Category Archives: Weaving

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.

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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.

Scarves

Sunsets and sunrises inspire this scarf. The hand dyed yarn used in the warp was a former convergence purchase, a fiber combination Rayon/Linen, which I had not woven with before. The 8 harness twill floats show off the warp colors. A magenta tencel was used in the weft.

So why weave two scarves alike? The second scarf on the warp I used a olive green Tencel for the weft. Much more subtle. This scarf was also treadled differently, using the same tie-up. When finished the scarves had a nice hand and drape. The Linen gave a sturdier feel than a scarf from all Tencel/Rayon.

Thoughts of spring flowers.

A trip to the garden store, found beautiful daffodils and tulips. I came home with snapdragons, marigolds, and petunias for the flower pots on the deck. Flowers I hoped would last longer as our temperatures fluxuate.

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.

 

 

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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