I spent my summer untangling 10 yards of fine silk thread. The first photo shows what I had to cut off—about 8” so that is good. The second photo shows the warp on tension and what I had to do. I could not untangle every single thread, but was able to separate the threads into the groups for the raddle. This small raddle has 5 dents per inch. There are 10 threads in each raddle space. So in essence the sett is 15 epi (size of my reed) instead of 96 as I intended! It is a bit narrower at 2 ¾” wide now. The next dilemma was to find large enough threads in my studio for the wefts. When I downsized my studio space and got rid of 500 pounds of yarn, I only saved the fine threads and my linens. The third photo shows my solution for the wefts. I have these old balls that someone made up of rags ready for hooking a rug. The rags are vintage cottons from the 30’s or 40’s and are just the right width and thinness for my warp situation. The colors on the outside of the balls are subtle and faded; it will be interesting to see what they are like inside. There are prints, stripes, solids. I can’t wait to see what comes up. I need to get the loom emptied ASAP so I am looking forward to weaving these strips in the soft colors and soft rags. I might put in some rose canes and horse hair, of course. The warp threads will collapse, so I made some samples and the squiggles look nice with the rags. Off to the studio for an adventure! (All the strips are sewn to each other with a few hand stitches. I feel some wonderful connection to the woman who collected her rags so carefully.)
Here is what I’m dealing with in my studio—how embarrassing it is. I didn’t want to let anyone know about it at first. There are 10 yards of warp and the snarling started as soon as I began beaming. Thankfully I had lots of choke ties so I could work on a section at a time. I’ve worked almost all of the snarls through the 10 yards—just a foot or two left. I’ve spent hours on it. This has never happened before. The cause, I think, is that I wound the threads too tightly onto the warping reel. The fine threads are highly overtwisted and when they were off tension they just kinked unmercifully.
Part Two of the story will be what happens next. It might be a week before I can get back to untangling. I’ve really enjoyed it—the patience is soothing like a meditation for some reason. Does anyone else enjoy undoing a little tangle as much as I do? I haven’t bothered to count up the hours I’ve spent. I began the warp on Memorial Day.
My new art book, Woven Work: Retrospective of a Weaver, is in the final production stages. I’m thinking of doing a limited edition—perhaps including an original weaving that could be framed. Let me know what you think of the idea. I hope you’ll think it is as beautiful as I do. I’ve included pictures of almost everything I ever wove. There are over 60 pages of beautiful photographs. Click photo above for a closer look.
During this frantic time of my preparation for my keynote address and retrospective gallery show, I got a wonderful surprise when I first turned on the LEDs for my fiber optics weavings. I just got them back from the students at Cal Poly State University Materials Engineering Department in San Luis Obispo, CA. The students connected LEDs, batteries, etc, etc, to the pieces I wove with fiber optics threads. I will debut these pieces at the CNCH conference on May 18 at the Oakland Convention Center. Pass along this information to anyone who might want to attend. I’m really excited about this!
I used a 4-shaft loom for this project. This piece began as an experiment at the beginning of the warp to see which combination of colors I liked best for the top layer of cloth. Many of the pieces on this warp were double weave — woven as tubes. I liked the idea because I could have the sett very open this way. (Some pieces were one layer – with double the number of ends per inch.) So, I had two layers, but making them into a tube meant only one shuttle was needed–a good thing.
After all the experiments, I choose the combination of having shafts 1 & 2 on top and 3 & 4 on the bottom. There are maybe 6 different combinations of shafts I tried. See my book Weaving for Beginners, for an introduction to the basics of double weave and how different shafts can be used for the layers. Often people learn that 1 & 3 are one layer and 2 & 4 are on the bottom. This is only one combination you can use.
The ruffles came when I pulled up the supplementary warps and sort -of rouched the layers. You can see that each section I wove was divided by a row or two with the supplementary warp woven in. See previous posts about this sewing thread warp to learn more about the supplementary warp I used.
In this piece I wanted to show that the cloth I was weaving was sheer. You can see the wavy supplementary warps that are on the back of the cloth. The cloth itself was woven as a tube with very fine wefts. The idea is that it’s one layer of cloth with the floating threads behind, but instead of weaving it as one layer, I wove it as a tube (two layers) the sett is very open and the layer is really 2 gauze-like layers–more transparent than a more solid single layer would have been. (The floating threads are in the middle, between the layers of the tube.)
The supplementary warps are woven into the cloth in the band in the middle. For the rest of the cloth, they were not woven in so when I cut it off the loom, they were free to wander except where attached in the middle area. The idea came from a previous piece where the supplementary warps floated behind. In this piece I planned where they were attached and free floating.
More information on the supplementary warp techniques are in previous posts for this sewing thread warp. This is a subject I use a lot and will be teaching on line in the future. Let me know if you think you might like to sign up.
Here are more photos of the black horse hair piece. One shows it just off the loom, before cutting off the heading sticks. Note that the heading was WOVEN when I cut off the previous piece. The sticks were attached to the apron rod to put the warp back on tension so I could weave this piece. Look up the tip on Two-stick Heading. It is also described in my first books and my book, Weaving for Beginners.
Here is the back; also interesting.
This piece has black horse hair woven in. I think the back side is interesting, too. Some people like it better. My computer is acting up again and I can’t show the back now.
More from the sewing thread warp. It is finished (10 yards) and I’ll be sending the last pieces. I’m pretty sure the next warp will be 10 yards and narrow again for more miniatures. They are so much fun and I feel so creative. I plan to use the very fine silk threads again. The ones used in the pieces on my home page. I can’t wait. Life seems to be in the way for now.
I planned my weaving on a woven piece that was so uninteresting I relegated it to a scrap. This gave me the dimensions for the new piece. And it allowed me to play with various stems of rose hips to get a composition I liked and that would allow me to use the supplementary purple warp to attach the stems. As I wove the new piece, I unpinned the stems as needed and wove them in. It also helped that I’d taken a photo of the composition so I could replicate the placement in the new weaving as I went along.
This photo is of the woven piece. The color is more like the top picture.
Here’s my latest in my Weaving Roses Series.
Here is the first weaving with rose hips. I decided to think of this weaving as a “weed holder”. I made several in the 70’s to hold dried grasses. I turned the piece horizontally to achieve it. I can’t wait to try to weave with the rose hips on the wiggly stems! I wonder what will happen as they dry.
I got so many weaving ideas during the holidays when I visited a friend at her farm. What goodies I brought home! She had a persimmon tree which was gorgeous with all its leaves gone and just the lovely fruit hanging from the branches. I love to set them out as an arrangement on my table and watch them ripen one-by-one.
She had a big rose bush full of rose hips! What a treasure. I can’t wait to weave them in something.
As a final gift, she cut her cow’s tail for me. What could be more fun to incorporate than pieces of Rosie’s tail.
The rose hips are the first on my agenda. Watch out!
I began weaving with the rose bush canes today. I had to wait until I could borrow good leather gloves and clippers. I’m pleased with this first piece. The canes will dry and it will be interesting to see what happens. Already I see that they are drawing in the cloth as they dry. What fun!
I want to weave in rose thorns in the sewing thread warp. I got the idea in the night Sunday. On Monday I asked when the men were coming to prune the rose bushes in the gardens where I live. They came the next day. I went down and gathered the rose canes before breakfast.
I’m thinking of weaving them in on the top similar to the horse hair pieces I showed in a post recently. In my area, January is when the big pruning takes place. I thought I’d mention it in case anyone else wants to get a supply before it’s too late.
I keep wanting to show how transparent the sewing thread cloth is. The circles are in pockets–in a sandwich between the two layers of double weave cloth. I like to make the two layers when I want to open up the sett (ends per inch). Ask me what the circles are–I wonder if anyone can figure them out.
Here is another weaving from the sewing thread warp. There is a lot of warp left and I hope to keep making more and more pieces. I wanted to have lush horsehair on the cloth. I love the color of the horsehair.
Here’s a new weaving from the sewing thread warp. I used horse hair in the center. I hope to do more with the horse hair–it is a beautiful color–I’d like to make it lush the next time.
The weaving is sheer–I wanted to show that so I ruffled up the cloth so you could see through it.
Right now it’s still pinned to the wall and can’t stand alone yet. We’ll see what happens when it gets finished.
I’ve played with weaving with marl yarns over the years. A marl yarn is made by twisting a dark and a light thread together to use as a single weft. Which way you twist makes a difference in the look. I made two shuttles–each one twisted in the opposite direction (S&Z). I alternated the two shuttles in the sections here (A).
This is meant to be one of my “pages” in my Pages Series. Interesting how the diagonals are stronger when looking at the side of the cloth–and how it looked on the loom (B).
You can see how I had to practice to accomplish what I wanted (C).
I might not cut the two apart–maybe some won’t turn into pages at all (D). Putting a group of them together really looked interesting. I might mount them that way. Who knows? I’ve got lots more ideas. I just need the time.
I’ve been weaving the sewing thread warp. My idea is to weave small pieces that remind me of pages in books. I won’t make books, but show just these “pages”. It’s such fun to see what I can do with only 4 shafts. The warp is 10 shades/colors of sewing thread. I think the sett is 60 epi. I can weave it as a single layer at 60 epi or as a tube at 30 epi. This really gives me flexibility.The supplementary warp is threaded between the heddles so it doesn’t take any shafts. I just put the shuttle below it in the shed when I want it to show on the top. I can have it on the back or in the middle, too.
What fun! Here is the first one and a group of four. I’m tempted to show the spools of threads again to show the colors I’m working with.
The wavy weft cloth turned out interesting, but nothing special. I made it into a ruffle collar–sort of like a ruff.
The photos show tight and loose tension on the warps. this is what makes the wavy wefts. I show the mechanism we put on my 4-shaft loom in a previous post. Search for wavy wefts to see the loom and other posts on wavy wefts. It’s been fun experimenting!
I finished the wavy weft warp this week. Here are photos showing the waves in the cloth. I still have my idea of what to do with the cloth. More when I see if it works or not.
Just after I sat down to weave the cloth for my new ruffle, another good idea came. The scrap of paper with the idea is on the top of my desk now–on top of many previous idea-scraps. This one is for a ruffle, too. But I’m thinking if I use a soft, supple weft, I can “ruffle it up” warp-wise and weft-wise. I tried it on my last wavy weft sample and think it definitely has possibilities. The warp is linen but I think it will still bunch up nicely.