Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Yuletide Greeting from Me and My Studio

Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Monday, December 21, 2015

A Little Road Trip for my Fabric

Here's what 60 yards of that 60"-wide fabric looks like, loaded up and ready for delivery to the drapery-maker.  I almost can't believe I actually did this.

Destination:  J&L Draperies.  This storefront is where they meet with customers and have sample books lining the walls.  They have a separate workshop where they actually cut and sew the products.

I also got to visit the house where these are going to be installed.  The drive and carport sort of look like a hotel or something, but this is a private residence.  The layout is a square with a courtyard with pool in the center, terra cotta brick walls, brick floors and lots of glass.

These are the old curtains which will be replaced with the fabric I wove, in the family room area.

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Home Stretch

Almost done weaving this drapery yardage!  Here is the warp for the second of two runs going onto the beam.  It's sure nice to have a tension box that's meant for the loom.  I should get the right one for my other loom.  This one from AVL has adjustable tension rods, rotating reed on the front, a yardage counter and heddles to form a cross.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

VLP - Weaving !

After some adjustments I got the weaving going this week.  I immediately determined that it is physically impossible to throw by hand through a 60" shed on this loom.  There's just not the leverage to impart the velocity needed to get the shuttle to the other side.  So I learned how to use the fly shuttle and about adjusting the drop boxes which is critical.  If the box is lower than the shuttlerace, the shuttle launches over the fabric and ends up on the floor at the other side of the loom.  Quite exciting.
The dobby is working great.  It's nice to not have to worry about treadling with a 100+ pick sequence.  The weaving is not as fast as I'd hoped, but acceptable.  I am so fortunate to have got connected with this loom when I did.  There's no way I could have accomplished this on the Macomber; I would have been crying.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

VLP Update

Beaming went fairly smoothly, though it took a day.  There were a couple warp ends that somehow didn't make it into the section bundle, so I had to add some weighted ends, and a couple ends which caught on the pegs where I will have to deal with them being loose when I get to where the extra length is.  Threading the 1200 ends was another day.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Very Large Project Start

Spools of warp for the VLP.  20 spools each of 20/2 and 5/2 cotton.  Just the scale of this thing brings up a different set of problems to solve, like how much yarn fits onto my spools.  The spools with the thin warp have enough on them for half the entire project.  The thick yarn would not fit even that much on a spool.  What I have here is enough for 1/3 of the sections for half the project, or 1/6 the total amount I'll need.  For the second half of the project I'll try to get half the sections onto a spool.  I think by the time I'm through I will regret not having invested in an electric winder for bobbins and spools.

Friday, November 27, 2015

A Retro Repro Project

Well, the Very Large Project has materialized (sorry for the pun).  I am producing some window casement fabric (drapery material) for a house with a lot of glass.  The original fabric the customer wants to replace is circa 1960s.  I analyzed the original fabric and of several samples I made, this one was chosen.

Here's a backlit view of one of the samples.  This is the way it hangs, with the stripes running horizontally.  It's kind of an interesting weave, with  long warp floats in stripes.  The fabric is held together behind the floats by a thinner warp.  The horizontal color stripes are tied down sometimes by the thick warp and sometimes by the thin warp, adding extra variation in the patterning.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

My Report on Designing Weavers Show

I spent a fun weekend with the Designing Weavers at our annual exhibit and boutique sale.  This was in the "Art for the Home" room; one of my "Green Impelling" sprang and weaving pieces among the beautiful basketry, tapestries and other art.

Four rooms were filled with art to wear, jewelry, scarves, gifts, home textiles, decor and other goodies. The "bag wall" was in the hallway leading to the other rooms.

I did pretty well in sales this year; people seemed to like my work which is very gratifying!  What remains of my inventory is going up on my Etsy shop this week.


Monday, November 16, 2015

Woven, Sprang, Pleated - Ready!

Getting these color studies wet-finished, pleated,  mounted and ready for next weekend's show.

I think maybe this green one is upside down.  The dark band should go at the bottom?

See these and lots of other fabulous weaving this weekend at "Art for the Home, Body, and Soul", the Designing Weavers annual exhibit and holiday Boutique, at the Woman's Club of Sierra Madre, 550 West Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre.  November 21-22 10 am - 4 pm.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Designing Weavers Annual Event

It's coming  up!  Our annual exhibit and boutique, "Art for the Home, Body, and Soul" will be November 21 and 22 (the weekend before Thanksgiving) at the Woman's Club of Sierra Madre in Sierra Madre (near Pasadena, CA).  That's my piece, "L'heure Bleue" on the front of the postcard.

Come see this artwork and other of my work, as well as lots of beautiful fiber art, home furnishings and art-to-wear by the Designing Weavers.  Meet the weavers, talk to us about our work, see demonstrations of our craft and join us for a great time in Sierra Madre!

Saturday, November 7, 2015


The portion of my home I have newly-designated as "fiber arts studio" is looking rather chaotic, with books, equipment, tools and yarn piled all over the floor as I move furniture and try to decide where everything is going to live.  What a mess.  And I fear it's going to get worse before it gets better.  
I sold my Mighty Wolf which was my first floor loom, so I'm a little sad, but it's found a good new home.

At least I'm still managing to find time to weave...

...except when someone's occupying the loom bench.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Sprang and doubleweave again

In an effort to be more brave about color, I'm trying some oddball (to me) color combinations in some small sprang-and-woven art pieces, just to see what happens with color blending and contrast.  These are a series similar in structure to some of the doubleweave I had done a couple years ago.

It's interesting that the sprang under the tension of the loom is causing the fabric to buckle slightly.  I don't remember noticing this before, but the low light angle is really showing it up in this photo.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Workshop at Canta Cruz Handweavers

I had a wonderful time with the Santa Cruz Handweavers last week.  To start with, my gracious host lives in a beautiful wooded area up in the hills.  This is a view from their deck - isn't that fantastic?

Here is my class, busily weaving away.  This was the first time I've taught this workshop "The Unwoven Warp: Layering Sprang on Woven Cloth".  Everybody in the class was a trooper; they all were intrepid in trying this unusual technique.

Don't they have a nice meeting place?  It's a community building in a pleasant park.

Everyone was able to get in at least a  few sprang motifs by the end of the workshop.

More student work.  I like how she's found a place to store her tools while she's away from the loom.

Some students got creative with their sprang, and got new ideas to try.

Interlaced sprang, and one worked with weft.

Thank you Santa Cruz weavers for your hospitality and enthusiasm!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Loom Christening - First Warp

Something spicy to try out this loom.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

New (to me) loom.

That pile of loom parts is now a loom.  It's a 1987 AVL 60" 16H Production Dobby.  What a great birthday.

There were just a few small parts, nuts & bolts missing that we were able to find or fabricate.  Dobby and all seem to be functioning correctly though I haven't put a warp on it yet.  It has a double-box flyshuttle but I haven't mounted that.

Most importantly, it's kitty-approved.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Happy Towels

That first set of towels, hemmed and laundered.

The before- and after-wet-finishing is pretty dramatic with this structure.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Morning After

Oh, my.  What have I got myself into?

And I would have to pick one of the hotter days of the year to bring it home.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Another Old Friend

Ha, ha - I just realized this is my first-ever post about spinning.  Oh, have I missed spinning - and I didn't even realize it.  I dusted off my spinning wheel the other day.  Literally dusted it off.  The poor thing was pretty filthy.

I had this "art batt" in a pretty green-based palette of mixed fibers (wool, bits of silk and viscose) that spins up into a textured yarn.  I'd spun a bit of it some years back.  I oiled up the wheel and finished up the batt.

I noticed that the batt had become matted in places.  Not too badly; I was able to coax it by opening it up sideways and then predrafting it lengthwise before spinning.  But that matting that occurred just from it being in the plastic bag and moved from one basket or box to another over the years gave me the idea it might felt well also.  So with some of it I made a piece of matching felt.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Long Warp Continued

Thanks to everyone for the suggestions of uses for a really long narrow warp.  Many people said ribbons and trims, and I had the same idea, so I did try weaving a bit of various narrow warp-faced trims.  But that got old after about six yards.  Plus I kept thinking, the shipment of yarn for sampling for the Very Large Project is on its way; I have to get this off the loom.

So the answer was to pull it off the beam a few yards at a time and make it into cords.  Lots and lots of cords, for hours of ply-splitting fun.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Another UFO Bites the Dust

A non-weaving post...

It took over 20 years but I finally got around to finishing this quilt.  It's a 9-patch, mostly machine-pieced, but I hand-quilted it.

Back when the internet was young and more innocent, I was in a quilt block exchange with strangers from all over the US, Canada and Australia.  We did a block every month. with a theme for each month according to holidays or the season.

It just covers the top and a few inches down the side of a queen-size bed.  Around the unbleached muslin strip I quilted the names of the months.

It seems to have met with feline approval.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Sea Shore Warp

Mmmm... fresh warp!  More 22/2 cottolin for another run of towels for the upcoming holiday sales.

I realized as I was winding this one that it reminds me of the sea shore: ocean, sky, seaweed, kelp.

Friday, September 4, 2015

That's A Lotta Warp

In contemplating an upcoming Very Large Project, I wondered how much warp can I put on my Macomber's sectional beam?  I've never had it anywhere near full.

And the answer, for 5/2 cotton at 10 ends per inch, is...

...we may never know, because I stopped at 80 turns.  On my 3/4-yard beam that means 60 yards.  More, I guess, since the circumference grows as the yarn piles up.

Now, it didn't really occur to me when I got the bright idea to do this little experiment, but what on earth am I to do with a 1-inch wide, 60-plus-yard long warp?

Saturday, August 29, 2015

My Dance Card is Full

I finished the odd little 11-beat dance with this warp.  This one has a warm yellow weft.  I did two towels in each of four different weft colors on this warp.

I may do it again in a warp using another colorway, in between lots of other projects.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Like Visiting an Old Familiar Friend

I was weaving this structure last summer, designing the towels that were in the Jan/Feb '15 issue of Handwoven.  I put it on the loom again this week, this time with lots of colors.  I had forgotten how fun it is to weave.  The last shot of each sequence becomes the first shot of the next, kind of like that old jump-rope rhyme where the last word of the verse sounds like it's going to be a naughty word, and it turns out to be the first syllable of an innocent one that starts the next verse.  You kind of lose a beat in the rhythm, which makes it hard to stop once you get going.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Fuchsia in the dye pot

Doing a little dyeing today.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

An Exhibit to View

Warp and Weft, Chain Stitch and Pearl: Textiles in the Ahmanson Collection

I went to see this exhibit last Friday.  There are 30 pieces in the show, from 17 different fiber artists working in many varied techniques including knitting, quilting, embroidery, tapestry, shaft loom and jacquard weaving, felting, sculpture and even photography.  As you walk through the offices to the gallery in the back, there is also a progression of embroideries and quilts.

If you're in the Southern California area I recommend it.  It's at a private business in Irvine but is open to the public during business hours if you call ahead.  Call Fieldstead and Company at 949-474-1965.

Beverly Ayling-Smith, Shroud, 2015.  Linen. 16 ft x 29"

Channing Hansen, Payne, 2014.  Handspun and dyed wool, holographic polymer, silk, Lyocell, cedar.  20" x 25"