Monday, May 16, 2016

Vesterheim Museum

On the way back to Montana last fall we made a detour to Dacorah, Iowa to visit the Vesterheim Museum.  Northeast Iowa and Minnesota had a large influx of Norwegian immigrants in the 1800's and early 1900's.  The Vesterheim Museum's collection is all about the early life of these settlers.  I had read about the collections of old looms and old textiles and it was a couple of hours drive out of our way to visit, and so worth a quick side trip.                                                                                                                                                                                            The main building has large exhibits including a 25 foot wooden sail boat and a recreated settler's log cabin, fully furnished.  The museum is located in historic buildings in downtown Dacorah, but also includes some small outbuildings that have been moved to the site.

Many of the textiles are rag rugs or rag bed covers to keep the settlers warm at night.  Tme museum also has exhibitions of contemporary crafts, created in the Norwegian tradition.  In looking through my photos, I recognize the rug at right.  It is very similar to a rug found in the book Favorite Rag Rugs, by Tina Ignell.  The interesting thing is I just finished a rug very similar to this following photos and instructions from the book.

Contemporary Rag Rug
Detail of Rag Rug
Old Loom with Art Weaving 

Bed Cover on the Loom

Bed Cover

Monday, January 18, 2016

Deflected Double Weave

The Southeast Fiber Forum Association holds a workshop every other year at Arrowmont in Gatlinburg, TN. I went in 2013 and 2105 and have enjoyed both times. Attendees get to pick one 3-day workshop. Arrowmont is one of the Settlement Schools that taught crafts and general education to community residents, to increase their earning potential during the Depression.  The facility has lodging, classrooms, a crafts library and a community dining room for the students.  SFFA takes over the entire facility over the long weekend.                                                                                                                                                               I got lucky this time and got my first pick, a workshop on deflected doubleweave, taught by Elisabeth Hill. Deflected Double Weave is a structure I had never woven before and I was glad to learn about it and try out lots of different treadling options.

Lisa is a great instructor and she sent us warps and we had to put these on the loom prior to arriving in Gatlinburg.   This was a it of a problem, since we were living in MT and the loom that needed to be warped was in NC.  The warps and wefts were a mix of tencel and alpaca/silk blend.

DDW allows you to weave some big designs, including circles. The differential shrinkage between the yarns also leads to interesting movement in the cloth.

Structure  Deflected Double Weave
Source  Lisa Hill draft
Date Finished  May 2015

Loom  Baby Wolf
Warp     Fiber  tencel and alpaca/silk
              Count 8/2
              Color blue, grey and azure 
              Mfr  Valley
              Source Webs
Warp     Width in Reed  9 inch
Weft      Fiber
Beat                       50/50                     


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

M and W Christmas Towels

Every Christmas, I make Christmas gifts for friends and family and I realized in early December, I didn't have quite enough towels. I usually gift from 8-12 towels.  In thinking about a draft for the towels, I settled on Ms & Ws because the last name of four of the recipients begins with W and it seemed appropriate.  I had plenty of 8/2 cotton in several shades of pink, red and purple that seemed festive for Christmas gifting.

Structure M & W
Source  Strickler
Date Finished  December 2015
Loom  Baby Wolf
Reed  23 epi
Warp     Fiber cotton
              Count  8/2
              Color  Deep pink, light pink, purple and red
              Mfr  Webs and UKI
Warp     Width in Reed  20 inch
              Ends  462
              Length 7 yds
Weft      Fiber  cotton
              Count  8/2
              Color  red and light pink
              Mfr  Webs and Uki
Beat                       50/50                     

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Small bags

I put a short warp on the Baby Wolf in Montana for weaving small bags.  I planned to use a warp dominant structure, since the weft might be plarn (plastic yarn - cut up plastic grocery bags). Another requirement was to utilize cotton yarn that I had in my stash, so either 8/2 or 5/2 cotton.  Searching through the warp rep projects in old Handwoven magazines, I found this 6 shaft plain weave, using thick and thin weft to create different warp stripe or block patterns.  I wove enough for 6 small bags, 5 which had flaps of handwoven fabric and one used a button closure.  All had straps made from the same 5/2 cotton doubled in an 8 strand kumihimo pattern.  I wove several using plastic bags for the thick weft and several with 3/2 cotton doubled as the thick weft.  All used a 20/2 cotton for the thin weft.  I liked the look and feel of the bags with the 3/2 cotton weft better than the plarn bags.

Structure   Almost Rep Weave
Source       Handwoven Sept 2005
Date Finished Sept 2015
Loom     Baby Wolf
Reed      12, 24 epi
Warp     Fiber   5/2 cotton
              Color  red, orange, yellow, blue
Warp     Width in Reed  8.5
              Ends  220
              Length  4 yds
Weft      3 with  plarn (plastic grocery bag yarn) and 20/2 cotton                 orange
              3 with 3/2 cotton doubled, navy blue and 20/2 cotton      
Beat       Warp Faced

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Cafe Grande Mug Rugs

I decided I needed to make some little gifty things for the coffee group this year and came up with the idea of Mug Rugs.  I saw these in an old issue of Handwoven, and the pattern called for using 3/2 cotton for warp and weft.  However, I have plenty of colors of 5/2 cotton in my stash, and decided that the 5/2 would make them a little smaller, closer to the size of a coffee cup or wine glass.  The 5/2 cotton in my stash comes from other projects and some arrived through a Facebook purchase.  A fellow weaver in Red Lodge, advertised a box of weaving supplies, which included loads of yarn, an inkle loom, a Schacht End Feed Shuttle, a double shuttle and lots of stick shuttles.  Oh happy day. The Carolina Blue, turquoise and grey all came from that purchase.

I will need 10 or 11, if I am counting right, but I ended up with 22.  These were begun on one of the looms in Red Lodge and only 7 were completed before we left for the fall.  So the one weekend I was in Red Lodge before Christmas, I was weaving in every spare moment.

If I were to make these again, I would do a couple of things differently. First, I would not use white as the warp and tabby weft.  White just gets dirty too easily and I can envision lots of coffee stains on these.  I would also use a pattern weft that is a little heavier than the warp, so if 5/2 is warp, use 3/2 for the pattern weft.

Structure  Crackle, treadled as summer and winter
Source   Handwoven, May 2006
Date Finished  December 2015
Loom   Baby Wolf
Reed  8, 16 epi
Warp     Fiber  cotton
              Count  5/2
              Color  white
Warp     Width in Reed 5.5"
              Ends 89
              Length 6 yds(?)
Weft      Fiber  cotton
              Count  5/2
              Color  white for tabby and other colors (red, blue, grey, turquoise) for pattern weft

Friday, October 16, 2015

Swarthmore Check

Swarthmore Check is a canvas weave structure and which has doubled threads in both the warp and the weft.  Because there are doubled weft threads, it also requires a floating selvedge to catch the double wefts.  I wove this in a number of different patterns, some with just a couple of wide weft stripes and some with weft stripes throughout, looking a little plaid like.

Because there are a number of weft floats, these make thirsty towels.

Structure    Swarthmore Check
Source        Davison, A Handweaver's Pattern Book, page 69
Date Finished  April 2015
Loom  Baby Wolf
Reed  10, 20 epi
Warp     Fiber  Cotton
              Count  8/2
              Color  White and Yellow
Warp     Width in Reed  20 inches
              Ends  400
              Length  6 yds
Weft      Fiber  Cotton
              Count  8/2 and 10/2
              Color  Red, green and navy
Beat       50/50                  
Size  18x28

Folk Art Towels

Towels, more towels, but I never seem to have enough of them.  Dish towels make great gifts for folks especially for house gifts and as thank you gifts.  At Christmas, they make a great little something extra for friends and relatives.  This pattern comes from Handwoven March 2014 and was an easy 6 shaft pattern to weave, with wonderful color contrast between the red, yellow and black.

Structure  Twill and Plain weave
Source  Handwoven March 2014
Date Finished  April 2015
Loom  Baby Wolf
Reed 10, 20 epi
Warp     Fiber Cotton
              Count 8/2
              Color Red and Yellow
              Mfr  Valley
              Source  Webs
Warp     Width in Reed
              Ends 429 with 16 repeats
Weft      Fiber  Cotton
              Count  8/2
              Color  Black and Yellow
              Mfr  Valley
              Source  Webs
Beat                       50/50                     
Size       18 x 28