I found this print while wandering shops in Japan. The shop was so tiny we had to remove our backpacks and go in single file. This print caught my eye immediately. I knew it had to do with reeling silk, but couldn’t quite figure out what all was going on.
[click photos to enlarge]
Here’s the reeling of the silk from the cocoons.
Two silk moths – why are they shown this way? And is the hairdo significant?
Here is a scene but I wonder if it has anything to do with silk.
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!
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 color stash of sewing threads.
My color stash of sewing threads.
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.
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.
Now I’ve woven a tube 154 inches long, taken it off the loom, and ruffled up the tube. Look at the video of me “ruffling”. Let me know what you think. It is so nice that the tube itself is sheer so you can see my hand inside making the ruffles.
> view at full screen in HD <
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 – 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.
Ruffle No. 1 detail (click to enlarge)
I made the picture horizontal–a big achievement for me, and a thrill!
Ruffle No. 1 full size (36" wide)
Here’s the piece I’m putting in the show as it should be.
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.
My latest piece. I like it on both a light and a black background. Height is 36″. The woven width is 4″. I hope you like it.
Remergence One (click to enlrge)
Yellow sewing thread warp detail (click to enlarge)
My sewing thread piece is off the loom and ready for action. Here is a detail. There are so many ways to manipulate the piece that I’m letting it marinate awhile (if you know what I mean). The hand is very nice and there is a lot of transparent area–all this pleases me. Stay tuned.
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.)
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.)
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.
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.
Neal Howard Ruffles Scarf
Neal Howard Scarf (click to enlarge)
This is the scarf I wove with the Neal Howard painted warp kit. It was such fun to weave along and see the colors merge and change. I love wearing it as a sort of scarf-ruff.
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.
Mingei Spool Winder (click to enlarge)
This is a beautiful mingei spool winder, but it needs a crank and spindle. Japanese folkart is called Mingei and tools that were by hand for the home are examples (and textiles).
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 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.
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.”
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.
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.
Here are photos of two silk pieces in the current show. Others can be seen in my blog’s gallery. They are sheer silk with the threads as fine as hair. They look smashing in the show. I hope you like them. The Veil got Best of Show last year.
Ruffles #1 (click to enlarge)
Ruffles #1 detail
Here are two more installation photos. The top one is in a nice hallway leading to the auditorium. The lower one is the wall opposite the wall with the silk pieces–in my previous blog.
Installation photo (click to enlarge)