using the same turned twill setup for the previous  coral towels. These are probably my favorite colors to weave with. I just love a bright blue (royal blue).  These will be made with 22/2 cottolin, from my stash. Alas, there is very little of the purple and turquoise remaining after warping.

Doerte Weber I Belong, 2014 Mixed media, structural weaving

Doerte Weber
I Belong, 2014
Mixed media, structural weaving

Attended “Craft Texas 2014” at the Houston Center For Contemporary Craft, on Saturday. This piece saddened but delighted me that an artistic use was found for some thing I use regularly to create art. The artist used two shafts or harnesses from a loom and numerous heddles which would normally hold the individual warp ends on a shaft to create this work of art.

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It’s getting harder and harder to walk at night with the sun beginning to set at 7:15pm  central time here in Texas. I’ll have to come up with a different time / place to walk soon.

Tour the Historic Boott Cotton Mills

Boott Cotton Mills 1920's weave room

Boott Cotton Mills 1920’s weave room

After attending Convergence I spent a few days with my husband traveling. One of the stops was to Lowell, MA. I’ve been fascinated with history as well as textiles most of my life.  Of course a stop at the Lowell National Historical Park was necessary. The park provides  an up close view of textile production in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Trolley Car at Lowell NP

Trolley Car at Lowell NP

First we rode the rails, on a reproduction Trolley car from the visitor center to the Boott Cotton Mills. The walk would have been about 15 mins, but the free ride was  much more fun.  A part of the former mill now houses a working 1920’s weave room, and a museum with interactive exhibits and video programs. DSCN0172 The 1920’s weave room shown at the top, features operating power looms. These are restored  Draper Model E. looms (ca. 1913 ).  When running they create  a racket, so ear plugs are supplied. One can only imagine how noisy it would be with multiple floors of looms all running at the same time.  No wonder so many textile workers became deaf. Some of these looms were weaving dish towel fabric  sold in bulk or as finished towels at the gift shop. These towels could be found in most American homes at one time.  The  towels are being woven  plain or with different stripe colors and number of stripes. I now have 2 of these towels in my home. Reminders of the trip.

Another Draper Loom weaving dish towels

Another Draper Loom weaving dish towels

Sadly the Boott Cotton Mills  closed in 1954. The photo shows a Draper E loom weaving cotton towel fabric at the Bootts Mill.

A Visit to an English country house

Houghton Hall Bed

Close up of needlework on bedstead fabric

Close up of needlework on bedstead fabric

No I haven’t been to England, but the Museum Fine Arts Houston, has an extraordinary exhibit called “Houghton Hall, Portrait of an English Country House”. If you’re a lover of historical textiles, this is an exhibit you should see. Tapestries, rugs, furniture, paintings and some costumes are exhibited  in recreations of several rooms from the hall. Houghton  Hall was built in the early 1700’s by Sir Robert Walpole , the first Prime Minister of Great Britain.  The estate is still in the family.

Houghton Hall Rug

 

 

 

Houghton Hall rug closeup

Houghton Hall rug closeup

The lighting prevented a photo without shadows.The rug appeared to be needlepoint. Oh, if only I could turn back the corner to look at the backside.

Houghton Hall dining roomThe Houghton Hall dining room.
The exhibit has so much more, but my husband wandered off with the camera. To see more of Houghton Hall visit their  website  by clicking on the link  houghtonhall.com