Friday, August 14, 2020

Before We Weave Ahead

My Structures Study Group has moved ahead to another weaving technique. Before we head over there, here are a few more photos of my Color and Weave adventures.

Changing color order in the weft changes the direction of all the little stripes. This swatch is 16/2 cotton sett at 30 e.p.i. The draft is an 8H Shadow Weave, #271 from Stickler.

Here is an experiment using variegated yarns at regular intervals in both warp and weft. The draft is the same. This warp is 20/2 cotton sett at 35 e.p.i. These colors really sing, don't they?

These two photos are another warp of Stickler #271. This time I used 8/2 Tencel in Silver Grey and Hunter. The scarf is hemmed because I always have trouble with scarf fringes catching on things and generally getting in my way. The extra little bit here is woven with the opposite color order. I was sorry that there wasn't enough warp left to weave and entire scarf this way.

Now for the RANT portion of my message:

Why does everything always have to change? I was happy with the old light bulbs, toilets that effectively flushed, detergents that fought grease, so many things . . . There are those who consider change to be progress. I like tried and true. Old is not necessarily bad. If that is too stick-in-the-mud, fine. But it is my opinion and I will gladly stand my ground because it is my ground.

And now Blogger has changed. The old one was fine and even though comments seemed unworkable, I was happy with the old interface. Why do we constantly have to reinvent the wheel?

Okay, I put that out there and I do appreciate your patience with my rant. Fortunately, I was able to revert. Otherwise this post would not be published. It may not even look right when it does. We shall see.

Warp On/Weave Off,

Friday, July 17, 2020

Cottolin Gothic

Cottolin Towels woven in
8H Gothic Cross Shadow Weave

It’s a rare rainy July morning and I'm Back-Blogged. I've simply lost track of the order of recent projects. I wove these towels months ago and can't remember what came before and what came after them. Checking my records will set it right.

Piles of recent work with my camera perched among them cover our dining room table awaiting attention. Lots of weaving time has been one of the few benefits of being stuck in since March. That and lots of gardening time. But since the virus hit my husband has been working from home and my computer time has been limited so posting opportunities have been few.

The Bull’s Eye Cottolin towels were such a success that I wanted to weave more. A fellow Structures Study Group member, Shelly, shared a draft for another Gothic Cross Shadow Weave that I liked very much. At the meeting she wore a smashing scarf she’d woven using this draft. I immediately wanted to weave her Gothic Cross. The draft comes from 1000 Patterns in 4, 6, 8 Harness Shadow Weave by Marian Powell.

Here I used 22/2 Cottolin sett at 20 e.p.i. The first warp is Natural paired with #2048 Dark Olive Grey. The second warp is Natural paired with #2080 Red.

Gothic Cross in Natural and Dark Olive Grey
Gothic Cross with the weft color order reversed
This design is dramatic but really very simple. The colors are used every other one in both warp and weft. The first photo is woven according to the draft. The second one shows the effect of changing the order of the two colors in the weft. Isn't the difference striking?

This swatch shows the effect of
throwing two Natural weft shots in a row.

These were fun to weave. They are fun to use, too. The time was well spent. If you are stuck at home, think about weaving some for yourself and for those you love.

Warp On/Weave Off,
Cottolin Gothic Towels, Detail

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Yarns with a Mysterious Past

A group of scarves from the same warp
various weft colors and color orders
8H Shadow Weave, Strickler #271

Sometimes yarns come to me without a clue to their source or history. Several large cones of a yarn marked 8/2 “Rayon Slub” have been on my shelf for rather a long while. There is no knowing how long they sat on the shelf of an unknown weaver before they found their way to me. These are yarns with a mysterious past.

I have woven with this 8/2 “Rayon Slub” before and it made a lovely, soft, lustrous cloth. But this time around I noticed something new.

The draft for these scarves is an 8H Shadow Weave, #271 in Carol Strickler’s book. The warp is two colors, “Ink” and White. It was fun to try using different combinations of colors and color orders for the weft colors. The variations can be dramatically different. 

I wove six scarves each 6” x 70” finished. At each end I wove 36 shots with sewing thread as weft for the hems. Each of them was hemmed on the sewing machine using a triple-stitch zigzag. Then they all went into the washer and the dryer for finishing. It was then that I noticed the problem.
Various weft colors and weft color orders

They all washed beautifully but what I could not escape was a nasty chemical odor. It would seem that chemicals used to produce this yarn lingered long afterward. Here I had spent many hours weaving six lovely scarves unwearable by anyone with a sense of smell. Bother!

Turning to the Internet to search for explanation and/or solution I read various methods to reduce the odor. One suggestion was to launder using Borax and hot water. I tried this on the scarf with purple as a weft color. The purple bled into the white warp but it actually looks pretty that way. Still the stench remained. Nothing I tried worked to remove it.

What could I do? What did I do? I folded those six scarves into a nice neat pile, stuffed them onto an upper shelf and forgot about them.

That was way back in March. We have all been thinking about other things since then. Who knew a virus from China would stop just about everything? Our home office has become a virtual workplace, leaving little time for fun stuff such as blogging. But today, a rare day of availability, while writing to post I went to find these scarves.
The infamous "stinky" purple scarf, washed with hot water and Borax
The purple weft bled to dye the white warp lavender
Once the odor dissipated the result is a nice scarf.

Wonder of wonders, the odor is gone! The “aged” scarves are no longer stinky. Perhaps wet finished unleashed residual chemicals that have off-gassed over time. Unless someone can enlighten me further, I’ll go with that explanation. I am please that these scarves will be wearable and the weaving of them was not in vain.

Stay well and keep weaving.

Warp On/Weave Off,

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Another shot - Bull's Eye

The two latest color ways of my Color & Effect Cottolin Towels
I played with contrast in a few of the hems on the blue towels.
They were fun to weave and are nice to use, too.

I need to send a reply to Cindy who commented on my post “Conundrum Solved” from Jan. 14, 2015. She wanted help learning how to balance an Overshot block as in my Swedish Kitchen rework of Davison’s Nordic Kitchen draft. I found the solution and an explanation of why blocks wind up unbalanced on pages 41-42 of Madelyn van der Hoogt’s book “The Complete Book of Drafting for Handweavers”. Her information is top shelf and comes complete with photos and graphics. I hope you see this note, Cindy. I apologize for having to reply here. I have tried and tried unsuccessfully to post a reply. I do not know why this is a problem. (If you have helpful hints and can manage to post a comment please do.) I hesitate to think it but it may be time to find a different blog host. Thank you for your kind comment, Cindy.

Here are a few additional photos of my Color & Weave Effect Cottolin towels. I think of them as Bull’s Eye. That is not an official name for this draft. It's only an impression I have. If you see something else feel free to comment – if you can make it work.
Four different Color & Weave effect Cottolin towel warps
I think I see Bull's Eyes

Meanwhile, weaving and gardening continue. Things are really popping out in the yard which makes me very happy.

Warp On/Weave Off,


Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Tax Day and Bull’s Eyes

Kitchen Hand Towel
Navy & Natural 22/2 Cottolin, Color & Weave Effect
After Samitum my Structures Group turned to Shadow Weave. The topic was soon expanded to Color and Weave Effect. A draft that caught my eye is in a wonderful book titled “Favorite Scandinavian Projects to Weave: 45 Stylish Designs for the Modern Home” by Tina Ignell of Scandinavian Weaving Magazine. For my study group project I chose the draft “Black and White Hand Towels with Color Effects” found on page 62.

On my shelf for some time now have been several full tubes of Cottolin plus many partial tubes of varying amounts. Some of it once belonged to fellow weavers and friends so it holds special meaning for me. Some of it came to me when a workshop was cancelled after the Sept. 11th attacks. It is that old. I have been meaning to get around to using these Cottolins. This draft proved the perfect opportunity.
Cottolin Towels hanging off the back of my loom
Four different warps/Four color ways
I had fun trying highlight colors for selvedges and hems

Cottolin makes an excellent Kitchen Towel. It is strong, absorbent, has a pleasing hand, is readily available and comes in beautiful colors. It is pleasant to work with, too. I used much of the yarn from my stash. Isn't stash busting one of the best reasons for placing a new yarn order?

The structure for these kitchen towels is an 8 Harness point twill with both warp and weft ends alternating between black and natural. The Bull’s eye effect is striking and simple. The towels are a joy to weave and to use.

Kitchen Hand Towel
Garnet & Natural 22/2 Cottolin, Color & Weave Effect
This book is fantastic. I aim to weave several of the projects. Be aware that in early editions of the book this draft contains errors. Check for the “Errata” supplement page containing corrections for three of the book’s projects.

There are times when everything seems wrong. Times when it seems there's a Bull's Eye on your back. Being April 15, here in the USA it is Tax Day. Sadly it is an extra stressful occasion for many, many Americans. May each of you here and across the globe be and remain well. May the challenges we face make us stronger, encourage us to greater achievement and gratitude for good times. Spring is here. It is a time of renewal and looking ahead to brighter days.

Warp On/Weave Off, 


Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Yes, I Like Them Sam I Tum

This line (with apologies to Dr. Seuss) kept running through my head and adding to the fun of weaving Samitum.

Samitum Dresser-Top Runners
20/2 Perle Cotton Warp
10/2 Perle Cotton Wefts

Here you see Samitum runners intended for my grandchildren’s bedroom dresser-tops. They were woven way back in November. That is how far behind I’m running. I hesitated to send them because they have a tendency to curl up along the selvedges. That is how it sometimes goes with an uneven density between surfaces. Ah, well. I’ll think about it some more.

Several Cottolin towels are fresh off my loom and waiting for wet finishing. I think these are going to be very nice so I plan to tie-on another color-way. My loom has not been idle. There are more projects waiting for me to post.

Samitum Runner, Detail
We live in perilous times. Precautions are taken. Then we trust the Lord to keep us. Living in fear is not an option, at least it isn’t for me.

It’s a good time to take heart and count our blessings. Besides, the flowers are coming along and warmer weather is soon to follow. After all, what is a “stay-at-home order” to a weaver or a gardener? It’s what I would call an opportunity.

Warp On/Weave Off,

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Next Comes Samitum

Samitum Sampler

While the rest of my Weave Structures Study Group continued with Turned Taqueté, I decided my next logical step was Samitum.

The difference between the two weave structures is slight. Using the Summer & Winter threading, add a third tie-down on shaft three and weave without throwing tabby picks and you have Samitum.

Samitum Sampler - Detail
I had only a tiny bit of the lavender-colored yarn.
In this way I managed to use it all.

Taqueté requires two shuttle tosses per pass. It is double-faced and reversible. But Samitum, because it has three tie-down warps, requires three shuttle tosses per pass. It is triple dense and not reversible. The twill tie-down structure is apparent on the surface of this cloth.

Having woven Taquete at 30 e.p.i., I began Samitum using 20/2 perle cotton warp at the same sett. Surprisingly this sett was far too dense. So I opened it to 24 e.p.i. then switched again for a final sett of 20 e.p.i. Still, the cloth has a tendency to curl in along the selvedges. If ever I weave this again I’d consider opening the sett even further.
Samitum Sampler - Detail
It appears this photo doesn't want to be here.
This is the third try at posting. My apologies if it disappears again.

What appears grey here is actually dusty lavender. It was interesting to switch the red and lavender. Color study is endlessly fascinating and it is one way to use up odd bits of yarn.

I am glad for having had the occasion to explore Samitum. With that third shuttle, it holds far more design freedom than Taqueté. On the other hand, it takes longer to weave. Time will tell when and if I get back around to Samitum.

Warp On/Weave Off,

Friday, February 28, 2020

Sunshine Table Runner

Sunshine Table Runner - Taqueté (unturned)
The piece on the right is a swatch exploring border possibilities

Although this winter has been mild, it has been unusually dark and rainy -  altogether gloomy. At last a few daffodils are blooming as are some of the early flowering trees. Seeing color return to the garden lifts my spirits. Weaving with happy colors does the same.

Today at a guild meeting my friend Linda said, “You haven’t posted on your blog for a while.” No, I haven’t. Why? I needed to take photos (Isn’t that a silly excuse?). Someone I care about noticed my silence. Talk about motivation.

After my Weave Structures Study Group looked at crepe weaves we turned our attention to Taqueté, actually Turned Taqueté. But I couldn’t bring myself to turn this structure. Turning it locks one into using the same pattern color order for the entire warp. So I threaded my loom in the usual way for Taqueté: 1,3,2,3 – 1,4,2,4 – for two blocks. You might recognize this as a Summer & Winter threading. The threading doesn’t delineate Taqueté from Summer and Winter. It is the way wefts are thrown that makes the difference. In Taqueté tie-down wefts are eliminated and only pattern wefts are thrown. The result is a weft-dominant cloth with vast design possibilities.

Taqueté Sunshine Runner - Detail

Sunshine & Taqueté Detail
Pattern wefts are orange and 

three shades of yellow

The warp here is 20/2 perle cotton sett at 30 e.p.i., combined with 10/2 perle cotton pattern wefts. I designed this little runner while weaving it and am happy with the result. It is a happy little table runner. The middle section worked out particularly well with two very close shades of yellow wefts. The pattern through the center is subtle but still effective.

This is a fun structure to weave with lots of possibilities. I have read Taqueté is a good structure for hand woven rugs so it will go on my “to do” list. The list is rather long though, so don’t hold your breath. In the meantime, Spring is nearly here!

Warp On/Weave Off,


Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Summer Side Up

The year is rapidly slipping away. Tomorrow we begin anew. Slowly and surely daylight is growing longer. We look forward. It is an exciting time.

Grand baby beneath his Wee Coverlet
Little Grandbaby beneath his Wee Pine Tree Coverlet
As 2019 ebbs I had to share one more photo. It is my precious Grand beneath his Wee Pine Tree Coverlet. This time the “Summer” side shows. This is the side that was up on the loom when I wove it. You can see how the slightly darker threads running through the tree trunks create a pleasing secondary pattern. I like that. I enjoy weaving. Color is such fun! Very best of all is sharing my weaving with loved ones.

May 2020 bring you and yours great success and happiness. Happy New Year!

Warp On/Weave Off,


Saturday, December 14, 2019

Waves of Waffles

Waves of Waffle Weave yardage
The color here is far from accurate, check the next photo for a better idea.
Waffle Weave with plain weave, Detail
The color here shows a bit better

This waffle yardage was the next project after Ketchup & Mustard. The draft works well and is satisfying to weave so I simply wanted to continue with more of the same.

Lately, making use of yarns already on hand has been a recurring theme among my weaving friends. Collecting yarn is easier than weaving with it and we are mostly of “a certain age”. Also, sadly, the members of our guild are aging and leaving yarns for us to weave in their honor. Thus we are busily working to make the most of what we have while we can. I suppose it's a grains of sand in the hour glass type of goal.

Here I chose 16/2 dark teal green cotton, combining it with 20/2 black perle cotton and a 20/2 cotton variegated yarn. The teal colored yarn came from the estate of Lynn, a late guild member. She will not be soon forgotten.

The woven piece is yardage. Happily, I used a lot of yarn to weave it. Now what have I been mentioning about getting around to sewing?

Precious youngest grandson
giving his Wee Pinetree Coverlet a workout
 My youngest grandchild loves his Wee Pinetree Coverlet. Today his dear mother took this snapshot while he napped. Precious child, precious mother . . .

Christmas is nipping at our heels and there is still much to be done. I have been busy weaving Cottolin towels. Yet, there are warps between the waffles and the towels. After I take photos I’ll write about my adventures with Taqueté and Samitum.

Merry Christmas!

Warp On/Weave Off,