Thursday, August 31, 2017

Beginning and Improving

Rep Rugs
One of these is destined for a wedding gift

"We've Only Just Begun", sung by Karen Carpenter is playing in my head.

Here is my latest warp of rep rugs. Their sizes were dependent upon my supply of certain types of rags. The smallest one is with teal colored wide wale corduroy of which I had a limited amount. The beauty of that teal with this warp just sings. The happy combination more than compensates for the rug's small size. One of the longer rugs is destined for our dear friends' son and his bride.

As of today, the young couple has been married exactly two months. This gift rug will be in the mail to them far before the honeymoon glow has dimmed. For some couples that glow remains steady through decades and decades. That is our wish for Alec and Sarah. The rug should serve them well for at least the first couple of those decades.

These rugs are woven in Rep Weave using 8/4 cotton carpet warp sett at 24 e.p.i. The rags in two rugs are mostly old bed sheets. The other two have wide wale corduroy as the thick weft.

My experiment with floating selvedges in Rep Weave continues. Even though weaving with them is slightly slower, the method agrees with me. An extra opportunity for a splash of color adds to their appeal. Floaters greatly improve the selvedge edge on hems. This particular adventure will continue. Who knows the twists and turns to occur in subsequent chapters?

A floating selvedge in a contrasting color adds punch

The fuchsia-colored floater enhances these rugs

Life is a journey. Weaving can also be seen as a journey. In the studio and at the loom many discoveries are possible. Some things remain the same. But who is to say a new thought, new experience, new venture isn’t just around the corner? Even weaving an oft-repeated draft can spark a revelation or two.

Rep Rugs showing both sides. These rugs are reversible.
Time passes and every living thing ages. It is said that some things improve over time. Wine comes first to mind. Rugs age, may they do so gracefully. Marriages can mellow and bloom. I pray this is the case for Alec and Sarah. May it also be the case for their rug, a small token of our best hopes and wishes for a long and happy life together.

Warp On/Weave Off,

Monday, August 21, 2017

Tatting an Eclipse

Not exactly but both are on my mind today. Early attention would have helped secure some of those special eclipse glasses. It has been so long coming; I guess I tuned out the hype and hysteria. My solution to the lack of protection is to spend the duration outside in my garden and enjoy the changing light without viewing the actual cause. It is a beautiful sunny day here. Eclipses come and go but my garden remains and after this there are a few tasks to accomplish.

Setting down my tea one morning, I managed to tilt the full cup just enough to splash a bit onto a ball of DMC Cebelia, size 30 cotton. It would figure it was a full ball of pure white, rather, formerly pure white, thread. What to do, what to do? Oh agony, I couldn’t see any way to remove the stain without making a tangled mess of it.

The only solution was to use the thread and wash the finished doily. Renulek’s 2017 Spring “Tat-Along” doily had been calling to me. So I began working with the tea-stained thread. The last one of Renulek’s doilies I attempted is not yet finished because I didn’t like the very long chains in the outer rounds. You may remember it; it is red. In any case, I set out not really expecting success. Tatting onion rings is not my favorite, either. The new doily sports several of those. I began without enthusiasm, not expecting much of the project.

If the colors were reversed - a black doily on a white table -
it would almost look like an eclipse 😉
Renulek's Spring 2017 Doily tatted by RepWeaver
The thread needed washing as soon as possible if I hoped to remove the stain. It was a race to finish quickly. Even so it took several months. Then it seemed there would not be enough thread to finish. As you can see, chains are blue in the final round. This was not in the plan but the result makes me happy.

Surprise, surprise! This was an enjoyable tat. When tatting was done I soaked the doily in OxyClean for several hours and “Voila!”, the stain was gone. I am one happy tatter.

Now I feel ready and anxious to revisit the red doily and figure out improvements in order to finish it. Before I do, there are rugs on my loom that need weaving.

But first there is a small eclipse . . .

Warp On/Weave Off,

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Changing Seasons, Changing Colors

This has been an unusually hot, dry summer here in what we playfully refer to as “The Pacific Northwet”. Dry, dry, dry it has been. Last night a smattering of rain ended our record-breaking streak of 55 consecutive rainless days. We are not used to this. My garden is sighing with relief and so am I. Autumn is my favorite season. It’s coming.

My overloaded warping reel puts up with a lot of abuse.
In the background hangs a Summer & Winter sampler.
On the right is the "Hippie Bag" from my junior high school days. 
Getting back to the studio, here is a bit of what I was doing last May. To prepare to lead a Mini-Workshop for my guild I wound this Rep rug warp. First off, I admit to overworking my warping reel. But, embarrassment aside, this is honestly how I operate.

Most often I wind my warps twice as long and half as wide as the planned project. Beginning at the selvedge edge, I wind warps in to the center of the draft. Since my warping reel has only one cross bar I place a chopstick in the previous vertical support to the lower turning post. Between the chopstick and the end-post I create a second cross.

With two ends (one dark and one light) in each pass I splice in new colors at either top or bottom turning peg at will, cutting the old color and knotting in the new each time and designing as I go. Watching the colors build along the warping reel it is easy to see how they will look woven.

Rep Rug color changes

The rug detail photo gives an idea of how often the colors change and how much work warping double length saves. In addition, I do not have to keep track of where each color should fall for the mirror side of the warp. The more time and trouble (and chance for errors) saved, the better.

Rug weaving in process

My Glimåkra Standard countermarch loom has center cords on the top and bottom of the heddle bars. So it makes sense to me to do all sleying and threading from the center outward. I bring both crosses from the top and bottom of the warping reel together and place them side-by-side in the lease sticks then continue dressing the loom as usual.

During the workshop I described and demonstrated these techniques. Nine experienced weavers attended and kindly watched and listened attentively. Maybe they gained something new to take home and incorporate into their weaving. As I always stress, if some new idea or improvement comes to my attention I put it to use. Just as much as the seasons change, so do I. Over time I learn and adjust. This can be just as refreshing as rainfall after a drought.

Warp On/Weave Off,
Two of the finished rugs showing front and reverse side colors