Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Bother Number Three

Take a close look at the double narrow wavy lines that define each border area. After sitting at the loom weaving those narrow lines really got to me. The twill threading for each of them in the original Davison draft is 4, 3, 2, 1 meaning that each curvy line all the way across the warp curves in the same direction. This is especially noticeable in the corner block in the borders. Perhaps this would not bother others but I did not like it.

"Norse Kitchen" towel - draft from A Handweavers' Pattern Book
Notice the way the twill lines all curve in the same direction. It's especially noticeable in the corners of the borders.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Bother Number Two

The second thing that really bothered me while weaving "Norse Kitchen" with my usual set-up was the floats. They were too long to be practical for use as a towel. I kept thinking how my rings would snag those floats. This was clearly unacceptable.

Here is the first towel. Warp is 20/2 cotton sett at 30 e.p.i. with 10/2 red perle cotton for pattern weft.
Those floats are far too long. After wet finishing they weren't just long, they were loose. Awful!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Bother Number One

The first thing that annoyed me about this draft was the way the corner pattern blocks compressed. To my way of thinking, that corner ought to be perfectly square. Since I was using the same combination of yarns and the same sett as I had been on other Overshot projects, I expected the pattern to weave to square. Wrong.

Too compressed!
This corner block did not weave to square.

Then I tried using heavier pattern warp yarns to force the issue. In the photo above I switched my pattern weft from 10/2 mercerized to 8/2 unmercerized cotton. The problem persisted. Changing the sett from 30 e.p.i. to 36 or 40 e.p.i. would also be worth trying but then the towels would be narrower. That idea was quickly dismissed.

Another strategy would be to throw more shots for each treading block. I admit to being a purist on this idea -- with the right yarns, setts and beat the design should square itself. Once you manipulate the draft in this way other areas of the design tend to go out of whack. So I discarded this idea almost as soon as it came to mind.


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A Christmas Conundrum

In my earliest weaving days a draft in the classic Marguerite Porter Davison "A Handweaver's Pattern Book" caught my eye and my imagination. The draft, called "Norse Kitchen" is on page 186 of the chapter Squares with Borders. The draft is simply stunning: a lovely center ground with classic, intricate borders.

First few "Norse Kitchen" towels.
Pattern Wefts:
Red - 10/2 perle cotton
Green - 8/2 unmercerized cotton
Blue - Cottolin
Lately my weaving adventure has led me to several projects using Miniature Overshot. You will find a few of them here on my blog. As I was considering this year's Christmas, overshot was definitely on my mind. Norse Kitchen's time had come. Using the same set-up as those Miniature Overshots I've been weaving I set out on November 10th with excitement both in the project and in my early start. There would be no midnight oil this year -- no, not for me.

I warped 10 yards of bleached white 20/2 cotton sett at 30 e.p.i. and set to work. That's when Norse Kitchen began to sour. Something about this draft was different. All along I had been using 10/2 perle cotton as pattern wefts at 30 e.p.i. But it quickly became clear that 10/2 cotton would not work as the pattern weft for Norse Kitchen. It wasn't heavy enough to square the design. What to do . . . ? I would either change the sett or change the pattern weft. Choosing the latter I wove a green towel using 8/2. Still the design would not square. It didn't square when I used a royal blue cottolin, either. Rats!

My first "Norse Kitchen" towel using 10/2 perle cotton as pattern weft.
I don't know how it goes for you, but it is near agony when my weaving goes wrong. For days I pondered the puzzle -- how do I make this work?

There were a few other issues with this draft that really bugged me. I knew for certain I could not continue weaving as it was. How would I ever meet my Christmas deadline?

Saturday, November 15, 2014

This and Tat

Lately I have been busy at the shuttles. In between weaving and sewing projects and when I am out and about I always like to have a bit of handwork to do. Here are a few recent bits.

Small tatting projects by RepWeaver
Upper left and right: "Spinning Wheel" from Tatting with Visual Patterns by Mary Konior
Upper center: "Christina" from Tatted Bookmarks by Lene Bjorn
Lower: "Large Cross" from Tatting with Visual Patterns by Mary Konior

That photo isn't the greatest. At least it shows the relative sizes of these pieces. I don't have the white cross any more so I can't reshoot. Oops!

Cross bookmarks are lovely to have on hand for enclosure in greeting cards for any occasion: Baptisms, Confirmations, Weddings, Sympathy. The best ones are made with the finest threads. The thinnest lace makes the smallest "bump" between the pages of a book. A long plied tassel is my favorite finish. Recently the white cross you see here went home inside a book when I returned it to the lender. It makes me happy to be able to share a reminder of my gratitude for the kindness of a friend.

Konior crosses with Perfect Quilter thread tatted by RepWeaver
The white cross is made with very old DMC thread, so old in fact that the label does not list a size. The other bottom row crosses are all tatted with Perfect Quilter threads. Here is another image of the Konior cross bookmarks.

Next are three little pieces along side the threads used to tat them. The spinning wheel at the top uses the same thread (Perfect Quilter #090) as the cross on the left in the previous photo. Neither of these pieces is a favorite with me. The colors change so frequently that the beauty of the tatting itself is obscured. The cross on the right is far more effective if you ask me.

Konior spinning wheels and Lene Bjorn cross bookmark
My big red Spring Doily is still in progress. Since June I have done very little on it. Aside from being busy elsewhere, I am not thoroughly happy with the floppy chains of the two previous rows. This keeps me from wanting to finish while I mull over possible improvements after the fact. Watch for updates.

Meanwhile I am warping my loom to weave some Christmas gifts.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Mystery Warp

In Memory of Lynn

Recently a weaver friend of mine passed away leaving a substantial collection of yarns. My weavers' guild was the recipient of her stash. Each month for several months tables bearing cone after cone of yarn were set up and offered to members in exchange for voluntary donations. The guild turned the proceeds over to a member scholarship fund. The generosity of our late friend and her widowed husband will long be remembered and appreciated.

Cat Tracks and Snail Trails lap robe woven with mystery warp yarn.
(In the background you can see one of my warp painted rep rugs.
The trim on the upholstered sofa is my own Kumi Himo braid.)

I was able to pick up some nice yarns, in particular perle cottons for weaving Miniature Overshot. My latest warp was from one of these yarns. I saw it in the perle cotton section and took it home without further thought. That is, until I went to wind it into a warp. It seemed slightly fuzzy and I worried it would cause sticky trouble. But beaming it was easily accomplished without tangles. Still, it did not behave like cotton.

The pattern I chose is a miniature version of Cat Tracks and Snail Trails. I adapted the draft from a towel in Handwoven's Design Collection #5: Dishtowels. The towel draft was by Carol Strickler and appears on page 19 with a photograph on the back cover.

Cat Tracks and Snail Trails is an asymmetric design posing special challenges when designing borders. I struggled to come up with a satisfactory idea, but am still not entirely satisfied.

As usual, I enjoyed mixing random variegated ends into the warp. By the time I had woven the first piece it occurred to me that the warp may not actually be cotton. So I cut the first piece off, hemmed it and machine washed and dried it. The result is very pleasant, it drapes beautifully and kept a lovely sheen. Now I think that the mystery yarn may be Rayon.

Another surprise was different shrinkage rates for the tan and the variegated warps. The tan main color shrank more than the variegated. This made the variegated more apparent both in color and texture. It is an interesting result and one that bears some thought and further experimentation.

So here is the final result, four nice 36x62" lap robes, one 36" square wee coverlet and a small end piece (the navy blue one). The one with magenta pattern warp was a stretch color-wise. But once it was off the loom I found it to be quite successful.

I have one more cone of the mystery yarn. I wish I had several.

 Thank you, Lynn.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Wee Coverlet in Action

Our daughter chose one of my Maltese Cross Wee Coverlets for her little guy. We had the chance to see her and both of our grandchildren in August. Wish they lived closer. Handwoven blankets are one way I can wrap them in my love from 2300 miles away.

This is my little grandson napping with his Wee Coverlet.
So far his blond curls have not seen a scissors. I'd have a hard time snipping them, wouldn't you?

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Hip Pocket for Mom

Mom's "Hip Pocket" by RepWeaver
My mom lives in a retirement center where she takes her meals in a central dining hall. Since she doesn't feel the need to drag a purse along to meals or to activities she needed a small handbag just to carry her keys, her meal card and a hanky. So she asked if she could have one of "My Hip Pockets".

My jeans pocket bags did not seem appropriate to her style. And I wondered if the fringe might prove troublesome for her. So I designed this one especially for her. Mom's favorite color is blue and she wears it a lot so her little bag goes with nearly every outfit she owns. She is very happy with it and receives regular compliments from fellow residents.

Mom's "Hip Pocket" by RepWeaver - reverse side
The bag is made from what was apparently a swatch of home interior fabric I picked up off the "free" shelf at my weavers' guild. I added tatting, beads and machine embroidery. The shoulder strap is one of my handwoven inkle bands. The bag is lined and sports two interior pockets.

Sometime when I can manage it, I'd like to make more like it.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Toothbrush Rugs

Toothbrush Rugs

Have you ever heard of "Toothbrush Rugs"? They were named before the advent of the modern toothbrush. Back in the day, a toothbrush handle was straight, simple and had a hole at the end. I guess it was the thing to hang your toothbrush for storage. Anyway these old brushes can be fashioned into a tool to make rag rugs. First the brush part is cut off. The remaining handle is shaped into a point at the non-hole end. The resulting needle is threaded with rag strips to sew them into thick and sturdy rugs.

Here are second and third toothbrush rugs I have made. Since I didn't have an ancient toothbrush I simply used a very large tapestry needle. It worked just fine. This is a great way for me to use up odd lots of rag strips left over from my Rep woven rugs.

These rugs are generally round or oval shaped. It has been a bit of a challenge trying to make them rectangular. But I am getting better with practice.

The one at top lives next to our shower door where it makes a perfect step out rug. The one at bottom now lives with a family member living in the deep South. Her kitchen floor is stained concrete. Since any latex product causes damage to such a floor, it's a challenge to find a rug that doesn't need a grippy non-slip pad underneath. Since this rug is heavy and a bit stiff, I hear it stays in place on the slippery concrete floor.

These rugs are hard-wearing and machine washer and dryer friendly. They are especially useful in homes with children and/or pets.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Wee Coverlets for Baby Revisited

 Wee Coverlets are a blast to weave even though they take a lot of time. I wanted to thread another warp. Here is the result - seven coverlets and a small eighth piece, perhaps a ⅔ coverlet.
Wee Coverlets for Baby by RepWeaver
Wee Coverlets for Baby by RepWeaver

The warp is 20/2 mercerized cotton in Natural with a few yellow ends and two variegated ends in the borders. The pattern wefts are 10/2 mercerized cotton.

Wee Coverlets for Baby with source book
Wee Coverlets with source book.
This is the little book where I found the Miniature Overshot draft I used. The title is Miniature Patterns for Hand Weaving: Part II by Josephine E. Estes. This book is in the public domain. You can find it as a PDF here: Original Miniature Patterns for Hand Weaving: Part II
The draft I used is Maltese Cross found on page 9 of the book.

Detail of Wee Coverlet
Detail of Wee Coverlet, Maltese Cross by RepWeaver
Detail of Wee Coverlet, Maltese Cross by RepWeaver
Next you see a couple of close-ups to show you how the border colors worked out. The maroon one looks different than the rest because I used the warp yarn as tabby until it ran out. After that I substituted a tan yarn, slightly darker than the warp color. The result makes for a livelier background that I find pleasing.


Two Wee Coverlets side-by-side for comparison
Here are side by side coverlets from two warps. The one on the left is from a previous warp. Its draft is Lover's Knot I. The one on the right is a Maltese Cross wee coverlet.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Gift

Looper Potholder
My Granddaughter's Gift
When our little granddaughter celebrated her fifth birthday her mother suggested a potholder loom as our gift to her. I wasn't expecting her to do very much with it until she was older and thought Mom was going to have to do most of the work for her. Imagine my surprise. Our tiny girl is a great weaver. Not only that, she has a talent for color and pattern. After the first one or two potholders she was off and running, doing even the finishing all by herself. She finished off two bags of loopers already so today we had to order some more for her. Can you tell how tickled this grandmama is?
And now today our little one was learning how to crochet. Wow!
Here is one of her looper creations given as a gift to me. She is one "gifted" little girl.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Now for the Victory Lap

Spring Doily tatted by RepWeaver
Spring Doily tatted by RepWeaver
Summertime arrived along with gardening, home improvement and house guests. Hence the long, distracted silence here.

It has been a slow next-to-last row on my "Spring Doily" designed by Renulek. The long chains are a bit vexing. Perhaps I ought to have pull them a tighter? So far, I enjoy the look of this. Now it's on to the final "victory lap" row. Wish me luck but don't hold your breath. This may take a while.

Spring Doily tatted by RepWeaver
Spring Doily tatted by RepWeaver, detail
The detail shot clearly shows the row I decided to flip. It is the one with the small golden rings without picots. I like it this way except it would have been better to have added those picots. I will do it that way if I ever tat this doily again.

My latest Wee Coverlets are finished. Next I need to photograph them. After that you will see them here.

Warp On, Weave Off

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Studio Helper

Dear, dear Dot. She truly thinks this is helping. As far as our two cats are concerned, the loom is nothing but a jungle gym. A nice big jungle gym from which no end of adventures in climbing and jumping are to be had. That might explain several of the more interesting scratches to be found there. Kitten intervention may be more annoying than otherwise but really, how can I argue with such a sweetie?

Dot, the Scottish Fold cat, lounging on the well of my warp.
Dot hard at work.
As you can see here, being cute takes quite a bit of effort.
Dressing my loom took a bit of time and effort over the long weekend. In this warp there are 1139 ends of 20/2 cotton sett at 30 e.p.i. It is 38" wide in the reed. That is a problem because my widest temple, the one you see here, expands to a maximum of 37". Argh! Guess I didn't think about that when designing this project. So I had to order a wider temple and am hoping priority mail really means two days. It is supposed to be only two days, isn't it? Or is that just a soft target?

Here you see the first of my latest round of baby coverlets, this time in a miniature overshot pattern from Josephine Estes called "Maltese Cross". I can't decide which this orange color way reminds me most of -- Dixie Cups or Creamsicles. Which do you think fits?

Warp On, Weave Off

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

2014 Spring Doily

This doily was a tat-along type pattern by Renulek. I like her blog even though it is written in Polish and the translation could use translating. The photos are great though and the way Renulek shows the directions right on top of the photo works in any language. Guess that's how it goes with music and weaving drafts as well.

Since I am way behind the pack on this project, all 14 rows have already been published and many tatters have finished their doilies long since. Here I am just beginning row ten.

Renulek's Spring 2014  Doily tatted by RepWeaver

The thread is DMC Cebelia which used to be my favorite back in the day but not any more. I have been trying to use my stash of this and had been doing hearts for Valentine's Day. Since the shuttle was still full I decided to do a trial of this pattern to see if I would like it. Apparently I did because I just kept going. Now I wonder how much more I can get out of this ball of thread. I may have to work in more of the gold color.

If you know this pattern and perhaps have been working on it yourself you may notice that I flipped row number seven. After a lot of thought I made this decision because I wanted the gold colored rings to appear the way you see here. If I had it to do again, I'd still flip the row but would also add the picots to match the gold rings in the previous row. It's hard to see those details in this photo, guess I ought to take a close-up shot next time.

Also, for row ten I am leaving off the thrown ring which I will add in again in row eleven.

When the doily is finished it should fit nicely on this little round table. It stands between the sofa and my husband's easy chair. Not sure how well it will work because he likes to toss a lot of "stuff" on that table. Time will tell.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Allison's Rug

Allison's Rug by RepWeaver
Here are the finished rugs from my latest rug warp. There are three in total and each is around 25" x 52". After a long struggle with the colors, I am beginning to like this combination.

The area woven with the darkest green (Forest) may look familiar. I saw it in Väv Magazine, No. 4, 2013, on page 37. This issue is devoted to the topic "Stripes" and is filled with great ideas and inspirations and is bound to be a favorite.
Three Rep Rugs by RepWeaver

Just to either side of center there is an area of dark grey/duck patterning that doesn't stand out. There isn't enough contrast. It would have been better with the light grey rather than the dark. But I didn't have enough of the light grey. Ah, well. Otherwise I think the design works. This design is one I plan to eventually weave again only next time I will chose different color way.
Rep Rug by RepWeaver, detail

Rep Rug by RepWeaver, detail

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

It's Wedding Season

Yes, it's that time of year again and already there are three wedding invitations in my inbox. Yesterday's children are preparing to say "I do." Time passes in spite of the fact that I cannot possibly be any older.

With each invitation's arrival I check the online wedding registries to look for the happy couples' color ideas. Then I look for a rug in my inventory. But a recent bride, Allison, chose a combination that I hadn't yet attempted -- turquoise, mint green and grey. These are three colors that I would not have put together and could not see myself using. Since then I have discovered that for the moment these colors are tres chic.

Allison's Rug by RepWeaver
Where to start? The biggest hurdle was getting over my own color sensibility. After a long deliberation I decided the best thing to do would be to add a few of my own ideas to include lighter and darker shades as well as highlights.

For some time I had been wanting to use common Inkle-type threadings side-by-side in a rug. The possibilities are absolutely endless so it was a lot of fun playing with various ideas and combinations.

I limited the warp length to six yards due to the fact that I had limited amounts of either shade of grey on my shelf and also because I had limited time before Allison was to be married.

The rug went out in the mail a couple of days ago and should be delivered today. It will be interesting to hear how it is received. I sure do hope the newlyweds like it.

Here are the three rugs fresh of my loom before they were hemmed. I'll post a few more photos of the finished rugs soon.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Wee Coverlet for Baby

Even though my granddaughter is already five and my grandson is already one, I have always wanted to weave baby blankets for them. The main hang-up was the generosity of my daughter and son-in-law's friends who showered our baby grandchildren with quilts and baby afghans both knitted and crocheted. Weaving to give them even more blankets seemed redundant.

Wee Coverlets for Baby by RepWeaver
Wee Coverlets for Baby by RepWeaver
Then I started thinking about it and had a change of heart. My Glimakra loom is 53" wide yet I rarely weave anything that wide. Baby blankets are a perfect project to spread out a bit. Besides, the hand towels I have been weaving in miniature overshot seemed the perfect structure for little blankies. My wee ones might enjoy having something from Grandmama and maybe, just maybe, they would cherish it in the years to come.

It was the month of March when I began this project. My chosen warp color was green. In the spirit of St. Patrick's Day, I decided to call these little baby wraps "Wee Coverlet for Baby".

You will notice my usual inclusion of a few variegated warp ends at irregular intervals. A little extra visual interest is good for babies, right? If nothing else, I enjoy watching the colors change as I weave away. I developed the draft using "Lover's Knot No. 1" from "Miniature Patterns for Hand Weaving, Part 1" by Josephine Estes.

Wee Coverlet for Baby by RepWeaver
Wee Coverlet for Baby, detail
These were very, very fun to weave and I intend to weave more in the very near future. Once I have a good stack of them I will let my wee ones have their pick of a "Wee Coverlet" each. They live far away but will be coming to visit in late summer. I can't wait. Until then there will be hours and hours of fun at my loom.

Wee Coverlet for Baby by RepWeaver
Wee Coverlet for Baby, detail

The Beanie Baby bunny appears only in order to give you an idea of scale. Beanies really aren't good toys for babies.

Warp On, Weave Off
Stack of Wee Coverlets for Baby by RepWeaver
Wee Coverlets for Baby by RepWeaver