Friday, March 26, 2010

False Damask Tea Towels in Easter Egg Plaid

It seems to have been forever since I put the 8 Shaft False Damask tea towel warp on the Louet Spring. These 8 x 36” towels were a real joy to weave, so very pretty and each and every one was my favourite at the time I wove it, very rewarding really! Each plaid area has differing colours, colour order and size sequences, but each started 3” from the bottom and 29” from the top. The bottom and the top are identical, but reversed. They really do have the look of a basket of Easter Eggs! The photos really don't do them justice, they are much brighter, but my camera has me for an operator - so you'll have to think them a bit brighter. I've gotta take a camera course!Above are the two I wove with white weft. Above are the two with pale blue weft.
Here are the two with lilac weft. I only did one with peach weft; this weft is actually one shade lighter than the peach stripes in the warp. The one with the yellow weft is for me – it’s bright and cheerful and will go so very nicely in my yellow and grey slate kitchen! Now I have a question to all of you out there – I have 3.5 pounds of this 1/6 tow linen in my stash. Any ideas of what the heck I can do with it? I know it would not be very good rug warp because it is only 1 ply, but what can I make? I’ve considered sauna towels, but I’m really not sure if this is the right yarn for that…….help!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Weft Twining

I’m doing a series of four finger manipulated rug samples as one of my weaving test problems. My warp is 4/8 dry spun natural linen set at 8 epi which I will use for all four samples – yup it feels like rope after all the fine weaving I've been doing!

I'm using my Louet Jane table loom for this series and I must admit that it's very hard on her. To get the sheds that I need to do the manipulations I have to have a very tight warp and Jane doesn't like it. The Louet Jane is a very lightweight loom, so I'm using a lean back and squeeze beat rather than an actual hard beat.

To start any rug, some sort of weft protector is needed so that the weft remains in place as you build the woven piece. The weft protector also helps set you up for your chosen fringe finish and helps keep the piece from curling under.

Here's a short tutorial for Weft Twining.
To begin you take a piece of your warp material about 4 times as long as the width of your warp and loop it over the left hand selvedge, making sure that both ends are of equal length. You will have one weft on top of the selvedge and the other underneath.When the weft is very long I’ve found that it’s easiest if I make a butterfly on both ends. Take the weft that is underneath up to the surface between the first two warp ends. You will be working from left to right. Now take the weft that was on top down under the second warp end back on top between the second and third warp ends.You will see a cross is formed and basically that’s it…..continue until you reach the right selvedge. I’ve found that with this linen I have to tighten the weft from time to time because it’s quite stiff and doesn’t loop well so it tends to look uneven and messy. I just give a gentle tug on each weft end after about 6 weft wraps and the bumps slide out. When you reach the right selvedge give a cross to the weft threads and start heading to the left, under and over as before. You will notice that on the left to right movement you created an upward slanting wrap, now going right to left it will be downward slanting and that gives a neat arrow like look.This is four rows of weft twining, left to right and back again twice. When you decide you’ve finished, just tie an overhand knot loosely at the left selvedge to hold everything neatly in place. You will have to needle weave these ends in later. Now I'm ready to begin the weaving process.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Clasped Weft ~ or ~ Chenille for Charlotte

At the last guild meeting one of the ladies wove some really interesting napkins. So, some research later and I have a plan for my own project based on those napkins. The title of this blog refers to Charlotte in Norway who received 2 cones of chenille from Susan and was wondering what to do with it. Well, wonder no more; this is a perfect project for that chenille.
It is a chenille scarf woven in plain weave but with a twist. Chenille is a funny beast; it doesn’t work well with long floats because it will move and make nasty lumps so plain weave is the best weave structure for it. The twist is that every third pick is a clasped weft. Clasped weft is when one weft is used to catch a second weft. The black chenille is used to grab the variegated chenille and it is then pulled to any desired length in the web. The clasped weft pick will be a doubled pick, the chenille hides the join which makes the scarf really neat as it is hard to see how it was done. The little squares of colour that are framed by the black are just magical. It really made the variegated chenille pop.
I did do a sample before starting the scarf. The bottom half of the sample is clasped weft every time, with the variegated chenille it was a little busy and the colours are a little muddy. But with two solid colours it could be very pretty. The top half is 2 picks of black chenille and 1 of the clasped black and variegated chenille. The colours really show up with this style, which is why it was chosen! This photo is before washing and the slight smile came right out. I left no fringe as the strands will lose fibres and make snarls, trust me on this! I left a 1” fringe on a small sample and now we have tiny black specks all over the place after the drier striped it from the core thread.

The edges are neat looking. I like how the variegated chenille is like a ribbon moving up the edge. I wove 1” with black waste thread and this will be turned under and sewn in place. I may add a Tencel fringe or some kind of edge treatment at a later date. After washing and drying the scarf in the drier it has really changed, it is very soft, drapey and dramatic.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Arizona in the Spring

Got home yesterday from a wonderful week in Arizona. It was our first, and hopefully not our last, visit to this amazing place. I loved it! I thought I'd share a few of my photos. Above is the front garden where we stayed, the Ocotilla was just starting to turn green.
We were able to pick grapefruit for breakfast!
Saddlebrooke where we stayed is a golf community in Oracle nestled just under the Santa Catalina mountains. The first few days the mountains were skiffed with new snow....beautiful.This is an Arizona Barrel cactus in our back garden, so pretty!
The Saguaro were magnificent, like nothing else on earth. There were literally forests of these wonderful cactus minutes from our home. The weather was a bit unpredictable our first few days, so we didn't venture too far off the beaten track. We even had wet snow when we were at 4000 feet elevation! That I must admit was not fun as I was wearing sandles....
The fruits were still on some of the cactus and were still colourful.
We spent a fun day in Tombstone Arizona and really got a taste of the 'Old West', a very hard place for a woman to live. Seems that the life expectancy was short and the life was hard.Boot Hill is the graveyard in Tombstone where the unclaimed or poor were buried. It was really took your life in your hands if you ventured into this part of Arizona in the 1850-1890's. There were 250 graves there and the stories were fascinating.
The final highlight of our trip was a baseball game. This is called the 'Cactus League' and it is the spring training camps for the Major League Baseball teams, the game we saw was between the Colorado Rockies and the San Francisco Giants. We did it all - hot dogs, peanuts and beer....what a hoot!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Supplementary Warp Scarf

This time I am doing a supplementary warp, which is going to be part of Mum’s workshop. The warp is navy Orlec and Celery Green cotton that is a slightly larger grist. The weft is the same Orlec and cotton. I had to get used to using two shuttles but watching the pattern grow was definitely an incentive! The pattern makes a lovely medallion, about 1” high, and on the other side makes crosses. The fabric is quite firm and would be suitable for upholstery. I really like it; it is so bold and graphic. Ok, really firm (like a board) and unfortunately I put on enough warp for a scarf so I had to do some experimentation to find an appropriate pattern for a scarf. The pattern that I ended up with was to do a single motif at the beginning and end of the scarf and to drop the second weft, the green cotton, and just do the navy Orlec. What I ended up with looks like binary code, which is really cool.
After washing the scarf has a much better drape but it is plain weave so it is always going to be very firm.
So did you notice the mistake? I can’t believe that I did this but when I did the motif at the end I was so excited to be done that I forgot to measure and the motifs don’t match size wise, my beat was softer at the end.
But I really like the scarf so I don’t mind that it is going to end up as mine!

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Sewing Box

My older sister was downsizing and I was lucky to have my Mums’ sewing box passed to me. The memories attached to this box are special to say the least. There were a few really great finds in the box, sewing thread on wooden bobbins, I have lots of memories of winter evenings spent spool knitting with these puppies! There were also several of these small tatting shuttles. I can still see the ‘blue air’ around my Mum as she tried to get the hang of tatting. She used some creative language as she threw these over and under in what appeared like magical order to me. But the best find of all was this cloth tape measure. As soon as I dug it out I knew the sewing box was meant to be mine…the tape is perfect for weaving. Unlike the newer plasticized tape measures, a pin slips easily through the cloth tape keeping my tea towels at exactly 36” long on the loom! I find that my mind drifts back to happy moments with each movement of the pin.This is the project on Lily Louet right now. I put on a 9 yard warp of 2/8 cotton to get 8 tea towels 36" long, plus samples.I’m calling them Easter egg tea towels, the striped warp is so fresh and spring like! I’ve used pale blue/green, butter yellow, lilac, pale peach, slate blue and white for my warp.The photo above is the False Damask tea towel crossed with white weft. I have planned the towels so that there is 4” of plaid set in 3” in from the ends.
The photo above is with baby blue weft and mostly yellow plaid stripes. Above is the photo of daffodil yellow weft with lilac and lavender plaid, very pretty.
Here’s a close up of the weave structure, no long floats and a very simple 1-8 twill treadling makes weaving them a dream.

Weaving Words
Damask weave is based on Turned 1:4 Satin. The blocks of pattern are obtained by reversing the ratio between weft and warp. Rough or False Damask is based on 1:3 Broken Twill instead of Satin.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Rosepath Runner Complete

The runner made from the warp remaining from my gamp is off the loom and looks pretty good! It’s fun to do something completely different from my usual style and it will make a nice addition to my sale box. The photo above shows the M&W selvedges to the front and the Rosepath in the centre.Above is the runner lenghtwise. I found that I still had a yard or so of warp left, so back to the computer I went. I wanted to weave something on the same threading and tie up that looked completely different. I think I succeeded as it really looks nothing like Rosepath!

I used my weaving program and started networking the treadling and after much messing about came up with what looks like a pine cone on the Rosepath threaded portion of the warp and if you try real hard the M&W's look like wheat stocks.I started my development with this part of the motif and checked for floats on the computer program and decided that this would be the basis of my design. I then took this segment, flipped it over, and reversed the sequence to make a more interesting piece overall. When I was happy with it, off to the loom I went. Now I wove the runner and loved what developed and really enjoyed the process…….until ...I took it off the loom and the main motif looks like this on the reverse, no floats but...
The part of the pinecone motif that I had inverted and reversed have these long nasty floats!

I had assumed that if there were no floats on the front and back of the motif that reversing the motif would be the same…..WRONG, WRONG, WRONG…..lesson learned. However, the nice thing is that this runner is now in my collection and it looks great…