Sunday, November 13, 2016

Weaving Fun in Small Ways

Wee Swedish Coverlet

Photos of my final Wee Swedish Coverlet warp are probably in order. Here they are. Since this warp turned out to be other than perle cotton, it behaved differently. Shrinkage was greater. The finished cloth drapes well, better than the 100% cotton version. Overall, these are nice but I am wishing to weave some brighter colors for my next Wee Coverlets.

Wee Swedish Coverlet, Detail

Wee Swedish Coverlets
This group of coverlets drape beautifully.
The colors are pretty subdued for babies.
Maybe parents will appreciate this at laundry time.

Since last I posted life has taken a few twists and turns, some far less than pleasant. In the face of turbulent events, returning to the studio and immersing myself in weaving truly helps. Whenever calm reflection is necessary to peace of mind the studio is my go-to destination.

A box of odds and ends, mostly 8/2 cotton, had been on my shelf for a very long time. My guild sale was coming soon. It occurred to me to use some of that cotton to weave some quick coasters for the sale.

I took my first weaving class in 1988. My first exposure to Rep Weave at that time was an article by Joanne Tallarovic in issue #74 of Shuttle Spinal and Dyepot. A narrow runner in her article was the inspiration for these little coasters.

Rep Weave coasters
Notice the blue ones. One has rag as thick weft.
All the others have bright yellow cord-type yarn as thick weft.

Life intervened and I did not complete as many of these as I would have liked in time for the sale. But that is fine because Christmas is coming soon. Each of the four warps shown was an opportunity to learn and improve on the design. Exciting discoveries along the way made for a load of fun.

Blue coasters:
I wind my warps twice as long as needed but only half as wide, with a cross at each end. For Rep weave I wind two ends together. This works out great except when I forget to divide the total number of ends for the center block by four – not two. That is why that middle block is wider here than I meant for it to be. Since the extra ends were available, I just threaded them as wound.

The first few coasters on the blue warp have rag as thick weft (see group photo above). I liked that well enough until I thought to use a bright yellow cord that has been on my shelf longer than I can remember. Wow! That bit of bright yellow at the selvedges really pleases my eye.

Green coasters:
Now that is better. The center block is the proper width.
Unfortunately, in the meantime I’d forgotten to weave six thick wefts in the center. These coasters are shorter than the blue ones. Sometimes life events interrupt my train of thought. Oh, well.

Red coasters:
The challenge here was a limited supply of red and white. Making due, I used black and grey for the borders. Somewhere along the line I’d had a conversation about floating selvedges with a weaver friend. It motivated me to do something for the very first time – add floating selvedges to a Rep weave. I am never too terribly worried about matching floater color to warp color. Here I decided to go out on a limb and used a red floater next to the black border. The result made me very happy.

Yellow coasters:
Here you see more odds and ends from my box of 8/2. The border yellow is darker than the center yellow. And take a look at that floater!

Floating selvedges on Rep Weave???
What will be the next adventure? I saved the warp for a tie-on and there are still remnant cones of various colors in my box. Ideas are brewing and so is my next mug of tea. Hum, any coasters around here?

Watch for coaster hemming technique in my next post.

Warp On/Weave Off,

Brewing a cup of tea with first two versions of Rep Weave coasters

Monday, October 24, 2016

Ahem, a Hem

Have you been trying to get my attention? After all, I did promise hemming photos and you have been patiently waiting. But life has a way of interfering with my plans.

The first delay occurred on October 15th. At 14½ years of age, our sweet Jenny had been ailing for quite a while. She was the best of company all her life, especially for the two years while my husband was away working on the East Coast. She was always here for me and sounded the alarm that saved our house from even worse damage in the midnight washing-machine flood. She came to us as a feral rescue cat and proved herself a lady in the best sense. Our time together came to an end the Saturday before last. My husband and I are still grieving her loss. Oh, JennyCat, how I miss you.

That same weekend my mother took two falls. I did not hear of this until Monday morning when she called to ask for a ride to the Emergency Room. Doctors there discovered a compression fracture in her spine. Poor Mom is in terrible pain. She lives in a nearby retirement home but she has needed my time and assistance.

Whenever possible I have been weaving and doing my best to be ready for the Seattle Weavers’ Guild Sale later this week. My latest Wee Coverlets are finished and I wove two stacks of little Rep Weave coasters for the sale. Watch for more photos in a later post.

In the meantime here are a few pictures to show hemming techniques that work for me. At the very least I aim to give you the confidence to finish your handwovens as you please. Remember, there is no right or wrong way, only what works best.

Here is how I weave a hem at the beginning of a Wee Coverlet:
After a contrasting weft to mark the cut line weave
11 shots tabby weft
1 shot variegated weft
12 shots tabby weft
1 shot variegated weft
14 shots tabby weft
Weave the body of the piece. At the end reverse the above weave order for another hem.

Showing contrasting dividing shot (white)
Triple stitch zig-zag overcast on cutting edge
Variegated shots to mark fold lines for the hem

Fold the hem twice, once on each variegated marking line and machine stitch close to the folded edge. I tuck a label end inside the hem and sew both with a small regular-type zig-zag stitch. My labels don't shrink so I wait to stitch the other end down after the first washing/shrinking of each piece.

Label placement has me puzzled. I used to put it in the lower right corner on the back of a piece as if it were the artist signature on a work of art. Here I decided to place it in the "return address" position as if it were on an envelope. Maybe I will go back to the first way of doing it. Maybe.

Label tucked inside and sewn down with the hem

On a side note, being rather the introvert I strive to maintain a low profile. But here you see my label  in detail and there it is (horror of horrors), my name.

A weaver friend recently asked where I got my labels which sent me searching for a web link. They were woven by Xpresa Labels. Here is what I found on their website: Xpresa Lable Examples
Uh-oh, my cover is blown!

Tamer at Xpresa was incredibly helpful. The whole process was done electronically. I created my own design using Adobe Illustrator software and sent a .pdf file to Tamer. Xpresa even wove and sent sample proofs for my approval. Their customer service is top shelf.

The finished hem

I always hem or edge finish pieces before I wash them because I think it gives a more polished finishing. Then on the first washing those stitches shrink right along with the piece. That makes the hem more secure.

Next time I will share another hemming technique and I will share photos of my latest Wee Coverlets and Rep Weave coasters.

Warp On/Weave Off,

RepWeaver (a.k.a. Claudia)

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Evolving While Weaving

I heard from Jasper’s grandmother that he and his family are thrilled with the bright green and yellow Wee Coverlet. May it warm him and the lively colors delight him for years to come. Thinking of him makes me happy.

Wee Swedish Coverlet Warp #113
Fresh off the loom is my final warp of Wee Swedish Coverlets. It’s been nearly two years since I began weaving the “Norse Kitchen” draft. It’s interesting to keep working with a design over a period of time. Repeating a warp over and over offers time and opportunity for experimentation and discovery. By now I feel I know the “language” of this draft. And I made it enough my own to rename it “Swedish Kitchen” and “Swedish Wee Coverlet”.

There is always more to learn. I don’t presume to know anything more than anyone else. My constant disclaimer is, “This is what works for me right now.” Which goes to show that my techniques are constantly under review and often changing. Nothing substitutes for experience. Weaving at the loom is the perfect time to imagine and consider improvements. New ideas pop up all the time. Weaving friends, guild speakers and workshops inspire further thought. Ideas come from books, magazines and groups such as Weavolution. It’s important to admit to myself that I will never know enough while at the same time pursuing as much wisdom as possible.

Stack of 15 Wee Swedish Coverlets minus 2 already in use
Weaving many warps in order to learn as much as I can produces a surplus. Using the Swedish Kitchen draft I wove a total of 73 pieces on nine separate warps. That’s a lot of Kitchen towels and Wee Coverlets. Some of them I will keep for future gifts to family and friends. Two babies already enjoy their coverlets. Other towels and coverlets will go into the Seattle Weavers’ Guild annual sale.

Next time I will post more photos from the last Wee Coverlet warp. Here is the whole stack of 15 from three warps minus the two already in use by my granddaughter and baby Jasper.

Immediately after I snapped a few photos of the way these are hemmed, a commenter asked how I finished them. So next time you can expect to see photos of the way I sew hems.

Warp On/Weave Off,


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Wee Coverlet in Action

Grandbaby enjoys her Wee Coverlet

This is our newest grandchild snoozing beneath her Wee Swedish Coverlet. Mama says little one spends time examining her blanket, looking at pattern and color changes, and doesn't cry right away on waking. This makes her GrandMama very happy.

Next you see another photo of the six Wee Coverlets from my bright green warp. It was very special to me that one of my weaving friends wanted the yellow one for her new grandson, Jasper. I wish him many pleasant slumbers over a long happy childhood.

The third color way of this warp is in progress. I'm not sure if I will like this version, the colors are a bit dark. But who says baby colors must be pastel? I don't understand because babies are good at making stains. Why shouldn't their clothing and bedding be colorful to begin with? That way keeping baby things looking nice and clean is easier for parents. Colorful wraps set off a baby's natural beauty. Bright colors are happy colors.

Another view of bright green Wee Swedish Coverlets
I intend to offer one or two Wee Coverlets at the Seattle Weavers' Guild annual sale October 27-29, 2016 at St. Marks' Cathedral. If you are interested and in the area, please stop by. Our guild is a group of many talented weavers whose incredible work will be on display. Even if you do not wish to buy, you will not be disappointed with the show of beautiful handwovens. And, as a bonus, weavers are very nice people. Stop by and say hello.

Warp on/Weave off,

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Each One Precious

Wee Swedish Coverlets for Baby by RepWeaver

Weaving Wee Coverlets takes time. Each one is a labor of love. And that is how it should be. Time spent weaving these is perfect for contemplation. For me it really, truly is about devotion. It is my way of adding color, texture and warmth to new lives. Most importantly, it is my expression of love for little ones. Babies are so very precious. May babies and children ever be wrapped in love; may they ever feel precious and cherished. That is my wish for every child wrapped in a Wee Coverlet.

When UKI discontinued 20/2 perle cotton in colors, I ordered several cones from The Georgia Yarn Company. Choices were limited and, without sample cards, color names were all I had. Maybe there was a thumbnail shot of each color, but screens vary. So when the yarn arrived I was surprised at the intensity of this green. The color name is “Kelly Green”. I’d imagined it would be darker. Here was a challenge.

Wee Swedish Coverlet by RepWeaver
Showing Front Side
The warp and Tabby are Kelly Green with purple and yellow stripes plus occasional variegated ends. This particular variegation wasn't as bright. It has teal green, yellow, purple and white and was a bit of a stretch. The two sides of each piece are very different from one another. Variegated ends show more on the underside.

Wee Swedish Coverlet by RepWeaver
Showing Reverse Side
Recently I showed these latest Wee Coverlets to a group of my weaving friends. One of them asked if I thought there were any bad color combinations. I took this as a compliment as it is an excellent question. After a moment’s thought I replied, “Yes”. My idea of a bad color combination is one in which color values are too similar. If value and intensity are too close, pattern and structure can be lost. Scale also plays a part. Equal parts of similarly valued colors compete equally for attention. It is better to use more of one or the other. The “bad colors” question is food for further thought. What a great question!

Weaving this warp of Wee Swedish Coverlets was pure joy. The brightness of the warp and frequent color changes in the included variegated ends added interest. I wish for these six little blankets to swaddle six precious infants well into childhood. Younger siblings may enjoy them, too. That is if the older isn’t a “Linus”, clinging to his blanket for security. Or perhaps a beautiful beloved blankie will be too treasured to relinquish.

Warp On/Weave Off,

Wee Swedish Coverlets by RepWeaver