Monday, February 13, 2017

Sweetheart Swirl and Signs of Spring

One week ago our Linden tree
bowed low beneath six inches of heavy snow.

It is said, “Time flies.”

I say, “Time accelerates!”

Heavy snowfall one week ago made it feel as if Winter would never end. But then these appeared. 

Yes, Spring really is on its way and here is proof. Yellow crocuses are always the first to bloom. Still they are a sure sign of warmth and sunshine just ahead. Hooray!



Today crocuses were in full bloom beneath the very same Linden tree.


















Sweetheart Swirl Rep Runners by RepWeaver
Sweetheart Swirl Rep Runners


If you guessed the next version of Rep Swirl would be red and white, you were right. Sweetheart Swirl seemed the best description for this color-way  The runner with an alternating block order suggests heart shapes to me. Only one runner is woven in the alternate way, but the others are perfectly evocative of Valentines and hearts, too. Red is great for any time of year because it is my favorite color.

Happy Valentine’s Day!
Sweetheart Swirl Rep Runners showing two different block arrangements
 and both front and reverse coloring

Warp On/Weave Off,

RepWeaver

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Starry Night Swirl

Starry Night Swirl Rep Runners



It’s always slightly sad when Christmas is over and our decorations are back in storage. Each year the whole process of “taking down Christmas” is a hurdle. At least getting a start on the process is tough. But then, once begun, I warm to the task.



After Christmas with all its red and green, I turn to blue for January. To me blue means cold weather, starry nights and Epiphany. In January we change our kitchen tablecloth to blue with sparkly blue snowflakes.



Planning my second rep swirl warp, I naturally turned to the color blue. The Yuletide Swirl runners seemed too tightly sett at 48 e.p.i. At least that was my opinion of them at the time. For the second warp I backed off and chose a sett of 40 e.p.i. Consequently, these runners are slightly wider than the previous ones, measuring 8” wide. You can see a slightly thicker and contrasting floating selvedge, a recent idea that still appeals to me.



January blue tablecloth with sparkly snowflakes
Starry Night Swirl Table Runner
The runners from this warp made me happy so I decided to weave the design again in another color way. Perhaps you can guess which colors I chose for the next warp. Look for details soon.


Detail of Starry Night Swirl showing red floating selvedge



Tatted snowflakes hang from antique fretwork

In keeping with the January theme, tatted snowflakes hang from a fretwork panel in our home. The fretwork came from my great grandparents’ Minnesota home where it once hung above the doorway between their dining room and parlor. But that was in the day before Mother was born and before the house was reconfigured. At least three generations occupied that house over the years. For my entire childhood the fretwork panel remained stuffed in the back of a storage shed. After my grandmother died, the fretwork came into my mother’s possession. When Mom and Dad moved into a retirement home a few years ago it came to us. I am so grateful to have this memento of generations past. After several nights' work to clean and refinish it, we hung it between our dining room and "parlor" where it fits perfectly and is the best place to hang tatted snowflakes.




My current tatting project


Most usually I have a tatting project in the works. As it is quite small and portable, tatting is the easiest kind of handwork to carry along to meetings. Here I am at work on a tatted bookmark with a center twist. I have a way to go on this one. You will find the pattern for it on the designer Jon Yusoff's blog here: https://tatsaway.blogspot.com
Ancient nub of sewing beeswax next to a new block








Do you remember my mention of the little bit of ancient beeswax I use when hemming? Here it is in all its glory. After 45 years of constant use it is now quite small. Once it was the size of the plastic holder on which it rests. That bright green rubber band keeps the slightly broken holder together. My sweet husband bought me a fresh bar of beeswax. But this little old nub of wax carries a lot of sentimental value. I wonder if it might last longer than I do.



A couple of weeks ago my husband brought the latest plague, an especially nasty cold, home from work. Naturally, he shared it with me. The timing was bad. Back in September I signed up for a workshop with Kelly Marshall. It was scheduled for this past week and for the 10 days prior, I’d been knocked off my game by the bug. Next time I’ll let you know how it went.

Stay warm out there on these cold, starry January nights. Soon it will be February!

Warp On/Weave Off,
RepWeaver

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Rep Swirl - Yuletide Swirl

Having woven all those Rep Weave coasters it occurred to me to try a denser sett using 8/4 cotton carpet warp. Over the years my favorite sett for carpet warp has been 24 e.p.i. For this first attempt I tried 48 e.p.i, two ends per heddle for a working sett of 24 e.p.i.


Yuletide Swirl Rep Runners
Inspiration for the design came from a larger design found in the book Rep by Catharina Carlstedt and Ylva Kongbäck. I adapted a small section from the draft called “Tiger Blue” (page 84) that caught my eye and made it into a table runner.


These colors are pleasing, reminding me of Christmas cards from a bygone era, the 1950’s perhaps. And while they are red and green, they don’t necessarily shout “Christmas”.


The first Yuletide Swirl runner, the one with plied fringe gave me trouble. The places where there are “breaks” in the pattern and the white rag peeks through did not please me. Color blending happened in an area of the smallest pattern blocks and made the colors look muddy. Maybe it would have helped if I’d stuck to blending either reds or greens right there but I’d done both. Then there was trouble with the tension. I found it difficult to beam the warp properly with that many ends and with two ends per heddle.


After weaving two runners with this set-up I found it impossible to continue. I cut the first two off the loom and rethreaded the entire width, maintaining the sett of 48 e.p.i. but switching to one end per heddle. This was essentially a return to the beginning since every single end was involved in the re-thread. While I was at it I rearranged the color order in a few places taking special care in the areas with smallest blocks. It was a lot of work but as they say, “Anything worth doing is worth doing well.”

Left side of photo - Sett: 48 e.p.i., 12 dent reed, 4 ends per dent, 2 ends per heddle
Right side of photo - Sett: 48 e.p.i., 12 dent reed, 4 ends per dent, 1 end per heddle


In the end, the rethreaded runners were a huge improvement and I was far happier with them than the earlier ones. Here you see the runner on our kitchen table. For each month of the year we use a specific tablecloth, placing it beneath a tabletop glass cover. Yuletide Swirl compliments the Christmas table theme nicely.

Yuletide Swirl runner atop our Christmas-themed table cloth

Even though the colors are fabulous, I wasn’t entirely satisfied with these runners. Check back to see what happens with my next Rep Swirl project.

Warp On/Weave Off,
RepWeaver

Monday, January 9, 2017

Coasting into 2017

Okay, that’s corny but good titles can be tough to write. Sliding into 2017 might be a better heading. Snow has been on the ground every day so far this year. That’s only eight days, I know, but very unusual for any winter where we live. It seems to have prolonged the Holiday season so we can’t complain.

Rep weave coasters from the final two warps


Here are additional photos of my Christmas coasters. In all, I wove six separate warps in six different color ways. It worked out beautifully since I was able to give gifts sets of coasters, one of each color. I hope friends and family enjoy using them. They certainly were fun to make.

Sets of six made Christmas gifts
In addition to coasters, I wove a few narrow table runners. The purple one was perfect to hold our Advent candles. Sadly, I put those away before I took a photo. We use votive candle cups: three purple, one pink and one white for Advent. The little purple runner worked so well because one candle fit on each of the middle five motifs. Next year I will try to remember to post a photo.

Already this year I have one warp of table runners off the loom and finished. Today another warp is freshly beamed and ready to go. Photos to follow.

I think it's time to put the kettle on and enjoy a warm mug.

Warp On/Weave Off,

RepWeaver
Narrow table runners to match the coasters
The purple one was especially nice for placing Advent candles

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Ladder Stitch Hems

Happy New Year! The Christmas season passed far too quickly for my liking. A trip to visit our grandchildren in a distant state kept us busy in December. We had a lovely time celebrating together. Then it was home again just in time for Christmas. And before we knew it, it was time to flip the calendar page. Here’s wishing 2017 proves for you a year of health, happiness and successful endeavors.

Hand hemming Christmas coasters and runners



Those on my gift list received sets of six coasters; one from each of the six warps woven in the same pattern. They were fun to weave and I managed to empty several cones of yarn in the process.

The hems are sewn by hand using the “Ladder Stitch”. Once the warp comes off the loom I use a machine triple zigzag stitch to overcast both edges between each piece. After cutting between these stitch lines hems are folded twice and Ladder Stitched. The photo shows my needle taking a stitch under two warp threads on one side of the hem, next I skip directly across to catch the very next two warp threads on the other side. When the thread is pulled up the two sides of the hem are invisibly woven together. You can find video demonstrations of the stitch on UTube. The technique is particularly effective on Rep weave due to tightly sett warp ends.

At the very bottom of this photo you can spot the edge of a tiny wad of beeswax. Since I was in my teens, this same bit of wax has lubricated and strengthened my hand sewing threads. If you prefer, there is a commercial non-wax product available that does the same job.



Another helpful tool are the colorful little clips seen here. They are called Wonder Clips and work far better than pins to secure hems before sewing them. Even if they didn’t work so well I’d want to use them because they are so cute. They come in various sizes and colors and are fun and easy to use. You can find them at your local fabric store, quilt shop or on line.

Ladder Stitch in progress
Raw edges machine triple-stitch zigzagged


These small projects have been a lot of fun. Now that the 2017 has dawned I am ready to tackle some larger pieces. May your year be filled with good health, happiness and satisfying projects. Happy New Year!

Warp On/Weave Off,
RepWeaver