Thursday, February 25, 2016

Weaver's Poker - How Wendy-Marie Used Her Cards

Wendy Marie wove a set of stunning purple towels for her challenge.  The cards she drew were as follows:  
--Color: Purple
--Color relation: Monochromatic contrast
--Pattern/Structure: Summer & Winter
--Yarn: Ribbon
--Design element: Border
Here's her description of the project: 
Sarah H. Jackson’s design for “Four Blocks on Four Shafts: Summer & Winter Towels” (Handwoven, May/June 2013) was the inspiration for this piece. Some unusual things about her design are:
1) Both the pattern and the tabby weft are the same grist. Normally, pattern yarn is slightly thicker in Summer & Winter.
2) The pattern and tabby colors change every inch or so, together with the treadling. The effect is a complex interaction of three colors (warp, pattern, tabby) as well as the interaction of the different blocks.
3) She {Sarah} manages to obtain 4 pattern blocks on 4 shafts, and still preserve the tabby ground.
It is a complex design, and at moments I felt like a pianist trying to play 3/4 time with my right hand and 4/4 time with my left – a real mind boggle.

Like Diana, I did not want to buy more yarn. I had a drawer full of various 10/2 purple cotton, but no 8/2 purples. So I reconfigured Jackson’s design, which calls for 8/2 cotton sett at 18 epi, into 10/2 cotton sett at 24 epi. To restore width lost by the denser sett, I added 12 ends to each of the six warp colors, and repeated each of the 4-thread units six times rather than five.
It was hard to predict how the colors would work together, so I just grouped the rosier purples on one side and the bluer purples on the other side. In retrospect, I wonder if the white warp would look better on an edge rather in the center, where it tends to bisect the towel. 
Purple Summer & Winter Towels
How was I going to add ribbon and border? At this point, I considered dropping those, and just showing up with a “three of a kind” poker hand. But eventually it dawned on me to use the ribbon as a loop to hang the towel on a drawer knob. The ribbon also provided a border. The loop added a little zing.
Towel Detail

Towel Detail

Towel Detail

Use of Ribbon
I’m glad the Weaver’s Poker challenged me to stretch beyond my usual thinking.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Weaver's Poker - Beryl's Hand

It seems like a very long time ago that we all got together and pulled our poker hand from a series of 5 bags (structure, yarn, design element, color and color relationship) We were allowed to discard one card which left us with four items to incorporate in a woven piece.

Initially, my hand looked pretty workable. 
Structure - gamp
Yarn - silk
Design Element - To look ancient or faded (discarded)
Color - green
Color Relationship - Triad Complement (in my case purple and orange to go with the given color of green)

As the months went by, however, I struggled with a couple of the items.  Silk and "to look ancient or faded"  I really didn't want to use silk and then deliberately fade it with a chemical of some sort.  And then, there was the question of not wanting to buy any more yarns for this project - so I added the constraint of using what was currently in my stash. 

I toyed back and forth between using cotton and fading it with a discharge or dipping into my silk stash which I'm rather picky about saving for something special.  Finally, when rummaging around in my silk box, I found several cones of some rough silk that I had purchased from Robin and Russ, many years ago.  Frankly, it didn't look or feel much like silk.  I had a cone each of a brownish purple, teal and a burnt orange .  I needed green, so I wound off a good amount of the teal and overdyed it with yellow.  The  resulting green was a good solid bright color.  The purple was kind of ucky, so I overdyed that as well and used all that was on the cone. 

The next step was to create a gamp design.  I wanted to make this a useable piece, so I put together an eight shaft point and advancing twill threading and then mirrored it.  I played around with some tie ups and found one that showed off the design well and went with it. 

This is one half of the warp.  To use this design, mirror the threading for the other half of the warp.
Next step was to get yards per pound of my silk yarns to see what kind of a warp I could put together.  I decided on the green and the purple in the warp and the orange for the weft.  I tried looking at a design with stripes in the warp since I had less purple than green.  Finally, I decided to make a green border and then alternate the purple and green through the center of the piece.  When I wound the warp, I had to use one extra green thread on the border because I ran out of purple yarn.  The green and purple turned out to be very close in value and almost make another color when warped next to one another.

The warping and weaving was fairly straight forward, although keeping track of  first the threading and then the treadling required concentration.  After I had done one repeat of the pattern, I thought  that if I changed the tie up it would make it more gamp-like.  So I used a total of three tie ups in the piece.  And, no, I didn't use a dobby.  I got under the loom and changed the tie ups!  Each of the tie ups shows off the two color warp differently - a great learning experience in itself.

When I wet finished the runner, I used fairly warm water and soap to remove any of the lingering sericin in the silk.  It was rinsed with a squirt of white vinegar to restore the pH to the fiber.  I was being careful when I pressed it, but then found if I ironed with a little pressure, the silk became lustrous and softened nicely.

It was really a fun learning experience and a great one to do in weaving groups. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Weavers School

Diana and Ingrid were fortunate enough to be able to attend Madelyn van der Hoogt's Weaving School on Whidbey Island, WA last October.  It was an excellent experience for both of them.  It was five days of weaving on the many looms the school has already warped and ready to go and lectures.  They both came away with samples.  All of the samples were woven on eight shafts (except one) in mostly 10/2 cotton.

They wove some of the same samples.  The first is Atwater Swedish Snowflake Twill.  This is an advancing twill.

Swedish Snowflake - Diana

Swedish Snowflake - Ingrid
Diana liked this design so well, she wove several towels and a seat cushion in this design. 

Diana's Seat Cushion
Diana's Towel version

Two different samples included overshot in the design.  Diana wove a sample that was a blended draft of overshot and lace.  Ingrid wove an overshot gamp that was also a color and weave example.

Blended Overshot and Lace

Overshot Gamp

There was a doubleweave color window sample that Diana wove.

Doubleweave Color Windows

Both weavers wove a sample of collapse fabric.  Diana, a Circle and Star design and Ingrid, a Deflected doubleweave, mosaic pattern.

Circles and Stars - Flat and Collapse

Deflected Doubleweave - Mosaic Pattern

Another design using wool and cotton was the Blocks in Rosepath Order.

Blocks in Rosepath Order

Blocks in Rosepath Order

Diana got to weave a sample of Beiderwand.  This is a form of lampas.


Beiderwand Detail

There were several lace designs.  This one was huck, playing with colors.

Sherbet Runners in Huck Lace

Ingrid was able to weave this bright sample in Summer & Winter.

Summer and Winter
The school has several draw looms.  One is set up to weave a sunflower pattern.  Another, a shaft drawloom, to weave a Figured Double Weave sample. This is an abbreviated version of the intended sample.  

Figured Double Weave

One final sample was woven on a Louet Megado computer dobby loom.  It was a Network Draft design.

Network Draft

It was an extremely fun and interesting experience.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Weaver's Poker Challenge - First Contestant

The group decided to undertake a challenge last year.  In our version of Weaver's Poker, we came up with options for five different attributes of a handwoven project:  Structure, Yarn Fiber Type, Color, Color Relationship and Design Element.  All of the N2S's who participated drew a cards from grab bags containing the five different aspects.  Each person had the flexibility of discarding one of the attribute cards.

Diana was the first to finish her project.  She describes the project as follows:

For our weavers’ poker project I drew the following cards:

  • Color – Black and White
  • Color Relationship – Complementary colors of similar value
  • Design – Stripes
  • Pattern – Rosepath
  • Yarn – Metallic
I decided I could not have black and white and also complementary colors. Since I have wanted to try to weave something in black and white, I decided to discard the complementary colors card.  I decided to weave a scarf as my finished project.

I didn't want to buy any yarn as I have a huge stash that needs to be used, so I found some soft white super wash merino (about 2060 yd/lb), some black 18/2 wool/silk, and some grey 10/2 bamboo.  I did buy a small spool of 3-ply metallic embroidery thread.  I warped these yarns in a random order with random widths, 10” in the reed expecting it to shrink down to about 8”.  The sett was 16 epi for the merino and 24 epi for the wool/silk, bamboo, and metallic. On the warping board I made sure these fibers would fit my sett plan.

I used the white merino yarn for the weft. To incorporate the Rosepath structure, I wove 2 bands of dusty rose (probably wool) about 2 inches from one end of the scarf and 3 bands of the same near the other end.  Treadling was all plain weave except for the Rosepath bands. I finished the scarf with hemstitching and a loose fringe.

To keep my selvedges even, I used a weighted “faux temple” system.  This uses two weighted clips rather than the traditional “toothed” temple.
I was not entirely happy with the finished product. It is a little stiff, and probably too wide.  It only shrunk ½” in width. (Maybe the temple system worked better than it should have.)  Using Twill the structure would probably have been a better choice than plain weave in order to make the scarf more drapable.

If I wove this scarf again, I would make it narrower, use a twill treadling, and a finer weft yarn.