Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Theory and Practice and Weaving from Times Past



Ok, I am working on a dishtowel warp and this is just a quick follow-up post to my last post. That post was all about how my Turned Taquete threading (which is actually just a straight draw) could be tied up for twill treadlings.

I've got enough warp for four towels and this is number three. And looking pretty good. As I explained before, threading stripes of solid color in between the stripes of contrasting color will ensure that the twill will show well.


Now, on a completely different subject, I have begun "scanning" my slides of weaving from times past. I finished my Masters Degree in Craft Design in 1987 and began weaving and exhibiting for a period of time after that. I took many slides of my work, and have just finally begun the process of sorting these slides, and reproducing them digitally.

My gizmo of choice is this:

The Lomography Smartphone Slide Scanner works with my iPhone to capture the slide images quickly and easily. While not the super quality of the slide scanners I used to work with in my former life as a Curator of Visual Resources, the images I am getting are good enough and sometimes even great. I edit them in Photoshop, and upload them to Flickr. Some blog readers may have already noticed them on the Cooliris Flickr Wall on the right. More are coming!

And I will talk more about these weavings in a future post. For now I will say that I did a ton of work in boundweave with Summer and Winter threadings. Inspired by Peter Collingwood's book on rug weaving, I called it polychrome Summer and Winter on opposites. Now everyone calls it Taquete. (Who knew?)


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Turned Taquete Twill Variation [or] The Weave That Keeps On Giving

I hope everyone had a good holiday and isn't too tuckered out after all the festivities. On my to-do list for January: a blog post about my latest batch of Turned Taquete dish towels.

I decided on colors reminiscent of the desert, or clay pots (or something), so I called them Desert Sands. I did four, and I decided to try some variations with weft choice and tie-up/treadling. The results were suprisingly interesting and downright fun. The first two were like the one above. Changing colors and blocks in a sequence that I decided on beforehand, and I like those just fine.

But, I needed a change, so I decided to weave one towel using one color and treadling just one block. It wasn't boring at all, and it was faster, since I wasn't changing bobbins every inch or so. The result was the towel below. Suddenly, instead of checks, we've got stripes! And I do love me some stripes.

But the fun doesn't stop there! I really geeked out on the fact that the towel stripes are completely reversible. Voila:
The edges were the only part of the color sequence that were a solid color. All the other threading blocks alternated either dark/light/dark/light or light/dark/light/dark. By treadling a single block with a single color, the alternate warp color, whether or dark or light, always stayed on the back. BTW, this happens with any of the towels that I weave, checked or not, but with the stripes my delight in the process went a little overboard.
I wove the last towel using the stripes idea with a different color weft, but with this one I decided to go out on a limb and try a completely different tie-up and treadling sequence. Because I could.

If you look closely at the edge of this towel on the right, you will see a zig-zag twill. That twill appears across the whole towel of course, but you only see it on the edge, because I threaded the edge with the sequence light/light/light/light (same/same/same/same). The middle stripes all aternate, so the twill is a bit more, umm, subtle.
Keep in mind that this version of Turned Taquete is threaded on a straight draw. Never mind the color sequence. Straight draw means you can tie up for twills and you can treadle any twill sequence you want. (Light bulb going off in my head!) However. The twill only shows up in the stripes that do not alternate colors. Check it out. I blogged about this Turned Taquete design earlier:
By inserting non-alternating color stripes in the warp, I was able to create a step-ladder effect in the checks. Now look at it with a twill tie-up and a zig-zag twill treadling:
I know, right? (The black sripes are twill too, but they're black/black so you won't see it.)
Now, let's look at roughly the same drawdown in color:

You can really see the zig-zag in the non-alternating color areas. The fact that this is a straight draw threading, while seemingly simple, just upped the potential number of variations on one warp by a ton!

For all the four-harness weavers, it doesn't make a difference if you do this on four or eight harnesses. I do eight, but I like to utilize all the harnesses on my loom for any project. Saves the dreaded moving heddles chore. So here is the same design on four harnesses:

You're welcome!


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Stash Buster Gold

Here's a stash buster rayon chenille scarf hot off the loom that has me totally in awe.

I wanted to try the interleaved, echo threading technique that has everyone buzzing. I wanted to use that threading with a Turned Taquete tie-up and treadling sequence. Plus, I wanted to try all that without taking the time to work out my own design. Lazy? Maybe, but I wanted instant gratification.

This is the result, a dramatic, luxurious scarf that had me before the end of the first repeat.

I used odds and ends and bits and pieces of the last of my 2000 yards per pound rayon chenille. I wanted good contrast, so I overdyed half with black, and the other half was comprised of magenta, iris handpaints, blue, green, and whatever I could grab that would plausibly work in the mix. I sett the warp at 24 ends per inch for a warp-emphasis weave. I used the same weight rayon chenille for weft, in black.

(FYI: if you are planning on using fiber reactive black dyes for overdyeing other colors, don't bother tub dyeing. Just paint the dye on and let it set for at least 24 hours. Otherwise it will never cover the old color sufficiently.)

Here is the original Turned Taquete design on which I based my scarf. It was purchased from WEBS in PDF form at least a year ago. You can find it here. The original is woven with 8/2 tencel warp and 20/2 cotton weft. I bought the pattern before doing much research on interleaved weaves, so when the light bulb finally came on, I was anxious to give it a try.

Glad I did!

I liked doing this so much I ended up buying a huge 4+ lb. cone of 2000 ypp rayon chenille to do more. Though I won't use this particular design again, I plan to work on my own designs with an eye to weaving in this technique for my Etsy shop.


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Straight Draw

So I had some bits of 6 ply rayon: a cone in gold, about 4 balls of handpaints in various colorways, and some other colors, the origins of which are lost in the mists of time. But all this was just enough to get started on a warp for some scarves. My plan was for a warp of four scarves, each 60" long and 8" wide, plus fringes, on the loom. I would use up all the balls of handpainted colors, carefully blending so that you really couldn't tell one colorway from another. I planned to use a lot of the plain gold for weft, and then other colors when I got bored.

That part worked mostly according to plan. I had to work some of the plain gold into the warp when handpainted balls came up short, but I've done that any number of times when winding warps for my rayon chenille scarves, so no biggy.

The concept was to use a straight draw threading sett at 20 epi, on eight harnesses, changing the tie-up, treadling order and weft color for each scarf. And that worked very well. Crawling around on the rug each time I had to change the tie-up was no picnic, but oh well. At this point they are finished, off the loom, fringed, washed, and pressed. I've been posting views of these scarves on my Facebook page as I was weaving them, and today I was setting up their glamour shots for my Etsy shop. (The kitties are excited!)

So I thought I would share the weaving drafts and also reprise those Facebook snaps here. Enjoy!

Scarf #1: Undulating Twill, tie-up and treadling from A Weaver's Book of 8-Shaft Patterns, edited by Carol Strickler, page 12, #11



Undulating twill scarf on the loom:


Scarf #2: Plaited Twill, also from Strickler, page 101, #357



Plaited Twill Scarf on the loom:


Scarf #3: Zig Zag Twill Scarf, from Weaving with Foot-Power Looms, by Edward F. Worst, page 155, Fig 309 (my personal favorite!)


Zig Zag Twill Scarf on the loom:
Scarf #4: 8 Harness Straight Draw Twill from Weaves: A Design Handbook, by Eleanor Best, page 143



Straight Draw Twill Scarf on the loom:


As I've been handling the scarves for photography, I have loved watching the play of light on the warp and weft. They are lovely and irridescent, soft and drapey. How cool is that?


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

So, Am I Retired Yet?

May 14th of this year I worked my last day as the Visual Resources Curator in the College of Design at Iowa State University. I had been on a phased retirement schedule for four years. I arranged my work days so that I worked full time during the school year, and had chunks of time off during the holidays and during the summer from mid-May to mid-August. My final official day was June 30th. After 24+ years.

So what have I been up to? Well, still busy as it turns out. I started off with a project to sell my 12 harness LeClerc Dorothy loom. I wrote about that here. Now, all I have left of that loom are my photos. I sold it, after a couple of tries, on eBay. I'm glad it went to a new home, but it was quite a production getting it shipped.

Later in May we took a road trip to Ypsilanti, Michigan to visit our older daughter who is in grad school there. I made it a point to photograph the iconic water tower in Ypsi. And, yes, I know what it looks like :-)) 

After Ypsilanti, we headed south to Louisville, to visit our younger daughter and her family, making sure we took our grandson to the newly opened Kentucky Kingdom. 

Late in June we journeyed to California to visit old friends for a couple of days. We always love to go to the beach in Santa Cruz with them. It was a rare, not-too-windy day at Four Mile Beach, and the gulls seemed to be having a convention.  I caught some waves, but only with the camera. 

Our itinerary took us to visit my sister in Monmouth, Oregon and I was there for my 65th birthday, which was pretty cool. My husband and I always try to play golf on my birthday, and this year we played at Dallas Golf Club in Dallas, OR. This was the first place we ever played, and it is a sentimental favorite. We always rent clubs, which plays havoc with our games. Next time I vow to play with my own clubs!

That evening we went out to a fabulous dinner for my birthday at Joel Palmer House in Dayton, Oregon. Fine food, fine wine! 

I have been doing fibery things all summer long. I got hooked on linen stitch scarfs made with leftover sock yarn. The sock yarn balls were getting to be too much to deal with, so I decided to try this pattern and it is awesome. It is the Mini Mania Scarf by Sarah Core. I really got into the rhythm of the stitch, and whipped out two scarfs before I finally felt like I'd used up enough sock yarn.

A true highlight of the summer was discovering a fabulous book: Weaving with Echo and Iris by Marian Stubenitsky.  Stubenitsky is a Dutch weaver and the book is now available in English translation from the author. I ordered it from her and it came really fast! You can order it on her website here.
Subjects treated include Shadow Weave, Echo Weave, Moire, Woven Iridescence, Turned Taquete, and Turned Samitum. Fabulous, full color illustrations and photographs. More inspiration in one book that I have seen in years.

Naturally, I am all about the Turned Taquete. She offers drafts from four shafts to thirty-two! The following is a draft that I copied and worked up on Wif'nProof on my iPad. I just had to see if it worked! and it did! So, now I am slowly working up my own drafts for eight harnesses. I have never worked with echo weave before, nor have I worked with network drafting. So it is slow going.

Now here we are in mid-August, If I were not retired and heading back to work, I would be starting back on Friday. I don't think I will miss it at all!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Downsizing Again

Three years ago I decided that the Structo table loom, which was gathering dust and hadn't been woven on in eons, should go to a new home. I blogged about it here. Now I am about to list my other table loom on eBay. Mostly, this is about making space in the studio and sending a perfectly good loom to an owner that will truly appreciate it. However, this is also about downsizing. Because I am finally retired.

Yep. Last Wednesday was my final day of work, although my official retirement date is June 30. I am giddy. I have so many fiber adventures to embark on, yet I know that this loom that I am listing on eBay will not be part of those adventures.

This is it. A Leclerc Dorothy table loom, 12 harnesses (yes!) and 15" wide in the reed.


I bought it used from a weaver friend of mine in the 1990's. I thought that I would use it for a sample loom. But I just have 8 harnesses on my floor loom, so sampIing for 12 harnesses doesn't really make sense for me. I wove maybe three projects on it, but for the most part it is taking up valuable real estate.


It comes with a reed hook and a pair of metal lease sticks. Side view:

Back view:
Here is a view of the brake system:


And here is an "aerial view" of the harnesses:


These are the levers that raise and lower the harnesses:


The Dorothy is still made and sold by Leclerc, so anyone who snaps this up on eBay will be sure to get a bargain! I am out of town for the coming 10 days or so, but look for it on eBay soon!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Details, Details...

Last week, after I wrote about my latest batch of Turned Taquete dish towels, some interested parties asked for more details about the draft and color placement. So, I went back and looked at the draft that I used, and before it was all over I changed the draft from 8 harnesses to 4 harnesses.
Structure-wise, there is no difference between the 8 harness version and the 4 harness version. I like the 8 harness version because I don't want to keep re-arranging heddles. Anyway, a straight draw is a straight draw no matter how many harnesses you have. So 4 harnesses will do. The blocks are created by color placement and not by a threading sequence.
I have not included color in the drafts, because all you need to know is that you should pick colors that have good contrast. The colors alternate and for convenience I chose a sett (30) and a reed (15 dent) so there's no confusion about where each pair needs to be. There are four color blocks:
  1. Dark/Dark
  2. Dark/Light
  3. Light/Dark
  4. Light/Light
The treadling sequences used are:
  1. Tabby: for the hems
  2. Treadling block 1: 1314
  3. Treadling block 2: 2324
So, for this draft and the others the threading was a block of all dark blue, then a block of dark blue/light blue, then a block of dark blue. Then I switched to a block of all light green, followed by a block of light green/dark green, followed by a block of all light green. The towels were composed of three repeats of the dark blue/light blue color sequence alternating with two repeats of the light green/dark green color sequence (see photo).
In weaving, only use one shuttle at a time. For my purposes here, the white squares indicate the light blue or light green, the black squares indicate the dark blue or the dark green. This draft reads as follows from the bottom:
1314 - 2x - light blue
2324 - 4x - dark blue (think I left an extra repeat in the draft before doing a screen shot. Ignore.)
1314 - 2x - light blue
1314 - 2x - dark blue
2324 - 4x - light blue
1314 - 2x - dark blue
And there you have it!

As you can see, this next draft is treadled with one color and one shuttle. Either the dark green or the dark blue. Your choice. Easy peasy. The blocks change when you go from 1314 to 2324.
And, this is the same idea but with all light weft:
The ideas here should take you a long way with color experimentation. I look at this as more of a set of guidelines than a "recipe". So, go for it!