Saturday, July 30, 2011

Between Two Pages

I have been participating in the Guild of Canadian Weavers annual weaving exchange now for some years. They are quite addicting and certainly low pressure. Hostess Lynnette gives the assignment in the early spring and then have until October 1st. to turn them in, with minor postage costs. So far we have done: tea towels, card inserts, guest towels, runners and here, scarves and this year the theme is book marks. Design, weave and send in four and get four back. That's it.

I've never woven anything this small before! I dug out all my books on small drafts and weaving miniatures. Not satisfied there, I moved onto looking through my sample binders at actual woven samples for inspiration. Now I love fancy twills. Their simple threading and intricate treadling runs can produce intricate patterns that look impossibly complex. I found my friend Gudrun's draft and set to finding the right materials. I have a nice selection of 20/2 cottons but I spied a small cone of a fine  gold linen that had been absorbed into my stash from somewhere. No size is recorded and its a bit larger than 20/2. I do plan to use the McMorran balance to determine its yardage and size before I turn my project in. { Edit: I snipped away at the thread on the McMorran balance and came away with 39" which you multiply by 100 for 3900 yards per pound. Not certain which size this corresponds to but....   Anyone have an idea? Please leave a comment. }

So here's the draft again. My warp is 3 yards long, sett is 47 epi and is 2 inches in the reed. Edge threads are black 20/2 cotton and centre warp is my fine mystery linen. The linen will give a nice firm quality to the book marks.

It was wound, beamed and set into the raddle all in under an hour! What a treat!

Everything is quite compact and dense!

This is a 20 dent reed and it's sleyed 2,2,3. So all this was done in quick time.... until we get to the tie up!
I have a cranky lower back and I need a 12 treadle / 12 shaft tie up. The Louet Spring is a light loom and we 'cheat' by lifting her up onto crates:

That pile of ties is only half... the other pile is over to the left. I took a few days to get it done doing 3-4 treadles a day. One reason why I'm planning multiple projects from a tie up!

Calli held the carpet down and kept me company. There is a perfect circle of toys around the loom!

Finally I laced on to reduce loom waste and treadled the network treadling and I really like it! So tiny and compact. The pattern below is only half the bookmark and I wove another repeat, then hemstitched.

Then I wove some using the threading as my treadling (or'as drawn in' or 'tromp as writ') and I really liked this version too. During the second half of this warp, I had a linen warp thread part company. Most likely due to tension. I had a heck of a job trying to find the various ends, the heddle involved and fishing in a repair thread. It was a very tight situation and eventually it called for help from hubby and his head lamp 'cyclops' to brighten up 47 heddles crammed into one inch! We finally found it and got it squared away.

It was all woven and done in no time! I took the warp off and gently soaked in in warm sudsy water, primarily to tighten up the pattern. I left them all linked and plan to cut apart later. Linen doesn't like having its cut warp ends washed and they can get ratty.

Next, I used a rotary cutter and cutting mat for a nice clean edge.

Here's a clean edge.  I went on to cutting it shorter by half again as the fringe looked out of proportion.

So here's the final show and tell and they are ready to go on their way later this fall!  They were fun to weave up and it was a quick project. I also learned about miniature weaving and I would like to explore this in more depth at some point.

Woven network style:

Then woven as threaded, or as drawn in.... and also know as "tromp as writ" from very old drafts.

Now I have a habit of resting my shuttle on the project underway and I forgot how narrow my warp was and somehow I nudged the shuttle and it lurched sideways and it fell point first onto the top of my left foot. It HURT and it developed a large goose egg lump right away and my first  thought was "uh oh, that's gonna bruise"
That was an under statement!

First one shows the swelling and the second the lovely evolving colours!

The whole thing over the last week has turned shades of green and purple and its crept right down into my toes. I can walk okay (for the most part) but there is still a sizeable lump where it impacted and its tender to touch. I have woven with either socks in winter and bare feet in summer and been doing this since 1995 with no mishaps. I know that some weave with shoes on or slipper style shoes but I have portions of my feet that are numb (due to my back injury) so I need to really be able to feel the skinny treadles. I think I will carry on in my usual manner but be extra careful about where I place the shuttle from now on!

I have two completely naked looms! Time to get some threads moving!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Blues Review

I left you waiting for the big reveal on the runners! I got the hand hemming done just before this past weekend and then I had to leave the wet finishing part until we got back from some days away in Vancouver. We had gone over to visit with family again and spend some time in the "Big Smoke". I guess I'm a small town girl now as I found the sheer number of cars and people rather unnerving! Its just way too busy for me and the city noise doesn't stop at any time of day or night.  Sorry no pictures as I forgot my camera!

Calli went into a kennel for the first time and she had great fun playing with her new inmates. She went straight from the kennel to a groomer for a bath and a haircut!

I decided to hand wash the runners and used a normal washing detergent and squeezed out by hand after soaking for 15 minutes.  I rolled them into towels to absorb excess water and then hung to dry over night.
They pressed up nicely with a steam iron. Its been difficult to take good pictures of them as two are a solid blue shade and one is 'busy' looking, but I have given it my best shot (pun intended!)

There are three runners; the first has  40/2 linen weft in a natural colour: (click to enlarge)

Here's a close up:

The second runner is all blue with (approx) 8/2 orlec as weft. (Orlec is like a skinny cousin size wise to 8/2 cotton)

The orlec is crease resistant and more easy care.  A closer image:

Orlec has such a deep shine, coupled with the mercerized cotton warp, it makes getting a decent picture of the pattern a bit tricky.

Finally  the third runner has 10/2 mercerized cotton in blue as the weft:

I would say that the weight and hand of the all cotton runner is my favourite of the three. They were all woven to 50 inches or  bit more, all were ladder hemstitched and are fully reversible.  They all go into the box for the coming sales in the fall. More complete details on the draft and such can be found at this older post  and this one as well .

My little assistant is a hand twisted fencing wire gecko with glass beads. He's a flashy  little fellow and originally comes from South Africa. He and his friend, a chameleon, sit on my kitchen window ledge when not modelling in photo shoots.

Next time... book marks.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Making Choices

I haven't fallen off the planet! I had a week where I nursed a twitchy low back back to something less painful. After spending three months healing from the last bad back episode, I listen when it tells me to slow down or stop!

My sister came for a visit and so not much else was done during that time also. Just a whole lot of talking! Its always memorable when my sister comes to stay.   :)  Since she left, I have been trying to catch up on chores and  life.

Let's talking some weaving !  I have woven three scarves in the Gebrochene / Hind und Under pattern and you can get the details here and on the blue runners here. I had left the loom tied up and planned a second project. It is a 12 shaft / 12 treadle tie up and quite time consuming on a countermarche loom, especially so when you have back issues. So I'm trying to get more out of the time spent on my tie up's by planning at least a second project.  The second project is a set of three table runners with the sales this fall in mind.  I left you last time weaving my second runner using navy blue orlec and one last runner to do. *Insert bad back week here*  When I finally sat back at the loom, I decided to go with another blue on blue and used 10/2 mercerised cotton for a finer cloth. It took longer to weave up due to the dark colours, complicated treadling and my sister's arrival.  *Insert chaos here*  :)

The good news? the runners are done and off the loom. The bad news? they are waiting for hand sewing the hems.  I'll be starting them after I post  and show them next time.

I did get another warp wound and onto the Louet Spring right away. I'm participating in a weaving exchange with the Guild of Canadian Weavers and the deadline to hostess Lynnette is October 1st. I thought it might be nice to be early this year and start on them now.  Its not a big deal: four book marks. That's it.   Somehow I have made it a big deal! 12 shafts, 12 treadles, 47 epi with a fine linen and 20/2 cotton.  Oh, and I put on three yards to make extra. Its a point twill designed by my friend Gudrun Weisinger and is treadled "network style". No distractions while working on this one!

This is one repeat and its only three inches long. Like I said, I made it into a big deal! But I love fancy twills....

Well, it will keep me busy for some time! I also want to do a second project off this tie up so now mulling over ideas in my head. So there should be some show and tell in the next post for you.  Hope your summer is going well!

PS We took our house off the market and staying put for now. That means I can plan a warp for my big loom now that it won't be dismantled. Life is getting back to normal.