Monday, June 30, 2014

Cool Linen Lace in the Light - June TotM Completed

June's Towel of the Month is in Lace Bronson (aka Atwater-Bronson lace).  In this photo it is backlit against an open window in the breeze.  I think it would make some pretty curtains, don't you?

And here's the finished hemmed towel, ready to go to another test kitchen.

How's your summer weaving going?  Do you have a project you want to get done in the long summer days?

Sunday, June 29, 2014

More gauze weaving

I did some more sampling of different gauze threadings, and now I'm trying a wider piece of fabric that I'd like to make into a lacy blouse.

This really lacy bit is the yoke part of the blouse that goes over the shoulders (the lower part is more modest).  This part was slower to weave because some of the sheds don't always open cleanly.  I haven't quite figured out yet why it works when it does.  It seems to be a combination of where the fell line is relative to the heddles, plus the height of the tensioning-jumpers in back of the castle.

What do you think?  I think this weave is pretty cool!

Friday, June 27, 2014

June TotM Weaving

Here is the June Towel of the Month on the loom.  The Barrett article said to put 30 picks of plain weave between the lace-woven blocks, but 10 picks might look more square if you like that better.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Natural Dyeing in the Garden

The Huntington Library & Gardens held their Fiber Arts Day on midsummer's day, and several local guilds including mine (Southern California Handweavers) were represented by various members demonstrating spinning, weaving and dyeing.  I was in the dyeing camp.  The Garden, of course, wanted us to feature plant dyes.

Here are all the colors I got, from just four dye pots.  From top to bottom the rows are: madder root, osage orange wood chips, cutch resin, and logwood dust.  Each column is a different premordant on white wool: left to right are alum, iron and copper mordants.  Because I used a premordant method, I was able to simmer the differently-mordanted skeins in the pot simultaneously, and get different colors.

It was quite a pleasant way to spend a lovely Saturday, with the weather not too hot or cool, an ideal spot with shade, and visitors to the garden strolling by all day interested in what we were doing.

This was my view over my dye pot.  I took this one with my camera phone, which is apparently not a very good one and the image is saturated, but you can get an idea of the herb garden where we were working.  The building in the background is the Tea Room where you can have Tea (the meal) if you make a reservation.

And here's a picture my fellow guild member took of me over the dye pot.  What's the saying, "I want to dye happy"?

I saved the liquid in gallon jugs when we were done.  The logwood came out such a dark blue-black with both the iron and copper that I want to try doing an exhaust bath or series of baths, to see if they are as blue as they look.

Monday, June 16, 2014

I'll be the one wearing hourglasses

Before I was able to put the gauze samples onto the loom, I had to get this project off the loom.  The colored warps that I am spranging were a painted skein with some copper metallic sparkle.  It was something I bought on impulse years back, and had just been sitting around looking pretty.

I saw an article recently, probably in Handwoven magazine, of a way to make a painted skein work like a painted warp.  You make the warp in a circular manner using a multiple of the skein length.  Here it is on my warping board.  I used two repeats of the painted pattern.

Here's a bit of the finished fabric before I cut it up to make it up into a top to wear to Convergence.  So if you're coming to Convergence 2014 in Providence next month, look for me wearing this!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Rhythm in the Weave

In so many parts of the process of weaving, I find myself remarking on the similarity of the feeling I get when dancing or making music. Threading the June Towel of the Month, I experienced a simple example of this, and I thought I'd try to put it in words.

Block A is threaded 1,3,1,3,1,2,1,3,1,3,1,2. And I might look at that sequence like something in 3/4 time, saying to myself, "(1-3) (1-3) (1-2), (1-3) (1-3) (1-2)." But since I like to hold four threads in my hand at a time, I divide the sequence into groups of four, and say, "(1-3-1-3), (1-2-1-3), (1-3-1-2)." It seems harder to remember as a sequence, but I like the way each group of 4 is different, and the pattern they make seems to go away and then come back, kind of like tension and resolution in a chord progression. 

I know, I'm mixing my similes. But this is how I entertain my brain and keep my place, and I find it somehow meditative. It's something about going through time and through the task at hand, and when you've repeated it enough times, you're done and where did the time go?.

Do you find something like this happening to you when you weave?

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Warping Back to Front

At our guild's spring "by-member, for-member" mini-workshop day, I shared my method of warping the loom "back-to-front".  I was asked to share my photo sequence, and since my posts on sectional warping seem to get a fair number of views, I thought I'd put these on this blog as well.

If I'm going to make a mixed warp, I will sometimes warp front-to-back, especially if I want to randomly mix the warp ends in the reed as I go. But most of the time I like to warp back-to-front.  It just seems to me like I'm "messing" less with the warp so it goes on the beam more cleanly.
 If on your loom you (a) sley the reed, then (b) thread the heddles, then (c) wind your warp onto the warp beam, you are warping "front-to-back".  Back-to-front warping basically reverses that process: wind, then thread, then sley.

You need a raddle for back-to-front.  The raddle is like a really coarse comb that spreads the warp out gently as you wind it onto the beam.  (There is a way to pre-sley a reed to act as a raddle, but I use a raddle.)

1. The first step is the same, though: you need to make your warp! The only thing different is you need a way to tell yourself how to spread the warp out as it goes onto the warp beam. I make a regular thread-by-thread cross at one end of the warp...
2. ...and make a "raddle cross" at the other end. (Instead, you can place a "counting thread" here.) Just mark somehow the number of threads that go into each section of your raddle. My raddle has one-inch sections, so if for example I will be sleying at 24 epi, I count out 24 threads in one "arm" of the cross before switching to the other (or before placing a counting thread if you prefer).
3. Here are several warp chains draped over the loom. We are looking at the back of the loom. The thread-by-thread cross is away from us at the front, and the raddle cross is toward us at this end of the chains. I have my warp beam's apron rod hanging from the back beam to help me hold it while I do the next step.
4. The loops at the near end are placed onto the apron rod, with the apron strings interspersed. You might attach your warp using a different method depending on your loom.
5. Then I insert the raddle. Mine is just a wooden rack with dowels at 2" intervals; I added nails between them to make one-inch sections. The raddle is just clamped to the back beam.
6. I take each warp chain's raddle cross and spread it in its appropriate sections in the raddle...
7. ...until all sections are filled for the width of the warp. I might twine rubber bands over the pegs/nails if I'm worried they might "jump" out.
8. I put a weight on a slip knot in each warp chain, proportional to the number of ends in the chains (i.e. if one of my chains has fewer warp ends, I put a smaller weight on that chain). The warp is coming from the weight at the front of the loom, up over the castle, over the raddle on the back beam, and onto the warp beam. Your loom may dictate a different route than mine.
9. I find the winding on goes quite smoothly; I usually don't have to do any combing, jerking or tugging. I keep an eye on the raddle and keep any twists away from the pegs/nails. The weights keep a steady tension on the warp.
10. When the weights reach the castle I just move them down to a new slip knot in the warp chain, so they have room to move up again.
11. I add plenty of packing on the warp beam so "hills" don't develop for the warp to slide down.
12. Eventually the thread-by-thread cross is reached. I put that cross on lease sticks and hang the sticks behind the heddles.
13. Now we're at the front of the loom, ready to thread. I set out a few heddles; I like to do 4 at a time...
14. ...because that's how many threads I can hold.
15. This makes it quick to thread those four, then move on to the next set.
16. Finally we sley the reed, then tie on and tension as usual, and... ready to weave!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

TotM - June's Draft

June's Towel of the Month, like May's, is also Atwater-Bronson lace (aka Lace Bronson), but instead of one of the blocks being turned, this draft uses two "normal" blocks of lace that are woven to make squares in an all-over lace pattern over the towel.

The threading goes like this: 4 ends of plain weave for the selvedge or border, then start the repeating sequence: 10 ends plain weave, 12 ends (2 units) of lace block A, 12 ends lace block B, 12 ends lace block A.   So the repeat has 46 ends.  Repeat those 46 ends 12 times (552 ends).  Then finish with 10 ends of plain weave to balance, and 4 ends of selvedge/border.  Total 4 + 552 + 10 + 4 = 570 ends.

The warp is bleached (if you can find it - I used1/2-bleached) 40/2 linen, and the weft is bleached 20/1 linen.

The treadling repeat in the Barrett article says to put 30 picks of plain weave between your lace block squares, but you might want to try 10 to make it the same "as drawn in".