Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Twill Striped Cottolin Tea Towels

After the striped tea towels that I wove in June there was still some small cones of cottolin left so I decided to mke one more tea towel warp to finish the cones off.  I started with a draft that I had used last year that had ribbon like stripes thinking that it would be good in using up the all the colours.

This was a time consuming draft to make because I measured each colour separately in order to have an accurate thread count, and then I wound the thread back onto the cone.  This ensured that I could accurately make the stripes for the draft on the computer.  And then I finally pulled the actual warp.

I managed to finish seven cones in the warp!  You may be wondering what is at the bottom of the photo, that is the loom waste from the previous set of tea towels, I need it because I am short a couple of threads for the warp, just three lime green threads short.  

By the time that I started to weave the tea towels the back of the loom had become quite the tangle of hanging threads.  I decided that I didn’t like the look of some of the stripes, so I changed some of the colours out and ended up with 10 film canisters hanging off the back of the loom, yikes!

Next up is the auditioning for the weft colour, I tried out some pinks.  They were OK but pink can be hard to sell.

Next up was greens and the darker shades were OK but I didn’t think that they really worked with the pinks and purples in the stripes.

Then I tried white and dark purple, no more try outs needed the dark purple was the hands down winner.

I wove two tea towels in the dark purple which makes a set of quite lovely tea towels

For the second set of two tea towels I again auditioned different colours of blue for the weft and went with a dark blue called denim.

They are just as pretty as the first set of tea towels.

Weaving with cottolin is very dusty so I thought that I would show you some dust bunnies under my loom!

The tea towels are finished and are available on Esty.  Here are some of the beauty shots.

Twill striped Tea Towels with purple weft.  Esty listing for the tea towels.
Twill striped Tea Towels with dark denim blue weft.  Esty listing for the tea towels.
Final Garden Photo is Penstemon hartwegii 'Peptalk Cerise', the hot pink colour is amazing and it is one of the first plants to flower in the spring and it will continue flowering until the first hard frost.  The hummingbirds love it!

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

The Call Of The Loom

Now that’s a Canadian title if I ever heard one! Autumn has truly arrived on Vancouver Island and I have heard the call of the Loom, sounds like a good book. 

I want to weave something exciting and interesting as well as beautiful; something to really inspire me and I am always drawn to iridescence.  This made an Echo Weave the perfect choice.

I hauled out the Itten Star and started looking for warp and weft choices.  I searched for the post where I talk about this wonderful tool, only to find out that I have never done one!  I will do a complete post on this soon.

One colour combination that always creates iridescence is the Split Complement.  This is essentially two colours side by side on the colour wheel combined with the colour directly opposite them on the colour wheel.

I decided on Blue Purple and Aquamarine as my warp choice; they are placed in the warp in an Aquamarine, Blue, Aquamarine, Blue sequence.  The weft that was needed to make the Split Complement is in the Orange Red family. 

I got my Tencel yarns out and found that I only had three colours that fit the bill, Ruby, Spice and Cayenne.  I was immediately drawn to the Cayenne, but of course there was just a few grams on the tube and I was not sure if I would have enough.

Well, I’m a problem solver and so I decided to put on a two scarf warp which would allow me to actually measure out how many grams of weft yarn this scarf would take.

For the first scarf I chose to simplify my treadling and to make a scarf that was going to come out completely differently than the Echo Weave, but still had the same feel and yarn use.  

I chose to use an Analogous Colour combination.  This combination is one where three colours sit side by side on the colour wheel; for example, blue, turquoise and green are analogous colours.  I looked for it on the Itten Star and found that this type of colour combination is not included, so I jury rigged my own to show you.

My weft choice for the Aquamarine and Blue Purple warp is Greyed Teal.....these are all very close in colour depth so the overall look of the weave is tone on tone shimmer.

I am almost finished weaving this scarf and it looks like it will be truly lovely.  Because of the colours I have chosen, it will be just a nice Crackle Weave scarf.

I was asked what this little dohicky that I use to hold spare warp ends was, so I looked it up and it is called a Yarn Holder or a Knitting Bobbin and I think is was made by Boye.

We have added two more weaving drafts up for sale.  The first draft is an original Clasped Weft pattern that is on 4 harnesses.  This draft is called Piano Keys Clasped Weft Scarf.  Etsy listing for Piano Keys Clasped Weft Scarf Weaving Pattern.   

The second draft is an original Diversified Plain Weave pattern that is on 12 harnesses.  This draft is called Music Notes Diversified Plain Weave Scarf.  Etsy listing for Music Notes Diversified Plain Weave Scarf Weaving Pattern.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Weaving Drafts for Sale

I have been thinking for a while that I would like to sell some of our original drafts, especially the 12 shaft designs as they are hard to come by.  So when I got a message asking if I sold weaving drafts, I took that as the push that I needed to get started.

It is surprising the time and information that needs to go into each pattern.  First I started by naming the drafts, as some of my drafts have silly names like ‘Interesting Motif’.  I went with a space theme; all the drafts are named after Nebulae.  I then created WIF, which is a universal weaving file that can be used with most weaving programs.  

The next part was to create a PDF with the draft, project guide and further breakdowns of the threading, tie up, and treadling just in case the person buying the draft doesn’t have a weaving program. 

The first draft is an original Crackle Weave pattern that is on 6 harnesses.  This draft is called Helix Nebula Crackle Weave.  Etsy listing for Helix Nebula Crackle Scarf Weaving Pattern.  

The second draft is an original Echo Weave pattern that is on 8 harnesses.  This draft is called Cat’s Paw Nebula Echo Weave.  Etsy listing for Cat's Paw Nebula Echo Scarf Weaving Pattern.

The third draft is an original Crackle pattern that is on 12 harnesses.  This draft is called Orion Nebula Crackle Weave.  Etsy listing for Orion Nebula Crackle Shawl Weaving Pattern.

The fourth draft is an original Crackle pattern that is on 12 harnesses.  This draft is called Rosette Nebula Crackle Weave.  Etsy listing for Rosette Nebula Crackle Shawl Weaving Pattern.

I will be adding more drafts in the coming weeks so please check out WovenBeauty on Etsy.  Next week the drafts are going to be the Piano Scarf and the Music Note Scarf.  I’ll also be adding a page to the blog (beside the Tips and Tutorials Tab) that will have links to the drafts that I have available for sale.   We will be posting more regularly again, I have some tea towels to share with you!


Final Garden Photo is Climbing Lilies (Gloriosa rothschildiana).  We got these as tubers from the Horticultural Society and we didn't know what to expect.  We planted them in early spring, dug them up in June to see if they were alive, they finally started to grow in July and by August we had these lovely flowers.  They were well worth the wait!

Monday, July 5, 2021

Weaving By The Seat Of My Pants Too!

This is the continuation of ‘Designing By The Seat Of My Pants’.  After pulling the warp I had so little warp yarn left it was scary.  I had just enough of each colour to fix one, and only one, broken end.

Because I pulled the warp in segments using up all of the pink, then all of the lilac, I had to pull the striped segment as a single bout.  My final design had a small increment of lilac moving into the green striped area so to help me remember I put a single end of waste yarn in the warp.

When I threaded the warp I dropped the waste yarn and moved over the lilac segment.  Not the best idea as far as getting perfect warp tension, but I was doing this on the fly (hmmm yet another airplane reference) and this was the easiest way to go.

Once the warp was all threaded and through the reed, it looked pretty good and I was able to get the tension even at the tie on stage.

I began weaving the tea towel with the lilac tow linen weft and it seems to be working out fine.  Now was the time to think about where to place the plaid section.  Do I put it in the centre?  Off centre? At the end?  My final decision was to start the plaid at 18 inches; this would make the lilac section larger than the pink section which was in keeping with how the warp looked.

I had taken the time to write out the stripe sequence to stick on my loom and I had written it out directly from the top of the PCW draft.

But I had started weaving the larger lilac portion first, so I had to weave it from the bottom up and this meant I needed to change it as I went along.  I suppose now is the time to tell you that I hadn’t noticed that I had two treadles tied up the same.  This was actually a seven shaft pattern!  As I was treadling I found that shaft one and shaft five were the same and so I had to modify my treadling to adjust for that. What a mess!

I was a little worried that the green and purple colours for the stripes were quite different in the warp and weft, but once I started the plaid, I liked it.  The grist of these linens were just slightly finer than the tow linen, but not enough to throw out the balance.  What is different however, is that they are much smoother than the very, furry tow linen.

Rather than stick exactly to the pattern I wove the green sections to equal the measurements of the warp, so a few picks here and there to make up the difference.  Thankfully this is twill, so easy to make this kind of adjustments.

I have just finished the first tea towel and I am not altogether thrilled with the selvedges.  On the lilac side I have had the floating selvedge shred twice.  There must be a burr in my reed causing the fray.  On the pink side of the tea towel the weft turns are a bit problematic.  I think the extra fuzzyness on the lilac side actually hides the turns. The selvedges are as snug as I could get them without actually pulling the warp in, so I live in hope that this slight imperfection will disappear in the wash.

The garden photo for today is Echinaca purpurea ‘Green Twister’ which is just opening up.  Amazingly this plant was planted last year and now it stands a good three feet high!

Monday, June 28, 2021

Striped Cottolin Tea Towels

I put on enough warp for four tea towels in stripes of lime, pink, orange, periwinkle, purple and turquoise 2/22 cottolin, a real Unicorn Party!

The weft choice for the first two tea towels was an easy pick, purple.  The purple is 2/8 cotton and it is a very close match to the purple cottolin that I used to separate the stripes.

As the warp is striped I didn’t add a plaid border to the tea towels, the stripes are plenty enough!  The weaving went very quickly and I soon had two tea towels wrapped around the cloth beam.

I wasn’t sure what colour I was going to do the last two tea towels, so I got out the bins full of 2/8 cotton and separated out all the possibilities.   I was hoping that one of the greens would work; but I think that the winner is going to come from the blue family.

I auditioned royal blue, navy blue, sage green and a dark aubergine purple.  The winner was definitely the royal blue.

The royal blue is such a pretty colour and it works really well with all the colours in the stripes.  It actually makes many of the colours seem more fresh.

The tea towels are off the loom and ready to be washed but it’s too hot here to run the drier and steam press so they are going to have to wait until it is cooler to be finished. 

The beginning of June was 10 degrees colder than normal but now two weeks later we are having a record breaking heat wave; the temperatures are 10 to 20 degrees warmer than usual.  We’ll probably hit 40 C today and with the high humidity, it feels so much hotter!

The garden seems to be coping with the heat for the most part; the purple flowers are Knautia macedonica 'Thunder and Lightning', Gaillardia x grandiflora 'Arizona Sun' is the sunny face in the foreground, Salvia greggii 'Amethyst Lips' and Nicotiana alta 'Lime Green' round out the rota.

Monday, June 21, 2021

Designing By The Seat Of My Pants

As I typed the title of this blog, I thought, hmmmmm, where does that saying come from?  Well, Mr. Goggle tells me that to ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ is a saying from the early days of aviation when pilots flew by their judgment rather than by instruments which had yet to be invented.

This saying really epitomizes my trial and error style of creating these tea towels.....here’s how the story progressed.

I wanted to use 1/8 tow linen, just because it’s pretty and I had enough to make nice colour block tea towels unlike any I had woven before.  My goal was pink on one side, lilac on the other separated by green outlined in purple.  The colours were chosen based on the tow linen I had.  I had no idea of the weft at this point.  Like I said, seat of my pants.

I planned to use the tow linen as the warp because it can be difficult to make nice selvedges with some types of linen and I thought to make my life easier by using some kind of cotton as the weft.

My original idea was to pull a warp of about 40 percent pink and 40 percent lilac with 10 percent other for the break in a vaguely St. George’s Cross pattern.

When I started to pull the tow linen and found that it was super fuzzy, way fuzzier than I expected and I knew immediately that it would have potential bridging problems.  There is nothing worse that a warp that will not lift due to fuzz sticking together; so out it came.  I would swap the cotton to the warp and use the linen as weft, changing on the fly!

Searching the stash I found 2/16 unmercerized cotton in similar colours, some a little darker and a wee bit different tones, but close enough and it looked like I had enough at first glance. 

I began pulling the cotton warp and ran out of 2/16 pink cotton at 172 ends......I was looking to have around the 240 mark.  So back to the computer and a rejig of the draft. 

My initial thought was to just increase the number of lilac ends that I needed and so I created this draft where the cross is moved off centre and the whole shebang was more asymmetrical but still pretty close to my plan and pretty nice looking.

Back to the warping board with the lilac cotton and surprise, surprise...I ran out of lilac at 272 ends, exactly 100 ends more than the pink cotton, but far short of what I needed at 308 ends. So another iteration which increases the green and still looks good, but not perfect.

Gotta love PCW and the ease of changing a draft!  I started to increase the amount of green in the centre cross and to fiddle with the purple breaks and this is my final draft and I’m pretty happy with it. I decided to move a lilac stripe into the green and it now looks vaguely plaid; and still pretty.

I suppose now would be a good time to plan just how I’m going to weave it.  The warp is 613 ends and set at 28-30 ends per inch gives me a width of between 20-21 inches.  I’m using a metric reed that is 14-15 dent and I will be setting 2 per dent; but I plan to weave the tea towel to 36 inches.   Drat! More math and more ‘designing by the seat of my pants’!