Loot from Japan #1

Japan Yarn and Kimono
Here is silk thread I bought–and a lovely child’s under kimono. The really rough skeins in the bundle are raw silk made of the waste silk that is on the outside of the cocoons. I got it at a co-op where the framers took their cocoons to be unwound and made into skeins. The silk was reeled off of the cocoons by machines. It was fascinating to watch and the beautiful, shiny silk skeins being wound. I don’t know how the wide silk yarn was made, but I hope to find a way to weave something interesting with it.

I love the little kimono–we visited a woman who researched how the red dyes used to be made. Red for under the kimono was really a popular thing!

My Color Stash for Weaving

I’ve been planning a little lesson for my weaving guild about color—especially optical mixing. I’m going to show color wheels we are used to seeing and talk about using yarns and threads that aren’t on the wheels, per se. That is, not the vibrant, intense colors you see but what I think are more beautiful colors. I’ll show how beautiful colors are made and how to use them, using the information on the color wheels.

My spools of weaving thread - Peggy Osterkamp

My color stash of sewing threads.
Peggy Osterkamp

My color stash of sewing threads.Peggy Osterkamp

My color stash of sewing threads.
Peggy Osterkamp

 

 

 

 

 

 


Here is my color stash of sewing threads. I just picked spools of colors that I liked when visiting a shop in the garment district of Manhattan on several trips. I expected to mix them together and whenever possible I took colors with different dye lots. Variations in colors make them more beautiful, in my opinion.

A Weaver’s Knitted Sweater

Peggy Osterkamp’s Knitted Sweater
> click to enlarge

I love to knit mindlessly (or nearly so). This sweater I knitted using stainless steel and silk thread and cotton yarn. The yarns and pattern are from Habu Textiles in New York. If you don’t know them, please check the web for amazing things. I thought it would take a year but I’m now sewing the pieces together having begun the knitting in September. It was easy—all stockinet and easy to keep track of the rows for shaping. I hope to wear it to the opening of my show which is on January 8. We’ll see. At first I thought it would be too small, then too large. You can’t tell anything until you start sewing it together and trying it on the body. I think it will be just fine. I can’t decide yet whether to sew the side seams or let them loose. The stainless steel/silk yarn has a wild mind of its own. Any thoughts? Also, I’m not sure if I’ll block the stainless part—so far I only blocked the cotton areas.

Weaving the Ruffle

Weaving the Ruffle – Peggy Osterkamp > click to enlarge

Here is a close-up of what the ruffle I’m weaving is supposed to look like. Who knows, I may vary it, but this is the plan. I’ve woven ½ of it so far—74”. I’m enjoying it and the patience needed as well. I have to check for symptoms pretty often to catch a broken thread or let down the selvedge threads, etc. (I usually weight my selvedges separately.) The weft is so fine that it breaks when I pull the shuttle out of the shed fairly frequently. I thought about putting in a colored thread to mark all the weft breaks, but it became too cumbersome. I do repair the warp threads with a blue sewing thread. It gives a little variation, but it makes it so I can see what I am doing.

Peggy Weaving a Sheer Ruffle

Peggy Weaving a Sheer Ruffle – click to enlarge

The weaving is going along slowly. The fine, fine weft breaks, a warp thread breaks. But the warp is OK and didn’t tangle, thank goodness. There are 491 ends in about 5” width for 96 ends in an inch. The threading photo shows most of the threads treaded through the heddles. It was a 10-hour job. I was careful and there were no threading mistakes! Hooray! The 12-dent reed has 8 ends per dent. Repairing a broken warp thread is a serious issue. It would be impossible if I didn’t have the lease sticks in behind the heddles. They allow me to track where the thread belongs and find the exact heddle required.

A New (sort-of-old) Piece!

Ruffle Number 1: Turn it horizontally

This is my first ruffle, maybe a year or two “old”. Today a special friend held it horizontally–it looked fabulous! I’m thrilled to be entering it in an exhibit where there will be mostly painters. I think it will hold its own in the show. There will be 144 pieces. I’ll keep you posted. Be sure to look at it horizontally (turn it 90 degrees).

Detail, Ruffle No. 1: Turn it 90 degrees.

 

 

What’s On My Loom

Undegummed silk for weft 9click to enlarge)

I’m still experimenting with sheer this time with a warp of sewing thread instead of the fine silk.

The weft is the lovely gold silk that took me a month to spool off from the skein. It is stiff because it is undegummed. That helps keep the beat open and there are variations in the thickness of the thread which make the cloth look nice.

I was very nervous about the sett–wasn’t sure if it was too open, but wanted the cloth to be sheer for sure. It probably is too open, but of course, I made do. What I had to do was beat gently (which I hate to do) and beat on a closed shed (also don’t like to do). So, it’s going slowly but I’ve got the cloth I’m after. (The next risk: will I be able to make  out of it what I have in mind?)

I have reed marks which are just fine–in fact they are a gift. The threads in the reed groups move around randomly which gives a bit of color variation. Nice, so it doesn’t look like commercial cloth. So, the next time, I think I’ll stick to this sett and just go slowly so I can get the color variations.  (I made the warp with  10 different spools of thread–so 10 different shades in the warp. Instead of a paddle, I have a wonderful heck block on my reel that I inherited from Jim Ahrens. This allows me to get a thread-by-thread cross.)

See Close-up Details

A Little Ditty (click to enlarge)

I hope you’ll check out the close-up enlargements of the blue silk pieces in my recent posts (and this one, too.)

I had another photo shoot today. It was absolutely wonderful to see the close-up details possible with a digital camera and a great photographer who knows how to photograph textiles.

This piece is fun. Do you know what it is? (40 shafts! with a manual dobby–maybe not worth all the work pegging.)

My Gallery

Blue Satin (click to enlarge)

You can find photos of my work that I added to the gallery by clicking on the heading “Gallery” on the home page. It is along the top of the page, under the photo–other topics are books, dvd, and the gallery.

Here is another blue silk piece from the same warp as Cloud Tiles I posted yesterday. The width is about 4″ (so you can figure the scale). It is a satin weave on 8 shafts. The center part I picked up with a pick-up stick.

New Photos in My Gallery

Cloud Tiles (click to enlarge)

I just put up new photos in the gallery section of this blog. I’m thrilled with the results of the photo shoot–the pictures look as good as the work! I have the final session on Wednesday. Look for more from time to time on the blog.

These are my first very fine silk pieces. They are damask–playing with warp face and weft face.

I am Weaving–Hooray!

Neal Howard Warp (click to enlarge)

I’m weaving a lovely warp I bought as a kit at Convergence in Albuquerque last summer. It was made by Neal Howard. She dyed three warps and told how to thread them in the heddles to integrate them. Each one is different, so it is great fun to weave along and see the color changes–in one or all of the stripes.

Neal Warp Showing Separate Selvedges

I’m not following her idea–so I’ll report later if my idea for the cloth works out. Dyeing is Neal’s speciality– I bought one of her jackets at the previous Convergence. She offers yarns and woven pieces.

Japanese Spool Winders

Old Japanese Spool Winder (click to enlarge)

I have had this old spool winder for years–but the arm to guide the thread onto the spool was missing.

New Arm on Old Winder

A friend made a new arm complete with tiny wooden pegs to attach it. When I bought it I loved all the gears. I tried to use it a few years ago, but without the guiding arm it was almost impossibly tedious to both turn the crank and guide the silk onto the spool.

New Spool Winder

So, I bought a new one from Habu Textiles in New York. It’s that winder I used for the skein that took a month to spool off. (see previous post) In the end, I sent the remaining skeins to Habu to spool off. I have several old wooden spools. they look lovely with silk thread wound on them just as they are.

A Home for the Curtain Stretcher

A home was immediately found for the curtain stretcher! I couldn’t bear it just going out there to anyone. We call yarn and stuff like I’m giving away, “dead weaver’s yarn”. I’m glad I could pass on so much on my own steam. Today I took a workshop about silk–degumming and shrinking with overtwist yarns. It inspired me greatly. I’m glad I kept some of my overtwist yarn–but I gave away pounds of it. People were astounded that I wove my own cloth! I showed them the photos that are in the blog’s gallery. I know the silk in those pieces collapses a lot–so that with degumming and resisting parts of the cloth by clamping, I’ve got a lot of ideas swirling around in my head.

A Review of My Weaving Show

Silk Pieces in my show (click to enlarge)

Here is a review of my show which goes until February 13, 2011 at The Tamalpais in Greenbrae, California. This is just what I would want a reviewer to say. You can see more of the silk pieces in the blog gallery.

“Many a critic has discussed where the line is drawn between art and craft.  Peggy Osterkamp has crossed that line into the arts in her current show at The Tamalpais in Greenbrae. Her work ranges from richly textured, tapestry-like hangings to “critters” fashioned from her woven pieces immersed in water to shrink them into whimsical little pieces, to soft, pale, gossamer pieces which seem to float on the wall.

Small Pieces Mounted in Plexi boxes

Peggy’s reputation as a teacher and author of numerous books on weaving is enhanced by her skill as a fine artist, and we look forward to more of her magnificent creations.”

Two Weavings in My Show

Pink Creature (click to enlarge)

My show has been a huge success and I’m thrilled beyond words. People are blown away by the work–they have no concept of weaving, let alone what I’ve done. This is my first one-person show and I really do feel like an artist. I’ll post more photos of some of the pieces. The show is at the Life Care Community where I moved in April. I hope to get people here interested in doing some handwork soon.

Cloth as woven for Pink Creature

Here is “Pink Creature”–a piece woven with high twist wool thread and sewing thread. It was woven as a flat piece in an open weave then put in water–Pink Creature is the result of these two steps.
Photos of the installation are in a post dated January 6. Also, see photos in the gallery.

Fan Reeds Fascinate Me

Regular Fan Reed (click to enlarge)

I’ve always been fascinated by illustrations of fan reeds in books.  In Japan, I purchased an obi woven with one. I also saw another style which I am calling a “special”  fan reed.

"Special" Fan Reed

The reed must raise and lower to accomplish the variety of spacing. Overhead beaters are ideal. I’m still trying to figure out a way to use one with my underslung beater. At any rate, I do love the wavy lines in the

Obi Woven with Fan Reed

obi that are caused by the reed. Only a portion of the obi is woven this way; most of it is woven with the wefts going straight across from selvedge to selvedge. Maybe someday I’ll get to my photos from the Japan trip and show cloth woven with the “special” fan reed.