Monday, September 28, 2015

Towel exchange

I joined a Towel Exchange this summer that I found through a weaving group on Facebook.  I joined primarily cause I had such a great expereience with our Weaving Guild's napkin exchange.  This exchange had very few requirements, other than getting the towels completed by the end of August.  We used the three photos above for color inspiration, and each of the participants could pick one of the three as the basis for selecting yarn.

I sent off 4 towels and received these four gorgeous towels back from members of the group, with 4 very different structures" Bumbaret, Ms & Ws, Summer and Winter and Shadow Weave blocks.  I received towels from, British Columbia, Indiana, Florida and Michigan.

I wove towels in Turned Twill, using purple, pink and orange in the warp and weft colors of navy, green or light blue.  I made 6 towels on this warp, so was able to keep 2 towels.

Date Finished August 2015
Loom  Baby Wolf
Weave Structure  Turned Twill
Reed 10, 23 epi
Warp     Fiber cotton
              Count 8/2
              Color purple, pink yellow
              Mfr UKI
              Source  Georgia Cotton
Warp     Width in Reed  20
              Ends  444
              Length  6 yds
Weft      Fiber  cotton
              Count 9/2 and 10/2
              Color navy, green, light blue
Beat                       50/50                     


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Overshot Scarves

Two weavers working in the 1950's, Josephine Estes and Bertha Gray Hayes, have studied and designed miniature overshot patterns.  Traditional overshot designs often have pattern repeats that are 200 to 400 ends.  These designs make wonderful coverlets, blankets and throws, but they are not suitable for smaller and narrower woven cloth like scarves and towels.  Josephine and Bertha's drafts are designed with repeats of 20-50 ends.  Weaving Designs by Bertha Gray Hayes was published in 2009 and Josephine Estes drafts are available at the University of Arizona weaving site here.  I picked up a skein of Autumn Rainbow Mini Mochi recently and wanted to make a scarf using the Mini Mochi as the pattern yarn, which would showcase the slow color changes of the yarn.  The draft is Josephine Estes' Rings and Crosses.

Date Finished  January 2015
Loom  Baby Wolf
Weave Structure  Overshot - Rings and Crosses
Reed  12, 18 epi
Warp     Fiber  Tencel
              Count  8/2
              Color Turquoise
              Mfr  Valley
              Source  WEBS
Warp     Width in Reed  7"
              Ends  130
              Length  6 yds
Scarf One Weft      Fiber  wool and nylon
              Count  Mini Mochi
              Color  Autumn Rainbow
              Mfr  Crystal Palace
              Source  Paradise Fibers

Scarf  Two Weft      Fiber  cotton
              Count  5/2
              Color  White
              Mfr  Valley
              Source  WEBS

Sunday, October 19, 2014

BOUNDWEAVE with Tom Knisely

 I recently completed a 3 day workshop with Tom Knisely on Boundweave.  It was a great workshop, primarily because Tom is such an entertaining teacher and also because I will definitely weave a rug or two using the techniques learned during the workshop.

For the class, we each brought our own loom to the Folk Art Center, warped with doubled carpet warp at 6 working epi in a rosepath threading.  We used either rug wool or mop cotton yarns for the weft in a variety of treadling sequences.  I ended up with a sample piece that is about 70 inches long and thick and sturdy enough for a rug using rug wool as weft.  The weft yarns were mill ends from R & M Yarns in Tennessee and some beautiful wool yarns picked up during my recent trip to New Mexico at Tapetes de Lana.

Exercise 1, shown in the top photo in cream and camel, is a two color treadling woven on opposites.

Exercise 2, 3 color with the treadling reversed to create "eyeballs".
Exercise 3, with 4 colors, resulting in a flame stctch look.  

Exercise 4 with 3 colors
Exercise 5 with 4 colors and the treadling reversed to create diamonds
Exercise 6, 2 colors

Placemats to Match

My weaving guild, the Western North Carolina Fiber/Handweavers Guild, had a napkin exchange this summer.  The finished napkins will be exchanged at our Guild meeting in November.  Since I am weaving napkins, I decided to weave matching placemats using the same color, Mediterranean Blue.  The placemats are woven using a huck boxes pattern.  For some reason the placement of the boxes is not centered on the placemat.  Next time, I will change the threading to provide more symmetry in the design.

The placemats are woven with a thick 3/2 cotton set at 12 epi, so they weave up very fast.  I ended up with 10 placemats and I will have 10 napkins (7 from the guild exchange and 3 extras that I finished).  I have woven these placemats before in Amber Gold and I plan to weave up some napkins to match. However, I recently tried to re-order the yarn from WEBS, and that color is not available in 8/2 cotton, so I will need to weave with the finer 10/2 cotton.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Napkin Exchange

The Western North Carolina Handweavers/Fiber Guild is hosting a napkin exchange.  There are three groups of eight weavers participating, with our finished napkins completed by November.  Each weaver selects a draft or pattern and a color for their napkins and then distributes 325 yds of yarn for weft to the other seven members in the group.  I have picked a medium blue with a little turquoise in it called Mediterranean Blue.

All of us will warp our loom with natural 8/2 cotton and thread it based on the pattern we have selected. I will weave up the yarn from each of my group members and return to them finished napkins.  At the end of the exchange in November, I will have eight napkins woven in Mediterranean Blue and natural, in eight different patterns. The napkins should be about 18" square when finished, so they need to be 20" wide on the loom with a woven length of 22" to allow for hemming.

The first challenge was measuring out eight packets of yarn, 325 yards long into a ball.  I don't have a ball winder so I borrowed one from my knitting friend Liz.  I also don't have a yardage counter, so I needed to improvise.  We have a very old skein winder that has been in Gary's family for generations.  I counted out the needed revolutions for each ball on the skein winder and then wound it into individual balls on the ball winder.

The next challenge was selecting a draft that would be interesting yet relatively easy to follow the treadling sequence.  Making eight napkins requires 7 yards of finished cloth.  I had enough warp on the loom when I finished the 7 napkins for the other members of my group to make three napkins for myself in 3 different patterns on the same threading.

Date Finished  Septermber 2014
Loom  Baby Wolf
Weave Structure  twill
Reed   12, 23 epi
Warp     Fiber   cotton
              Count  8/2
              Color  natural
              Mfr  Valley
              Source   WEBS
Warp     Width in Reed  20 inch
              Ends  460
              Length  7 yds
Weft      Fiber  cotton
              Count  8/2
              Color  Mediterranean Blue
              Mfr  Valley
              Source  WEBS
Beat                       50/50                     

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

New Mexico Fiber Trail

New Mexico has been the home of generations of weavers and spinners, working to make blankets and rugs from homespun wool.  The state tourism office has identified handcrafters throughout the state and put together three separate Fiber Arts Trails, some of the sites follow the traditional methods and some produce more contemporary crafts.  I had a work trip planned for Santa Fe last month and flew in a day early to visit old friends and find a few of the sites on the Trail.

I flew into Albuquerque on Sunday and the first stop was Las Vegas, New Mexico.  My friends lived about twenty miles north of Las Vegas and there was a weaving shop listed in the Trail Guide in Las Vegas.  However, the guide was out of date and this shop was no longer a weaving studio, but instead a coffee shop that had a single loom and was also closed on Sunday.

However, the shop was located in the Las Vegas' Historic Plaza.  I walked around the plaza which had wonderful historic buildings facing the square, including the Plaza Hotel.  I learned later that the Longmire TV series is frequently filmed on the Plaza and the filming of the sheriff's office is in the second floor of one of the buildings on the Plaza.  Next stop, Canoncito de las Manuelitas.

Monday morning I headed out to see a few more spots on the Trail, first stop Mora, NM and the Tapetes de Lana spinning mill and retail shop in Mora.  Tapetes is a nonprofit in the area established to help folks in this very poor, very rural area with employment at their small spinning mill and through selling handwoven rugs and blankets in the store in Mora.  The wool comes from churro sheep, a breed that has been raised in this area for generations.  In Mora, I purchased 3 skeins of wool for a rug workshop I will be taking in a few weeks. The other great thing about Tapetes is they also have a coffee bar, so I could refuel for the trip over the mountain to Chimayo.

Next stop on the Trail was Chimayo, to visit Ortega's Weaving Shop.  This store and studio has been in business for over 100 years, weaving blankets, rugs and producing cloth that for vests and coats.

My last stop before heading to Santa Fe and the start of my meeting was in Espanola.  Espanola is known as the heroin capital of New Mexico, not a place that would likely house a very large weaving nonprofit.  The Espanola Valley Fiber Arts Center is located in an old retail store building and full of looms, yarn, a dyeing kitchen.  I would love to live close to this center, because it looks like the facility is frequently filled with weavers.  I purchased 4-5 pounds of Pendleton blanket selvages at EVFAC for making rag rugs.  I could buy these from Pendleton directly but I was able to pick colors and get the right amount for a rug and I didn't have to meet Pendleton's 30 pound minimum order.  I liked them so much I drove the 30 miles back to the Center at the end of the week to buy another 5 pounds in a different colorway.

Tom Knisely Boundweave Workshop

My weaving guild, Western North Carolina Fiber/Handweavers Guild (WNCFHG), is having a 3 day workshop next week in Asheville.  The instructor is Tom Knisely, teaching us techniques in Boundweave.  Tom was chosen Weaving Teacher of the Year by the readers of Handwoven magazine a few years ago.  He is the author of several books and videos and is a frequent contributor to Handwoven.  I am excited about the session and looking forward to learning new tools that will help with rug weaving.

I weave primarily with cottons, and plant based synthetics like tencel and bamboo, but we will be using a heavy weight wool yarn (800-1000 yds/lb.) for the weft for the workshop.  I didn't have any wool yarn so that required adding more yarn to my stash.  I ordered some from R & M Yarns in Tennessee, mostly in neutrals and browns.  To liven things up a bit, I found a few more colors in New Mexico last week along the New Mexico Fiber Trail.