Sunday, June 28, 2009

Echo Weave on 12 Shafts

I was really stoked on Echo Weave after my session with Bonnie Inouye at ANWG, so here is my first attempt with this weave method. I laboured creating this pattern in PCW and I must admit that only having 12 shafts was limiting. I put on enough warp for 3 72” scarves and each will have a different treadling and weft colour. This scarf has an exteded parallel treadling, but otherwise follows the Echo Weave rules.I’ve used alternating blue and green 2/8 Tencel sett at 40 epi, the colours are of the same value. I have used a dark orange for the weft and I am beating it in at about 20 ppi. This is the weft dominant side, so all three of the colours really show almost equally. I can’t begin to describe how the colours are relating, but when you viewing it on the loom I seem to get five colours! I can’t get photos of the warp dominant blue and green side yet, but since it’s weaving up fast – I’ll have it in a few days. We’ve jumped into summer with a bang this year. Literally, we banged off our front deck railing yesterday and now we begin the process of remaking it. Our old deck was made with the house in 1976 and was completely solid. You can see what we started with; this is an old photo with some of my handspun hanging out to dry! And now it looks like this on day 1 of my husbands summer holiday - yup he's a real worker!
I can’t wait to see what it looks like with the new railings! Frankly, I think it looks better already!
Things I know
Floating selvedges should always be hung so that the yarn hangs S twist as you look down on it from your weaving bench, if you hang it Z twist, each beat will abrade the yarn slightly and can result in yarn failure

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Fancy Twill for Eight Shafts ~ Blue Framed Scarf

I’m so pleased with the newest scarf off my loom! It’s the same 2/8 silver Tencel warp as the last scarf, but this time I used 2/8 Blue Bamboo for the weft.
I changed up the treadling and tried a computer generated network treadling. I used PCW Silver and just kept fiddling until I got a design that pleased me. I must admit that the treadling sequence was fiddly though. I wanted to try a completely different finish, so I made a 4 yard cord of the same Tencel as the warp. I twizzled two bouts of 5 ends 650 turns to the right then combined them and twizzled 450 turns to the left…..a lot of twizzling! This cord was still very soft and flexible when I stitched it to the selvedges of my scarf. I think it really frames the scarf. I allowed the cord to hang beyond the scarf and to become a part of the fringe.
I then beaded what was the previous last bout of the fringe with # 8 seed beads and finished it off with a silver butterfly. So sweet!
I’ve got to do some major research to find more Weaving Words, so in the meantime here’s…

Things I Know
Warp floats shine more than weft floats.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Beading a Handwoven Scarf Fringe

What happens after the scarf is woven? For me it’s the dreaded finishing! This tencel and silk scarf has a great look on both sides. Right side.
And the reverse. As you can see I have a dark purple selvedge on both sides and rather than have a single purple twizzled lock, I decided to try something different.

So the new chick got to teach the old hen a trick or two….my daughter Ngaire showed me a great beading method I thought I’d share with you.
The beads I chose were #11 seed beads and #8 seed beads. This is the tool to make it easier.
The needle threader will hold 3 seed beads at a time. Then one by one you just flick them onto the warp threads, it’s very quick and painless. I chose to put one #11 bead on each of the purple ends.
After the individual seed beads I wanted a larger bead to anchor the smaller beads in place.
On the first pass through the #8 bead I could pull through half the warp threads. Then back through the bead to pick up the rest of the fringe, it was so easy! I think the fringe is unique and very eye catching, without making the fringe heavy.
It's almost like jewelery!
Weaving Words
The word denim comes from the French - Serge de Nimes which is a cloth made in Nimes France.

Monday, June 15, 2009


Remember that mystery warp that came my way on the Cherryville Counterbalance Loom when I borrowed it? You know the one that I was just sure would be no problem to weave off with a smart easy twill pattern? What was I thinking? Arrrggghhhhhh! The warp is a huge mess… the warp must have come partially off at some point, and it was just looped back over the beam and hanging in knotty piles at the back of the loom! We had to do some major loom changes before we got to the warping process. The loom was using two dowels hanging from a third bigger dowel to hold the shafts in place. The dowels were different weights which didn't help the balancing problem, so off they came!Although I still haven’t got this loom balanced correctly yet, I needed to keep moving forward so we changed the jury rigged dowels that were on the loom to the heddle horses that the manufacturer sent with the loom. Pretty aren't they? There are even nifty shaft holders to keep everything in place and the shafts even while you are threading, so we put them on too.
I'm using instructions on tying up a Counterbalance loom from Laila Lundell’s Big Book of Weaving. I’m getting there, but oh so slowly! I highly recommend this book for new and even intermediate weavers; and of course those like me who are trying out a new loom system. The book has wonderful diagrams of how the heddle horses should work and it’s very easy to understand how it should work; it’s just a bunch of fiddling that needs doing to get it to work! I unraveled the warp back to where I could see some order, about 3 yards back, and knew I needed lease sticks. One by laborious one with my daughters' help we’ve pulled each thread through the lease sticks, over and under ad nauseum, then pulled through to the front where it now languishes in neat bundles.I’ve double checked the number of threads, yet again,and naturally just to make this a much longer process I have decided I don’t want to do the Landis Valley Linen pattern! I want to weave the whole warp off in one piece and then cut to the appropriate place mat size. Now back to the computer I go to figure out a pattern that doesn’t need borders. Stalled again.....Arrrgggghhh! Right now I have one of each major type of floor loom in the studio - very neat, but a bit crowded!

Weaving Words
The word clue comes from cliwen, Anglo-Saxon for a ball of yarn. There are many legends about adventurers finding their way out of dangerous mazes by using a ball of string…thus any aid to solving a puzzle became known as a clue!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Cutting Weft Out ~ or ~Bad Weft, Bon Weft

What makes a weft right for the project? I think it should have several characteristics: good colour, good size and foremost it should enhance the weave structure. This is my new weft and it does all of the above!

As you no doubt noticed the variegated turquoise Tencel really hid my weave structure and it took 48 picks to make 5/8", so off it came!
The Tencel warp threads and silk selvedges are fragile and can’t take a lot of unweaving so cutting out was my only option.
Choosing a spot about ¼” in from the selvedge I hook out a few weft threads and cut. I repeat this on both sides. Using my fingers I pull away the warp threads from the selvedge, one at a time. That just leaves a fringe of selvedges threads that basically fall into your hands.
Now I use a blunt needle and hook out several weft picks from the still woven center.
Using my fingers I pull them out. The hard part is tossing these wee bits of yarn away, especially if they are expensive!
I’ve changed the weft to 2/8 bamboo in a lovely blue, so now the pattern shows nicely and I'm much happier about finishing the scarf. You can see the circles beginning to develop in the scarf, finally!
Now for something fun; I bought a Lucet when I was at ANWG and have made my maiden braid. It will be great for handmade frogs or Chinese Knot buttons! Have any of you tried one yet?The Lucet is a tool from medieval times and it was used to make a square braid that is essentially knitted. This tool gives you a nice tight braid that was used for lacing corsets because a square braid didn’t slip undone as easily as a round braid, and we all know how important that is! It is just like spool knitting or finger weaving, fast and fun - great for kids!
The Lucet came with this neat yarn spool that reminds me of a suction cup, you open it up to wind on your yarn then fold it in on itself to hold it in place. I bought 16 more to use with my Kumihimo Plates, so now I can't use tangled yarns as an excuse not to Kumihimo!
Weaving Words
The English surname Walker actually means felter because the verb walk is derived from waulk the act of compressing wool into felt.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Eight Shaft Fancy Twill Patterns

Thought I’d share what’s on Lily Louet right now.
This is a variation of Frost Flowers from Twill Trills and shows radial symmetry. I used 2/8 silver Tencel for the warp with just 4 purple Tencel threads on each border. The weft is hand dyed 2/20 Bombyx Silk. When I weave with warp and weft that are really different, I put a thin border on each selvedge in a colour the same as or close to the weft threads, this really minimizes the weft turns and can be a neat design detail.
This is my draft.
I felt a bit tired of purple weft after this third scarf and defined patterns, although fun to weave I am in need of change.
I pulled off the 4 purple ends on each selvedge and replaced them with handspun silk in a blue/green variegated that I had bound with 2/120 commercial silk.
Changing the selvedges really makes a mess at the back of the loom, but since I threaded them through plastic mesh, it’s a somewhat controlled mess. I now have 10 film cannisters and the old selvedge threads hanging at the back of the loom!
I didn’t want to change my tie up, so went to PCW Silver and let this wonderful program make the change for me; this is the same treadling changed to network treadling.
Then came the problems…..the weft I though would be great, tanked! I wove and cut out 4 different wefts, finally deciding on 2/20 Tencel that I had hand painted. These photos don’t do it justice, it’s lustrous and the pattern although muted does show through and because it is such fine Tencel it should have great drape.
When I came back from ANWG my daughter had filled the house with flowers from my garden. It made me feel wonderful, so I thought I’d share them with you.
Zen Pansies by my bedside for sweet dreams.
A bowl of Clematis in the dining room, so pretty.

Monday, June 1, 2009

What A Find

Well I’m back from ANWG in Spokane Washington and it was great. The weather was great, the location was great and my hotel was great. You just can’t do better than that.

While surfing the vendors and buying far, far, far too much and these are a few of my treasures.
Nine brand new Weavers Magazines! And to make it even better The Yarn Barn of Kansas was selling them at the original cover price! It was such a more than fair deal that I proceeded to spend the bulk of my money with them.
From Glimakra I bought a wonderful 8 inch temple. It’s the smallest temple that they make and it fills out my temple collection.

Although I went with the idea of only buying weaving yarn; I got pulled into buying 2 really exciting spinning fibres.
This one is called Latte and is made from dewatering skim milk and is 100% green certificated. Apparently it can be difficult to spin, but smells lovely and will be worth the trouble I think. It looks so silky and shiny.
This bag was one of those discounted items that really caught my colour eye; 50% Wool and 50% soy silk. Yummy!

While at ANWG I took seminars from Sharon Alderman: Snazzy Yarns How to Use Them Not Lose Them. Bonnie Inouye: Echo Weave and Anita Luvera Mayer: Fashion Show Critique. What a diverse group of weavers, with extremely polarized views on our craft. From Sharon Alderman I got a sense of a weaver who loves, and is very comfortable with her weaving. Her gentle lecturing style was freely peppered with tips and backed up with samples; like a big weaving hug. Bonnie Inouye’s seminar was explosive! She was so enthusiastic about her topic; and that came through. She was not sharing any ‘how tos’ but throwing out huge ideas and challenging us to pick them up and make them our own; WOW! Anita Luvera Mayer was so witty and honest it was so much fun. We got a close up look at all the fashion show garments and her personal feelings about each item, positives and negatives. It made me want to enter my weaving in future shows and gave a real insight of what makes a good garment different from a great garment. Holy cow she does love surface embellishments!
So I just had to buy this book on Braids. I haven’t read it thoroughly yet, but there is so much information that I can’t fail to learn embellishments.

I came back from ANWG completely stoked, ready to pick up Bonnie Inouye’s challenge; I can see Echo Weave in my future!

Weaving Words
Brillatine was a fine cloth of silk and cashmere.