summer flowers

summer flowers

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 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.