Friday, June 27, 2008

Random Stuff...

This is the actual fiber output for this week:

Supported spindle spinning of a silk/cotton blend. The yarn on the bobbin (for scale, it's a 6" bobbin for a large boat shuttle) is .25 oz of singles yarn. I haven't measured the yardage. This is admittedly slow, fussy stuff. But it's what my hands need to do right now and I've learned that things go best when I follow that muse.

There's a bobbin full of this same fiber spun on my saxony wheel which has a good deal more twist. I suspect that all this is headed to warp yarn spun on the wheel and weft yarn spun on the spindle coming together in a delicate woven fabric. For the sake of durability they will likely be two ply yarns.

I have also spent more time with Fiberworks, designing drafts. I've come up with a blended overshot draft that I like and have procured the accent thread called for in the design:

Left to right: 10/2 cotton pattern thread, 20/2 cotton warp & tabby, 20/2 accent thread for warp and tabby. If the design works well, it may be translated to silk in the future. Oh yeah, I've also been shopping for silk purchases yet, just window shopping.

The weather is hot and muggy with thunderstorms rolling through on a regular basis. Everything outside is green and jungle-y, which beats brittle and dry.

I ran into this guy while out weeding the flower beds the other day. We tend to agree on this type of weather. We like all the green and the moisture. But it tends to make us a bit.......


Monday, June 16, 2008

Hot Off the Loom:

Kitchen towels of 8/2's cotton in 8 harness point twill with various treadlings. Inspiration for this project is from the Jan/Feb 2006 Handwoven cover article. I changed the colors, stripe widths, and some of the tie-ups. The finished towels measure 25.5" x 14.75". I love'em!

Admittedly, this warp has been on the loom for quite awhile....I just went back and checked. It's embarrassing, so I'm not linking to the original post. However, that was the intention of going to Penland: to jump start my weaving and get me to the loom more regularly. In this first week home it appears to have that effect.

Replies to comment questions (from previous post and Penland photo set):

Meg: I don't know that I'll write much more specifically about the Penland experience. In the class introduction, Randy promised that the class would be more about "attitude and alchemy" in making cloth. He was successful in mentoring us in that way. Words fail me when trying to communicate. Hopefully what shows up on this blog will reflect the shifts in my attitude and the alchemy in the cloth produced here.

Sharon, regarding noise in the loom studio: Actually, it was fairly quiet. Most of the looms are Macombers which are surprisingly quiet. Although jack style looms, Macombers use a pulley mechanism to lift suspended heddle frames. The result is that the heddle frames lower smoothly in treadling and since they are suspended, they don't rattle so much during beating. Most other jack looms use a scissors type of lift mechanism, so when you take a foot off a treadle the heddle frames just crash back down to the rest position. And since the heddle frames in these looms are contiguous with the loom (rather than suspended like the Macomber), the heddle frames with all of their metal heddles "shudder" when you beat the web. The most common noise associated with the Macombers were the curses when the wire hooks that tie the treadles to the lamms would slip out of place and cause treadling errors.

  1. I didn't use any of my handspun singles. However I did recieve a lot of inspiration to do so in future weaving.
  2. Randall didn't weave the vest in the photo, but he did discharge dye it. It seems that he "improves upon" any ready made garment either through discharge, over dyeing, or a combination of both....with good effect.
  3. Most of the strolling around the grounds that I did were to various studio's and resident artist barns. The surroundings are beautiful but I was plagued by pollen allergies while there, so preferred working in the studio to wandering among the allergens.
Next on my list: Vacuum in and around the serger and the loom since I left all of that last night. Also I want to crawl around the loom to tighten up the bolts and screws, lubricate moving parts, care for the wood finish, and get the lint out of obscure places. That should give me some thinking time about the next warp to go on the loom.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Back home again.....

This is the scarf completed in the second week of class at Penland. The warp is 100% silk, hand dyed in three separate warp chains. The weft is about 1/3 hand dyed silk, with the remaining 2/3's being 20/2's merc. cotton. The threading is a 2 block 8 harness twill. The treadling and weft order were serendipitous. Much of the time I had 3 shuttles going.

It was a jam packed two weeks with very little sleep. Yoga was available every morning at 7 with breakfast at 8. From there it was to the studio to prepare warps, weave samples, dye, discharge dye, wind bobbins, and so on.

Lecture/discussion most days from 9:30 to 11:30 AM. Then again from 2:00 to 4:00 PM. These consisted mostly of a textile related reading and "fabric du jour".

Weaving until dinner. Weaving after dinner. Sometimes weaving past midnight. Gallery openings, studio open houses, show & tell, nightly slide shows, a Japanese fiber movie, a baby shower, and a fashion show collaboration with the milliners upstairs: this is a short list of the other activities.

What did I learn? Here's a list:
  1. Linear can be good, but it's better if you know how to 'color' outside the lines.
  2. Selveges......Schmelveges!
  3. Color never shuts talks to other colors: the ones beside it and the ones clear on the other end of the piece. It talks to the will go on and on and on.... Until you turn out the lights. And even then, it dances behind your eyelids.
  4. Flat fabric is over rated.
  5. Most of the weaving problems I've been taught to avoid can become successful design elements.
  6. Start simple and let the fibers lead the way.
There's more, but that's enough for now.
If you want to see pictures click here