Tag Archives: Hand weaving

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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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.

 

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.

 

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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.

Small Bags

 

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So what do you do with all the small pieces of  handwoven fabric from sampling and weaving off a warp? Small bags with and without a strap are one possibility.

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With pockets

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Beaded

 

 

 

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                                                  Antique button closure

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Simple, but elegant

The possibilities are endless.

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Happy Holidays to all, and may your New Year be filled with many fiber related projects.

 

 

 

 

Obsession

img_0814 Hard to believe this Weave It throw has been in the works for too many years. One of those projects begun before I owned a floor loom, ( 30 some years ago), which seems a life time ago. In moving around my studio this year it required the emptying of the walk-in closet for painting. What should I come across but a bag full of Weave It squares and some skeins of matching yarn. The original goal was to make an Afghan or throw, but there were not enough squares In that bag. I hate unfinished projects langushing away in hidden places. So do I trash them or finish what I had begun years ago. The nice thing about Weave It looms is they are very portable and easy to work on in the evening while sitting by the TV.

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So the obsessive work continued. Enough squares were made for a throw 13 squares by 11 squares. Each square is about 4 x 4 inches. A total of 143 squares, which were then crocheted together and all the ends sewn in.

Do you have unfinished projects tucked away?  Should they be resurrected and brought back to life? More incomplete projects remain in my closet, maybe another will be completed in the coming year.

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.

Natural Dyeing and Handwoven Shibori

by Catherine Ellis

by Catherine Ellis

Catharine Ellis wrote the book,  “Woven  Shibori”. While attending HGA Convergence 2016, I had the privilege of taking a class with her,  Natural Dyeing and Hand Woven Shibori. This was not a hands on class, but a lecture with a wealth of information she generously shared with us.

If you’ve followed my blog there have been several posts on Handwoven Shibori pieces I’ve created.  All my work has used synthetic dyes, At one time Catharine also used synthetic dyes, but today she only works with Natural dyes. The variety of colors She achieves with her techniques is amazing.

My future to do list now includes more Woven Shibori dyed with natural dyes.

 

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.