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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
In 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.
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.
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.
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.
Weaver, Dyer, Fiber artist. Creating one of a kind Handwoven fashion accessories and items for the home on one of my 2 floor looms. I have been weaving for 40 some years, having learned while in college. The University of Wisconsin Stout offered weaving classes in their Home Economics department started my journey.The beauty of nature provides inspiration for much of my work.