Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Wee Pine Tree Coverlets

Wee Pine Tree Coverlets for Baby
Showing both top and reverse sides
Thanks to "Diane in Oregon" I know the original source for this Summer & Winter draft is Mary Meigs Atwaters' Recipe Book: Patterns for Handweavers. Thanks, Diane!

My previous Summer & Winter towel project was the warm-up act for these Wee Pine Tree Coverlets for Baby. The towels were 17" wide in the reed. These little coverlets were 37" wide in the reed for a finished width of 33" wide.

Pine Tree Coverlet, Detail
Wee Pine Tree Coverlet for Baby
To show tree trunk colors
Tough as it is to confess it, this was my most difficult warp or very near it. The tan ground yarn in both warp and weft was not quite strong enough and broke easily. It was a 20/2 unmercerized cotton mill end from WEBS.

Again I placed four darker brown ends and one subtly variegated end through the center of each tree trunk in both warp and weft. The resulting grid pattern is pleasing to the eye.

I began the warp weaving topside up, lifting five harnesses against three sinking ones. Never have I dropped shuttles as often. After the first piece I re-tied and wove the remaining three from the reverse side.

Wee Pine Tree Coverlets

The first three coverlets are all woven using 10/2 perle cotton as pattern weft. The bright, bright "sunburst" green coverlet was the final one of this warp. True to form, I waited until the last one to "go out on a limb" and try something slightly different. The bright green came from a friend of a friend who had been a machine knitter. At 14/2, it was an odd size for weaving. But it was cheerfully bright and soft so I tried using a double strand. The result is a soft blanket with slightly more weight than the others. It is slightly out of square but lovely none-the-less.

Wee Pine Tree Coverlets
Yes, these were trouble. In spite of it and of a few obvious errors here and there, these are four sweet Wee Pine Tree Coverlets. I hope four precious little ones enjoy snuggling sweetly beneath them one day.

Warp On/Weave Off,

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Loaded With Possibility

Box Loaded With Possibility

My friend Khris has been reorganizing his studio space and decided this box had to go. It came to him years ago from a friend who was an avid collector of any number of things, sewing thread among them. Now it has come to me in similar fashion and I couldn't be more pleased. It is difficult to say what will happen next. As both a sewer and a weaver, I will enjoy contemplating the possibilities.

By way of thanking Khris I tatted him a bookmark using some of the variegated thread from the collection. It isn't thanks enough for the huge box of beautiful threads but it does take up a lot less space and he appreciated the gesture. Thank you, Khris!

Two Tatted Bookmarks

Here you see the sewing thread bookmark beside one previously shown in progress. This white one is tatted using DMC Cecelia size 30. The pattern is a favorite designed by Jon Yusoff with an ingenious plaited center. These bookmarks are fun to make and fun to use. Here you see them posing atop my current read, Bleak House by Charles Dickens. This particular book is one of a complete Dickens set once owned by my mother who also loved his stories. When she moved to a retirement home, these books came to me. Reading from them makes me happy.

Youngest Grandchild Napping 'Neath Wee Swedish Coverlet

This is my youngest grandchild putting her Wee Swedish Coverlet to use. Though she lives too far away for arms to reach, she is wrapped in my love. I am a happy Grandmama.

Another Pine Tree warp is woven, off the loom and finished. Photos will have to wait for a bit while I prepare to lead a workshop this weekend. More about both later.

Warp On/Weave Off,

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Lost in the Woods

Pine Tree Towel
8H Summer & Winter

According to the calendar, spring is here but still we wait for sunshine and warm days. It was a tough winter for a lot of reasons including but not entirely due to severe weather. Instead of feeling blue while suspended between situations and seasons I decided to try my hand at weaving Summer & Winter.

So I headed for the woods and searched for a nice pine tree border in several books. My loom is limited to eight harnesses and ten treadles allowing me to weave six blocks in Summer & Winter. In order to achieve a nice branch effect I wanted to find a draft using all six possible blocks. I was particular that the trees appear as realistic as I could make them.

This draft seemed to best fit my requirements. You will find it on pages 27-28 of the Shuttle Craft Guild Monograph #19: Summer and Winter and Other Two-Tie Unit Weaves by Harriet Tidball.

Pine Tree Towel showing front and back sides
8H Summer & Winter

Summer & Winter has long been on my "to-do" list because it took time for me to get over being intimidated it. Most worrisome was the necessity of using a skeleton tie-up on my countermarch loom. I studied and sampled and discovered it was not as difficult as I had feared. It is possible to use the countermarch action using a skeleton tie-up but instead of tying only rising or falling sheds to every treadle, one ties only selected harnesses on each treadle to be paired. Yes, two countermarch treadles can be tromped at once when tied up this way.

Weaving with the skeleton tie-up requires half again as many treadle steps as otherwise therefore many more opportunities to go wrong. But with careful attention a rhythm establishes itself.

There are several methods of treadling Summer & Winter. I attempted to illustrate the three I chose to weave with these photographs. They produce similar but different results. It is tough to say which I like the best.

Click on Photo to better see results of three treading methods.
Lower Left: Paired X's
Lower Center: Singles
Lower Right: Paired O's
Treadling Variations:
Black: Paired X's
Dark Green: Singles
Medium Green: Paired O's (this towel shows reverse side)

In my usual fashion, I added color to the warp and tabby threads. To make the tree trunks seem more real, I used brown warp ends and in the very center of the brown trunks is one subtly variegated thread. I hadn't considered how the added color would play throughout the center of the warp. The result made me very happy. Variety is, after all, the spice of life!

8H Summer & Winter Pine Tree Towel
Hem details
After a while I grew tired of weaving with only green and gave black a try with pleasing results. Dark brown would work well, too. Take a close look at the hems on the black towel. I began with the hem on the right. By the time the ending came I'd decided to add two extra shots of black to close off the block design. This seems to make for a more finished look.

Summer & Winter opens exciting possibilities for further design exploration. But for now I am working to rethread my loom with another warp based on this draft. At 15x19 inches these towels are rather small so now I am working on something a bit wider.

Will I find my way with Summer & Winter or stay lost in the woods? Actually, being lost in these particular woods isn't so bad.

Warp On/Weave Off,

8H Summer & Winter Towels
The towel at upper left showing the reverse side