Wednesday, July 15, 2020

The Ripple Effect

I was craving more colour!  I have this fabulous painted warp from Iridescent Fibers called "Desert Vista" in my stash and decided to  beam this 204 end / 7 yard warp onto the Megado.   I added additional small borders of red purple, black and coral to the edges.

You can see my start of this project above with red purple as weft and it was fun to watch the changes as you wove through the grape, terracotta and copper.    The picture below is of the warp chain.  Such deep rich tones and smooth feathered transitions.

I didn't get a picture of the second scarf once under way. This time I used dark teal as weft and it produced a chameleon !  The terracotta became bright orange!   In fact, you would be hard pressed to say that these two scarves came from the same warp.  Its simply astounding...

Edit: I found this picture on line that demonstrates the colours of Nature and  they are all found in this scarf!   No idea where this is, but doesn't it look wonderful.....

Stunning Sunset 🌅 Turks and Caicos Islands 💜
Photo by: @waterproject [IG]

Here's the red purple (magenta) weft and I have tried my best to get decent pictures. My Mac screen really doesn't seem to like reds and red tones so I hope it shows okay on your screen.   Its deeply rich and the pattern more subtle, but no doubt about it, its full glorious colour!

Now, about the draft.... Its a 16 shaft straight draw, with a twill progression treadling.  It produces these lovely curves that ebb and flow like ripples on the beach or in the flames of a burning fire. It comes from a compilation CD of 4,000 twill drafts, called Thrilling Twills from Fiberworks some years ago.  They were designed by Ingrid Boesel, who has now sadly passed on.

Its a lovely effect and I know that I will weave this again sometime. I will also play with the treadling and see what variations I can come up with.  A program like Fiberworks makes  this possible and you can even see the back side of the cloth and check for float lengths!  I like to doodle with things like this and it beats the heck of endless scrolling on FB.   😳


I had a conversation with a new weaver (3-5 years along into her lifelong study!) and she asked me some interesting questions.   She wanted to know what little things I do to help make my weaving process runs smoother,  and how do I organize myself and my materials.     

I had to stop and really think about this for a time. To make a conscious note of the steps I take daily which have become automatic and trusted.

So here are some that have come to mind, and by all means are not complete. I hope to make changes to the way I do things when I discover a better way of doing something.  (disclaimer: I do have a natural tendency to being well organized.) None of these are the right way or wrong, just what simply works for me.   Maybe for you too?

  • Green painters tape:  I have a couple of 1"width rolls of this tape in the studio. Its like a pair of extra hands. 
  • Wide rubber bands.... broccoli bands in fact!  I use them to place on the treadles that are pivot points in a treadling. My feet 'feel' them and I know where I am in the treadling.  I also used them around the foot controller for my bobbin winder, sewing machine and serger. It stops them from sliding around. 
  • a cone of fine seine twine cord: I use it for choke ties, lace on the lease sticks etc. Its my preferred cord as its fine, tough and has some 'bite' to the cord so ties stay tied.
  • I always lace on a warp now. It started to save warp on expensive fibres such a silks, then it was the best method for slippery warps as tencel and bamboo.  I like that fact I can use all of the loom waste, except for a small knot, for fringes on scarves. Yarn is expensive  so every bit helps. I also hate fighting tying over hand knots and having them loosen up as I go and having to re-tie them again and again.  
  • I always beam my looms back to front. 
  • Two Stick Start:  this is a relatively new addition to my repertoire. A friend showed this method on FB a year or two ago and I gave it a try. Now its a regular part of my routine.    At the start of a new project, open the shed and use some scrap yarn roughly the same size of the warp yarn. Do three shots into three sheds in a row and then beat to close all three together. You can redo this another time to close the warp bouts.   Then open a shed and insert a warping stick that is wider than the project. Open another shed and insert a second stick. Then redo the three shots, and possibly a second time. You should have a nicely closed up warp, flat and a firm start. No spongey corners, no gaps. Best of all.... useable warp for fringes or a great starting point for a runner or towel.    See it shown at this older post.
  • Small Note Pad:  keep a small note pad in your bench or on top of your loom and write *everything* down.  How many repeats did you do for your border? how long is the fringe allowance? how many ends for your hemstitching?
  • Further to the note pad: I don't like dealing with a pinned ribbon or tape for recording weaving length so I measure and mark with a simple cord of scrap yarn. So my note pad is also a record of how long my weaving is, plus its a daily record of how much is woven in a given session, plus you can mark your start and stop time if you like. 
  • Camera:  I have a digital camera handy in the studio and I always take a picture of my start of a new project. It shows me what I did so I can replicate it in reverse at the other end!  The picture will also show you where the mistakes are in your threading far better than trusting your eyes to see it.  Even better when you send it to a friend and they tell where they are!  🤣
  • Project notes:  record keeping starts when you did your project planning.  You will have worked out the width, the length,  the sett, the yarns, the colours used, your loom waste and take up.  Also allow for a sample. It only takes a few inches.    I budget 12 inches to every project.   Sometimes as things weave along, you either run short or have extra and so can't weave a sample or  you have enough for a whole extra towel or table square instead.  That's where a photograph will become your sample.  Have the project notes handy and nearby as a reference. *more on this later*
  • I always move from taking a project off the loom straight into finishing mode.  A scarf goes right to my fringing board, a runner goes straight into hemming.  I take my time with this as the finish is equally important as the weaving.  I have no piles of unfinished objects.  No exceptions. 
  • I clean off my loom immediately, vacuum and dust thoroughly and beam it again right away.   Yarns are put away, bobbins emptied, notes and records filed. 
  • I plan a project and wind a new warp for a loom while the current project is being woven. I will even have several warps all pre-wound, complete with notes for each. 
  • I recommend spending time organizing your stash either by fibre type, yarn size or what ever works for you. It means you can reach for a cone of yarn when you need it, know where your strengths and weakness lay and you can shop accordingly. Find hidden treasures too!  Regularly go through your books, equipment and stash.... down size  if need be.
  • Lastly (for now at least), if you were to walk into my studio today you would find no piles, no mess, no unfinished projects, the yarns are organized, projects notes and samples stored in binders as my 'body or work'. The current project on the loom has the project notes on the desk. A weaver should be able to sit down at either of my looms and finish them for me, and one day someone may have to do this for me.    
I have helped with the dismantling of a weaver's looms, yarns and equipment over the years and have come away with a firm conviction that my friends won't find a disaster  to deal with when  I'm gone.   They will find a sizeable stash, books and such plus looms but it will make sense once they have taken a closer look.   To this end I keep re-evaluating what I need and moving items on, buying only what I need .....and enjoying what I have. 

There is a ripple effect to all of this.....


Marianne said...

Susan, when you use lacing to tie on, how do you deal with things if you find a threading error? I have tried lacing before, but ran into issues when I had a threading error. That is easier to deal with when you just have one knot to undo, but how do you retie the knot and re-tension with lacing?

Susan said...

Hi Marianne.... I isolate which bout has the error and unlace to that point. Then I snip off the end knot in that one bout, make the repair and re-tie the knot. Yes, the cord will jump up there a bit but I resume lacing on again. I also never tie off the end of the cord but wrap around the apron rod twice and then use my green tape to firmly secure it . This means minor tension adjustments can also be easily done.

I tend to go through the threading process slowly and double check as I go. I'd rather not have to 'snip and repair' if I can avoid it!
Thanks for writing....

Diane in Oregon said...

Susan, would you mind if I shared your list of hints with my guild newsletter editor (giving you credit, of course!)? It's a nice list!

Susan said...

Hi Diane..... that would be fine. Thank you for sharing!

Tela1 said...

Susan, love your tips and weaving ideas. About the "two sticks" method, do you remove the sticks once you start weaving or you leave the sticks to roll on the cloth beam?.


Susan said...

Hi Enrique,

I leave them in place and even add some other new sticks roll onto the cloth beam. I add more to produce a round roll of sticks to protect the cloth from the knots distorting the new fabric.

Hope this helps! Susan

Tela1 said...

Hi Susan,

I appreciate your reply.

My tips:
I cut pieces of painter tape, write the number of each pedal and stick them to the pedals according to the intended weaving pattern, pedals not in use are left without labels. So always I may have a look to the numbers. You know some times are 2, 3, 4, 6 or 8 pedals (my loom is 8 shafts, 8 pedals). Is a way for not damaging the loom with permanent numbers and also allows to adapt the number of each pedal for its position in the pattern.

I also print small tables with the treadling (always walking sequence) and place them to sight while weaving as a guide, some times I get to learn them after some time but some times are difficult treadling and never got them.

Thanks again,


Susan said...

Hi Enrique.... yes, sometimes I mark the treadles with the green tape too. I add the elastic band to mark the middle (Treadle 5) or the pivot points. I weave with bare feet or just socks in winter so I can feel them. I also count the run in my head as I go along and so the elastic band confirms where I am..... and I'm also watching the pattern grow.

The point is to keep a good shuttle flow going and to not to look down all the time. Its interrupts your flow, which also means your beat.

Thank you so much for writing!