Copper River

Copper River

Monday, July 14, 2014

Yes, and How are the looms doing?

I have been getting some weaving done.  It was nice to have the warp-weighted looms picked up, cleared out the garage and tidied up the PCH studio.
The three finished looms.
I hope they all work out well for the movie scenes.  I did get an email that the designer was pleased with them.


I have also been having a lot of fun with the little Cricket loom.  I got the Dogwood Runner off, but I still need to hem it.  I decided to put on as big of a warp that I felt the loom could handle.  It is 15" wide and 5 yards long.
Threaded full width
 
Wound a very full warp beam
I used the cotton/rayon slub that I used for the summer scarves last year, here

but because it is so fine, I doubled it in all the eyes on the reed.  I then wound leftover yarns in the denim color range for all the slots.  Because the leftover yarns are thicker, I chose to put them in the slots.

Weaving is going well the fabric looks good.  Will I have enough for a simple jacket?

Close-up of the weave
Although I wound the warp very carefully, the slot yarns (the thicker ones) seemed loose, and the more I wove the looser they got.  Maybe those yarns have more stretch than the cotton/rayon slub.  I have added a cardboard filler on the back beam, but I will probably have to weight a stick on the warp beam before I finish weaving the warp, I think I have only woven about one yard...I was so excited to get weaving I didn't put a tape measure to check...maybe I can still add it.

Rolled cardboard added to help get a clean shed


The blanket on the Leclerc 60" loom is actually weaving up well!  I was surprised how quickly I went from throwing the shuttle across the room, to just throwing it to the opposite edge of the warp.  I still slide pretty fast across the beam to catch the shuttle, but it is not as hard as it was when I started.

But now when I look at the piece, the squares are "square".  This yarn will probably take-up a lot, because it is a knitting worsted, so by blocks will shrink to flat rectangles.  Oh well, at least I am learning to weave on this loom and the parts I replaced are working well.


The two looms that had crackle samples on them, also got woven off .  The samples turned out fine, but I am still questioning my skill and knowledge of crackle.  I need to do some more work on it.
I tried several versions of crackle.  This sample shows the traditional (overshot style), classical style (with no tabby) and classical style with three colors.  Previously I had only woven it overshot fashion.  I really like the three color weaving, it has lots of room to explore.  Wilson's book is great with this and I want to work through more of her examples.



And here is a sample woven in several versions of "Italian fashion".  I found several different versions of "Italian fashion" in several books and wove them to compare.  Interesting, and it answered a question I ran into reading a new crackle book.  "Why is my Italian Fashion different from yours?"  I guess there have been a number of interpretations of this lifting method and all of them are interesting.  I tried two of them with three colors and with two colors.

I have been fascinated with the Italian fashion as explained by Mary M. Atwater.  She talks about dissecting a towel from Italy and getting the treadling.  When I reread the information in the Shuttlecraft book, it states that the towel was all white and in a "soft" cotton.  So I tried it all in white and then in white and colored to see the pattern better.

My sampler uses much thicker yarn than she probably used, but I think the ratio is pretty good for the warp I had on the loom.

I feel like I need to explore crackle more.  I really want to put it on more than 4 shafts and I have been reading information about the crackle study group in Complex Weavers.  I will probably have to borrow their samples sometime in the future.  For now I need to get my crackle notes is better order and work on the possibility of a future class.

We I did get some weaving done, and I did empty some looms, but I also warped the looms again and am trying to figure what I want to do.  The Big Mac and the Baby Wolf have not been touched and I really need to clean up around them so I can get weaving.  I am teaching less this summer so maybe I can get more of my weaving done.

Thanks to my doctor visit and some changes in prescriptions and eating habits, I seem to be sleeping better and getting more done during the day...not napping as much.  I hope that continues to improve and I continue to get more energy for the things around me and my craft.



Saturday, July 5, 2014

June was a very busy month

It seems like June just flew by.  I had so many deadlines and some travels so I never took time to write anything down.  

I finished up my Rigid Heddle classes for the season, I'll will have to think about scheduling the fall classes later! 
 For my final warping demonstration on the Cricket Loom, I decided to see how the loom weaves with the maximum amount on it.  I threaded the full width of the loom and put on 5 yards.  It would be nice to get enough fabric for a short jacket, but we will see how it does.  I planned to weave it with a doubled yarn of the cotton/rayon slub that I did the cotton summer scarves with, but I can't find my double bobbin shuttle...is that shuttle going to be too large or too heavy for the loom?...another maximum to test out about.

I got another commission to do warp weighted looms for a film set.  And like these things go, I get contacted 6 weeks in advance, then get the information 2 weeks before they need it.  These are for a weaving studio in the film.  I needed to set up warps and weaving on four looms for the background and three large warped weighted for the foreground...I wonder what the film story line is.  I know it is in the future and technology is gone.  I would be still working on a floor loom and repairing the broken pieces, not doing the old warp-weighted looms, but the director has an idea of what he wants his film to look like.








I put some old rugs on a couple of the background looms, the colors are really too bright for the look.  The set designer said that he could "dust" them to dull the colors.










I just hung warps on a couple of the background frames, the director seems to like the look of the loom with warp strings hanging.  I had the pottery department make some bagel shaped weights for me.  They ended up being too light for weaving, but they are perfect for the look of loom weights.  Since the looms do not have to weave, I really like how the weights came out.


For the foreground looms, the set department made some very large free standing frames for me to warp.  Unlike the looms for the previous film company, I wove the cloth for these looms on a floor loom and then just hung the piece on the frame.  I learned how the loom works when I did the other warp-weighted looms, so I could do these faster for the visual.

Here is the first loom I finished.  I wove a twill section on the top to look like the band that is stitched onto the warp beam.  Then I wove a section of weaving to have finished on the loom.  I did tie heddles on the heddle rod.  I probably did not need to do that, they don't need to really weave, but I liked the look better.

Here are all three finished.  They are so large that we could only put them behind the place the garage door opens.  And when they brought them, they had to be tipped to get in the garage door!  I tied all the weights in plastic bags so they would travel with less chance of breaking.  I hope they look good on the set!
I also wove a wall hanging to go on the wall of one of the houses in the film.  The director likes fringe and the piece looks a lot like something out of the 1960's weaving.  I forgot to take a picture of it when I finished it...I was rushing so much to get done before we went on vacation, but here is how it looked fresh off the loom.
I used hand spun, natural dyed yarns for the inlay motif and Fibonacci series for the dark bars on the top and bottom.  I like the spiral form that the bars going into the motif make.

Two days after the looms were picked up, we left on a family vacation to Zion National Park.  We planned to spend five days there just enjoying the city and the park.  


Zion canyon is full of spectacular cliffs and grand monoliths that rise up from the valley floor.  The Virgin River runs through the canyon so there are places where the green complements the red rock.  The Navajo sandstone layers on the top add yellow and whites to the picture.  We hiked up to the Emerald Pools in the morning, then went back to the motel and to the city for the heat of the afternoon.  In the late afternoon, my two kids hiked up the Narrows.  Bruce and I took it easy and just enjoyed the hike to the mouth of the Narrows.  The kids were lucky, they made it back to the trail head for the last bus down.  (My son said that not everyone made it back for the bus!)  I drove up to the lodge to pick them up, it was completely dark by then.
Starting at the mouth of The Narrows
My son got special passes a couple of the evenings to drive up after the buses had stopped running.  He had planned on some sunrise and some sunset pictures and he got some wonderful ones.  I can't wait to have one or two printed to put up on my walls.

I wanted to find the old bridge built in the 1930's, we found it and I love the colors of the stone.  I really want to make a weaving with these colors in it.  Again, my son got some great pictures in this area, but he was looking at the landscape and I wanted pictures of the wonder colors of the bridge.  My poor husband was just bored by the time we both took for pictures.  
  
  I need to print some of the bridge pictures for my Idea Book, then I can start daydreaming about what I want to do and how I can show these colors and landscape.

I did get one landscape shot from under the bridge showing the Tower of the Virgin, but most of mine are of the wonderful stone work on the bridge.

My son even found a new place in the park we had never been to.  When you look at a map of the park, there is a small canyon at the bottom, this is where 95% of the people go.  We managed to drive to the top of the mountains to look down over the park.  The park is very large and the landscape at the top is so different.
Here we are looking down on the canyon.  You can see the tops of  Navajo sandstone monoliths in the background at the skyline.

We also drove up to Kolob Canyon, it is a smaller canyon at the top of the park.  I wish I would have taken some more pictures of this area.  I have wall hanging that I started and I  want to stitch over some of it based on this area.


Two days after returning home, I was on a flight to Complex Weavers Seminars.  I have been wanting to attend this conference for some time and after this experience, I want to attend every one that I can get to.

This is the first conference that has challenged my weaving for about 10 to 15 years.  I was not the "experienced" weaver in this group.  I saw new and exciting things constantly.  The wearables at meals, the unbelievable "Complexity" show, great seminars, fun weavers to meet...I don't think I can explain how much I enjoyed this experience.
I came home with so many things that I want to look into and try to weave.  I have less shafts that most of the pieces that were in the show, but the ideas from their work can be incorporated into my weaving.
Bergman for clothing fabric or more

Collapse fabrics for clothing and more

A self pleated scarf
What is this?  I love it, I want to do it!
And more
And more
Yes, I bought books, some great weaving by jacquard weavers I love, more yarn, of course, and I came home with way too many ideas.  I hope to join some Complex Weaver's study groups again and I want to weave!

The last couple of days, the clouds cleared and I saw this from the window in my room...pretty great, Huh?






Thursday, May 29, 2014

All I have been doing is starting projects!

I feel like I have just been starting projects and not finishing anything.  Some of these have been started for classes, (a demonstration of warping the loom, samples for examples in class) but most just get started and stay there, like I don't have the energy to finish.  

I know my fatigue has been part of the problem, I feel like I want to sleep all day long,  (I'm working on that health problem on several fronts.)  and I had several weeks of overbooked classes, and stuff; but I need to think about finishing...or at least making some headway!!

I have several looms at the weaving studio...mostly class projects to finish.
Gilmore Standard
I put on a warp for the crackle class and we all wove a sample on it, now I need to weave it off!

Leclerc
After I finish repairing a loom, I put a test warp on.  I replaced the brake, brake pedal, sectional beam and repaired the shafts on the 60" Leclerc loom.  I started putting on a blanket to test the width.  I ran out of yarn (miscalculation) and the 8 dent reed is too tall to fit in the beater...can I have that fixed?

The Gilmore X has the last of a rep sample on it...I need to cut fabric strips and get that one woven off, too.  

Yeah, lots of finishing to do, but the looms look better with a warp on, right?

At home I have some long standing warps that need work.  My Big Mac is the saddest of the lot.

Big Mac

Yes, it has become a "catch-all", one of the worst things I can do to a warp, but I go into the studio so seldom now that I don't see it.  (I go into the studio to put away the last night's class stuff and get out tonight's class stuff.)  Such a sad sight.

Baby Mac
This is another class sample...actually I should bee weaving on it...I have these samples due next week.

Baby Wolf
This linen warp has been a challenge to weave.  The yarn is singles and frays on the selvedges, keeping the warp wet has helped, but the fun of weaving is not there.  So I have to really talk myself into weaving.  This is supposed to be some gifts and the due date is long past!

As an aside, I was stricken with OLAD (obsessive loom acquisition disorder) early this year.  Yes, in addition to the lack of finishing pieces, I have been buying more looms to put more unfinished projects on.  I found out about a Schacht 20" table loom, old and in bad shape, I bought it for a song and then cleaned it up for my students at the studio to use.  
I had been teaching Rigid Heddle weaving on the sweet little Cricket looms, I have a fine 20" old Schacht RH loom and decided I did not need a Cricket.  Then a student contacted me..."I bought a Cricket Loom and decided I do not want it, do you know anyone that would like to buy it?"  I fell into her cunning trap...Here it is with the sample warp from the finger manipulated lace class.
New Cricket loom
I have actually been working on this one...I can move it into the study by the computer while I watch Netflix.  I need to get it emptied for a new RH class starting in June.   (Wow, June is close.)

Woolhouse
Here is my newest loom.  I have always wanted an eight shaft Woolhouse table loom.  It had been on my wishlist for the perfect workshop loom.  When I was given the Dorothy 15 years ago, I decided to use that one and not get a Woolhouse.  Then a last month I was told Woolhouse is not making them any more, I contacted the company and bought the last one.  I love her!
I used it to demonstrate direct warping on a shaft loom in a class.  Now I have an eight shaft, plaited twill, handspun warp and no weft that will look good.  That means weaving with an ok weft or ordering a great weft...right now it is just sitting unfinished like so many things.

Even the spinning has been planned and not done.  I tried a blended version of a painted warp, I liked it and could work with it as a weft with the colors, but now I need to card four ounces of roving and that means getting out the drum carder and spending time, so just the sample is done.
Cupcake roving


 The roving is beautiful pale colors, very spring, but not in colors that I wear.  I could have used socks in this color, but the roving is not machine wash.  I figured if I have a ply of the color and a ply of blended then it will tone down the color and I could use it.  Is there enough for a short kimono style of jacket?  I could use the color for the warp and the blended for the weft, or ply a color with the blended and use it for both warp and weft...So the sample just sits on the spinning wheel and I look at it.
Sample on the bobbin









And with this on the spinning wheel, I am not able to start spinning any of the other ideas and rovings that I have purchased.



I have three beautiful rovings I want to spin and then weave.  I even split one of the rovings and pulled one to start spinning, but with the sample on the spinning wheel, I am not able to start spinning it.  I guess I could see if there are any empty bobbins around.  I keep finding spinning bobbins with half projects on them!


My biggest problem with finishing right now is some warp-weighted looms that I need to set up. These are for a film that starts in 2 weeks and I have nine seven looms to get set up.  (The film guy just showed up and we don't need to do the two big background looms.)  Some are for the background so do not need to be real perfect, but just show weaving in various stages of finish. (that should be perfect for me as I am not able to get anything finished right now).

I have three BIG ones in my garage that need to look like working looms.  I have the pottery teacher at the craft house making the weights for the bottom.  Now I just need to wait for the yarn that I ordered to get here and weave the pieces that I am going to put on the looms.  
Warp-weighted looms in my garage
These three are monster big looms.  They had to tip them sideways to just get them in the garage door!  I am not going to set them up in the true ancient method, I am going to weave a piece on a floor loom and then attach it to the looms and hang weights on them.  I think that will be much faster, and get them ready on time.

I also have six at the weaving studio, but I only need to set up four.   
Poor attempt at an "Artsy" shot of the looms
 The three medium looms will have just warps hanging on one, a partial weaving on one and maybe some finished weaving attached to the last one.  
Small loom with possible weaving
 The small loom is a little light weight, but after they bound the intersections, it seemed to be strong enough for the rag rug to be applied on.  For a loom in the background this should look good.  They will need to dull down the colors for the look that they want, but I think it will work.
Finished piece
After a couple of hours, I have a finished piece...(one out of seven done!).  I think it will work well.  I wonder if I can get a second one done today.  Is there a finished piece that I can attach to it?


Sunday, May 11, 2014

Flowers



Last year I bought two lilacs for my yard.  I love lilacs, as a young girl I made up a picture and embroidered lilacs on a towel.  I have never had them in my yard, except when I lived at home...Mom has one.

I wanted a light one and a dark one.  When we got to the garden shop to pick out a couple,  I thought (from the pictures) these would look good together, but all winter in my mind I had a purple lilac and a white lilac.  Finally this spring I was pleasantly surprised to see two beautiful plants, not what I expected, but wonderful to look at and to smell. 


This is what the xeriscape looked like last year, will it look as good this year?  We have been dividing the plants and moving them to new areas along the front of the property.

Bruce planted pansy plants and primrose in the planters by the front door, they look so pretty and greet me every time I leave the house.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Fun Workshop

The local weaver's guild, Mary M. Atwater Weaver's Guild, had a great workshop for the finish of their 2014 Fiber Festival.

We started the festival with dinner and a wonderful quilt talk.  Judy Elsley, an English professor from Weber State in Ogden, shared the series of quilts that developed during her fight with breast cancer.  With her combination of hand-painted fabrics and her way with words, she created a beautiful and thought provoking collection of textiles.  

The next day was short workshops by our workshop leader Rebecca Winter, learning inkle looms with Judie Eatough and winding variegated dyed yarns into Faux Ikat warps by me. I had a great day and I loved Rebecca's Collage Embellished Drawstring Bags.  She makes them from handwoven fabric and then adds all kinds of wonderful embellishments.

Our three day workshop was exploring star patterns.  This workshop was "musical looms" and we wove stars on eighteen looms using a variety of yarns, setts and shafts.  
Busy weaving samples.
We are a very prolific group and many of us were able to weave most of the samples.  We had one late loom and the 12 shaft table loom that we did not all get to weave on...so I have those two at the PCH weaving studio for the next month for people to come in and finish their set of samples.

Rebecca brought many examples, including the textiles that she used to complete her COE speciality and many others she has experimented with her star combinations.  She is constantly finding new star and star like patterns to build the collection of possibilities.
Her doll partially undressed to show the fabrics.
Rebecca is a doll maker also, so, of course, one of her samples was a doll completely made out  of handwoven material, including the body material.  The only non-handwoven fabric was the silk petticoat.  

I loved the fine cotton and tensel scarves that she had made.  The stars in them were small, but with the color combinations, they made beautiful finished products.  I hope to weave my version of one of them in the future.
Tiny 2 thread stars

Beautiful combination of color and pattern
The green/gold scarf used fine threads, I think 20/2 cotton.  I should have taken better notes and I should have put a quarter or something on the scarf so you could see the scale.  It is soft and wonderful around the neck, and the perfect summer addition to your wardrobe.  The "hand" was wonderful.

The second gold/purple is tensel...I think 8/2.  I love the float in the gold star and the plain weave structure holding it together.  This gives a shiny star in the plain weave ground.  This is the one I want to make...I would like to do tensel...but wouldn't silk be wonderful.  

8/2 cotton/linen in an eight shaft structure
I think that this was the favorite sample as I wove it.  I want to weave towels in this pattern...what colors of cotton/linen do I have on hand?...can I get the eight shaft Baby Wolf emptied so I can weave some for me??...


Here is another eight shaft sample.  I wove four different treadlings of the pattern.  Rebecca gave us nine possible treadlings and information about how to explore to come up with more. What kind of warp can I put on and experiment with all these treadlings.  The first thing that comes to mind is towels, of course, my easy cotton warp to test product, and I could make 10 or 12 slightly different versions!  Towels are wonderful to have on hand for quick gifts, etc.

Ten colors, some stars pop and some blend.
The samples gave me some new directions to think about weaving.  With them being two or more shuttles, they are not the best for sales, but maybe some towels could possibly sell and I know many of my friends and family would love them.  And silk or tensel scarves would be wonderful, soft enough to gather up around the neck and good for all seasons wear.

Rebecca said it was necessary to wash the samples to make the stars show up better, and of course any weaving you do needs to have some kind of wet finishing.  When I washed the wool samples, you can see one reason for the washing...spinning oil.
Dirty water after washing/fulling the wool samples
The picture of the cotton wash water is still in the camera, but it was almost as dramatic.  I was amazed that when I looked at the warp paper on my loom, there were oil spots from the warp.  I am using 10/2 cotton from UKI.  It just shows how important the wet finishing is to the fibers.  But even more, the pattern shows up more and the yarns relax into their positions when wet finished so that you get a much better fabric.  So it is good for pattern definition and structure also.

I will take some pictures of the finished samples and show the comparison here in the next month.  Hopefully, it will be dramatic enough to show in my less than great pictures!

I also liked that we were weaving with so many yarns, both wool and cotton.  It is fun to see how the yarns work in this pattern, using different weights of yarn (3/2 to 20/2 cotton), different threads (cotton carpet warp, unmercerized and mercerized cotton, shetland wool) and of course the great colors that the workshop participants choose for their warps.  We saw high contrast and lower contrast in the samples.

Class member weaving her sample.