Tag Archives: handweaving

How time Flies

It’s hard to believe the holidays are right around the corner. Yes I’m still weaving whenever possible. This year I took on another role for the Houston Handweavers as President. Some say being president is an easy role. Yet trying to keep everyone engaged, while trying to help improve the health of the guild can be difficult task. But I decided that the guild was important to me so when no one else stepped up I said yes.

The above weaving uses 8 harnesses and 10 treadles. This advancing twill is an 8/2 twill, sett at 24 epi for a towel. I realized that one weft repeat had been left out throughout the piece. It will still be functional, but looks even better when treadled like this:

The transitions between boxes is much smoother with this one pick added to each repeat. Can you see the difference.

This could be interesting with different colors used in the warp for each box but a solid weft.

The temperature didn’t get low enough to do in these cannas. The Palm tree canopy may have helped to protect them.

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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.

My Convergence 2018

View from Peppermill Hotel room of mountains, just try to ignore the aircondioning units on roof. This was as close as I got to these mountains.

Of the 3 seminars I took my favorite was by Inge Dam; “Borders and Selvages Inspired by Ancient Techniques”. This was not a hands on class, but tables were set-up so she could demonstrate how tablet weaving can be done on edges and within a woven piece. She was very sharing of the knowledge she has attained.

Fashion show garment. Second place in Fashion show.
By Inge Dam

Close-up of tablet weaving done within the fabric.

Collapse Deflected Double weave was another seminar I took. Denise Kovnat shared a wealth of DDW samples and drafts. The collapse occurs by using an active and non-active yarn or a yarn that shrinks and one that doesn’t.

A fun activity was the Fabulous MGM Costumes. A historical look at MGM shows and costumes.

We were able to see many different costumes, including shoes and headgear. Some costumes were more revealing than others. All the crystals were Swarovski, making them heavy as well as expensive. In today’s world these costumes would have been to costly to make.

Convergence was a whirlwind of classes, art exhibits, and special events. The keynote speaker: Jason Collingwood gave a humorous look at his weaving life story. Attendees were very open and sharing. After viewing all that creativity during the conference the question is how will it be applied to my own work.

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 🙁. 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?

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!