Saturday, May 24, 2014

More Handmade Weaving Tools

Weaver's can't resist the lure of new yarn, no matter how much yarn we have in our stash, it's never enough.  What we have may not be the right color, the right size, or have the right qualities for the project in mind.  Sometimes it's the fact that it is on sale, even though we don't have a clue what we will do with it.  My yarn stash had expanded to the point it was falling off the shelves and I needed a new system.  A yarn tree seemed to be a good solution.

At the same time, I was offered a couple of spinner racks from my dear friends at the local independent bookstore. They were replacing racks and were going to throw out these racks, one was an old card rack and the other held T-shirts.  The T-shirt rack already had oval slots on the sides and all that we needed to do was add 6" metal pegboard hooks to hold the cones.  The yarn tree holds 90 cones, and it's already full.

The other spinner rack was built on a base with great casters and a smooth spinning action, perfect to turn into a warping mill.  We removed the plastic slides that held the cards from the base.  DH set to work and put together this mill, it has a 2 yard circumference and has adjustable sliding pegs on 3 sides, which should give maximum flexibility in measuring out warps.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Crackle Weave Workshop

Teena Tuenge of Western North Carolina Fiber/Handweavers Guild recently taught a weekend workshop on crackle weave.  The workshop was a fundraiser for the Blue Ridge Fiber Show which will be held in the fall of 2014 at the WNC Arboretum.  The workshop was attended by about 20 participants in the auditorium of the Folk Art Center. This was a workshop where we all warped our looms in advance and then spent two days playing with weave structure, treadling, and color sampling.  Teena provided us with treadling and tie up instructions for about 20 different weave structures, all using the same crackle threading.

By the end of Sunday, I had woven over twenty different samples using the crackle threading, mostly crackle tie-up but a wide variety of treadlings.  Granted most of the samples were only a few inches long, but enough to tell how the different treadling affects the final cloth.  The crackle notebook that I created with the samples and treadling instructions, finally inspired me to wet finish the samples and finish the notebook for a class I took a year ago at Arrowmont on Turned Beiderwand.

After weaving the samples, I wove off the balance of the warp in the classic crackle treadling and created a lovely piece of cloth, 8" by 30 inches.  Once again, I am not sure what the future life of the is will be - a tablet cover, a small purse, or will it stay in place as an unfinished table runner.

Date Finished  March, 2014
Loom        Baby Wolf
Weave Structure  Crackle threading, many                                           treadlings
Reed  12, 24 epi
Warp     Fiber   Cotton
              Count    10/2
              Color    Pistachio, Avocado, Quarry and                              Yellow
              Mfr  Uki
              Source  Georgia Yarn Co and Yarn Barn
Warp     Width in Reed  9 in
              Ends 222
              Length  4 yards
Weft      Fiber  same
Beat       Weft Faced    

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

John C. Campbell Folk School 2014

Pat weaves kitchen towels in Swedish Weaves with Joanne Hall & Christie Rogers | Scandinavian Heritage Week at the John C. Campbell Folk School -

I absolutely love spending time at John C. Campbell Folk School.  Last month, Gary and I spent a week there immersing ourselves in all things handmade.  I took a weaving class with Joann Hall and Gary took a class in woodturning, making bark edged bowls.  The theme of the week was Scandinavian Heritage Week, so Swedish weaving was the topic for my week.  The class marketing materials described a class with a variety of projects, using fine threads and warping techniques.  However, the class project was learning a technique called Swedish Art Weaving, which is similar to tapestry weaving.  The class would be weaving a sampler during the week that looked something like the photo below.  The sampler uses a linen weft and 3 strands of wool for the pattern weft.  It is woven from the back, so you need a mirror to see the pattern as it emerges.

Most weaving workshops have at least one student who is "difficult".  Sometimes, it is an intermediate class and someone shows up who has never woven before.  Other times, it is a student that monopolizes the instructor's time, leaving the rest of the class floundering.  I was the difficult student during the week, not because I made demands on the instructor, but just because I was off doing my own thing throughout the week.  I warped the loom for the class project and then decided, I really didn't want to spend the week, weaving something that I didn't like and using a technique that I likely wouldn't use again.  So instead, I toddled off to another loom, picked a pattern and wove some towels.   No new techniques learned, but it was enjoyable to spend the week, planning a project, selecting yarns, throwing the shuttle and not thinking about anything beyond the walls of the Folk School.
Swedish Weaves with Joanne Hall & Christie Rogers | Scandinavian Heritage Week at the John C. Campbell Folk School -

I started the project on one of the Folk School's Macomber looms, which is a loom that I have thought might be in my future.  It is a substantial loom and can be used for rugs as well as very fine threads.  Large used Macombers, with a 48-60" weaving width and up to 16 shafts, can be found for reasonable prices around the country.  The one complaint is the hooks attaching the treadles to the lams on the Macombers.  They were cumbersome to change, but I did not have a problem with the hooks jumping off the treadles, of course I only wove about an inch, so not a good test.  But the warping was comfortable for this 100 end warp.

Bill brought his own Swedish loom to class! | Scandinavian Heritage Week at the John C. Campbell Folk School -
The class had a great group of weavers, from Michigan, New York, Tennessee, Kentucky, DC and of course North Carolina.  Bill, seen below, even brought his monstrous Glimakra with him.  There were several other Glimakra's in the studio and they are amazing looms.  All put together with pegs, so they can be assembled relatively easily.  Joann, our instructor, is the dealer for Glimakra in the US and she was very helpful to the students in the class with Glimakra looms.  I tried out the looms, since I had never woven on a countermarche loom or used a loom with texsolve heddles.

So instead of making a sample, I put on a 5 yard warp to make dish towels.  One of the joys of the Folk School is the yarn room.  The selection of colors and sizes of yarn is amazing.  I selected 6 shades of blue and green for the towels.  I used a summer and winter threading and a crackle treadling for the first two towels.  I liked them a lot, but it was a two shuttle pattern, so it progressed pretty slowly.  By Thursday, I knew I needed to speed things up, so I wove the two remaining towels with one shuttle in twill treadling with different size color blocks.

Date Finished  March 2014
Loom   Mighty Wolf
Weave Structure  Summer and winter, treadled as crackle
Reed   12 dent, 24 epi
Warp     Fiber  Cotton
              Count   8/2
              Color 6 shades of blue and green
              Source  John C. Campbell Folk School
Warp     Width in Reed  20 inches
              Ends 480
              Length 5 yds
Weft      Fiber same

Monday, April 28, 2014

Spring and Fall Scarves

These two scarves have been on the Newcomb since last winter and I finally finished the second one this month. They took quite a long time because of the goose-eye inlay.  The other thing that took quite a while was selecting colors and patterns.  You would think that using random colors and treadling would go faster, but I had to consider each pick and how it fit with the rest of the cloth.  Much of the weft came from cotton sweaters that I had frogged over the past couple of years.  Most of the yarn is cotton, but I had a little raw silk that came on a second hand AVL end feed shuttle that I purchased last year.

The weft for one of the scarves uses blues, greens and yellows - all very spring like colors.  The second scarf is more muted with varying shades of browns and tans.  The sett is 16 epi, which is very loose for 8/2 cotton, so it required a soft touch with the beater.  The resulting cloth is light enough to wear through the summer.  The inspiration for these scarves comes from seeing photographs of the work of Ilse Acke, a handweaver in Bruges, and Susan Johnson of Avalanche Looms in Wisconsin.

Date Finished   April, 2014
Loom   Newcomb Studio
Weave Structure  Plain, twill
Reed   8, 16 epi
Warp     Fiber  cotton
              Count  8/2 and 8/4
              Color  natural and eggplant
Warp     Width in Reed  9"
              Ends  152
              Length 6 yds
Weft      Fiber  various cotton, silk
Beat                       50/50                     

Monday, April 14, 2014

Log Cabin Placemats - NOT

This winter I finished up a pretty piece of cloth, woven in Color and Weave, log cabin pattern.  I planned to make a set of placemats, but unfortunately didn't plan for a wide enough warp.  I now have 3 yards of cloth, 10 inches wide.  I don't have a clue what to do with it, but as a temporary measure it makes a nice table runner with the unfinished edges tucked under.  I could hem a section for a table runner, or use it to sew a vest, or make a whole lot of bags.  Inspiration may come one day on just what this cloth should become.

Gary's recent woodturnings, a set of candlesticks and a bark edged bowl, look wonderful on the cloth.
Date Finished  January 2014
Loom   Baby Wolf
Weave Structure  Log Cabin
Reed  8, 16 epi
Warp     Fiber  Cotton
              Count  5/2
              Color  Burgundy and Black
              Mfr  Valley
              Source   Webs


Friday, April 11, 2014

Doubleweave Mug Rugs

Doubleweave is one of the structures that I have wanted to explore since I started weaving again.  I was teaching a friend to weave recently and she picked doubleweave from a project in Handwoven as the weave structure she wanted to use for her second project.  The Handwoven project used rayon chenille and she wanted to make cloth using a heavier weight cotton to make a tote bag.  I wasn't sure what sett we would need to use for 5/2 cotton, so I decided to put a short warp on to sample and found this pattern for mug rugs, so we could kill two stones with one bird.  Glad that we sampled, cause her structure didn't look so good, the colors ended up pretty muddy, but the mug rugs came out great.

Date Finished  February 2014
Loom    Baby Wolf
Weave Structure  Doubleweave
Reed  8 dent, 32 epi
Warp     Fiber  cotton
              Count   5/2
              Color  yellow, orange, burgundy
              Mfr  Valley Yarns
              Source  Webs
Warp     Width in Reed  5"
              Ends   168
              Length  3 yds
Weft      Fiber  same as warp
Beat                       50/50                     

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Christmas Rosepath

Last year I wove an overshot table runner in red and white, that I had hoped to get finished by Christmas.  Well, I didn't get it completed till January, so I called it a Valentine's Day table runner.  I had similar plans this year to weave small figures using an 8 shaft rosepath threading, including Christmas trees, stars, hearts and gingerbread people.  I was not sure exactly what I would do with the cloth, but thought that it could be cut up and made into flat Christmas tree ornaments each about 2 or 3 inches square.  My other plan was to make Christmas cards with a cutout in the front cover peeking through to a woven tree or heart as shown on Amanda Cutler's blogpost here.  I ended up with Christmas trees, stars, and hearts.  I couldn't find a draft for a gingerbread man that would use only 10 treadles and 8 shafts.  I had to change the tie-up for each of these designs.  Tim's Treadle reducer program was helpful to reduce some of the drafts from 12 or 13 treadles to the 10 treadles on my loom.

Date Finished  December 2013
Loom  Baby Wolf
Weave Structure Rosepath
Reed  8, 24 epi
Warp     Fiber cotton
              Count  8/2
              Color  natural
              Mfr  Valley Yanr
              Source  Webs
Warp     Width in Reed  6.6"
              Ends  160 plus 2 floating selvedges
              Length  3 yds
Weft      Fiber  cotton
              Count  8/2 cotton
Pattern Weft      Fiber  cotton
              Frogged cotton in red, green
              5/2 perle cotton in blue
Beat       50/50                     

Notes  The 5/2 was not thick enough to make a good pattern.  3/2 would be a better choice.