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!