Monday, November 18, 2019

Weaving to Frame Part Two

I wish I could say I’m finished with this project, but alas, no.  It may be one of those never ending frustrations.
The tulips have been woven off and, man are they ever literal.  I had wanted to create a suggestion of tulips, a mere hint of tulips, but nope, didn’t work, I made a picture.  I was hoping that after spraying liberally with alcohol that the image would bleed nicely and tone itself down.  Nah.
This is the reverse side and it has more potential, but I think I’ll set it aside for now and move forward with another idea.  Thankfully, I put on enough warp to try out several ideas.
Idea number two is all about distortion, so I started to move the threads around, a pull here, a pucker there..
I really started to like the look so I introduced some ruching for more vertical distortion.
I decided to add a few silk threads in gold and green woven through the largest distortion pull.  I’m rather liking this.
I think I’m happy with this look and now I have to find a name for it because that is part of the guild’s project guild lines.
I’ve laid the frame that I plan to use over top of the piece which I’m calling a rather uninspired, ‘Silk Road’.  It definatley looks better in a frame!  Now I just have to figure out the orientation, horizontal, vertical or a radical diagonal?

Thankfully, I have enough warp to give this problem one more attempt, but I’m already pretty much over it.
The garden shot this week is a photo of how we winterize our grasses.  We have eight large grasses in the garden and 'stooking' them keeps the rain off their hearts and protects them from the frost.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Getting Ready for A Sale

November is when we have our weaving guilds biggest event.  It is a two day sale, called Elegant Threads.
The funds raised by the Guild commission at this sale is essential to the Guild’s financial health so Ngaire and I always put in our weaving and lend the Guild our display racks and manniquins.
Frankly it is a huge amount of work to get ready for this event.  The first step is deciding exactly what to put in the sale. Everything has to be pulled out of storage and inspected and discussed.  Our spare bedroom is a disaster while we get organized.
The Guild requires us to use the Guild designed hang tags on every item.  We have tags for hand woven items and tags for handspun and knitted handspun items.    It takes a good day to print off the tags on cardstock, cut them apart, hole punch each one and add string to the tags, all the while I keep my fingers crossed that my printer doesn’t have a wobbly!
The guild provides us with an inventory sheet template, and we fill in our code number, item name (which is the same as on the hang tags) and price.  We keep one inventory sheet for ourselves and give one copy to the sales desk when we drop off our submissions. Each tag must have a unique number, so it is really hard to reuse tags from previous years and still maintain numeric integrity on your inventory sheets.  The part of the tag with the unique number is cut off when the item is sold and used to update the inventory sheets.  I do quite a bit of fiddling around to try and use the old tags and I spend far too much time avoiding rewriting and reprinting tags!
Each item has to be ironed and folded in a specific manner per the Guilds request; for example each tea towel has to be folded into three lengthwise and then the tag must be attached.  No other tags are to be on the item.
One tea towel down, twenty to go.
 I don’t even want to talk about the scarves, the shawls, the runners (which must be rolled on a cardboard tube for display) and the skeins in their basket which have to be measured for length and weighed!  It will surely take us another couple of days to get ourselves ready.
The front garden is much more sombre place today as we remember all those who fought for the freedom we have.  

Monday, November 4, 2019

Something to Frame

I am a part of the same weaving study group as Mom called Exploring More, and this fall the project that we are weaving is to weave something that we can frame.  There is really no rules you can do any weave structure, any fiber, anything really.  It is surprisingly hard to come up with an idea!

I have always wanted to weave a textured canvas (like for an oil painting) and paint over it, letting the paint pool and collect in the texture.  I only have a vague idea of how I am going to do this project.  First step was to find some artist canvases that I am going to use to stretch my fabric over so that  I can then paint on it.

Now that I know the size that I need to weave I can pull my warp.  I wanted to use a fine thread so I used a 2/30 cotton.  Yup I went from Chenille set at 10 epi to this cotton set at 40 epi!
I pulled the warp with no idea what pattern I was going to weave, I just wanted to get started!  The warp is 18 inches wide and 3 yards long, enough for four paintings.
I decided that for the first painting I wanted to weave something with a lot of texture.  I went with an advancing twill that looked like ripples on water.  Of course I made a threading error that I didn’t notice until the end of the threading process.  I had to rethread over 700 threads, yikes!
While I was busy weaving; I heard something fall with a metal clink.  I looked down and I saw a huge screw had fallen out of the bar that holds the treadles to the loom.  Thankfully it screwed back in with no problems.
The pattern is really adaptable; you don’t really have to follow the pattern exactly.  The woven piece is only 22 inches long so I was able to just weave the piece with no repeat.
I washed and dried the piece because I wanted to remove the reed marks from the cloth.  I ironed it really hard to remove the wrinkles.  Here you get to really see the watery ripples of the pattern appear.
Next step is to staple the fabric piece onto the art canvas.
The hardest part was figuring out how to do the corners.  I’m still not happy with how they look.
But the finished canvas looks pretty good!
Last step is painting the canvas.  I chose to use acrylic paint because you don’t have to prepare the canvas, you can paint over the raw fibres.  I didn’t want to use gesso to fill in the texture of the fabric.  I wanted a modern look to the painting with just one bold stripe of colour.  I had too much paint on the brush so there is a big glob of paint and I hate that I applied the paint on the diagonal.  I tried to balance it with more paint but still hate it.
So I added more paint, now I hate it more.
I like the light areas where the paint picks up the woven pattern.  But I hate the dark globby areas.

I am not sure where I am going now; do I work more on the painting or just leave it as a failure that I learn from?  Should I keep going with the other painting ideas I have for the warp or should I just weave something else with the warp?
As I am writing this blog I think I may have a solution for the blue painting.  Maybe I could paint it all over blue then use silver paint to dry brush over it to bring back the woven texture of the painting.  Maybe . . .

Final Garden Photo is flowering plants, it may be November but we still have some plants flowering.  They will keep going until a heavy frost.  They are Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum), Wand Flower (Gaura lindheineri) and Garnet Beardtongue (Penstemon 'Garnet') and peeking around back is Alyssum. 

Monday, October 28, 2019

Finishing up the Chenille Scarves

This is the second installment for this diversified plain weave scarf, the first part of the story of the music note scarf;  is here.  Once I finally got the motif and the threading (had to redo it three times!) correct for this scarf it quickly wove up. 
It wove up so quickly that I only took one set of pictures, it is a little hard to see but I wove the second motif upside down so that when the scarf is finished the ends will match when worn.
The music note scarf joined the black piano scarf in the closet waiting for a sunny day to do the sewing for the hems.  Definitely need a lot of light when trying to sew a black scarf.
But they are now both done and here are the beauty shots.  The black piano is quite striking.  For Sale.

I preferred the black music notes with the white background for the music note scarf, so it turns out that I actually wove it upside down.  But it is pretty and continues that music theme that I have for the chenille scarves.  For Sale.

In the end I was able to weave three white piano scarves, one black piano scarf and one music note scarf.  It is quite a stack of finish scarves.
I am finished with weaving chenille scarves for the year but I was able to tidy up my pile of black and white chenille.  I emptied two cones and two tubes, the leftover tubes now fit in one of the tubs that we use to corral the weaving yarns in the closet.  I think it was a success!
Final garden shot is Feather Reed Grass (Calamagrostis acutiflora 'Eldorado') when the light hits it, it seems to glow a wonderful golden colour.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Weaving To Frame

I have been home for a couple of weeks now, and I’m ready to jump back into my weaving.

South central Spain was amazing and The Great Mosque of Cordoba was probably one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.  The Great Mosque was begun in 784 and when the Christians conquered Cordoba in 1236 they built a cathedral within the existing mosque.  This place is massive and the Cathedral was built without demolishing the existing Mosque, it is a stunningly beautiful and wonderful place.  The other places that were beyond expectations were The Royal Alcazar in Seville and the Alhambra in Granada, but after weeks away, it’s always nice to be home.

Now back to what is on my loom.  I belong to a study group within our guild, called Exploring More and our challenge this time is to design, weave and frame a piece that could be displayed on a wall.  Sounds easy, right?  I thought so too when I suggested it.
I started looking for things I wanted to weave and the more I thought about it, the less sure I became.  Finally, in a bid to get something on the loom I put on a natural 2/16 cotton warp 2 yards long with 280 ends, 10 inches wide on the loom and sett at 28 epi.
I threaded the loom in a 1-2-3-4 twill and tied up the loom with some options.  Then I went to Spain to enjoy the sunshine.  I have tied the treadles to weave plain weave, treadles to weave twill, treadles to weave dukkagang and treadles to weave basket weave.  I know, I’m really hedging my bets!
Now that I’m ready to begin I went searching for something that would look good on my studio wall; and since I love flowers I started there.  In my dining room I have a lovely watercolour of tulips and that was my inspiration.  I love that this painting is just a suggestion of tulips rather than being too literal, so right up my alley.
I still wasn’t sure how I wanted to weave the tulips so I took some coloured sharpies to the warp to rough in the general shapes.
I’m sorry that I didn’t photograph my efforts so far, but first I started just laying in colour in the general shapes I wanted using the Italian inlay method.  It just looked lumpy and bumpy, so that came out.  Then I started laying in colour blocks in a tapestry method and that was just far more work than I was willing to do, so it has all be pulled out too.

As it stands right now, I will use the natural 2/16 warp cotton and just weave this off as plain weave, then I plan to paint over my rough outline and perhaps do some embellishments.   Hmmm, I have a feeling that going at this all loosey-goosey wasn’t the best idea.  I still have lots of warp to play with, so that's my task for the next few weeks.

The garden shot today is a photo of one of the front garden beds in full autumn glory. It is Dwarf Fothergilla (Fothergilla gardenii 'Mt. Airy) with Japanese Silver Grass (Miscanthus sinesis 'Sarabanda' in behind.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Diversified Plain Weave Music Notes Scarf

Happy Thanksgiving, Canada!

I wanted to use up the last little bits of chenille in the stash; I had some white chenille on a cone, the last little bit of the creamy white chenille on a tube and the last of the black chenille on a cone.  Looking at the empty cones at the bottom of the warping board, I think that I did a pretty good job of using everything!
For Diversified Plain Weave there is one thick thread for every two thin threads.  I used the chenille as the thick thread and 2/20 cotton/Tencel as the thin threads.
I drafted this music note motif myself, if you would like to know how I did it here is a drafting tutorial blog that I did this spring.  I used a cross stitch pattern to help with the shaping of the musical notes.  I think it looks pretty looks cute!
I don’t know what I was thinking about but I decided to look at musical notes on sheet music to see if mine look correct.  Well, they look different from what I had drafted not a lot different but enough that it bugged me.  I had already woven 14 inches of the scarf but now that I knew what the notes should look like I had to change.  Now looking back at the double note it looks like the symbol for pi!
So, I carefully unwove the scarf, I was taking a big chance with the chenille, it could have frayed apart, but luck was with me.  I fixed the pattern and I had to rethread adding more shafts and retying up my treadles.
I also took the opportunity to change some of the threads.  At the edge of the black borders I had placed two thin white threads next to the black chenille.  It added a harsh white line next to the black edge so I changed to two thin black threads and I think it is a much cleaner edge.
I started weaving with the new threading and I got the second pick of the motif and I could tell that I had made a mistake with the threading.  So I unwoven about 6 inches and fixed my threading error, yet again.
So for the third time I wove the first motif and yes it is finally right and I can go ahead and weave the rest of the scarf!
Final Garden Shot is a dwarf goat’s beard (Aruncus aethusifolius) the fall colour of this perennial is spectacular!