Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Special gifts for grandchildren

The constellation of Orion in doubleweave pick up
Diana Abrell has some very special Christmas gifts for her three grandchildren this year. Since they all have names from nature, she decided to do a doubleweave pick-up pillow for each of them.  On one side, their name represented in pictoral form.  On the back, each of their names is spelled out.  Above is the first pillow she did for grandson, Orion. 

The grandaughter's names are Ivy and Iris.  Ivy was straightforward and easy, but Iris was a challenge.  Diana finally found some clip art and did a graph of an iris.   
The grandchildren are still young, but I'll bet these will be treasured items for the rest of their lives.
On the day I was taking pictures, I had a big mind lapse and forgot to photograph the names on the opposite sides of the pillows - but, trust me, they are there!
Iris' pillow

Ivy's pillow

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Lap Robes for Holiday Cheer

This is the second year that the Not 2 Square weavers have woven lap robes for something called Holiday Cheer.  Holiday Cheer is spear headed by Judi Barbour who has been collecting holiday gifts for members of our community who are still in their homes, but have illnesses or conditions that make it hard for them to get out and about.  Visiting nurses may be the only people they see on a regular basis. 

In researching what makes a good lap robe, we searched the Internet and found that almost anything goes, but that long fringe is usually not a good idea because of the possibility of getting caught in wheel chair wheels.  Here are pictures, dimensions and details about the fruits of our labors this year.

Diana Abrell wove the strips of striped fabric in cotton and then collaborated with a quilter friend who added commercial fabric blocks and a flannel backing.  Dimensions are 41" x 41"

Ingrid Knox wove two lap robes using acrylic yarns from her stash.  These are plain weave with lots of color and weave interest.  The dimensions are 39" x 40" and 38" x 43.5"

Igor Raven woven this lap robe using a double weave technique to get a wide piece on his Baby Wolf loom.  The warp is rayon/cotton and the weft is cotton from Henry's Attic.  Since hem stitching a double width piece on the loom isn't possible, he wove an inkle band binding.  The dimensions are 34" x 41"

Jackie Hervey had lots of odds and ends of rayon and cotton yarns.  She plied them together into a new thicker yarn and woven two robes using a 2/2 twill.  The colors are very complex in these pieces.  The dimensions are 30.5" x 38" and 30.5" x 37".

Gus Young wove two robes from cotton and rayon yarns and even some ribbon from her stash.  These were woven in an 8 shaft diamond pattern on her Gilmore loom.  The dimensions are 30"x37" and 30" x 34".

Dee Jones wove the blue blocks in this quilt type lap robe and then placed them in a batik fabric background, using her skill as a quilter.  The backing is flannel for warmth.  The dimensions are 42" x 42"

I (Beryl Moody) wove this turned taquete double width on my Baby Wolf loom.  Again, since hem stitching on the loom isn't practical for double width weaving, I wove an inkle band binding.  The yarns are rayon and cotton and even a bit of linen from my stash.  The dimensions are 27" x 40"

I should have put the combined lap robes on a scale, but my estimate is that we used up about 10 pounds of stash this year.  There were 10 lap robes and we hope there will be 10 happy recipients.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Diana's Studio

It amazes me how creative weavers are when it comes to finding places to weave.  Those of us who have a dedicated space are very fortunate.  I keep trying to remind myself of how lucky I am as I drag out yarn from bins or boxes stuffed in closets or under piles of other yarns. 

Diana's weaving space is neat and full of light. She has a large window to bring in light and enough room for her loom and other weaving equipment.

The piece on the loom is yardage that Diana is making for a collaboration with a friend.  They plan to make quilted lap robes for the Holiday Cheer project. 

Having a warping board at a good height is really essential for comfortable warp winding.  I love electric bobbin winders - they really make that job faster. 

Nice doubleweave wall hanging!

Plenty of storage for books and yarn.

This handy piece of equipment was made by Diana's husband to store unused heddles.  What a great idea to keep the metal heddles from being tangled or bent!

What a pleasant place to weave.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Knitting Yarns into Handwoven Scarves

Sock yarns for knitting are often really appealing.  Especially when there is a knitting shop sale and they are a real bargain.  One of the great things about them is that they aren't too bulky to be used as warp and weft and their color repeats can be varied and interesting.
The two scarves shown above were woven by Ingrid Knox.  She found the yarn (Alpaca Sox) at a knitting store and had just the right idea in mind to turn it into scarves.  These two are sett at 10epi and woven in plain weave.  The color repeats make a wonderful, complex plaid as they cross each other.  These scarves are 7" x 84" long.

Dee is a fantastic knitter as well as a weaver who loves to experiment.  She warped her loom with cotton yarns from her stash and used Noro for the weft.  I believe that both scarves used the same Noro weft, but the warp is a different color combination for each of the scarves.  They are also plain weave but the Noro is finer than the warp, making them slightly warp faced. The ball of Noro was labeled "World of Nature", and although I know there is wool involved, I don't know what the rest of the blend is in this particular yarn.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Rag Rug with a History

Weavers have stash - sometimes lots of it which may include treasures for the future. The rug above was woven from the stash of a weaver, now gone for more than 20 years. Marcy Elliott was in search of rags for a kitchen rug.  Dee, always ready to help a weaving friend in need, said "I think I have something for you"  Dee had been holding on to cotton yardage strips from the weaving estate sale of Ruth Harrop for many, many years and decided this was the time to pass them on. 
These are the yardage strips for Marcy's rug.

This was Marcy's first rag rug and she used 8/4 carpet warp sett at 12 epi.  She found that not all of the strips were the same width, and she struggled a bit with overlapping her strips, thinking that the bumps might not wear well.  None of us at the meeting felt that the bumps detracted at all from the finished rug and that this will be a fine addition to Marcy's kitchen.

This project leads me to suggest that weaving up all of our stash may not be such a great idea.  We need to leave some of our treasures to  future weavers who may find new inspiration in what we have left behind.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Converting a Weaving Draft to Double Width

This post came from a discussion at today's meeting.  Further explanation was in order and sometimes drafts make things a bit clearer when you are battling out details.  The question arose about whether or not this lap robe of Igor's could have been woven on two shafts in one layer or four shafts double width.  Igor originally designed his draft on four shafts and then converted it to double width using the magic of a PCW weaving program. The reason he designed on 4 shafts was so that the warp would be spread over all eight shafts in the double width version.   He calls it modified basket weave and I believe another term is half basket.  The single layer drafts would have been 36" in the reed. The double width warp was 18" in the reed.
First of all, here is the draft on four shafts the way it was designed. Notice there are areas of plain weave along with two and three thread weft floats.
Next we have the completed double width draft - now eight shafts. Don't even bother to look at the floats in this draft.  Being double width, you are looking at two layers at once here.
And now to the question that came up in the meeting.  Could this same draft be woven double width on four shafts. The next draft is a two shaft version.
And through the computer magic of double width draft conversion, here is the double width draft for four shafts.  Double weave and double width drafts are always confusing because they don't reflect the true appearance of the woven cloth.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Celebrating the Life of Carol Phillips

Carol demonstrating weaving at the Nevada County Fair 2011.
I first met Carol 13 years ago when I moved to Nevada City. The Carol of those days was always on the run. She had a full career as an obstetrics nurse, but found time to attend weaving classes on Widbey Island with Madelyn van der Hoogt, traveled to and fro helping  her elderly parents and their problems and all the while, spinning, weaving, quilting and knitting up a storm of textiles. Over the years, Carol was always in the forefront and often the leader in making quilts for children’s causes and those left homeless by disaster and fire. When most of us turned up our noses at the prospect of spinning up bags of dog hair combings, Carol was the soft touch for people who wanted something made to remember a beloved pet. She would have it blended with a small amount of wool, spin and weave a lap blanket for them. She and her family always had a Samoyed dog and I’m sure she knew the comfort her efforts gave a pet owner.

The legacy that Carol leaves to us are her lessons in giving. She gave to her family, her friends, to those she never met and always, without expectation of anything in return. She leaves a hole in our weaving group and in our hearts, but her spirit will forever be with us.
Beryl Moody

Carol will long remain in my memory as one of the very best people I've known. Her generousity was boundless, she was a tireless organizer and it was all done with zest and "let's get 'er done" attitude. She knew life wasn't fair and accepted that fact. Nonetheless, DAMN IT! -- Dee Jones
Carol was the kindest, most giving woman I have known. She was always ready and willing to help anyone or any project. Our loss is Heaven's gain. - Gus Young

Carol was one of the most generous weavers, and women, I know. She was the first to offer the loan of a loom or her help. The Not 2 Squares were welcomed at her church several times for yarn swap/sales and a weaving class - all through her initiative and help.

She was funny and creative as well. Her Kool-Aid dye challenge turned out to be a crowd pleaser at the Nevada County Fair this summer. She was frequently finding new ways to use sock yarn or those one or two leftover skeins of yarn.

Most of all Carol was a positive, upbeat and a fun person to be with. We will all miss her very much.

Ingrid Knox

This quote from an unidentified source was posted by her daughter-in-law, Monika, on  Carol's Face Book page.

"What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal"

I don't have any pictures of Carol's quilts, but know that they were numerous and treasured items for many friends and relatives.  What follows is a slide show of some of Carol's weaving, spinning and knitting work.  For more stories behind the pictures, click on Carol's name in the sidebar.  Here is Carol's obituary from The Union

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Making the most of a demonstration warp

Most of us are not excited about table looms, particularly after we have woven on a floor loom for a while.  Sue Robertson seems as though she may be the exception to the rule.  Recently Sue warped up a table loom to take to the Nevada County fair so that people could try their hand at weaving.  As always with something like this, you never really know how long a warp to put on the loom.  Sometimes you get someone really excited about the process and they weave and weave.  Then again, sometimes no one really wants to dip their fingers into that world.  This fair it seems that people were interested, but didn't use up much of the warp, so Sue took the loom home after the fair and played and played.

The sample to the left looks a lot like rep weave and Sue did use a thick and a thin yarn.
Then, what to do with variegated yarns?  This sample proves that there can be interest.  This sample also shows the striping in the warp more clearly when Sue went back to white yarn.  Wouldn't this make a nice place mat?
In the photo below, notice the nice edge that the thick yarn makes along the selvedge.  Wow - give Sue a warp and let her imagination take off!

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Wonderful Towels for a Great Charity Sale

Marcy has been weaving for a good cause  - a sale to benefit the Women of Worth organization located in Grass Valley.  She put on a warp for towels, wove some and when the warp ran out,  did something she had never done before, tied on a new warp to the existing one!  Bravo, Marcy.
 Here are a few of the towels from Marcy's four shaft loom.  Don't they look more complex than four shafts? 

Marcy said she has been using a  selvedge tip from the Anne Dixon book - The Handweaver's Pattern Directory.  On page 16, if you have a copy, she lays out a selvedge plan for balanced weaves.  She uses 12 selvedge threads on a four shaft straight draw.  Thread the four outside threads in single order.  Then, thread the next 8 threads as doubles.  Then sley these threads at double the sett of the rest of the cloth.
The photo above shows Marcy's optical illusion towel.  As the twill lines are reversed, the line ripples.  Pretty neat!

The towels in the photo below, were Marcy's entry at the fair this year.  I believe they received a well deserved ribbon!


Friday, September 28, 2012

Color and Pizazz in Handwoven Shawls

Betsy brought shawls to our latest meeting.  What a flair for color she has.  Look at the iridescence with the bright yellow green and the coral warp underneath.  This shawl is a bit weft faced in a diamond twill pattern.  I believe this shawl is woven in 5/2 cottons and sett at 10epi.

This shawl was probably woven on the same warp as the one above and this time Betsy used a bamboo weft. The softness of the lavender along with the burnt orange and coral make for a very striking piece.
Betsy had enough warp for this little square table runner.  She wove the hems with some great rainbow colored sewing thread and her efforts were supported with an almost immediate sale to one of her customers.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Bridal Shower Towels

Jackie Hervey brought towels to the meeting on Tuesday.  They are gifts for a bridal shower and Jackie set out to match the couple's new blue dinnerware. She designed this draft herself and combined two features, the huck blocks and float squares. When you see the towels from a distance, those bright solid float colors are prominent.  These towels are woven with a darker blue weft than is in the warp so that the huck looks embossed.

This towel was woven without the colored floats - same threading, different treadling sequence.
And this towel has the same light blue weft as is in the warp.
The towels are woven from 8/2 cotton, are sett at 20 epi. and measured almost 20" in the reed.  Would you like to weave your own?  Jackie reduced her design to a four shaft draft which you can see here.  The original towels are on 10 shafts to get that special float square between the huck blocks.  If you have 10 shafts, the drafts are on the same page.  Also, it was pointed out at the Not 2 Square meeting, that you could use pick up to do the float squares if you don't have 10 shafts on your loom.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Quilter's Throw Away - Weaver's Delight

Sue Robertson and her mother are both quilters.  I understand that quilters cut off the selvedges before they use their cloth and I suspect that most quilters throw them away;  not Sue and her mother.  She had a big bag of these treasures and put them into this handwoven runner.  Some were thicker than others and you can still see the writing on some of them, which makes this piece all the more interesting.  Hooray for finding a creative use for the quilter's throw away!

Friday, September 07, 2012

Perfect Score Tapestry

Sue Habegger designed and wove this wonderful wall hanging.  At the Nevada County Fair, she won first prize in the wall hanging category - but even more impressive, Sue received a perfect score of 50 points out of a possible 50 points from the judge.
Sue has woven a similar piece and got the idea  of putting the flowers sideways from a table runner she saw in a magazine.  But, the flowers and colors are all her own.  A stunning piece - and a big congratulations to Sue.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Stunning chenille scarves and another simple draft

 Jackie showed our group a couple of chenille scarves she wove for a charitible auction.  These are sett at 20 epi.  Notice how she outlines the basketweave and twill with black lines giving the structures more emphasis. The top scarf was woven with an off white chenille weft and the bottom scarf was woven with black or charcoal chenille.

The draft used on both of these scarves is on our draft page at the bottom.  This is a very versatile draft - you can use it as Jackie has done with outlines around the various structures, or use different colored stripes.

 Jackie amazed all of us with the scarf on the right.  She thinks that the structure is M's and W's.  Click on this photo to bring up the original size so that you can see the detail.  This is woven with ring spun rayon - black and off white and the drape is amazing.  If you have Carol Strickler's A Weaver's Book of 8-Shaft Patterns, this is pattern 328-4

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Simple Draft - Exciting Scarves

Take a close look at the details in the scarf with the supplementary warps.  One of the bumpy threads is a ribbon and the other right next to it looks like beads.  Dee Jones has been doing a series of scarves using supplementary warps with fancy yarns.  The draft can be found in Handwoven's Design Collection #15 "Sensational Scaves"  and is called "The Color Purple" . Dee moves the various elements of the draft around to vary the scarves. 

 In this scarf, you can see the slubby warp threads giving a nice little ikat effect.  Lots of supplemental warps in a variety of yarns.
 To the right is a rather narrow scarf.  Very delicate in color.  See the detail of the 2-2 twill stripe next to the supplemental warp stripes?  Since Dee warps one scarf at a time, the supplemental warps don't need separate weighting. If you were to weave several on one warp, you might have to add weights to them to keep the tension correct.
Another close up of one of Dee's scarves.  Where will it all end - we wonder? 

 Click here for the draft to weave your own.  (It is the last draft on the page).