The Special Time Between Christmas and New Year’s: Part One

Introduction:
I always look forward to treasuring this week between the holidays. I think I’ll do lots of projects and see a friend or two. In light of that, I’ll show work that I just put up in a little show here where I live. The pieces are more scrolls. This time the theme is about putting together a background and art that go together. My worktable is piled still with textiles waiting to find mates; or mates waiting to be attached and hung. I’ve begun a new project already.

Stary Night
15” x 40”
Background: Mottled blue commercial cotton I dyed with indigo.
Center: Sheer commercial cotton dyed with black walnuts. The “stars” came as accidents. Scattered French knots anchor the fabric in place so it can flow in the breeze.


Oshima Ikat Design
20” x 37”
This is the first piece as the viewer begins the walk along the wall of a hallway. Background: Commercial open weave linen from Tokyo.
Center: Silk fragment from Amami Oshima Island, Japan. This is the twice woven ikat we went to see. The ikat resist threads (warps and wefts) are woven on a loom with the threads in bundles ‘tied’ by the binding of warp threads which make a mat—one for each thread in a design. Then that is unwoven, and the threads put into a loom and the silk fabric is woven. It’s amazing—all of the processes as well as the end product.


White Satin
13” x 50”
Background: Part of a silk obi (sash) from Japan.
Center: Silk, 12-shaft satin that I wove just before the pandemic on my dobby loom. Just to see what 11 up and 1 down in a satin weave would look like with a rather fat silk warp with some irregularities.


A closer view of the satin piece.


Christmas Eve

Carolyn’s beautiful stocking reminds me of Christmas Eve at our house as a kid in Ohio. I remember it being quiet and peaceful. The lights would be out except for the Christmas tree lights. We hung ordinary socks and used the same holes in the mantle every year. My dad would always wrap safety pins to put in everyone’s stocking! A couple of years ago I went with my 2 sisters to see the house and the mantle had been stripped of paint, but the holes were still there! Merry Christmas everyone!
Peggy
PS I just remembered the year I stepped on the star when we were decorating the tree! Oh, that was awful, but no damage was done, thank goodness.


Use a Table Loom ~ When no tie up is the best solution

Sometimes there are just too many tie-ups in a multi-shaft project that a table loom is the best solution. (Of course, you can weave a 4-shaft project with the universal tie up in previous posts.)


Weaving this Christmas stocking took 8 shafts and Carolyn Burwell did not want to crawl under her floor loom for all these tie-ups. Using the levers on a table loom for all the sheds was easier by far than making all those tie-ups on a floor loom.


Here is what the back looked like. Weaving wrong-side-up would not be any help.


Red velvet will cover the wrong side beautifully. See the next post for the finished stocking.


Biggest Bags

I bought this in Japan at an artist studio. He had a tiny shop and this shouted out to me. When he said the price, I gasped because it was just a tote bag, right?  But he said it’s a work of my art and I immediately understood. I’m so glad I decided to get it. The size is: 17 ½ “x 11 ½”.


This is the other side of the bag above. The artist explained the concept. In Japan, and X means no. But in the US and X means yes. Also, an O in Japan means yes and in the US an O means no. He taught at a US university in the northwest I think. I’ve hung this on my outside door and enjoy it as an art piece. Because it’s white, I’m afraid to use it. At first I thought it might get stollen, it’s so attractive. Then I realized my hall mates were appreciative of my displays and the staff, too.


This huge plastic bag caught my eye in a fancy hotel’s gift shop we visited in southern India in February. (Boy am I glad we got home before the pandemic on February 4!) It measures 21 ½  x 14 “. The straps are 15” higher than the bag. I love hanging it on my shoulder—and being dramatic! When full it does get heavy. It’ 7” deep! 


This one came from Morocco. The leather is like a baby’s bottom. I saw a fantastically soft red jacket for a reasonable price but decided I’d never wear it so gave it up. That made me vulnerable when this bag showed up. I’ve carried my binoculars to the opera in it when we could do that.


This really doesn’t belong with totes for me, but it was used as one in the countryside in Japan. It is a draw string bag. It was in the window of an antique textile dealer’s shop and pulled me right in. Stuffed like this the diameter is 16”. I was told it would be thrown over one’s shoulder to carry stuff.


This isn’t big, but I just like it and it might give someone an idea. It’s only 8” tall. I have some wicker on the backs of my chairs that is starting to break. Here might be an idea for cutting up some broken wicker and making something.


Look what’s on the cover of the new Handwoven magazine!


Bigger Bags

This post is about larger totes I’ve brought home with an astounding photo at the end of a woven-resist kasuri fabric. This bag came from Japan. It’s made of paper rice bags. A similar technique was use by a friend of mine using grocery bags she tore into various shapes. She covered her kitchen floor with them. It’s really beautiful as well as practical. I have no idea how the paper is treated.


This tote bag was made in the Philippines and is a great size and shape for file folders, etc. The weave is strong, but the bag is padded which is a good idea. Plus, it has a nice lining with a pocket or two on the inside. It really holds its shape no matter what’s inside.


This bag shows a traditional pattern made on the island Amami Oshima between the Islands of Kyushu and Okinawa in Japan. This pattern is found on busses, post boxes, and shopping bags all over the island. However, no one knows about the weaving itself or the technique. The ikat resist is done by weaving. More for the last photo.


The strap is attached on one side of the bag so the top can be folded down to make the bag smaller. I think this is a great idea.


On the other side of the bag the strap is attached further down so the bag can work even smaller. Notice the snap. That holds the folded part down on the inside.


Here is the black side at it’s smallest height with the strap attached at that level.


Here is the patterned side when the bag is folded down to it’s shortest. I would say it’s made of a canvas fabric with the pattern printed on.


Here is a piece of the real woven cloth. Not a traditional pattern, but contemporary. Look at the detail. Every warp and weft thread is tied for the ikat process by being woven into a thick mat. Then the mat is unwoven and put on a loom to weave the pattern. The cloth is known as Oshima in the textile world. Cathy and I went there specially to see it and we spent two days with a guide going to several places to see both the resist mats and the silk cloth being woven. Interesting enough, our guide knew nothing about any of this until he researched it for our visit. We were happy to see how impressed he was. We found two little shops that sold the fabrics in pieces and by the meter so we could bring home good memories. This piece is a part of a scroll that I put together on a cloth from a Kyoto fabric shop.


Big Bags

This is what started it all. I remember seeing this bag in a window in India quite a few years ago. I lusted for it but I knew I didn’t carry that kind of purses. Bought it anyhow and it hangs on a doorknob in my bedroom and I still love it.


This bag came from a specialty shop in a Japanese department store. Who could resist it?? The Japanese have the most beautiful purses and bags for textile lovers. I’d come to the conclusion that I would allow myself to buy tote bags that I like. Those I do use as well as love.


This one I think is from Japan, too. It is really useful.


I got this in China. The only thing in the fashion shop that appealed to me. I’m hoping that maybe some of these treasures will be inspirations to others for projects to make. They are fun and so useful and not too complicated.


An Inspiration from He Haiyan’s Boutique in Shanghai

He Haiyan uses scraps and keeps her employees busy while not making unique fashions. This shawl is generous in size and still light weight. The cotton warps and wefts are approximately the size of 20/2. Silk rags are narrow with black rags alternating with colorful rags. It looks to me like the rags are about 3/8” wide.   It measures 16 ½” x 87” including fringe. I hope it inspires some weavers.


It is so supple and can be bunched up or flat. It wasn’t easy to take the selfies, but this is the best I could do. It’s so long that just hanging around my neck it reaches a bit below my knees. One would think it would be too bulky when wrapped, but it bunches up nicely. It weighs only 8 ½ oz.


Notice how nice the selvedges are. Each rag was individually cut AND folded back at the selvedges. I could barely make out that the rags were folded back about 1 1/2”at each edge! This makes the edges nice and he rags don’t work themselves out. Pains were taken to weave it so beautifully .


Another selfie to show how flexible.


Here’s another close-up of the fabric. Carefully designed and woven and yet so casual and comfortable. And the cotton isn’t slippery, so it stays put on my shoulders.


Pincushions Anyone?

Introduction:
This is the 10th anniversary of our blog. My tech guy (he likes to be called my tech dude) made the website and got me started on things I had no idea how to do in 2010. I remember telling him when he first began proposing a website that I wanted to weave and I didn’t want to spend all my time at the computer. Also, whenever I have said no to an idea, I soon come around to say yes! During the pandemic we’ve put up posts on the blog every other night except for 2 nights. I do the photos and text and he makes them look great in the posts. It’s a good working relationship and I’m so lucky to be able to get computer help when I need/want it. Thanks, Bob! The pin cushions were his idea.

This little sewing cabinet I brought back in my suitcase from Okinawa. Of course, I bought it on the first day of our trip and it barely fit diagonally in my suitcase. I was determined and prepared to lug it in a shopping bag all around if I had to. It was in a tiny, dusty antique shop.


This pin cushion I made to fit in the little box with the lid on the top of the sewing cabinet. I knew from my 4-H days in Ohio that only animal fibers should be used for pins and needles. That was to keep the pins from rusting.  I had a piece of wool fabric we made in a class for the outside and cut up wool into tiny pieces for the stuffing. It couldn’t be any thicker than would fit into the little box and close the lid. That means that the pins need to go in at angles or they would poke out the bottom.


This one was my inspiration for the one above. I like the fringe showing the warp and weft threads. This one my mother brought back for me from Dearborn, Michigan, from Greenfield Village. It’s been my right-hand pin cushion for a long time. I like the thickness so the pins can go in straight or not. I have a few needles that I put in on one corner. I think the handwoven fabric had a cotton warp and wool wefts. Anyhow, I never had any rusty pins. Bob suggested that it might be a great grandmother-grandchild gift to make for the holidays.


This one I dearly loved when I saw it in a shop in Japan owned by a Sashiko artist. It was $40 so I chose a smaller version but kept my dyes on it anyhow. After I bought a few more things and probably gave her one of my handmade gifts, I asked if I could trade the small one for the big one. She hesitated but said OK. I love thinking of her when I see it. Notice I didn’t say I use it. My pins rusted in it! I know the outside is cotton, but no idea what is inside—not an animal fiber for sure. What I love is that it’s almost hard because it is stuffed so tightly and I like the ball shape. (With a flat bottom, however).


All these sure beat a pin box. However, that’s where my finer pins are only because I haven’t gotten around to making another cushion…yet.


Weaver’s Block? Try a Sampler: Sample or Sampler?

Introduction:
The answer to the question in the title is answered at the end of the post. I was thinking of a quick and easy project for a post the other day. Besides quick and easy, I thought it also should not be precious. Because when something is precious it takes extra time, planning and fussing and worrying whether it will turn out ok. Or a big investment in time and materials. What came to mind was a beginner’s sampler. If you made one years ago or never before, it can be freeing.  A little bit like a musician doing scales. Practice, information, but not precious. Also, when I think of the sampler I made when I got started there are a lot of structures in it that I never wove again. While weaving it you don’t even need to think much, just do as you are told. With your mind free, I’ll bet ideas come without any effort. I used to tell my students to only show their sampler to people who will understand. It’s really like something a mother would put up on the refrigerator in the minds of most people. However, a sampler can be something such as a scarf or table runner, etc. It could even be black and white or something for a man in your life. Even if you have lots of shafts, a simple 4-shaft sampler can give you basic information for later on.

My students made this sampler. It is the first project in my book for beginners. This one was made by my mentor and friend, Helen Pope. She was well over 85 and a very experienced weaver when she made it.  I suggest using 2 contrasting colors in the warp. They could be high or low contrast.  Even though you aren’t making something precious, please use yarns that you like. Using up ugly yarns is a bad idea; you won’t have pleasure while weaving or when it’s finished. You can use anything you want for your sampler, of course. (And you could even put borders on the edges.) (Pardon the blurry photos—the sampler is at the studio where I cannot get at it. The photos are from the back cover of my beginner book.)

Maybe you didn’t “get” the concept of warp dominance or weft dominance the first go around. There’s a lot to explore with this idea.

You can do a lot with plain weave itself. Contrast, mix, or blend colors. Even the same yarn for both warp and weft can be interesting. And alternating colors 1 row (or two, or three) makes a variety of cloths.

Don’t forget basket weave! It is the perfect weave to go along with twills. With both being “over 2, under 2” the width of the cloth will remain the same. If you used plain weave sections and twill sections, the cloth will be wider in the plain weave areas. That could be disfiguring unless you wanted wider and narrower edges.

Sample or Sampler? It’s important to sample on the same warp as your project. A narrow sample for a wide project won’t give the information you need. You can easily cut off the sample to look at it, feel it, and wash it. Then you know you have the right sett, reed, and peace of mind. If you make a two-stick heading you will use only a short amount of your warp to get the warp back on tension. Click this link for more about the two-stick heading:   https://peggyosterkamp.com/2020/04/cutting-off-some-of-the-cloth-before-the-warp-is-finished-the-two-stick-heading/