Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Weaving as Therapy

 Bruce and I want to thank you all of you who left comments to my previous post about Connor. Each day is a little bit easier but we are now discovering just how much love and life that little dog added to our home and lives. In the mean time, our frog is back (Pacific Tree Frog) and he brought friends. We're finding them everywhere this fall! I also disturbed a toad hiding under foliage by the front door. I'm hoping our rabbit 'Peter' has found better digs for winter as we haven't seen him in some time.  We also have a blue jay who follows us window by window around the house, finds a branch or railing and tells us loudly his opinion on everything! Construction of the deck is all complete now, with just some handrails to finish things up.... and a general clean up will get under way soon ..


So lets get back to weaving!  I was feeling the need for some bright colours and I wanted to play with iridescent effects again. To get that, you must have some key points at play:  balanced plain weave, colours of similar value, finer yarns work better.  My pattern is for 12 shafts and 12 treadles. Next, I chose 10/2 tencel in Persian Red, sett 24 epi, as my warp and Antique Gold as weft for my  first scarf. The colour for the second scarf was undecided at this point. I thought I'd try some sampling and see what I like.


I beamed the 6.5 yard warp onto Lilibet, my Louet Spring. The tencel was particularly shiny and slippery!  I made a decision to lace on over tying as I knew there would be problems with tie slippage otherwise. Lacing seriously reduces loom waste which can be handy on some warps where you are using expensive yarns. I lace it all on and then used painters' tape to secure the left end of the cord down, then I pull out all the loose tension , working from right to left.


Here I am working quickly and I even added a bit of tension on the warp using the braking system as I moved along.


By the end, I had a lot of extra cord!  I  reapplied the tape and did it all over again. When I'm happy with the overall tension, I simply tape the end down or you can secure with a knot. In this case, the tape was the better option.... let me explain...


This warp is only 6.5 inches wide and just under 200 ends; the threading is fancy M's and W's twill progressions, and some how I made 3  threading errors which I found one at a time. I would fix one and then find another. In fact, I even made yet another as I fixed number 3! (so that makes 4 mistakes then). I had no idea what was going on for me to mess up like that ( I'll spare you the list... but I think preoccupied is a good one.  :) Below is a piece where I thought I was free and clear and then spotted that the last little diamond was suspiciously small. The pink thread has the suspects corralled for the next and final repair. I was sure glad to have used tape on the lacings! Bruce heard me muttering rather rude things.... and all I said to him  was "don't ask!"



I have tried various angles and lighting to show the colours. Its a tough one to show you accurately as it looks orange, but its not. There are two blocks, A and B, to weave as one repeat and at the end, do the one last A to balance. The pattern produces circles and diamonds all within squares!




I found this pattern at the wonderful web site Handweaving.net and you can play there for hours! If you have a weaving program then you are free to download WIF files to your program and then convert to what your program uses. I heartily recommend a visit.  It features patterns for any number of shafts and treadles!

Here as the cloth turns over the breast beam, you get a hint of the iridescence! I played with several colours for the second scarf and none appealed to me, and the black is what I finally went with. It has a sombre Victorian elegance especially next to its brassy cousin!

So here you can see the black version that I'm prepping it for fringe twisting. Have you ever found that your warp allowance for fringe is different at both ends? I measured for 12 inches allowances but sometimes one end is shorter, one longer. I fold the scarf in half and pin the ends as shown above and below. See the difference?


I like to even things up but placing ends under a cutting mat, holding down with a ruler and zipping off the excess with the cutter.

A crisp clear edge and both ends of the scarf have equal length for fringes. That way my fringe twister workout becomes the same number for each warp bout. Just seems like a smart thing to do and thought I'd share this step for those of you trying out my fringing board style.


Below both scarves are now pinned out and ready to be worked on. Hard to believe they are from the same warp huh? 


Below in this picture,  I've twisted a bout and pinned it to the line. I release the bout and the excess energy in the twist springs it free. It will now be just a tad longer than the line. I simply count my turns in one directions, combine the two groups and then count as I turn in the opposite direction. If you repeat the same action each time, they should all be more or less the same length. Just some minor variations.

{ I have seen demonstrations of a free and easy style done with one leg crossed over the other and a simple twisting done by fingers and then knot the two and let them twist on themselves. This is great if it works for you, but I have issues with it. First my arthritis won't let me cross my leg over, especially my hip replacement! Second my arthritic fingers would be toast doing all fringes by hand  and finally I want to control the over length, location of the knots and length of the tassel as I like a more even and polished look. All methods are fine if they work for you so try them all out and make your own hybrid! }

The next two shots are to show the iridescence before they even have been wet finished!


I added just some beads to either side of both scarves... just a light touch this time round.  I found the super shine of the red tencel was very pretty on its own with its regular twists and fine fringe. Here are the final  scarf results!  Blogger turned two of my pictures sideways but you can handle that I'm sure.   :)

Click on any to enlarge...



and now the amber scarf...



... and yes, the loom is full again! Weaving is so wonderful for healing broken hearts....

15 comments:

LA said...

Weaving is great therapy....in so many ways. Your weaving is beautiful...just like your memories.

Carrie said...

Absolutely gorgeous work! I really like the red and black version, I bet in person the iridescence is really beautiful as well.

Cindie Kitchin eweniquely ewe said...

oh those scarves are both stunning!

DebbieB said...

Susan, your work is amazing! I love your detailed explanations - it's like sitting at a guild gathering, with show and tell from my favorite weavers. :)

Theresa said...

Beautiful scarves Susan. I like the gold version myself!
Glad you are finding comfort in weaving. I'm sure there is some parable about getting beauty from tragedy. All we can do is to keep on keeping on and it does get easier.

Delighted Hands said...

Beautiful results! Weaving uses both sides of your brain so it is indeed a great activity to consume your mind!

Judy said...

What lovely scarves! Weaving helps in so many ways when life gets difficult. There's just something about creating with fiber that helps lift a heavy heart.

Spinning Out of Control said...

It's so neat how two different wefts on one warp can give two such beautiful finished products. I'm partial to the red and black :) Thanks for that rotary cutter and cutting board finishing technique. I could definitely try that.

Anonymous said...

Susan, You are indeed an inspiration! Love the red scarf! Keep on working dear lady!

Best wishes to you and Bruce

-- Martha

Benita said...

That amber one looks like gold and fire! I like it best, even though the other one is stunning, too. I am so impressed with these. I can't wait until October is past so I can have time to play with my looms again.

Maggie said...

Gorgeous scarves! And thanks for the tutorial!

dorothylochmaben said...

Hi Susan - the scarves are beautiful ! I said I liked the black & red one but have changed my mind, the gold one is very very nice.
I liked the tutorial on lacing on instead of tying, I have never tried that but will try with the next slippery warp ! I have a sense it might be quicker than tying and that might encourage me to take off samples and then lace on again !!
Yes, my fringes are quite often not the same length even though I try to use a spacer. I learnt to check before I started twisting. I like the idea of cutting them together like that.
Wonder what is next on the loom !!
Dorothy

evelynoldroyd said...

Beautiful iridescent effects!

Valerie said...

Wow, what iridescence and the camera managed to capture it!

Thanks for the post about your fringe technique. Interesting the different approaches.

Helga said...

thank you for sharing this!!!!!!!