Thursday, April 29, 2010

Woven Shibori Scarves

I’m still working on my Woven Shibori scarves, slowly, slowly…. I put on enough warp for four 70” scarves and frankly I should have known better, I’m a tad bored by it all right now. The bland colours and frankly they are just plain ugly at this stage of the game.
On the left is my first scarf, on this one I followed my pattern exactly. I wove a triple repeat of every pattern sequence thread separated by four tabby ground picks. This will give me a very furrowed and pleated design, hopefully! On the right is scarf number two, this scarf was woven with only one pattern thread sequence separated by 10 ground picks. This should give a similar overall effect, but with far less furrowing and will allow more colour to seep into the scarf. I have already twizzled the fringes for both scarves and have pulled and tied the pattern threads. Scarf one is pulled slightly tighter than scarf two.When I pulled the scarves I did an overhand knot on the right side and then pulled the left side to the desired tightness. Then I secured it with a shoe lace knot and trimmed the edges. I’ve found that if I leave the pattern threads too long it interferes with the painting of the scarves. At this point I’m planning on painting each side of the scarf a different colour.This is scarf number three off the loom and waiting for the fringe to be twisted. This scarf was woven with a double pattern thread sequence separated by four ground threads and then ten ground threads before the next sequence. This scarf should come in right between the other two both in patterning and in ridging. Well that’s the plan anyway! This another photo of scarf numbe two, I really reduced the number of pattern threads, to the point that you can no longer see the twill progression. I’m working on scarf number 4 and it will show the twill progression again and I will show you it on my next blog when they are all nicely dyed and finished – that’s that part that I’m looking forward to!

Weaving Words
Dimity – is turned 1:2 twill. It always has a diagonal.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Making a Handmade Tassel to Finish a Scarf

I had so much fun and was so pleased by the clasped weft Chenille scarf that I did three more! I did another one with black and variegated, one brown and variegated, and one brown and black.

The first scarf that I made needed some further finishing so it wasn’t shown in my first post. I didn’t really like the plain flat edge of the ends of the scarf so I added a fringe of black Tencel and some beads. It made the scarf much better, but was really labour intensive.
So for the next scarf I came up with the idea to do a pointed end to the scarf, it would add interest and as an added benefit it would look different from the rest of the scarves. It looks good but it didn’t have any razzle dazzle so my Mum came up with the idea of adding a tassel to the ends.
I had never made a tassel before so after some internet sleuthing I came up with this method. The threads are wrapped around a piece of cardboard folded in half. I built the two tassels at the same time so they would be the same as I was using four or five different threads in differing amounts, it could be hard to keep track. I used a mixture of cotton, Tencel, Orlec and shiny copper in different thickness and shades of brown and black. After the desired thickness is reached the loop is cut in half, the bottom of the cardboard, where the two pieces meet is where to cut. A piece of thread is then wrapped in the centre of the bundle and is knotted into place. The bundle is folded in half and about half an inch from the top it is wrapped to hold the halves together. The ends of the tassel may need to be trimmed but that is it, really easy and fun! Here is the brown and variegated scarf, it is very subtle but is really pretty, and oh so very soft.
The brown and black scarf is exciting as there are little black dots that seem to magically appear, very nifty!
I really like these scarves and I am already planning on doing some more!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Woven Shibori Two

So much has been happening lately. Spring has sprung and my peas are up! The warmer days demand outside time getting the garden back into shape and cleaning up the winter mess. On top of all of that, we are in the process of changing the exterior of the house. We are taking off the cedar siding and replacing it with HardiPlank siding, yup, doing it ourselves! Does'nt everyone love to be 20 feet up on scaffolding? Needless to say that means weaving takes a back seat…..but I am still plugging along.The Stainless Steel Tea Towels are off the loom and have been hand hemmed. I really like this pattern, it was easy to thread and a delight to weave, now I wish I had put on more than 7 yards.I ended up weaving 3 tea towels with black weft, 1 with white weft, 1 with light grey weft and 1 with red weft. The red weft is completely different looking and is without a doubt my least favourite, but I had to try it! You can see some of the wonderful texture that this weave provided, just great for slurping up water. I will definitely be doing this pattern again, maybe in summer yellows, greens and brown, but for now I have enough tea towels….

On April 10-11, I participated in a PCW Fiberworks Workshop with Bob Keates and Ingrid Boesel the co-creators of the weaving program. All I can say is look out, I’m dangerous now! While providing a good background on how the basic program works for the beginners; those of us who had used the program also had plenty to learn. I got a lot out of this course and feel that I can produce original drafts in half the time! I heartily recommend this weaving program – go for Silver if you have 8 or more shafts.

On my loom right now is Woven Shibori, which looks very uninspiring as it is being woven, but afterward……yummy! You have to squint to see the twill progression in the pattern weft, but it's there.I created this pattern using 8 shafts and 10 treadles. It is plain weave with a twill pattern that will create a strong pleated effect after finishing. This is just one pattern repeat, about 5 inches. My warp is 2/10 natural coloured cotton. I was on a mission to use some stash, so there are two different warp threads. One is mercerized and one is not. The weft is 2/16 unmercerized cotton for the background and 2/8 Orlec for the pattern threads, which will be pulled out after dyeing.This is how the edges look; I’ve left small loops so that I can easily pull them to create the smocked effect needed for the dyeing step. You can see the whole process here.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Eight Shaft Twill Tea Towels ~ Delft Blue

So, more towels, but my first kick at this particular can! The tea towels I chose to weave are white cotton with blue stripes; the blue stripes are made up of cotton and cottonlin in a random mix and with different shades. The pattern is M’s and W’s twill on 8 shafts and the five blue stripes are in various widths and used to pick out the medallions.
I had some trouble with these towels, I had planned on the towels being 22 inches wide; but after winding on the warp I noticed that the outer edge fell into the loom brake and got dirty. So even though I’m supposed to have 22 weaveable inches on the Minerva loom it was too wide. I had to cut off a half inch on both sides to make it work, so they ended up 21 inches wide and 36 inches long. I also had tension problems so the back of the loom was a jumble.
Before washing I was a little concern about the towels, they didn’t seem interesting and I don’t know, just plain blah. But after washing they became magical; the white panels are full of texture and the blue stripes are a clean and sharp counterpoint.
Every towel has a series of different sized stripes as a border. Below are only two towels, the others have not been hemmed yet.
I liked the fact that each towel only took about an hour to weave, but would I do it again? Hmmmm, probably but on a wider loom!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Eight Shaft Twill Tea Towels For A Stainless Steel Kitchen

I enjoyed my last tea towel warp so much that I immediately put on another. I chose a colour sequence that I thought would appeal to people with stainless steel appliances, so black, white, light grey, stone and just a hit of red.I created this draft based upon one of Russell E. Groffs’ patterns called Linen Squares, found in 200 Patterns for Multiple Harness Looms. This is the original draft which I amended quite a bit. I changed the squares to rectangles by cutting out or increasing the number of point twill repeats. I then put my colour sequence onto ½ of the total warp threads necessary and then used PCW to mirror the colour stripe and block placement. I put on 7 yards of 2/8 unmercerized cotton, sett at 24 epi. I will get 6 tea towels 22”x36” plus samples. Above is my first towel using white weft. It’s pretty, but lacks the impact that I was aiming for, but still a nice clean looking towel. On the iPod was Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.Now we’re talking….this is the black weft and it is exactly what I was looking for….there will be at least 2 with this weft. On the iPod was ABBA’s Voulez-Vous.Just to make sure I give everything a try this is the light grey weft. It is lacking the impact of the black weft, but nonetheless it looks pretty darn good. On the iPod was Bond – Classified; for those who don’t know of Bond; it is modern light jazzy classical; or classical with a backbeat – just fantastic, rockin' strings!A close up of the centre of the tea towel with the white weft shows the lovely patterns created.
I found a new way to corral all those odd exta threads that happen when I pull stripes with odd numbers. Because of the back to front warp method I use, I like to have a clean fold to attach to the back beam, so I often carry and extra thread back to the beginning when I make stripes with odd numbered threads. These little plastic bobbins really do a nice job holding the extras off the floor so I can use them in the another project.

Weaving Words
Dornick Twill – a 1:3 turned twill which has the diagonals going in two opposite directions which do not meet and do not form a point. The long floats in corners of turning points are thus avoided which may improve the quality of the fabric. When it is broken it may sometimes be called Rough Damask or DamassĂ© or even Broken Herringbone.