Monday, March 31, 2014

March TotM Miniature Overshot towels completed

It's the end of March, the Towel of the Month is finished, and one of them is on its way to my next test kitchen!

The towels are 40/2 linen in the warp, 20/1 linen weft, with borders in "miniature" overshot.

The one on the left is using 6 strands of cotton embroidery floss in the overshot, the middle is 10/2 cotton and the right is 5/2 cotton.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

New Digs for My Macomber

I did some rearranging in my house, and now my 16 shaft Macomber loom lives in a place with more light.

Monday, March 17, 2014

March TotM - Update: Weaving the Overshot Borders

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I have the borders going now.  I used 6-strand cotton embroidery floss, and it comes in so many colors I couldn't resist using a bunch of different greens.

Perusing the Hayes pattern book, I see suggestions for either 10/2 or 5/2 cotton as a pattern weft when the ground is set at 30 epi, so I'm going to try those on the other towels.

Again I am not getting a balanced weave, so the design is turning out much taller in the warp direction than was suggested by the draft I posted, but I like this shape better.

I put the small border close to one hem.  The large design will be farther from the opposite hem, to be more centered when the towel is hanging up on a towel rack.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Predator is Packing to Take a Trip

This piece entitled "Predator" was juried into the Complex Weavers show Complexity, so it is leaving to go traveling for a few months.  First it's off to Nebraska, at the University of Nebraska -Lincoln for a month-long show.  Then to Washington state for the weekend of the Complex Weavers seminars in June.  Finally it goes to Providence, Rhode Island, coincident with Convergence, the biennial national conference for handweavers, spinners and dyers by the Handweavers Guild of America.  My piece and the other Complex Weavers fiber art will be on exhibit on the following dates:

The Robert Hillestad Textiles Gallery
University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE
April 7 – May 9, 2014

Gallery at the Hotel Murano
Tacoma, WA
June 28 - 30, 2014

The Cohen Gallery, Granoff Center
Brown University, Providence, RI
July 14 – August 1, 2014

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

March TotM - About Miniature Overshot

I was curious, so I did a little research, and here's what I came up with regarding miniature overshot.  First, an internet search turned up the names of two weavers from the earlier half of last century who made designs in miniature overshot.  Josephine Estes worked on miniaturizing large overshot drafts in the 1930s.  Similarly Bertha Gray Hayes in the 1940s created overshot designs with fewer threads than in traditional patterns.

Then I went to my personal library.  Many of the designs in A Handweaver's Pattern Book by Marguerite Porter Davison, chapters 13, 15, 17 and maybe others are examples of these smaller designs.  In her book Weaving Overshot: Redesigning the Tradition, Donna Sullivan shows examples of miniatures by both Estes and Hayes.  In her section on altering scale, she refers to many patterns already reproduced in miniature, and then describes the process of reducing the size of a pattern by removing pairs of threads.  Carol Strickler, in A Weaver's Book of 8-Shaft Patterns: From the Friends of Handwoven , gives a rule of thumb for miniaturizing overshot.  Whether reduced from a larger design or made "from scratch" by using shorter blocks, the miniature draft ends up as Barrett describes as point and progressing twill threading.  A final clue comes from Estes, where she says a design has been miniaturized when it has been reduced to the point where it cannot re reduced further without losing the character of its pattern form.

A miniature overshot, then, is one that is sometimes reduced from a larger design, and whose scale is appropriate for items smaller than a traditional coverlet or items meant to be viewed up close.  Examples of uses would include runners and mats, smaller upholstery, pillows, scarves, purses and yes, even a border on a kitchen towel.

Belonging to a weaving guild has many benefits, any one of which can make it worthwhile to join one.  Access to a great library is one of these perks.  I am fortunate to belong to a guild with a fabulous library including many out of print titles.  I looked up Estes and Hayes.  We have in our library the Complete Book of Bertha Hayes' Patterns: 75 Drafts and Design Effects, as well as Minature Patterns for Hand Weaving Parts I and II by Estes.  I also found (at the suggestion of weaving friend Anna) this gem by Strickler & Barbara Taggart called Weaving in Miniature , in which the concept of miniaturization is taken to the extreme for the purpose of making textiles appropriate in scale for dollhouse furnishings.

The drafts shown here are one example by Bertha G. Hayes of a miniaturization she named "Gallinger Gem".  The first image is the draft of a larger pattern, the second one the miniature version of it.  There is a more recent publication of Hayes' overshot patterns by Norma Smayda, Weaving Designs By Bertha Gray Hayes: Miniature Overshot Patterns

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Further Explorations in Warp Left Unwoven

Although I am definitely not done with putting sprang into my loom-controlled weaving, I have been wanting for some time to try out some other techniques besides sprang on the portions of my warp that I leave unwoven.

In this project I am using my familiar 10/2 cotton, in one of my doubleweave (triple weave?) layered fabric structures similar to several I've done before.  However, this time in the treatment of the top layer of unwoven warps, I'm trying some wrapping and knotting.

The photo is of a corner of the piece, still in progress on the loom.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

March TotM - Threading, Tie-up, Treadling and Drawdown

Here's the draft for this project.  If you click on the image you should be able to open it larger.  I was able to open January's draft on my tablet and use it right at the loom for threading.

I included the drawdown in this draft so you can see the pattern.  It looks sort of like a four-leaf clover when depicted in green like this.  If you do yours in another color it might make a nice floral motif.

Planning for three towels, and backing off on my conservative estimate for loom waste, I will measure my warp ends to be 1.1 x (3 x 38") + 20" = about 145", or just over 4 yards.  Since it seemed to work well before, I will again measure it in 5 groups of 4 inches (120 ends each) or less.

Repeat the first 38 ends of the threading, fifteen times, then thread the other 25 ends to balance out the pattern for a total of 595 ends.

Make sure to "use tabby" when weaving, as usual for overshot.  Repeating the entire treadling sequence shown will make the wider pattern band.  The narrower band in the photo looks to be pattern picks 6 through 15 or possibly 5 through 16.

Weave along and get a chance to win the Towel of the Month!  You do not have to weave every month, just the towels that interest you.  If you are weaving along, please leave a comment to let us all know.  Put a link or url in the comment to a photo (on your Flickr, Picasaweb, Photobucket, your blog etc.) of your work in progress. Deadline to post you r comment is midnight GMT Mar 31, 2014.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

February TotM Finale

Here is  February's Towel of the month completed, wet-finished and ironed.  While weaving these, it occurred to me that maybe the switch from treadling A to B and back again at the hem ends was so that the fabric would match on the back when turned under for the hem.  So I did it both ways.  In the towel on the left, the hem matches on both sides; in the one on the right, it contrasts.

You can see the difference in the two yarns I used.  On the right is the heavier yarn I started with, and on the left the 10/2 that I swapped in after weaving the first towel.

I didn't see any comments that anyone was following in February, so I'm keeping both these towels for my kitchen.  The third towel went to another test kitchen, this time that of my sweetheart (it was, after all, Valentine's Day).

March TotM - Overshot Shamrocks

The Towel of the Month series continues, from the original article by Clotilde Barrett in Weaver's Journal issue #30. The structure to study in March is overshot. Barrett calls it miniature overshot.  Again the image is a bit fuzzy, but hopefully it gives an idea of what it looks like.  You could weave it in green as shown for St. Patrick's Day, or in any color you like.  The specifics:

Total number of warp ends: 595
Warp: 40/2 bleached linen
Pattern weft: 5-strand cotton floss, green
Tabby weft: 20/1 linen
Width in reed: 19.8 inches
I'll post a draft soon.

In the photo you can see the example is woven with a portion of the pattern as a small border near one hem, and the full pattern on the other end, farther from the hem.  You could also do the full pattern at both ends for a symmetrical towel if you like.  The article doesn't say how to make the thin lines bordering the pattern areas.  Maybe just one shot of pattern weft in a tabby shed instead of a linen shot.  I think it looks nice.

I have two questions about this one so far.  First, what exactly is miniature overshot?  I've found a couple references to it online, and I mean to go through my library to see if I can find any more details or a definition.  Is it just an overshot pattern that is smaller in scale than most?  The only thing Barrett says about it is that it is threaded on twill and extended twill, but that seems to be true for many overshot threadings.

My other question is about the pattern weft recommended in this project, which is listed as 5-strand floss.  I've never heard of 5-strand floss.  I wonder if this was something available in the 1980s?  I plan to use the standard 6-strand embroidery floss, but we'll see how it works out.

So who's with me this month?  Practice overshot and have a fabulous kitchen towel as a result!  If you have any comments on either of my questions above, or any questions of your own about this project, please post a comment!

Weave along and get a chance to win the Towel of the Month!  You do not have to weave every month, just the towels that interest you.  If you are weaving along, please leave a comment to let us all know.  Put a link or url in the comment to a photo (on your Flickr, Picasaweb, Photobucket, your blog etc.) of your work in progress. Deadline to post you r comment is midnight GMT Mar 31, 2014.