Saturday, December 30, 2017

Meant to be Together

Three yarns for my 2017 Christmas towels came from three different sources. The 16/2 cotton in Natural came as a WEBS mill end several years ago. The 16/2 Bockens cotton in "Dusty Purple" came my way via the free shelf at my weaver's guild. An unidentified person brought several boxes of yarns that had belonged to her grandmother. Apparently none of the family chose to take up weaving and grandmother's stash was of no use to her heirs. The third, variegated yarn came from the estate sale of a former friend and fellow guild member. Although the rather large cone of this yarn is unmarked, I think it is 20/2 cotton. These yarns came to me at different times from different sources. I did not have a use in mind for them when they arrived. But with these towels it seemed clear that they were meant to come together in one cloth.

Large cone of variegated from an estate sale
Bockens 16/2 Cotton in "Dusty Purple" from someone's grandmother's stash
Mill end 16/2 cotton in Natural from WEBS

The time spots of color inside each waffle cell are a little too subtle, probably because that variegated yarn is a bit finer than the other two. The changing colors show far better on the reverse side where they form a surface grid. Even so I find the colors and the arrangement pleasing.

Waffle Weave Christmas Towel, detail

Waffle Weave Christmas Towel, reverse side detail

Using yarns from my stash, especially those that once belonged to other weavers, makes me happy. Perhaps these yarns waited a very long time specifically in order to become part of this very project. It's impossible to know the reason why the original owners had these yarns or what they had in mind for them. In my imagination it is nice to think they would be happy that yarns they held have become useful and beautiful hand towels.

Here's wishing you a very Happy New Year, a year filled with exciting and satisfying new weaving adventures.

Warp On/Weave Off,

Sunday, December 24, 2017

2017 Christmas Towels

Merry Christmas, everyone!

This year's Christmas towels are a wrap. Perhaps they have been opened already or are still waiting beneath a Christmas tree. By now there isn't much chance of spoiling any surprises.

Waffle Weave Christmas Towels

Using my own 7H version of draft #388 from Carol Strickler's 8 Harness book, these are woven in 16/2 cotton sett at 36 e.p.i. If you think you are seeing a bit of yellow, you are right. Next time I will post a photo of the yarns I used as well as some detail shots so you can better see the structure.

We had a very rare dusting of Christmas Eve snow during the evening so it looks like a White Christmas is in store for tomorrow. Mostly I wanted to write a quick post before I go to bed to send my best wishes. Merry Christmas!

Warp On/Weave Off,

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Waffle Weave – Sample #5

This time of year is always complicated but this particular year has been even more so than usual. 
Since Thanksgiving we have had a week of hardwood flooring repairs and installation. Then Swedish finish fumes sent us out of the house for several days. During that process, our garage-door opener quit working. At 22 years old, it wasn’t a huge surprise but the timing was not optimal. To top it all off, this week I was called to Jury Duty. Fear of a prolonged Christmastime trial evaporated yesterday when I finished my service without being chosen for a pool, much less a jury. Hooray! Finally, it’s back to waffling.

Front and Reverse of Waffle Sample #5
Small swatches on top
Variegated threads make great details on front and reverse sides.
Here is the final sample for this year’s Christmas towels. For this one I used natural and dark teal 16/2 cotton sett at 35 e.p.i. The variegated highlight is 10/2 perle, which was a bit too heavy. The difference made each little cell slightly rectangular. Even so the cloth is light, colorful and textural – a happy result.

One swatch - Two pieces
Left: Machine washed and dried
Right: As it came from the loom
My first weaving teacher, Barbara Doyon, suggested weaving a short sample at the beginning of each warp. Once off the loom, the sample is cut into two equal pieces warp-wise. One is finished, the other left as is. Kept together with written weaving notes, they record valuable information about yarns, structure, shrinkage, etc. I have been a weaver for many years and this is the first time I have followed Barbara's advice. Silly me!

Now I think I am ready to tackle my Christmas towels.

Warp On/Weave Off,

Side by Side Swatches, detail
The little dots of color peeking out from the center of each waffle cell make me happy.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Waffling Away – Sample #4

My exploration of waffle weave drafts continues. This time I chose to use more of the 14/2 machine knitting cotton in an eye-popping green and navy blue. The sett is 35 e.p.i.

The draft is my own modification of Strickler #388. Floats in my previous samples (#1 & #2) seemed too long for towels. Snagging on rings is my primary concern since I plan to weave hand towels. So I merely shortened the floats by shortening the “V” of the waffle cells in both threading and treadling, omitting shaft 8 and treadle 8 and adjusting accordingly.

Variegated ends that peak out from the center of each cell add interest. The changing colors work well on the reverse side making for a lively surface grid. Both sides are nice.

Top left: Unwashed and unfinished sample with sewing thread weft for hem
Top right: Navy blue sewing thread for hem weft, machine hemmed, machine washed and dried
Lower: Reverse side, machine washed and dried
This cloth is rather satisfying. As well as being great for hand towels, it would be fantastic for baby blankets. I am on the right path but there is one more idea to test.

Warp On/Weave Off,

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Weaving Waffles -OR- Never Look a Gift Yarn

Several goals combined to send me searching for a great Waffle Weave draft. The hand towels in my kitchen are showing wear from many years of hard use. My handwoven Cottolin towels are particularly worn which is no surprise since they are favorites. Christmas is coming and I always like to send handwoven kitchen towels as gifts. And there are yarns on my shelf.

Early attempts at Waffle Weave
Top: Cottolin sett at 24 e.p.i.
Bottom: Cottolin sett at 18 e.p.i.

Detail showing wavy Waffle Weave hems
Waffle weave with its superior insulation and absorbance has always attracted me. And it is a magical and beautiful structure. Years and years ago I wove this little piece (tan one above) of Waffle using Cottolin, sett at 24 e.p.i., for both warp and weft. Machine washed and dried, it shrunk a bunch and the hems went wobbly. Next I tried weaving the same structure with (white) Cottolin sett at 18 e.p.i. I hoped a less dense sett would improve the hems. The problem with that idea is the waffle structure suffered. So I shelved that goal. But I  have been meaning to get back around to waffle weave for the longest time. Now is as good an opportunity as any.

Over time yarns from various friends, studio sales, estate sales, and such have worked their way into my stash. One late weaving friend in particular was an ardent yarn hoarder. Sorry to write it but she did very little weaving and a whole lot of yarn collecting. Anyway, one way or the other my shelves hold yarns that I did not particularly seek. They arrived without plan or purpose.

Not meaning in any way to dwell on the morbid, I intend to use my yarns—to use my stash while I am able. If the good Lord wills it, there will be plenty of time to achieve this goal. Going forward I aim to use, as far as possible, yarns already in hand, even if they are garish colors, unknown fibers or difficult grist or ply.

Sample #1
Orphaned yarns somehow make their way to me
The larger sample here has not been washed
This portion of the sample shows variegated perle cotton ends
 centered in the plain weave sections.

Sample #1
Top left is the unwashed portion
I tried several different colors and yarns for weft

With a few cones of 16/2 cotton on hand but wanting to save those for the actual towels, I decided to combine gift yarn of a similar size (pink and orange 14/2-cotton machine knitting yarn) to weave samples. Love for variegated yarns has kept several skeins of what appears to be space-dyed linen singles in a very fine size on my shelf. The pink and orange are eye-popping. Aside from the color it is beautiful, soft yarn. If only those yarns could tell me their tales!

Attempting to weave waffle without wavy hems, I am trying drafts that combine waffle with plain weave. First I tried draft #388 from Carol Strickler’s "A Weaver's Book of 8-Shaft Patterns". I like this draft because it combines a six-end waffle with three ends of plain weave in each threading repeat. Surely the addition of plain weave sections would help even out the hems.

Sample #1 sett of 24 e.p.i. was far too loose. For Sample #2 I tried 30 e.p.i., a big improvement but still not ideal. Later I re-sleyed to weave at 35 e.p.i. Also, using sewing thread as weft while treadling the waffle pattern for hems kept them nice and flat.

In the first few of these samples I tried to use a few widely spaced ends of the variegated among the cotton ends with disastrous result as it immediately began to break. (Predictable—what was I thinking?) The ones that survived eventually frayed away. Really, I ought to have expected problems. The second time around, I tried using my spinning wheel to ply the linen single with one ply of sewing thread. The thread held but the linen still broke and frayed. Back at the drawing board, I replaced the problem yarn with variegated perle cottons.

My friend Sue at The Willingham Weavery weaves lots of waffle weave so I asked her what she does about the hems. She told me she uses sewing thread for the hem weft. Another hint she gave was to weave in two "gathering" threads at each hem fold line. So far I haven't tried the second hint but it's good to know and may come in handy.

Sample #2 - Spaced dyed ends plied with sewing thread, alternating coral and pink in threading repeats, variegated ends are centered in the waffle cells
Top: Sett at 35 e.p.i., machine washed & dried
Middle: Sett at 30 e.p.i., machine washed & dried
Bottom right: Sett at 30 e.p.i., not washed, lower portion shows sewing thread weft for hems

Sample #3
Kerstin's draft from an IKEA towel
I gave up on using the linen singles.
This sample shows 10/2 variegated perle cotton instead.

Yarn skips in the 6-end waffles seem too long to be practical as kitchen towels. So now I am trying a draft from Kerstin's Extras blog. She analyzed an IKEA towel and came up with the draft. This structure is far more stable. The sewing thread hems worked well. But I didn’t like the way the waffle areas do not weave to square and I’m still not certain this is the way to go for my Christmas towels. The blue 10/2 perle cotton variegated ends are very pleasing in these samples. This draft will be worth coming back to another time.

Kerstin's draft makes a very stable structure sett at 36 e.p.i.
Here you see the sewing thread weft hems
 both before and after finishing

My pile of samples is growing. But I am learning lots and lots. Maybe all this pink and orange will be consumed and then with the 16/2 cotton I will begin again at square one. Waffle square, that is.

As for my goal of using Cottolin . . . I guess it will wait. And there are lots of other yarns on my shelves.

Warp On/Weave Off,

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Where Were We?

Summer this year was warm and dry. My husband and I have been busy outdoors with several yard projects so weaving has taken a back seat.

Next weekend is the Seattle Weavers’ Guild annual sale. I have been busy playing catch up. Maybe it wouldn't be such a rush if one of my table runners had not appeared on the publicity poster. In a bit of a panic I have been banging away at the loom to produce some more of that particular runner. Here is the poster. And here are the new runners. There are a total of six of the blue/purple ones and five of the green/turquoise ones.

Rep Weave table runners
8/4 carpet warp sett at 40 e.p.i.

As crazy as it may seem, these are woven using 8/4 cotton carpet warp sleyed four to a dent in a 10-dent reed for a sett of 40 e.p.i. Each warp end was threaded in it’s own heddle. I know I ask a lot of my GlimĂ„kra Standard loom, but the result makes me very happy.

In the odd moment, I’ve sampled a bit of 8-shaft waffle weave. So far the results have been a disappointment. But I am not discouraged, only need more time to play with it. Before then, there is the sale. I need to get busy and put together my inventory.

My little Rep Runner inventory with SWG Sale Poster

If you happen to be in the area next weekend please stop by for a dazzeling display of handwovens and purchase something truly unique and wonderful.

Warp On/Weave Off,

Blue detail
Green detail
Top sides
Reverse sides

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 GlimÄkra 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

Friday, August 4, 2017

Warp Speed Summer & Quality Assurance

From June 2017:

During the last few weeks I hosted a mini-workshop and a study group meeting, both here at our home. My guild, the Seattle Weavers’ Guild, boasts around 325 members with many activities and sub-groups, Mini Workshops being one of them. Any member can request a leader or topic of interest for an informal learning opportunity. Having hosted and led Mini-Workshops in the past but not recently I volunteered to have another go.

I decided to keep the topic open by suggesting the title “Shop Talk”. Nine weavers converged on my home. We had a lovely time, at least I did. They were interested in my weaving process and it was fun to share things I have learned and worked out for myself over my 29 years as a weaver. As I told the group, “For the most part we weave alone.” It is easy to feel like a Silas Marner of sorts and it isn’t until Hephzibah comes along that we realize the need for her company. At least that is how I feel.

After the fact, it would have been good to limit myself to a specific topic. I had enough material for far longer. Single topics could possibly be Rep Weave, Tips & Tricks and Rag-Monger 101. I have specific ways of preparing and arranging rags within a Rep Weave piece that others find interesting and possibly helpful. Believe it or not, rags can be a hot topic. So I will consider and perhaps volunteer to teach again.

There is one point in particular I mean to stress whenever and wherever I speak of my work: the learning never ends. Or in other words, this is how I do things today but if I learn a better way I may change tomorrow. Weaving is full of learning opportunities and I intend to make the most of them whenever possible.

My husband and I, best friends almost from the moment we met, mark nearly four decades of marriage this June. Our firstborn will celebrate his 36th birthday this month. Then there was Father’s Day. Plus early next week our son-in-law, daughter and our three little grandchildren arrive for a visit. June 2017 turns out to be an especially busy month.

Much Later:

Wow! June and July went by in a flash. I wrote the preceding with intention to post just as we hit warp-speed here at home.

In spite of great busyness I have been weaving a bit. For my workshop and rug group meetings I warped my loom with rep rugs in purples and gold/greens. I will share photos next post. Yesterday I tied on to that warp a new color way to weave a wedding gift rug for Alec and Sarah who were married July 1st. Yes, I have some catching up to do but, as they say, the beat goes on. (That last sentence would not please Lynne Truss. Might she grant dispensation in the case of idioms? Ms. Truss is among my heroes and I would hate to disappoint.)

Test-Napping a Wee Pine Tree Coverlet
In the meantime, while here our tiniest family member took on the job of quality assurance. Here she is test-driving (test-napping?) one of my Wee Pine Tree coverlets. I am happy to report it earned her stamp of approval.

August brings “dog days” but also the hint of autumn. So there is hope. Happy August, everyone!

Warp On/Weave Off,

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

Friday, March 31, 2017

The Beat Goes On . . .

Heat-seeker Dot lending a paw to my fringe-twisting efforts
She loves the lime light and thinks she is a tiger.
Putting together colors for this fourth and last Rep Swirl warp, I kept picturing tigers. It wasn’t until the runners came off my loom that I wondered which side should be the “right” side. Technically, rep weave is reversible. Both sides seemed appealing so I hemmed some of them one way and some the other.

Tiger Swirl Rep Runners
Warp: 8/4 Cotton Carpet Warp
Thick Weft: ¾" Wide strips of Tee Shirt Knit

Is the tiger black with orange stripes?

Later I began thinking, really thinking, about tigers. Are they orange with black stripes? Or are they black with orange stripes? Hum . . . Better take a closer look next time I see one.

Or is the tiger orange with black stripes?

Following my workshop experience with Kelly Marshall, I knew these would require black for the thick weft. On hand, the only black I had available for rags was a pile of old black tee shirts. Tee shirt knit is messy to cut but makes for soft, well-packed Rep weave.

For extra interest I added three small blocks of brown in the border. This was careless, as they could have been better thought out beforehand. As they are, they are slightly reminiscent of paw prints. Also evocative is the contrasting lime-green floating selvedge. Those seem like tiger eyes peeking out at me, a happy result.

Christmas-Turned-Easter Outfits

Sewing has kept me busy lately, too. Here are a few outfits for my grandchildren. The dresses have yet to be hemmed. My daughter had hoped to sew the dresses as Christmas outfits but ran out of time. Caring for three little ones, it is hard to imagine her actually finding the time. So I volunteered to take on the project. Once the two dresses were as finished as I could make them without trying them on my far-away granddaughters, I decided my grandson should have something to match. So I sewed the little shirt for him as a surprise. He was thrilled. The too-late-for-Christmas outfits worked out just in time to serve as Easter outfits.

Isn't it interesting how the colors of sewing and weaving projects match? Even at a far distance, my daughter and I think a lot alike.

Summer & Winter Sampler
Bottom - Paired X's treadling
Center - Paired O's treadling
Top - "Plain" treading

Next up on my weaving agenda is Summer & Winter, a structure long on my to-do list. There is much to do and much to learn.

Here is a small sample of current explorations. The draft is from Shuttle Craft Guild Monograph #19, "Summer and Winter and Other Two-Tie Weaves" by Harriet Tidball. The warp is 20/2 cotton with pattern weft of 10/2 cotton. A perfectly balanced plain weave is essential for this design. I think the sett of 24 e.p.i worked okay.

Adding color through the center of the tree trunks  created extra interest with a checked effect in the middle, a happy result. Experimentation will continue.

The beat goes on . . .

Warp On/Weave Off,