Tying the Lease Sticks Separately

I always recommend having the lease sticks in behind the heddles when weaving. That is because it makes it easy to find where a thread belongs if it breaks. This make repairing go MUCH easier. In cases where the warp threads are fragile or sticky and it’s hard to move them when they are tied together like they usually are, I tie them separately.


Here is a closer view of how I tied the lease sticks separately for my fragile warp threads. Now, they are much easier to move one at a time.


Here are the cones of the yarns I’m using. It’s always interesting to see how differently the yarns look on and off the cones.


A close-up of the plied yarn. It varies widely. You can see how vulnerable it is sometimes. It can either break or simply pull apart. However, I love it so am patient.


The black boucle. Perhaps you see why I love it.


Slow Fiber Studios Presents ~ Conversations with Cloth

A note from Peggy…

“I have absolutely loved every one of the many workshops I’ve taken with Slow Fibers Studios. Check out the video and you’ll see why. The workshops are deep in many ways: culturally, artistically, and creatively. I’ve taken classes with both Yoshiko Wada (and taken trips with her) and Ana Lisa Hedstrom and they always give a wealth of information as well as the tools to understand how to make things. I find each one has inspired me and Yoshiko has praised me for being “uniquely creative”. Whether you want to make your own creations, become more knowledgeable, or love seeing wonderful textiles, this is the place for you. Yoshiko and Ana Lisa’s depth can’t be surpassed. Yoshiko wrote the big book on shibori—in fact, she re-introduced shibori to the Japanese themselves. Ana Lisa’s fashions sell at Bergdorf’s in New York and are wearable with great pride and pleasure in the Bay Area as well—timeless, unique, stunning. Her creations are truly  conversations with cloth. I own two stunning, unique pieces that I wear to the fanciest places as well as on just nice occasions.


Conversations with Cloth

A four-part presentation on SHIBORI hosted by 
Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada with Ana Lisa Hedstrom

STREAMING SERIES ON ZOOM
10/28, 11/18, 12/9, 1/6

Conversations with Cloth – Fall/Winter 2020 Series Teaser from Slow Fiber Studios on Vimeo.

Conversations are streamed talks with esteemed textile artists and artisans, specialists, scholars in the field of textile art including in shibori, natural dyes, sashiko and quilt, weaving, fashion and costumes, delivered through Zoom webinar. 

The program will be interactive with Q&A after each presentation/conversation. We welcome participants to forward questions in advance using the online form

You may sign-up for the full streaming series at a discount or pick and choose episodes to attend. If you miss a specific episode you registered and still wish to see it later, we will send recordings for you to watch, for two weeks after the event date.

Guest Presenter: Ana Lisa Hedstrom

Ana Lisa is known for her signature textiles based on contemporary adaptations of shibori. Her textiles are included in the collections of museums such as the Cooper Hewitt, the Museum of Art and Design, the De Young and her work has been exhibited internationally. She has taught and lectured at numerous international Shibori conferences and schools, her awards include two NEA grants, and she is a fellow of the ACC.

Host: Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada

Yoshiko I. Wada is an artist, curator, and textile scholar, president of World Shibori Network, founder of SFS, producer of the Natural Dye Workshop series, and co-chair of the 1st – 11th International Shibori Symposia. She is the author of pioneering publications on kasuri and shibori. Today she continues to lead a wide range of workshops, lectures, tours, and symposia internationally, emphasizing sustainability & tradition.

Sleying the Reed with Delicate Warp Yarns

Introduction
I’m finally allowed to go to my studio as of a week or so ago. My friends were talking about a weave structure that looked interesting and they said it was easy to treadle so I wanted to try it. It called for dark and light thread for the warp and weft yarns. I found two cones of yarns I’ve loved and horded for many (I mean many) years. Both wool. A black rather thin loop boucle is for the dark yarn. The light is a two-ply black and white with the white being barely spun and thick and thin so vulnerable to breaking or even pulling apart. I figure they are about the size of 5/2 cotton. The sett is 20 ends per inch (epi).

The widest place in a reed is in the middle as seen in the photo. This keeps fragile threads from abrading where the space is less at the bottom of the reed itself.


To repeat, to give as much space as possible for fragile yarns to pass through the dents, enter your hook in the middle as shown.


It’s ideal to select a reed that allows for 2 ends per dent. Rather than 1 end per dent, this wider spacing allows the threads to pass through with less abrasion from the wires of the reed. Also, these boucle yarns need space to pass by one another in the dents.  This is my rule of thumb for ordinary warp yarns, too.


Too check for mistakes, look at the bottom of the reed. It’s easier to see exactly what has been threaded and where at this place in the reed.


Another reason for 2 per dent is that if a knot is in a warp thread, it is likely it can pass through and not get hung up in the reed. In my case, with this plied yarn I’ve found that a knot can’t pass. I can expect repairs. And the thinnest knot is a weaver’s knot which I know well. See my eBook on knots and of course, my book Weaving for Beginners.


A Gorgeous Fabric

I bought this in a favorite small shop in Kyoto and have loved it. I wore it once—last Halloween! It’s been hanging out now for a year and I’m ready to do something new to me. It’s done a lot in Japan and I thought of it when I bought it. I’m going to take it apart. The seams are all hand sewn. In Japan, I see fragments of kimonos that have been taken apart for sale. I have bought many over time at flea markets and high end shops. I plan to hang the panels separately. I’m thinking of hanging them close-ish and perpendicular to the wall. I’ll have to see about that.


Here is a closer look at the beautiful ikat job. And an appreciation of the cloth.


This is a section of the back. The center back seam is here as well as the tuck taken where an obi would cover it. The care taken to match everything is amazing.


An even closer look at the fabric. Gorgeous silk threads unevenly spun for the weft. A delight to see from near and far.


Replies to Scam Post

Introduction
I am amazed at the responses to the scam post. And I was surprised to find out how common the stories were. I want to share them so others won’t fall into the trap. Now, with so many people selling things on the web and on Instagram, it’s especially important to pass on these stories. Here are the quotes along with photos of “Shiny”.

Again, this is the original piece before finished.
“This is a typical scam surprise gift order for his wife! The check sent is usually fake, and they want you to send money to other people, too. Be aware!”


I decided to improve the arrangement a bit to make the rows of squares straight after unsuccessfully trying to splay the outside rows out.
“Sounds fishy when he had all these excuses about how to pay.”
“Classic scam.”


After flattening the curled squares with archival double stick tape, the dents where the pins were showed up so I had to put the pins back.
“This is a common scam. They want you to cash a check, send the item, the check bounces. Red flags are that they are 1) in a hurry, 2) it’s a gift, 3) it is secret, 4) they send a :shipper” to package and send overseas and extra money is required to do so. There is also a version where they send you a check to buy gift cards—you buy the cards and the check bounces.”


Pins were replaced. I always did like them.
“Scam—I received one sometime ago. I asked a for answers and never heard anything else.”

“Twice in the last two years I received a similar message from someone who responded to my website to purchase a piece also for a gift for his wife… might be same scammer.”

“I got four letters like that from different men. Didn’t answer any of them.”


This one silk looked nice un-ironed and added another shiny dimension.
“You may want to keep an eye on the account you deposited the check to for the next couple of months, just in case. I got hit once by identity theft and it was awful.”


Here’s a close-up of the wrinkled silk squares.
“I hope he didn’t get your bank account number to do something with later. Also the text9ng thing worries me for security because you never know what they can do with your number…Make yourself a rule as I have which is if someone wants to purchase with a check it has to be certified by a bank and must clear my account before I release or ship merchandise.”


This fabric stayed flat.
“This is becoming very common ploy on many sites. We had it happen when trying to sell a Burberry topcoat. Pretty much the same story, buying it as a surprise for a cousin…The premise smelled stinky so we did not respond after a few communications. We try to sell local as much as possible and check out the buyers as much as we can.”


Beware of Scammer!

Here is a piece I thought I sold. I got an email saying that this person wanted to buy a piece of my art to surprise his wife on their anniversary. AND would I accept a check. I emailed back that I proposed this piece, the price plus crating and shipping, and that a bank check or payment by PayPal would be required. I was a bit suspicious, so didn’t want to spend much energy on it.


Meanwhile, I began to get the piece ready: meaning finished. I dyed all the shiny silk fabrics and pinned them to the background for the finished piece, complete with hundreds of pins. He texted back that he needed to send his personal check because his wife dealt with the family finances and he wanted it to be a surprise.


A close-up of the piece I call “Shiny”. Another text said that he was transferring to the Philippines and that a shipper would contact me about sending the work. And he would accept that I required that a check needed to be cashed by the bank.


I realized that squares of on of the fabrics were curling at the corners. Oh, my! I thought that wasn’t too bad but wouldn’t look like the photograph I’d sent. So, I set about flattening each and every one with archival double stick tape. The next text said the check would be coming and that it would include extra money that was to go to the shipper.


All of the pieces were laid so that the grain of the fabric switched 90 degrees to create the checkerboard effect. I also liked that often the silks weren’t ironed flat and added another shine to the fabrics. After awhile I got a text that the check had been delivered by Fed Ex. Soon it came to my door—empty except for a check written for an extra $1,000 written by a bank. I immediately mobile deposited it on my iPhone and a notice came that it would be held for 13 days. When I texted him that news, he said to take it to a teller or ATM because he couldn’t wait because that it would spoil the surprise for his wife. I called my bank and was told something was fishy if it was to be held that long. So he said to go ahead and deposit the check which I did. When the confirmation was emailed to me it said the reason for the hold on the check was: “Paying bank states check may not be paid.” I texted that back to him and have refused to respond to a couple of his further “testing me” texts. THE END.


Scrolls Show Up At Last

Here are the first of 14 scrolls. The final photo shows them all together. It’s my first chance to see them all in a row as I imagined months ago. The fabrics are linen (one silk) and all began as white yardage I bought in India in January.


Here is the next batch, working from the left to right. All of the pieces in the center of one scroll were dyed in the same dye pot. That is, I put a small piece of each white fabric into the dye pot. They came out all a bit different simply because they were different fabrics to begin with. The backgrounds I dyed each separately.


The third batch, working toward 14 pieces total. I used yellow onion skins and black walnuts for dyes plus three tannins I brought home from Japan: Myrobalans, Quebacho, and Brugeriera. Then some I put in an iron bath at the end and a few in a copper bath. All were mordanted with alum.


Dyeing linen was much more of a process than silk, wool, or cotton. The big difference was a two-hour scouring process in the beginning.


The end of the row. The idea of scrolls has been with me for a year or two. And for years, I’ve been buying any white fabrics I could find with the idea that a variety of fabrics will give me a variety of tones and shades when dyed.


Here’s a gallery view. It’s been a long process. All during the pandemic.


What to Do When It’s Hot and Smokey

Introduction
This is the first time in months that I missed a post every other day. When I had the post ready on the regular night, Monday, my tech guy said the photos could be much better. Today, Wednesday, he gave me a good lesson in “post processing” the photos. Here are the much-improved photos.

A big surprise was to see the fog coming in! Hooray for cool, clean air.


The fog coming in begins to hide the City. I got lucky catching the gull, fisherman casting, and people in the shot as well.


The theme of the post is how beautiful it can be when the fog comes in at the Golden Gate Bridge and over the Marin hills. And seeing it through sailboat masts.


Caught sight of a sea lion poking its nose up then diving down again.


What’s Next?

Since I think I’ll be locked in for a long time ahead, I’m beginning to think about the white silks I brought back from India. Again, like the linens, I expect the different fabrics to take a variety of shades and tones when they come out of a dye pot together. I have 21 different ones.


The silks look nice bunched together even before dyeing. I think they will look better bunched up somehow, rather than flat like the linen scrolls.


These are the samples I dyed with red onion skins and the 3 tannins I’ve been using. They are on a cloth I wove just before the pandemic. Maybe my scroll project is finished and I need to think of another way to present the silks.


These were dyed with red onion skins. I don’t think I used a mordant. I like the mottled colors I got from bunching up the fabrics in the dye pot and not stirring them much.


Here the colors are more even. I like them, too.


Now I have a good supply of red onion skins and yellow, too. So, maybe I’ll just plunge in—next week??


Finished Linen Scrolls: Looking Back

Here I a photo of all the background fabrics I dyed. This was in a post at the end of June—seems long ago. I loved the results, seeing them lined up, and felt they would look good together.


All the were white when I began about 3 months ago. All (but 1) were linen which is a fabric I love. The second from the lightest end turned out to be silk. The reason I wanted so many different whites is that I knew they would vary slightly when put into a dye pot together. I think the salesmen at Linen Club in Chennai, India were perplexed why I got “a meter of this, 2 meters of that” etc. and when I asked only to see the white ones.


On the scrolls, I made the “art” the dyed fabrics that were in one dye pot together to show the subtle variations.


More of the fabrics in a single dye pot. I only used 2 natural dyes: onion skins and black walnuts to make the 14 scrolls.


Another set of fabrics. I used 3 tannins (quebacho, myrobalans, brugeriera), alum mordant, and iron and copper with the onion skins and black walnuts.



Scroll Project Update: I Will be Hanging Them Soon!

The linen scrolls are finally finished! And all 14 of them will be hung in our gallery space in the common areas in the retirement place where I live. Here are some of them hanging ready to be rolled into a room to be quarantined for a week. I began with white linen fabrics that I brought back from India in February—just before the pandemic hit. Way back in March I began dyeing with onion skins from our kitchen’s chef and black walnut dye I made a year ago.


Here is the rest of the 14 in the collection. I began with 9 different fabrics with the idea they would be subtle variations in color when they came out of the dye pots together. One fabric turned out to be silk so in all the different dye baths it was always the lightest one. Usually silk dyes the best and linen the lightest but I used techniques for dyeing linen and the silk wasn’t happy. The Ellis and Boutrup book came to me just at the right time. It’s hard to believe that everything started out white sometimes.


Here is one of the scrolls. I almost always arranged the pieces in the center from light to the dark. Often I basted the swatches to a backing pad I made out of cotton. Then I attached that to the background fabric. To make the small pieces lie flat I used French knots to tack them down.


Since I have been in lockdown all this time, I could not get to my studio to find matching threads for the French knots and stitching. I used what I had, matching the value of the thread to the fabric. Colors of the same value blended in so well they were barely noticeable—just like the threads had matched. I had a lot of spools of thread of different values to work with.


Fantastic Philippine Embroidery on Pineapple Cloth

This amazing piece of embroidery I brought home from our textile trip to the Philippines some years ago and made into a scroll. But the embroidery is more important than the scroll. I think this piece was meant to be part of a man’s shirt.


You can see how the fine threads are pushed around by embroidery to make the pattern.


Another close-up of the embroidery. You can see how the fabric had been pinned out taught while being stitched upon.


Here is the scroll as it hangs in my hallway. I couldn’t get far enough away for a photo straight on. I dyed linen fabric for the background. This piece is my half. We also visited where they were weaving with the pineapple cloth called pina cloth (I think). The warps and wefts were like hairs practically. Since the length of the pineapple plant’s leaves determines the length of the fiber, each length had to be joined together to form long threads—by hand of course.


A Few Flower Photographs

Introduction:
I can’t tell you how thrilled I am at the support I’ve gotten for my photographs! I am really touched. Today I wanted to make another “creative” post, but just couldn’t get behind showing any of the things I’ve started but not finished. What is consuming me creatively, is the photography so I hope you’ll indulge me one more post. However, I am working on finishing the linen series with hems, sewing, etc.

We have a big rose garden on the terrace and I’ve followed the season from the beginning first blossoms. I like the buds a lot.


I also like to take “arty-fartsy” photos of the roses. Lately our rose committee has dead-headed the roses so scrupulously that there aren’t many opportunities to find things.


I think this is called a passionflower bush.


A pink rose. What more can be said?


I liked this flower and was reminded of my mentor, Helen Pope. Her ikebana teacher recommended humiliating the main beauty by having something, maybe a leaf just slightly in front of it. I often have thought of that with my weaving and creative things.


Another rose. I like the two-tone color scheme.


And Now for Something Different:My Photography Progress Report

Introduction:
It seems long ago, but I began learning to use a real camera last fall in preparation for a photography trip to Southeast India. When we got home (FEBRUARY 4th!!!), I continued practicing so I wouldn’t forget what I’d learned. About two weeks ago my neighbor down the hall GAVE me her “old” 3-year-old Olympus E-M1 camera plus 3 lenses! The learning curve has been hard and exciting so far. There are so many buttons, I can’t remember what all they can do and the book I have has been hard to figure out, too. However, on Monday of this week we were finally allowed to leave the premises to walk in the neighborhood or take a drive. Here are my shots from this week from our terrace and from a bike path along Corte Madera Creek just down the hill. I know this is a weaving blog, but just wanted to share more of my projects for once. My scroll work has been interrupted to learn this wonderful camera. Back to work all weekend!

I got up early yesterday to photograph the sunrise. The smoke from the fires in northern California made the intense color. I got up especially because people said the sunrise day-before-yesterday was spectacular with the smoke influence and lots of clouds. For 6 months I haven’t been allowed to leave the premises of the retirement place where I live. So I know the views from our terrace very well considering I’ve been going out on it every day.


Looking out from our terrace with the sun just about to rise. The rowers on the creek interested me. You can also see San Quentin in the distance.


The bike path goes along the Corte Madera Creek which flows into the San Francisco Bay. The tide was out and some shore birds have come back for the winter. I watched this great egret hunting for food and learned to know just when it was going to pounce.


Another egret photo.


I caught this one as it was about to take off.


Here is a black necked stilt beginning to take off. Sometimes out of focus is a good thing.


And finally, I finally caught a bee in the flowers on my walk on the terrace.


A Project Finished Four Months Later

Finally after beginning with the idea 4 months ago, this velvet piece is finished! In April when my posts were about velvet fragments I brought back from Italy, I was working on how to mount this piece I loved to be a scroll. I didn’t want a hem at the bottom. (I liked the cut edge.) I ended up using a product similar to “Fray-chek”. I got “Aleene’s Original Stop Fraying” on Amazon. It’s amazing what can be gotten online when one can’t get to JoAnn’s.


The piece hung in my hallway for months clipped onto a yard stick with clothes pins. I didn’t want a hem so knew a regular stick couldn’t work. Finally, it dawned on me to use a beautiful piece of black bamboo. I’ve used it quite a bit and have a “goodly” amount of it in my stash. I think it’s perfect. Then I used mono filament from the bamboo to hang it.


The background fabric is the gazar silk I first posted about in April. Here is a repeat of a photo of it hanging off my ironing board that shows its body and sheerness. You may remember how I struggled to iron it perfectly. I wanted the background to be perfectly flat—like a scroll. I have had to accept some little puckers. I am realizing that a normal scroll is backed with paper so it can be absolutely flat and a textile is what it is: beautiful, but not paper.


A Fancy Twill


I can’t remember where I first saw this pattern but I do remember it was called a “fancy twill” and I’ve always called it that. I wove a bit with this thick red silk weft before the pandemic. It’s a twill.

Here is the way it works. In the photo it shows what the warps are doing: 3 up, 2 down, 1 up, and 2 down for each pick. (Just like the fraction shows.) When you design a twill like this, all the numbers need to add up to the number of shafts you are using. In this case, it’s an 8-shaft    “fancy” twill.

Here in the weaving I think you can track the warps up and down by following a weft.

Here is the back side of the cloth.

I wove some of the pattern in white on white with the idea I might see how it would dye. Of course, the pattern doesn’t show up when there’s not contrasting warps and wefts. However, you can make a pattern appear if you change the warp color, say for a border; and have the center part have the warp and weft be the same. I’ve used this idea and like it a lot. It makes me think of Nellie, one of my students. She made an elaborate twill draft for a scarf but made the warp and weft the same except for one tiny inch. All her work didn’t show up except for in that one-inch section of warp. But I took her “idea” to heart.

Look what I found in the Handwoven magazine I got this week! My “Nellie idea”!

A Scroll with Gold Leaf

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I just finished this and it’s hanging in our little gallery for residents.

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The background is a shawl I bought in India and loved except for one border one on side. So, I folded it back and made rows and rows of stitching on it. What fun it was to run my sewing machine on and on.

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Here is a close-up of the art. I got it at a flea market in Japan. It was mixed in a pile with other stuff and it was a wow when I discovered it. Gold leaf was put on paper, then thin strips cut for the wefts. In Kyoto we visited an artist whose family did the traditional gold leaf part then sent it out to the person who cut the strips. He is now a contemporary artist. He spent time with us showing how he worked. I bought a beautiful piece of art he made in gold leaf and treasure it.

Starting a New Scroll and Finishing Another: My Process


Sometimes the first step:
I see something that I love and try to make it into a background. In this case I’m starting with a very special piece woven by my mentor from the Cooper Hewitt Museum in New York, Milton Sonday. He needle-wove the entire piece long ago on a large frame he made. It’s plain weave and gauze; woven with singles wool. He gave it to me a few years back and I had no idea how I could use it. I ran into it the other day and thought of a background but it was too big. Then I checked to see how it would be if I folded it in half—success! I loathe to cut things and certainly could never cut this. Since I want everyone to see the 4 selvedges, I put the fold on the bottom and the selvedge-edges on top in plain sight. Now it measures 23 ½” x 36”—a good scroll size. I hang things temporarily (mostly) with clothes pins and often on a hanger. I bought 50 of these black hangers and 2 big packages of clothes pins. I’m on my last 25 hangers. Then it’s easier to see what I’ve got.

Other times the first step:
And sometimes the art comes first. This is a piece I brought back from Japan.

Next is the first ironing:
As with this piece, things have usually been folded for a long time. This piece of weft ikat we got in Japan in the 60’s when I didn’t know a warp from a weft. It’s part of a futon cover. I know that because of all the lint on this side of the cloth from the stuffing or lining that had been inside. Lots of pieces available are pieces from covers like this or from kimonos that have been taken apart and sold in shops or flea markets. I love ironing because it transforms the cloth so dramatically. The wool piece above had lots of fold wrinkles so I steamed it one night with a wet press cloth. Then I let it dry flat overnight. Oh, yes. The motif on the futon cover piece is a bag of money to bring money to the user.

Next is deciding how to hang the background:
I use the piece in the previous post as my example because I haven’t decided yet how to hang the wool gauze piece with it’s two edges of cloth. I have a supply of wood from the lumber yard about 1” wide and ¼” thick that I cut when I want a stick on the top. In this case it showed too much so I wrapped it with some of the background cloth and wrapped some flannel inside that for padding to keep the two layers separated for the moire. I used monofilament instead of the temporary safety pins. I use it a lot for hanging things.

Next is deciding how to attach the art:
In this case I used French knots I made with sewing thread. They show but don’t call attention to themselves. I imagine them as the heads of pins.

Then do all the work!
And a final iron. I hate to see any wrinkle or pucker. I bring the ironing board out into our 8th floor lounge by the window a lot.

A New Scroll: Finally Finished


I finished this scroll today but I started it weeks ago. It hung in my hallway all this time with its art pinned to it and draped over a rod and hung with clothes pins. Yesterday I got the urge to finish it and solutions presented themselves. More about the process in the next post.

When I hung it originally I saw a wonderful thing: moire! I knew I needed 2 layers to accomplish it so I decided to hang it doubled with the hems at the bottom. Then the layers could hang freely.  Moire pronounced mo-ray occurs when 2 layers of plain weave are seen together. Perhaps you’ve seen it when 2 screens are together and in other situations. See the wavy pattern showing up in the hanging? It is ever changing when you move it around with light behind it.

This shows the two layers and some moire can be seen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The background fabric is a loosely woven linen I bought in Tokyo at a BIG fabric store. I bought it for another idea but the moire pleases me greatly. I wove it once with a fine silk in a tube. I tried it a second time with no luck. Now I think it’s more a function of the amount of space between the layers.

The art is a silk ikat fabric from Oshima, Japan. I probably made a post about it before, It’s where the resist is woven on a loom. Then taken off the loom, dyed, and then woven on another loom. It’s very expensive but we found a shop that sold pieces of the bolts. I like the whimsy here.

A close up of the weave. See how finely detailed the design is and how exactly the warp and weft patterns cross precisely? I love it.

What is a Scroll? A Trilogy of Scrolls?

Introduction:

What is a scroll?
My inspiration is Japanese scrolls. They are narrow “wall hangings” that hang in little niches where art is displayed–usually a flower arrangement. Usually they are long and have a nice background with a piece of art mounted on it. I went to an exhibit in Japan a couple of years ago and the artist’s scrolls were many shapes and sizes–all with a background she chose for the art displayed on it. So that is what I’m calling MY scrolls. I’ve been matching up backgrounds and art. Sometimes parts are made by me –woven and/or dyed or things I’ve brought home from many trips. I’ve been under lock down since March 8 and can’t get to my studio where my looms are. I’ve been enjoying looking at what I have in my apartment and using what I have on hand.

Another background cloth from the striped warp in previous posts.

The background this time is plain weave. The warp threads are DMC 6-strand embroidery cotton. Someone gave me two cartons of cones of the stuff we usually see as little tiny skeins. The colors are wonderful and can be subtle. I took some light ones and some dark ones for the stripes.

Here is a close up of the art. They are shiny silk squares I cut from fabrics I dyed all with black walnuts a year ago or so. I attached them to pieces of cotton fabric (also black walnut dyed) with a museum-quality double stick tape. I love this tape and use it a lot. I got it from a bookbinding supply place in Brooklyn. The name is Talas. They have an extensive catalog and do online orders. I then attached these pieces to a flannel cloth for just the right amount of body for the hanging.

I’m thinking I have a trilogy—not a triptych; but they might hang together.

Here is a close-up of one section. In all the sections I turned the shiny squares 90 degrees so the way the light catches them makes the checkerboard pattern.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The fabric for the squares in this section was an upholstery fabric, I think. One side is silk, the other is cotton. The squares didn’t like to stay flat with time! However, it shows you how I mounted them with tiny bits of the tape in the middle of the tops of the squares.

A Weft-faced Twill: Actually, Weft Predominant Twill


Here is another piece I wove for a background for a scroll. You might recognize the warp from the “Three Faces of Karl” scroll in previous posts. I seemed to be wanting to use up things I’d been hoarding in my studio: this time, the black thin wool boucle. And I wanted to show off the boucle which I love and the rough silk as wefts.

Here is the back side which shows the warp dominating. This was the back when I was weaving and remained so.

Since there is a fat weft and the thin boucle weft, the selvedges naturally go in and out. Thick yarns don’t turn as easily as thin ones at the selvedges, but I didn’t want to lose the idea of the special silk so I let it stick out or turn at the selvedge as it wanted to.

This is a close-up of the warp face side (the back side). The thick weft is very rough being made of the waste part of silk cocoons. It’s called kibiso. It is very lumpy and sort of flat, and a little paper-like. I dyed it with black walnuts a year ago and kept looking at it until I finally decided to try it.

Today I finished the top and bottom and attached the silks I had dyed. So here is the finished scroll.

Three Faces of Karl (Karl is the name given to San Francisco’s fog)

Introduction:
I think maybe people would like a break from my linen scroll project. Life has suddenly gotten in my way so I don’t have any pictures ready of the latest and last ones.

This is one of the first scrolls I made at the beginning of the pandemic. I wove the ground fabric just before the lock down.

I used butcher’s twine for the weft. It’s what Lia Cook used long ago in her pressed pieces. I’d been wanting to use it for a long time. When I wet the fringe to straighten it, some of the cloth got wet, too, so it shrank—dah—butcher’s twin is supposed to shrink when it gets wet. So, I spread it out on the counter and wet the whole piece. The selvedges tightened up nicely.

This is the top piece. No fog, the City (San Francisco?) is clear.
The little pieces I wove with the handspun cotton I got in Bhutan. It’s fun to think about where some of the pieces or yarns came from. The warp was that fine silk at 125 ends per inch of long ago. I was determined to weave it off even after I lost a huge number of threads to threading errors and breakage.

Fog is coming in.
The silk threads for the warps are going horizontally. I dipped the pieces into black walnut dye. The wefts are the vertical threads in these pieces with the “selvedges” on the top and bottom.

Fog completely obliterates the City!

Three Scrolls: Almost Finished


I was determined to get 3 pieces ironed and the bamboo added today. Worked until 9:00. This is the original one all wrinkled. Thanks to all the advice I got about ironing and dampening.

This one my neighbor collaborated with me on the composition. She is just the right person for me.

This is another one. No rolling pin needed today, just hours of ironing. I enjoyed the day completely. A joy to see the linen iron out so flat.

Scroll Project Going Ahead

Introduction:
I got several good suggestions about ironing my linen fabric. They all seemed to remind me of things I’d known but not thought about. The main thing is that linen likes water and it should be damp then ironed dry. One recommendation was to take it from the machine and iron it then. I’ve done that with great success—but this time I was worried that the spinning in the machine might put in permanent wrinkles. Read on.

I ironed it at midnight then hung it in the shower overnight. It is beautiful.

One person suggested sprinkling it with water and rolling in a towel overnight to evenly moisten the cloth. That is what I did but did it after lunch and waited until bedtime to iron it.

Around midnight was when I got to the ironing board. The cloth was nicely and evenly damp. One suggestion I received was to roll the cloth with a rolling pin like the way they use a mangle with pressure to iron linens in Scandinavia—Sweden? I used to do that years ago with linen and forgotten completely, however finding a rolling pin was an issue. I looked in the back of my drawers and there was none. So I called our kitchen and was able to borrow a big, heavy one—4 pounds. I ironed a portion on the front, then on the back, then used the rolling pin on the board on the area. It looks beautiful. The cloth is seamed so there are two layers and all worked out fine. Yea! Now I’m rolling ahead again—what a good feeling it is.

A close-up of a portion of the cloth. Next is to hem the ends, put on the swatches and the lovely piece of bamboo I have for the top. Then the first one will be DONE. I’m glad not all of them need such treatment, but I think they will be beautiful hanging together.