Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Sunday, December 28, 2008
And here they are, thick and soft, after fulling:
Now I feel compelled to share an irrational pet peeve. Occasionally, as I am finishing a project, or shortly thereafter, I will see something similar in a new Handwoven. In this case, while I was finishing with these scarves, I got the new Handwoven, chock full of articles on fulling. Last year, I wove several tencel scarves in huck lace and then saw an article the new Handwoven about tencel scarves in huck lace. When that happens, I feel like I have to tell everyone that my projects were my own ideas and that I did not get them from Handwoven. I think Handwoven is an excellent publication, and I am always excited whenever a new issue comes. I have thought about why this would irritate me when I should be proud that some of my ideas are in league with those published in my favorite magazine. I realized that before I began weaving, I had no creative outlet and did not consider myself a creative person. Now that I have discovered this creativity within myself, a creativity in relative infancy, I feel like a protective mother, needing to always defend it (and sometimes brag about it, the way mothers do). I have concluded from all this that to mature, I need to be more open about sharing my own ideas and about receiving ideas and inspiration from others' experiences.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
First, I LOOOOOVE Louets! I was already prejudiced on this point. I have a Louet Kombo and a Louet Spring myself. They are quiet, well engineered, and they look nice. I know that appearances aren't really a big priority for looms, but I see it as a nice bonus. Anyway, the Megado fit all of those expectations. The only noise I noticed was a click each time the (computerized) dobby prepared for the next shed. The shed was nice and clear. The tension stayed very even with the floating breast beam. Treadling was easy, even on such a big loom.
I found weaving on the Megado to be a little slower than weaving on a plain ol' treadle loom. This is because I generally tie up my treadles in a walking configuration. That way I can raise one treadle, lower another, and beat all at the same time. With the Megado, the rhythm wasn't as fast. It was lower the treadle, throw the suttle, beat, raise the treadle, and so on.
I did like the computerized dobby. I usually plan my drafts out on the computer anyway, so it doesn't take any more time to set up the dobby than it does to tie up treadles. I can see that pegging dobby bars would take much longer, especially for a complicated draft. Also, with a manual dobby, you are limited by the number of bars you have. A couple of ladies in our guild have Octados, and they are quite often borrowing dobby bars from each other because they don't have enough. With a computer dobby, there are no such limits.
The other thing I learned was that I love treadling. I don't really see a dobby loom in my future. I got a little bored with just one treadle. Up, down, up, down, same treadle, over and over. Not that a dobby doesn't have some real advantages. Without a dobby, you can easily run out of treadles for many drafts, and a dobby allows you to weave many more interesting patterns. I have to admit that the pattern I wove was realatively simple. It was a straight threading and treadling on 16 shafts. I think that weaving a more complicated pattern (maybe something in the vein of Bonnie Inouye) would be much more interesting. But as for me, I weave for fun, and I think that a big part of the fun is treadling.
In summary, I think the Megado is a fabulous loom. It's not something that would make sense for me to buy, but I am really glad that there is one available for me to use occasionally if I so choose.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Now I'm busy weaving Christmas presents for me to give. I'll post pictures after Christmas. I love weaving for others. It's so much fun picking out the right yarns, colors, and patterns for each person. It's also nice to know that they are appreciated. I'm really looking forward to finishing and giving them away!
Monday, November 24, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
Sunday, September 21, 2008
In the sample above, I wove sections of twill and plainweave with a single strand of weft and a double strand of weft. There was so much going on with color, texture, and pattern in the twill areas that I didn't really like them. I wound up choosing the plainweave with a single strand of weft. It turned out OK, and Nancy seemed happy with it.
I had brought some bambu 12 and some 20/2 handpainted silk for the exchange, and Sue wove them into a beautiful scarf. Here is the front:
And the back:
Both sides are lovely, but I think I prefer the back. The scarf has such a nice drape and hand. I'm looking forward to wearing it.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Sunday, August 10, 2008
We also spent a lot of time in the Home and Family Arts building, which housed exhibits of painting, photography, glass work, and, of course, fiber arts. The spinners were well represented. There were lots of beautiful skeins on display. I entered one skein, which didn't look too awfully bad among the others, but I could see that I still need a lot of practice in that area. My biggest disappointment was in the turnout of weavers. In the non-professional-weaving-of-things-other-than-rugs category, I saw only five entries from three weavers. Yes, only three weavers! We have more than ten times that many talented weavers in our one local guild. Anyway, two of the pieces on exhibit were mine. One was a deflected double weave scarf woven of tencel and mohair, which won first place. The other was a crammed warp plainweave scarf of wool and silk, which recieved an honorable mention. Second and third place were taken by Nancy, who entered a painted warp scarf and gorgeous shadow weave scarf.
I was more gratfied than disappointed, though, as I looked at the display. While I was admiring Nancy's work, a woman came to the display, pointed at my deflected double weave scarf, and said quietly to her daughter, "This one is gorgeous. The colors are beautiful." I was tempted to tell her that I had made it, but I decided not to. That simple praise was more than enough. My friends always say nice things about my work, but I tend to think that friends are supposed to say nice things. To hear such kind words from someone who didn't know me, or even know that the work was mine, validated me in a way. I feel as if I can say that I am a weaver or an artisan with more confidence and not feel like an imposter.After I left, I began to think about what it was, specifically, that so disappointed me about the poor showing of weavers. I think that exhibiting in the fair is a great opportunity to present weaving in a contemporary context to the community. When I was younger, I remember many times seeing weavers in old-fashioned costumes weaving plain vanilla rag rugs, and each time I thought, "It's nice that people used to do that." It wasn't until I saw weaving as a contemporary art that I realized that I wanted to weave. That's why I think it's important to show our work and let others know that weaving is still relevant.
Saturday, August 2, 2008
The sample I wove was sea-silk warp in plainweave, 18 epi. I am trying to decide between two different wefts: natural 20/2 silk and silver 8/2 tencel. Right now I am leaning toward the silver tencel, but I'll wait to see how they look after wet finishing. I chose plainweave for the first warp on the loom because I thought it would show most clearly if I needed to make any adjustments to the loom.
I've also been spinning. Right now I am working on a llama / merino / tencel blend that I bought at Franklin. I don't remember who sold it to me; their name isn't on the receipt :( I am really pleased with it. The little bits of turquoise really set it off.
I also recently met some friends at the bead store. I had been wanting some turquoise to go with a couple of my summer outfits, and I found just the thing. I made this necklace and bracelet of turquoise, silver, and brown glass beads. The large beads on the necklace are ceramic. I wasn't sure how I felt about the necklace at first, but it's growing on me.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Monday, June 23, 2008
The last scarf I wove, just for fun, in plainweave with a crammed warp, following a recipe in an old Weaver's magazine. The structure is so simple, but the scarf turned out so nice. The crammed stripes are handpainted 20/2 silk, the remaining warp was 20/2 Jaggerspun Maine Line, and the weft was 20/2 silk noil. This turned out to be a nice, airy, light-weight scarf. I am really pleased with it. If I were to do anything differently, I would beam the wool and silk warps separately. Toward the end, there was a definite difference in tension.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
I used the threading from the March/April issue of Handwoven. I used cottolin instead of bamboo, added a couple repeats, and changed the treadling slightly. I'm really pleased with the way they turned out.
My other recent accomplishment is a sample for our guild's advancing twill study group this weekend.
I used a 5/4 rayon slub mill end as the warp and 5/2 rayon as weft. I tried it with both black and blue wefts, and I like the black the best. The sett I used was 16 epi, which seemed a little too close. I think I will re-sley the remaining warp at 14 epi. I wound enough warp for several samples and a nice scarf. The colors in the warp are so much fun to work with. These pictures don't do justice.
Friday, June 13, 2008
Saturday, June 7, 2008
One reason I enjoy fiber festivals so much is, of course, the awesome fiber for sale. But the other reason is to see lots of fiber people. I thought about this and wondered why I'm happy to meet other fiber people. What makes them special? One answer is that we share a common interest, but I think it goes deeper than that. Working with fiber is a tactile, time-consuming, and, let's admit, sometimes tedious practice. This experience yields fiber artists who tend to be gentle and patient, both of which are qualities that define love in I Corinthians 13. If you combine that with the warmth and genuine interest that fiber people show in each other's work, it's easy to see why it's such a pleasure to be around other fiber people.
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
What are five things on your to-do list for today (not in any particular order)?
What are five places where you have lived?
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Monday, May 19, 2008
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Right now, I'm working on designing some kitchen towels for a wedding gift. I picked out the yarn for the towels several months ago, but only recently decided on a weave structure. I was inspired by the last Handwoven to use a mix of colors in woven lace. I'm using Donna Muller's book Handwoven Laces to help design the fabric. This is such a great book. It is clearly written and makes designing lace drafts so easy. I also love Muller's style of writing, which is simple and clever. She seems to enjoy using irony and plays-on-words when the opportunities arise, which is more often than one might think with this topic.
I'm very excited to note that I'm making an addition to my loom collection. I will be getting a new-to-me Louet Spring within the next couple of weeks. I've been drooling over the Spring for some time and had the opportunity to get one at a good price. The Louets are engineered so well, and I'm really looking forward to weaving on this one. I did notice a rather disturbing trend; I've bought a loom each year that I've been weaving. I think the engineer in me has gone a little crazy collecting tools. But this will be the last loom for a while.
Friday, May 2, 2008
I wandered back through the woods a little to look for more but didn't find anything beyond the crabapple tree. That's okay because what I found will be plenty for me. I am pretty happy with this spring-time gift from God!
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
This was my first attempt at overshot. I used M.P. Davison's Valley Forge Dogwood with a just-okay border that I designed. I used 10/2 and 5/2 mercerized cotton, so they would stand up to some abuse. I'm not thrilled with the way the border turned out, but I haven't had much experience designing drafts. If I had to change anything about the placemats, I would change the sett (27 epi is a little close) make them a little shorter. They're not bad though, and all-in-all, I'm pleased with them. I enjoyed the rhythm of overshot, and it was a lot of fun to watch the pattern develop. I can't say that overshot is my new favorite weave structure, but it is something I'll do once in a while.
Also, I wanted to share some of the view from my backyard:
Since I don't have much room on my property for growing things, I was so excited to see the crab apple blossoming on the land owned by the county. I'm having a lot of fun seeing what kind of plants are popping up around the house; although, I seem to have an over-abundance of hostas already...
Thursday, April 24, 2008
First was this beautiful silk from Robin Edmundson. She had so many great yarns and fibers in so many beautiful colorways, it was hard to choose.
I also bought a raw Cormo fleece from Westfield Woolies. I decided to process it myself. I have never washed a fleece before. I have washed this one now, and it's still drying. I am going to flick card it since it has a nice long staple. I have already learned one important lesson: Be more careful about skirting. What I have isn't too bad, though, and I'm excited to see how it turns out.
Last, I bought this beautiful roving from Greyside Farm. It is alpaca, shetland, and silk. I have already spun quite a bit of it, and it's turning out very nice. I am going to use the yarn in a project for our guild's straight draw program in June. After the program is over, I'll post more about it.
Friday, April 18, 2008
I'm having a lot of fun getting to know Iris. She came from a rough background, so she has a hard time trusting people. If I sit or lie on the floor, she likes to come sniff me and check me out, but if I try to reach out to her she quickly runs away. She is really curious and likes to explore every corner of the room. She is also really active and likes to sprint around the furniture and do "binkies," happy bunny leaps. I have a blast watching her, and I think we'll get along quite well.
On another topic, I was home sick from work today and passed some of the time reading old issues of Handwoven. One article in particular caught my attention and made me think. It was about a Navajo weaving class. The Navajo instructor asked her students what was the source of their creativity. The students gave answers such as the land, the ocean, opossums, and turtles. The instructor replied that the source of her creativity was her clan, Reed. My first thought was: Opossums? Seriously??? Then I began to think about how I would answer that question. What is the source of my creativity? It didn't take long to realize that the source of my creativity is God. Anything I have ever made has been inspired or influenced by something that He has already made, either in nature or through someone else's work. The more I thought, I realized that He is the Creator of All Things. Nothing exists that He didn't create. So in all reality, I don't create anything. Rather, God creates through us. He created each of us individually and gave us skills, talents, passions, resources that yield beautiful things. He is ultimately the source of it all.
Monday, April 7, 2008
Yeah! Spring is officially here! It looks a little bare to me yet. If nothing else pops up this year, I'll plant some tulips in the fall.
So, Greencastle is coming up this weekend, and I'll be going for the first time. I'm pretty excited about it. A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned to Alice, my spinning teacher, that I planned on looking for some silk since I'd never spun it before. She offered to send me some to try, so I could see what I liked before I spent any money on it. Two or three days later, a silk hankie, a cap, some recycled sari silk, and a couple of types of sliver showed up in my mailbox. It didn't take long before I had spun it all, and I really enjoyed it. Here's what I wound up with:
Some of it is pretty slubby and inconsistent, but practice makes perfect. You might be thinking, "Hey, I don't see any recycled sari silk there," and you would be right. It turned out awful, with lots of tangly slubs that got caught at the orifice and on some of the flyer hooks. Before I realized it was caught, I tried treadling faster to make it take up, and I wound up with some "yarn" that was more overtwisted than anything I had ever made before. More practice is definitely in line!
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Saturday, February 9, 2008
It's okay to laugh - it IS pretty funny looking. I doubt it will ever be worn much, but I keep working at it. It will be nice to have something that I made from start to finish (okay, I did use commercially prepared fibers), and besides, practice makes perfect.