Saturday, May 28, 2011


I believe that babies should be blessed with the work of our hands.  And since mothers often have their hands full of the responsibilities of the day to day care for those babies, that hand work naturally falls to the grannies, aunts, great aunts....and uncles too.  There are some interesting thoughts about handwork, and the future of handwork in yesterday's entry on The Textile Blog.

This month our family has been blessed with a new little great niece, Mia:
Some day she will get back at her parents for that obligatory photo in the bath.

So little Mia has a hat and sweater on the way:
The sweater pattern is from Clara Parke's The Knitter's Book of Wool which I have knit of 100% cotton in 6-9 months size.  It really is a quick and easy knit if you're looking for such a pattern.  I always include a ball band wound around some extra yarn and one of my Moo Cards with care and size information on it.  That's what you see tucked into the neck opening.  Next I will tuck the sweater and hat in a mailing pouch and send it off to the little one. 

May she and her parents have many restful moments like the one below:

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Natural Dyes...

One more thing:  If you are interested in natural dyes, you might be interested in this post on MAIWA

Two Faced....

Oi...I remember that term from middle school and the crazy antics that early adolescent girls go through:
"Are you my friend or hers?" 
"If you tell me, I promise I won't tell anyone."   
Then you learn that everyone in the building  has learned your most painful secret.

Happily I'm at another stage of life and the "two-faced" that I'm referring to are woven fabrics.  Cyndy commented in the previous post that it sounded tricky.  Actually it's not as tricky as one might think and I thought it deserved a blog post over view.

This is a topic that our weaving group, Cross Borders Weavers, has been studying for the past two years.  The deadline for our finished projects is two weeks from today, so we can start preparing for our exhibit at Michigan League of Handweavers Conference in August. 

What I have learned in these past two years is that a surprising number of weave structures produce fabrics that appear distinctly different on the two sides of the fabric.  We started out with Robyn Spady's workshop There's Two Sides to Every Cloth.  I blogged about that here.  Later we had Jennifer Moore come and teach us about double weave.

To get back to Cyndy's question,  there are many ways to make such a fabric.  A double faced fabric can be made with:
  • One warp and one weft as in 3-1, 1-3 twill fabric (but not limited to this structure...there are others).  This is the kind of weave structure used in jeans fabric.  Think about how the fabric is light on the inside (warp dominant) and dark on the outside (weft  dominant).  It's the structure I used in this fabric.  The 2 colors in the warp and weft  are used for the visual pattern, not for the structure:

  • One warp and two wefts.  There are quite few weave structures that will do this.  Overshot has two distinct sides:
               As does the Summer & Winter fabric in my previous post.
    • Two warps and one weft.  The following sample is from Robyn's workshop.  It's called Four-Shaft Double Faced Warp Mock Twill.  Lestra Hazel has done some fabulous scarves with this weave structure which can be found in the March/April 2011 Handwoven
    • Two warps and  two wefts.  This can be done as two fabrics that interchange surfaces as in these double weave samples from Jennifer Moore's workshop:
    or this 4 block-4 shaft double weave based on an overshot pattern:

    Or it is possible to weave two distinctly different fabrics that have either warp or weft "stitchers" that hold the two layers together as in this fabric which is based on the cover fabric of March/April 2010 Handwoven

    This is just an overview in response to Cyndy's question.  There are many, many weave structures that will produce fabrics with two distinct sides.  It was the topic for Robyn's COE study.  All you need are at least 3 shafts.......then a lot of imagining:  "What would happen if....."

    If you want to post more in the comments, please do.

    Now....I must get back to the loom.  There's a deadline looming (bad pun)!

    Tuesday, May 24, 2011

    A Chip Off the Old Block

    I've been playing around with block design in weaving on the warp from this post.  The warp is a sample warp in preparation for a larger piece.  The one requirement is that the fabric be double faced.  I've decided to use a Summer & Winter threading and various Summer and Winter treadlings for my double faced project.
    Here's the front of a finished sample from this warp:
    And here is the back:

    And here are some other treadlings still on the loom:

    Obviously, I can't show you the back side since these ones are still on the loom.  There are even more treadlings wound up on the cloth beam. 

    These aren't the yarns I will be using.  This is just play.  But I hope to have the project warp on the loom by the end of day tomorrow.

    Saturday, May 21, 2011

    Malapropisms or ....

    ....the best quote I've heard all day:
    Stopped at the gas station this morning and picked up a newspaper.  The woman running the computer/cash register was having difficulty getting it to accept her password.  In frustration she looked at me and said:

    "You know computers, they're like men.  Ya can't live with them and you can't shoot them."

    More about weaving later.

    Wednesday, May 11, 2011


    def. 1.small and weak 2. poor in quality, amount, and size. The New Oxford American Dictionary

    That is my word for the, for the week.  Still not up to par after the siege of the virus.  But I am more mobile than I was a few days ago, as long as I don't stray too far from the cough suppressant and the tissue box.

    Another puny thing:

    Late last summer, I decided to divide my robust bleeding heart plant in order to have two of them.  Alas, the original plant seems to be gone and this is the transplant.  Kind of puny compared to this display of past years:
    But maybe she'll take hold and flourish.  I hope so since I have had this plant for more years than I care to count.  Am trying to decide whether to purchase another bleeding heart plant for the original location or go with something that will bloom through the summer.  Maybe a red beard tongue to entice the humming birds?

    I have been weaving a little as the energy permits.  And reading a lot...currently reading The Forgotten Garden which is a good read when you're under the weather. 

    Well, that's my story and I'm stuck with it.  Cover your coughs, and wash your hands, please.

    Friday, May 06, 2011


    Roses are red
    Violets are blue
    I thought it was the pollen
    But I guess I have flu.

    Wednesday, May 04, 2011

    At Last....

    The new loom arrived in the middle of the kitchen painting and my mother-in-law's passing and so on....

    The kitchen isn't all put back together yet but there is a warp on the loom.  Here's the loom:
    It's a 12 harness/14 treadle Macomber with a double warp beam.  I was looking for a heavier loom that could hold high tension on the warp.  I think at 200 lbs. it will do that.  So far I am very happy.

    This loom is so easy to put a warp on for a variety of reasons.  I'll do a post on that in a future post.  It wasn't possible during this warp since the vertical blinds from the kitchen are on the floor just to the left of the loom along with a lot of other detritus that needs to be put back into the kitchen.

    See that wallpaper just to the right of the loom?  That's the next home project....but not for awhile yet.  I'm not too anxious to start stripping wallpaper again.

    Here's the current pattern on the loom:
    It's an 8 harness Summer and Winter pattern, number 533 from Carol Strickler's 8 harness book.  The yarn is 8/2 tencel for warp, tabby, and used double for the pattern weft.  Notice that the pattern is...uhm....geometric.

    Meanwhile, my 4 harness Leclerc Artistat loom is for sale.  I need to put an ad up on Weavolution.  Know anyone in SE Michigan who needs a loom?

    Eight years later....

    I just had to point that out because I haven't noticed it pointed out in the press.  It's both amazing and frightening to me the amount of strategy that went into the event that is dominating U.S. news this week.  From the date, to the disposal of remains to prevent there being a martyr's shrine. 

    The blessing and curse of "living in interesting times."
    Weaving post to come.....