Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Mary Meigs Atwater

"Every normal human being has the desire for self-expression, for creative work- and to be satisfying to the soul this must be work of real tangible value; it must, too, in some way satisfy the hunger for beauty.  Untrained artists cannot produce satisfactory art in music or painting,- nor even in literature.  Weaving offers a form of creative expression within the reach of anyone." 

Mary Meigs Atwater, The Shuttle-Craft Book of American Hand-Weaving, 1947.  Page 21-22.

Monday, September 26, 2011

I "heart" color!

 I love color, lots and lots of color.  I love weird mixes of colors, too!  I would consider this an odd mix, but it's so beautiful!!  And lively! 

The warping...

Sleying the reed:

Getting it all organized and rolling it onto the back beam...

Finally the first weave!

 Looking at the angles...

When I'm done, these are being sent to my friend in Brazil!

The draft:

Other drafts I want to try on this warp:


Happy weaving!!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fair Prep

I just received word a day ago that out county fair WILL happen after all!  I have been looking forward to this for a year now, after last year's big win:

I plan on entering a lot more things this year in the weaving department, and will compete against myself a few times!  I want to enter some of my canning as well.  In fact, between the two departments, I have 9 things planned.  I know it's a little overkill, but you get a small amount of money if you place.  So the more things you enter, the more money you might get... then I can spend it on yarn for next year's projects!

So, here are some of the things I've made this year that I want to enter:

For the "household item" I will enter a Handwoven Dishtowel in summer and winter:


For original idea = P2P2 project

Rug (on the loom right now, and this is not it but it will kind of look like this style with the different shaped squares woven out of t-shirt scraps...)


And for the "other" category: Lee's Surrender Overshot runner


The spinning category:
Hand spun wool

And last... but not least, the canning category:

apple pie filling


apple jelly

I am so excited!  I have to turn it all in next Wednesday, so I have about a week and a few days to finish my handwoven rug and gather everything together.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Diving into a new project

I know I seam like such a crazy weaver because of all the projects I have going on, but.... 

When I was working on my pinwheel scarf, my friend who lives in Brazil wanted something like it.  So, this project is for her!  Have fun watching the process!  Here is the initial planning (like picking out the colors) and warping.

Pinwheel Dishtowels

12/2 cotton in orange and blue
Set at 30 epi
6 yard warp  (I'll make a few extras!)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

More apples!

100 lbs of apples so far... 63 quarts of apple products... lots of gifts!

We have 35 quarts of applesauce, 21 half-pints of apple jelly (plus a lot of leftovers!), 21 quarts of apple slices for pies and cobblers and crisps, and next we want to dehydrate some apples and make more jelly for gifts!

That's a lot of apples, and it's only 1 tree!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A scarf just for me!

Being a teacher in Northern Arizona does have its challenges in the winter time, especially at a school that doesn't believe in indoor hallways.  Instead, we are a school built with lots of buildings located around a plot of land, and in order to get anywhere you have to go outside.  Oh, and there is always outside duty, in fact 4 times a week we have outside duty!

Last Christmas, my husband had one of those elf-exchange things with someone in the office.  We were vacationing in Spokane, WA right around Christmas and we went to Paradise Fibers.  I looked at their Brown Sheep Company wool and decided I had to make his exchange person a scarf on my loom!  I let my hubby pick out the colors for the scarf for his buddy, and he chose very nice classic colors.  I even discussed what kind of plaid he would like me to weave.  It was the very first scarf I had made on this loom AND it was the very first plaid I had ever done!  When it was done, I knew I had to make each of us a scarf for the winter!

I had so much fun making the plaid scarf, I made two more scarves before winter was over.  I used this dishtowel pattern from WeaveZine.  Later I realized that this was a shadow weave/color weave effect using different amount of warp strings each time to create a stair step optical illusion.  This one with the wild colors is mine! 

And this one with the more classic look is my husband's scarf.  He loves it!  His is much wider than mine, and he loves that, too!  It is also made with his favorite locomotive company's colors: Burlington Northern.  His hobby is model trains and we have a lot of Burlington Northern and Santa Fe n-scale locomotives!

I liked scarf making so much, that later I made this plaid scarf.  It was not only my second ever plaid scarf, but it was also in the same wild and wooly colors!  I love wool scarves!  It was kind of a birthday present for myself because I started it on my birthday.  Even though winter was almost turning into spring, I still found a lot of time to wear it.

So fast forward to this summer.  Right before I had to go back to school on August 1st, I was feeling a little down about the summer being over so I decided to cheer myself up with a scarf made of my most favorite colors, in my favorite wool, with my most favorite 8-shaft weaving pattern: the pinweels!

I just finished it and I love it!  I felted it just a little bit in the washing machine! 

When I felted it, a neat texture appeared in the fabric.

It's going to be so warm this winter!  And super cheerful!

Now I have a few scarves to chose from, depending on what day it is
depending on what mood I'm in!  

 I can't wait until winter!!!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Summer and Winter project revisited

Back in the summertime, I made dishtowels in yellow and rust using a profile draft.  As you probably recall, I set the epi way too high and the towels ended up really stretched out at first.

I ended up remedying the problem by cutting the summer and winter rotation in half.  So instead of 1a-2b-2a-1b, it was 1a-2b.  It was a little disappointed because it wasn't authentic.  It was missing some of the cool features that summer and winter weave offers.

The towels are very beautiful, don't get me wrong.  They will make lovely gifts and they are of wonderful materials.  But I wanted to revisit this project and find out what went wrong and maybe try it again.


Winter side:

Summer side:

After doing some self-studying on summer and winter, I realized my mistake was simply having the epi set too high.  I don't know what I was thinking, but for some reason I set the epi at 30, which would be perfect to make a twill with my 12/2 cotton.  What I needed to do instead is set the epi at 20.  This also allows me to change my reed to a #10 and free up my #15 reed for another project!

I decided to try this out with just a small sample on my loom.  I measured out 160 pink threads at 2 yards on my warp board.  It didn't take very long, nor did it take long to thread them in the reed or the heddles!  It was actually so fast that it's tempting to do more sampling on my loom in the future.  I usually try to avoid sampling, and that is why I tend to run into these problems every now and then.  I think I will reconsider this issue in the future, even though I have been pretty lucky so far.

I used 12/2 cotton for both the warp and the weft.  And I used one of the unusual treadling repeats of 1a-2b-2a-1b.  I like this one a lot!!

I also made a sample using purple as the pattern thread. 

It turned out so girly!  I am sending it to Brian's grandma to use as a very small table runner.

I also tried treadling the original way of 1a-2b-1a-2b.  I do like it, but my favorite is the other treadling because of the pretty XOXO pattern.

What I really want to do with this summer and winter weaving, is make a checkerboard out of this profile draft I created for my 4 nephews and 1 niece!  I want to make it a travel set, with maybe a little bag to fold it up and put it in.  I was even thinking of Velcro pieces so you could stop right in the middle of a game.  I am planning on making it nice a big, like the whole width of my loom.  The pieces will be crochet circles, even though I'm not really fond of crochet, nor am I really that good at it.  And the best part about all of this, I could choose whatever colors I wanted!  Here is the profile draft.  Each 1 square really represents 3 repeats of summer and winter, or 12 threads total.  So this draft would be 480 threads, and at 20 epi it would weave up to be 24", just perfect!

I know I can't make it in time for birthdays this year, but maybe for Christmas?
It's another thing on my long to-do list! 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Name that tune...

From this angle, this doesn't even look like my favorite snail's trails pattern!  Oddly it looks like little  footballs.  It's actually the same pattern but just one color of weft yarn.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Warp and Weft book review

I was excited but hesitant to try a new weaving book offered on back in the spring.  It came out this summer but I just got my copy last week.  It is smallish in size, but 187 pages full of information.  It's also very robust because it's hardback.  And the price is really good on, especially with the free shipping deal when you order enough eligible stuff.  Anyway, after it came, I found out that this "new" book is really an older book translated from the Swedish version published in 1999.  How exciting to have something from a country rich in weaving!

The organization makes a lot of sense.  The table of contents is very detailed and helpful.  Here it is:

The pictures are also really big and beautiful.  They show a lot of detail and they are very clear and helpful.  The instructions are nicely written and also very clear and detailed.  At first I was afraid that this was going to be a book for new weavers and I would find it boring, but I love some of the in the introduction on how to analyze a draft when no tie-ups, threadings, or treadlings are given.  I am excited to give this a try with some wool we purchased from a thrift store a few years ago.  Furthermore, it is not just a beginner's book because there are a lot of weaving structures I have never heard of or that I don't know much about.  For example, I have never heard of the following: 5/1 twill, rickrack weave, Drouguet, Whip cord, reformed weave, satine, Halvdrall, Lisere, Brighton honeycomb, Pique, corkscrew weave, weft-backed weave.  I also am excited to find more information on lampas, double-weave, crepe weave, color effects, cords, and shadow weave.  And lately, my mom and I have been into working with scraps of fabric for rug making and on page 78 there is a neat rug done in crackle weave using scraps of fabric.

I'm so glad I got this book and I'm looking forward to really digging into the information and using it!!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Powell's Shadow Weave book

So now that P2P2 is over, I have began focusing on a totally new concet: shadow weave. I reviewed the book 1000+ patterns by Powell, and wow!!!  She really packs in a lot of patterns with the method that she uses!!!  Her method was confusing at first, and I have heard that from a lot of people so I wasn't too surprised to see that it was confusing. But her explanations are really good, and if you take the time to sit and study it all out then the book has a lot to offer.  Here are some hints that I can offer from experimenting with her drafts:
  • Powell's threads are labeled with letters like AaBbCcDd. Each capital letter is a dark thread and each lower case is a light thread.  They also refer to shafts, like this: A=1, a=2, B=3, b=4, C= 2, c=1, D=4, d=3
  • Powell also uses numbers for threading, like 12-34-21-43 is the same as above, but the underlined number is the dark thread and the one without a line is the light thread. The number is the shaft.
  • The tie up is easy. It's 2-4, 1-3, 2-3, 1-4. Each has a letter assigned to it, so don't forget that it goes ACBD.
  • After you get this concept down for 4-shafts, it's easy to transfer into 6 or 8-shafts.
  • If you are confused, try playing with it on a computer program. That way, there is no yarn waste and you can experiment all you want! I have already drafted out two of them, and after playing with it on the computer it made so much sense.
  • Pay close attention to the drafts. Sometimes it goes AaBb and then suddenly switches to bB or aA. So watch those letter sizes and places.
  • Powell places the letters in the threading on the shafts which they belong but she does it in groups of 2, so the lower numbers/letters are the odd shafts and the slightly elevated numbers/letters are the even shafts.
  • The first patterns show you different profile drafts and what happens if they have colors or not. The second 2/3 of the book are different patterns broken up into 4,6,8 shaft patterns. Pictures are labeled with shaft first, number, and then the number of pattern on the set. So, 4-2-2 would be 4-shafts, 2nd draft, and the 2nd part.  Here are some examples of these below:

There are a few pages in the book that have the drafts already done.  This is the draft on page 14:


I actually started with this one so I could play with it on the computer to learn how to understand the new notations.  Notice the AaBbCcDd's are all filled in the threading and the treadling.  Remember, the A=1, a=2, B=3, b=4, C= 2, c=1, D=4, d=3 and the tie up is 2-4 (A), 1-3(C), 2-3(B), 1-4(D).

Example of 6-2-6:  (Translated, the first number means it's a 6-shaft project.  The second number means it is the 2nd project in the 6-shaft section.  And the third number means it's threading variation #6.)  This is a picture of page 163:

When you take all the information and plug it in where it belongs in the draft, this is how it looks: