Thursday, December 25, 2014

December's TotM

Merry Christmas!

December's towel in 22/2 cottolin ground with cotton floss pattern weft in miniature overshot.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Forming letters with sprang

I worked some simple doubleweave pickup.  And you can see I've left some of the warp in the center section unwoven, sitting on top of the cloth.

Then I worked a sprang braid using the unwoven warp.

It's supposed to look like two Ds (my initials).  I don't think I like the shape of the inner curve - the part I did with the pickup.  I think it should start further out from the vertical, and end more gradually, not so pointy.

I think I put enough warp on to try again.  What do you think?

Sunday, December 7, 2014


You know those UFOs (UnFinished Objects) that sit around for months or years?  I'm sure you have them.  This is one of those.  What is it, you ask?

Since the weather (finally) has cooled off a bit around here, I was thinking my teapot needs a jacket or "cozy".  I had started one from a project in a book some number of years ago, so I dug it out of the basket on the top of the bookcase where it had been collecting dust.

 It's pretty funky-looking.  It's knitted of wool in "short rows" for shaping, and then wet-felted.

It's too big for my teapot so I rolled up the hem.  I decided I really didn't care for the colors.  Too cold-looking for something that should be cozy.

So I overdyed it in golden yellow...

... yeah!  That's more like it.

After dyeing, I felted it a bit more and it fits the circumference of the teapot better, but it's still too tall.  I left the cuff edge out so it would show the unevenness of the edge of the felted fabric.

Friday, December 5, 2014

I'm a Cover Girl...

...or, well, at least my towels are.  There on the cover, I mean.  That's pretty darn exciting.  These Atwater-Bronson towels in cottolin are a project in this issue of Handwoven magazine, available from Interweave Press.

Also don't miss article contributions from friends: Trudy S. and regular contributor Susan H., and editing of this issue by Sarah J.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Final TotM for the year! December miniature overshot

This month's structure is the same as the one used way back in March, but the yarns are different.  The warp and ground weft are 22/2 cottolin, in bright red for Christmas.  For pattern weft, I used cotton embroidery floss (all 6 strands) in white and green.

The center design is formed by a 41-thread repeat in the threading, repeated 9 times, with a 10-end border on each side, for a total of 389 ends.  The sett in the reed for this towel is coarser than all the other towels this year, at 20 epi.  So the width in the reed is just under 19.5".
Below is the draft for this towel.  To understand where to place the borders, you'll need a picture I think, so I've put the fuzzy image from the original article above.  Sorry about the quality, but I think it gives an idea of what you're doing when you weave this.  Weave plain weave with the red 22/2 cottolin, then put a green border using tabby between each pattern pick, then some plain weave, then the wide border using white pattern weft (again using tabby), then more plain weave followed by a second green border.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

TotM Update - November crackle weave

No, I haven't abandoned the Towel of the Month (though this month seemed pretty full up with getting ready for the Designing Weavers sale).  Here's a photo of November's towel as it was being woven.  I must say I don't really "get" crackle weave.  It seems to have all the blurriness of overshot and none of the pattern.  I'm not sure it's worth the complicated threading.  I know there are other ways to weave it besides this overshot method using tabby, including polychrome, so I may have to return to it again some day.

I do like the colors in this towel, though!  Here's the finished towel.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

In time for shopping season?

New scarves, bags, tops and pillow covers... available now at my Etsy shop.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Day-after-Thanksgiving project: Re-stringing the Macomber

Well, here's a project for a late November day.

For a while now, I've been wanting to replace the apron strings on the warp beams on my Macomber loom.  These are the leader strings that the warp is tied to in the sectional beaming process.  Every time I would put a new warp on, I would cross my fingers and hold my breath, hoping that one more of these frayed strings would not break.

You can see some in the picture where I have tied in an extension with some waxed linen that was the wrong weight.

After looking at how Eddie of Macomber Looms re-strings a plain warp beam, I decided I ought to rig up some way to measure the strings as I was putting them on, to get them all approximately the same length.  This is the jig I came up with.  I used the board that I have been using a raddle with my other loom, duct-taped (aka duck tape) to the floor at an angle.  I placed it so that the old strings went around each nail.  Here I've started to take the old strings off.

The strings were actually one long continuous string, attached with small staples, and a half hitch knot.  This is a picture of the old strings before I took them all off.  I wasn't able to pry out those staples without gouging the wood of the beam somewhat.

Then I used the jig to measure the length of each loop of string, stapling each and tying the knots as I went across.

Then I repeated the whole process with the bottom beam.

...and yay!  New apron strings for my sectional warp beams!  Hopefully they will last as long as the first set, which was over 50 years if these beams are original to the loom.

I also replaced the little ties that hold the front tie-on rod to the cloth beam apron (first photo above).

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Handwoven Fancy Gauze

Lacy leno-weave or "fancy gauze" scarves - one of the many locally-handmade items available at the

Designing Weavers Exhibit & Holiday Sale
550 West Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre
Sat & Sun, 22 & 23 November

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Designing Weavers Exhibit & Holiday Sale 2014

It's next weekend!  10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.  Drop by to see a wide variety of exquisite work!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Draft for November's towel - Crackle Weave

Crackle weave actually comes to us from Sweden, where it is called Jamtlandsv√§v.  The term "crackle" was coined by Mary Atwater in the 1920s and 30s when she introduced it to her Shuttle-Craft Guild.  The threading sequences for crackle weave patterns can be very long with no repeats, so be prepared for this if you want to make this towel.

The warp is 40/2 bleached linen, again set at 30 epi, and the ground weft is the same 40/2 bleached linen.  For the pattern weft, I used 22/2 cottolin in autumn colors.

The treadling is shown in this screenshot from the weaving software I use (Fiberworks PCW).  The patterned area is woven "using tabby", that is weave a pattern pick with the pattern colored yarn, then a plain weave pick, then another pattern pick, then the alternate tabby.  Note that the center portion is not exactly symmetrical.

Friday, October 31, 2014

October's Towel

Ms & Os weave, 40/2 linen (bleached & unbleached), 30 epi/ppi.  The photo is of the towel after hemming and wet-finishing and ironing.  I really like this one; I may have to explore this structure further.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

2014 Award Winner Fabric Appearing as Cushion Covers

I'm turning my Updraft, Downdraft fabric into giant accent-pillow covers.  These are big; they fit a 24"x24" pillow form.  Cotton, hand-dyed, double weave with sprang.  The colors grade from saturated to shades and tints, so each cover is different.  Hand-dyed linen backing, zipper closure.

The fabric is the 1st Place winner of the Handweavers Guild of America Convergence 2014 Yardage Exhibit Ebb & Flow.  It also won the Virginia Harvey Award for Use of Color from the Seattle Weavers Guild.

They'll be available for sale at the upcoming events below, and online after that.

SCHG Weaving & Fiber Festival
Sunday, November 2, 2014
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Torrance Cultural Arts Center, Torrance CA

Designing Weavers Holiday Sale
Saturday & Sunday, November 22 & 23, 2014
10am to 4pm each day.
Women's Club of Sierra Madre
550 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre, CA

Saturday, October 18, 2014

October TotM - Ms & Os

I think this is my favorite towel so far of these.  Can you see the resemblance to a stripedy kitty?

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Leno waves - a seasick fabric?

Leno blocks threaded in straight draw order and tied & treadled in a 2/2 twill sequence are making funky wavy lines in my weft.  The lines look irregular when examined by themselves, but there is an overall diagonal pattern when viewed from farther away.

Combined with the color, it makes me think of the ocean.  Does it make you queasy to look at?

Sunday, October 5, 2014

October's Puzzler Continues - tie-up and treadling

Okay, so halfway through threading this towel, I realized I should have taken a closer look at the photo in the article.  There are more than 7 repeats across the towel.  In fact it looks like there are eleven.

So the repeat must be six of the threading units from the middle of the profile, with the other 5 at the edges as balance.  6 x 11 + 5 = 71.  Oh, well; I am making a different design!

If you are weaving this project and want it to look like the photo, I think this 11x profile draft to the right here will do it, rather than the 7x one I put in the previous post.  Use the same threading key from the previous post, substituting the 8-thread units for the blocks A and B.

When looking at the treadling sequence, I'm meeting with similar confusion as I had with the threading.  There is no indication of which part to repeat.  Not the whole thing?  It's not symmetrical and doesn't seem to relate to the threading.  The photo shows a design that looks like a "squared" plaid.  The threading has only 24 ends of the bleached linen in a stripe, yet this treadling is showing 44 picks of the bleached.

I've made a treadling sequence that "squares off" the 7x threading that I used.

And if you're using the 11x threading, this sequence should square it off.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

October's Towel - Ms & Os & a Dilemma

October's weave is Ms & Os, which contrasts plain weave areas with areas of fairly long floats in a weft rep, causing side-to-side deflection in the woven fabric.  It uses the now-familiar 40/2 linen set at 30 epi, but this time in contrasting stripes of both the natural unbleached color and the bleached ivory.

But the draft is a puzzler.  I am not sure what Barrett can have meant.  Here's an image of the profile draft she gave.  There is no indication of what portion of this design is to be repeated across the width of the towel.
Each square represents a threading unit that is 8 threads wide.  Here are the thread-by-thread "keys" for the two blocks A & B.  She says there are a total of 71 units across the width, or 568 ends total.  The design shown, though is 11 units wide, which does not divide evenly into 71.  Also, if you repeat the whole draft as shown, you'll have two blocks of B in the unbleached linen together, and I have a feeling that is not what she meant.  So some portion(s) of the profile draft must be for the start and/or end of the design, and the rest is the pattern to repeat. 

If I leave one unit of the profile out of the repeat, that makes ten units per repeat.  If I repeat that 7 times, that's 70 units, plus the one to balance at the end makes the 71. So my profile draft for the threading looks like this.  The only difference is the repeat indicator - it changes everything!

So I measured out my bleached and unbleached linen warp according to my plan here.  What do you think?  How would you interpret Barrett's profile draft?

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

September's towel in autumn colors

September's towels are woven, hemmed, wet-finished and ready for service.

Unbleached 40/2 linen ground warp and weft, 22/2 cottolin supplementary pattern warp in fall colors.  Turned Monk's Belt.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

September weaving - Turned Monk's Belt

In weaving the turned monk's belt, I was having difficulty getting a nice shed to open because the warp is so dense.  The pattern warps also would sometimes sit on the "wrong" side of their companion ground warp which would put a spot of color in a position that I think doesn't look right.

I developed a sequence that helped me get through this problem.  Instead of using the tie-up as provided, I tied up the pattern shafts as a direct-tie, and the shafts that weave plain weave separately, plus a treadle to lift all the ground threads together.  So for each change of pattern block the weaving sequence is:

1. With the beater at the fell of the cloth, lift just the pattern shaft for the pattern you need to weave next.  (Opening a sticky shed with the beater at the fell gives the yarns the best chance of opening cleanly since there isn't the extra interference of trying to move through the reed.)

2. Push the beater back.  Clear the shed with a sword, bringing the pattern threads up to the fell so they sit up above the cloth and in between the proper ground threads.

3. With the top pattern threads still raised and the beater again at the fell, with the other foot raise both ground shafts.

4. Push the beater back and repeat the shed-clearing with the pattern threads that are on the reverse of the fabric, so they sit down below the cloth and between their proper ground threads.

5. Lowering the ground threads but leaving the top pattern threads still raised, weave however many picks are required according to the treadling pattern.

This is slow going, but I was such a happier weaver doing it this way!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

September TotM - Sett and Yarns - some color for end of summer!

Here are the colors of pattern warp that I picked out based on the color names in the article and yarns available to me.  Don't they make a pretty late-summer-harvest kind of palette?  I got this 22/2 cottolin from Yarn Barn of KS.  The ground warp is a 40/2 linen like the earlier towels, and the Barrett article calls for unbleached.

I was so intent on trying to explain the draft in my last post, I neglected to mention that this towel is set at 30 ends per inch, just like all the previous towels so far this year.  At least, the linen ground warp is at 30 ends per inch, and the total linen ends are 570 ends for an in-reed width of 19".  In the colored pattern stripe areas, the pattern warp is a supplementary warp - that is, it is not a part of the basic plain weave ground cloth that the linen forms - so it goes in right on top of the 30 epi linen, one pattern thread per ground thread.  So in the pattern areas, the sett is actually 60 ends per inch.

I wound and beamed this pattern warp separate from the ground linen.  For most of the colors you'll wind a few ends, then cut and tie off and start the next color.  But if you're using a warping board or pegs, for colors that repeat near each other like all those greens in the center of the main stripe, you can set the yarn package aside while you wind the other colors if you like, then return to the color set aside as you need it again.

Friday, September 5, 2014

A New Look for Atwater-Bronson Lace?

Can you believe this is the same structure as the May Towel of the Month?  Who knew Lace Bronson (aka Atwater-Bronson) could take on a three-dimensional look almost like a waffle?

To get this result, instead of threading 14 units of Bronson and one unit "turned" as in the May towel, I tried threading 2 units of the lace alternating with 2 units of the turned lace.  I wove similarly, 2 repeats of each treadling sequence alternately.

This is another sample, 2 units of lace threading alternating with 3 of the turned.  You can see that the fabric is not anything special to look at, under tension on the loom.
But what a surprise I had when I put the sample into water to wet finish them!  Had anyone walked into my kitchen they would have found me standing there grinning at the sink, almost bouncing up and down in delight.

The effect seems to be caused by the floats in the two directions all pulling the plain weave areas to one side of the fabric or the other when the yarns are allowed to relax in the water.

Monday, September 1, 2014

September's Towel - Turned Monk's Belt

The weave for the Towel of the Month for September is another "turned" structure: that is, it's woven with the patterning in the warp, whereas the "normal" way to weave it is with the pattern formed in the weft.  This design also has some color in it ("yay - finally!" say the color-lovers, after looking at all those natural-colored linen lace weaves).  The ground warp and the weft are unbleached linen, and I am using 22/2 cottolin as the colored pattern warp.

The draft looks a little complicated, but I've tried to add a few labels to fill in the blanks.  Start by looking at the center of the diagram, where there is a sketch of the width of the towel.  From right to left, there will be 74 ends of linen threaded on shafts 1 and 2 to weave plain weave, then a stripe of the pattern, then a central area of linen plain weave, another stripe, and finally 76 ends of plain weave.

The profile draft for the stripes is at the top of the diagram.  Each square represents a sequence of 4 threads, two linen and two pattern.  From right to left, thread two units of block A, then one of B and so on.  The threading for the two blocks A and B are at the left in the diagram.  When you are sleying the reed, the pattern stripes will be sleyed double the density of the plain weave portions: if you are using a 15-dent reed, all 4 threads go in one dent.

The colors of the cottolin are indicated at the bottom.  I wasn't sure what color "bittersweet" was, so I looked it up and it seems to be a salmony orange.  Notice that although the threading of the stripe is symmetrical, the color order is not, so reverse the order for the second stripe.   Since this is a supplementary warp, you may want to beam the cottolin separately from the linen if you have a second warp beam.