Blue Indigo Weaving

Blue Indigo

This is one of the pieces in my show. It is linen ikat dyed with indigo. The warps were tied and dyed (called warp ikat) in the borders. The center is weft ikat. The patterns in the weft ikat are were simply made by one or two ties on the skeins of weft thread. In other words, the length of each weft was determined by a few inches of weaving. Then small skeins of weft yarn were made to be the same length as the wefts. A few ties were made on the skeins that resisted the dye when the skeins were immersed in the dye. Where the ties were remained white while the rest of the yarn became blue. Each section was woven with a skein tied in a different way to create the different patterns.

A Video About Me, sort of

Check out this video–I am thrilled with it.
http://www.knittingdaily.com/blogs/daily/archive/2011/03/04/what-is-energized-yarn.aspx Click on “What is energized yarn?” and scroll down to the You Tube video.

I loved working with Kathryn Alexander and in this video she tells about working with me. The thread she spun for me that she talks about was really fine and fragile. She was sure that I couldn’t weave with it and that I would be mad at her. But I did–warping “back-to-front”, of course. I wanted to test my warping process with the most fragile thread I could find, so that’s why I asked her to spin some for me.

Pink Creature (click on to enlarge)

She calls the yarns “energized” I call them overtwisted. These  yarns are what I’ve used for collapse weaving where the cloth puckers. Search  for “Pink Creature” to read my post about it. This is one of my favorite collapse pieces. There is also a picture in the post of the cloth after woven but before washing.

http://www.knittingdaily.com/blogs/daily/archive/2011/03/04/what-is-energized-yarn.aspx

Sheds Too Small?

One day a student complained that the boat shuttle I loaned her was too big for the sheds on her table loom. I suggested that she throw the shuttle closer to the heddles and advance the warp often. The reason is that the shed is bigger the closer it is to the heddles (shafts). It’s obvious that the shed is small when it is closer to the fell of the cloth (the place where the last weft is woven). A made this into the weaving tip: Sheds Too Small.

Weights and Croc Clips, Continued

Croc Clips (click on to enlarge)

Here is a welcome response to my post about how much weight to use for using croc clips instead of a temple to hold out the width of the warp. You can read a summary of  my post, below. Read more about temples in the tip section.  The illustration here  is from “Weaving for Beginners” on page 312.

Thank you so much! I have 3 lbs on each side right now, weaving with JaggerSpun Zephyr. It seems to be just right. I started with a temple, but it is one of the new Glimakra ones, these have mean thick teeth that no matter what seem to damage the cloth. The older ones have nice small teeth that cause no damage. That is why I am using the clips. I was uncertain, it was working, but…..was it right? Now I know it is for sure. thanks again!

Here’s a summary of my post.
“I have a question on the weight to put when using the crocodile clamps in place of a temple. …”
I’m not sure of an amount of weight to tell you. You want plenty of weight, that’s for sure–probably more than a pound on each side. What you want to achieve is to have the warp spread out to the width it is in the reed. You need whatever it takes to accomplish that. So much depends on the situation, such as, how wide is the warp and how much does the cloth draw in? I have a lot to say about draw-in in my new book, “Weaving for Beginners“–over 12 entries in the index.  (Too much tension on the warp can cause too much draw-in, for example.)
A weaving friend suggested that if you have a very wide warp it probably would be better to use an actual temple to be strong enough to hold out the warp wide enough. (There is a limit to the amount of weight croc clips can hold.)

better to use an actual temple to be strong enough to hold out the warp wide enough. (There is a limit to the amount of weight croc clips can hold.)

How Much Weight for Croc Clips?

I received this question. “I have a question on the weight to put when using the crocodile clamps in place of a temple. I heard once it should be at least a pound on each side. Is this so? I have used fishing weights and it does not work, I know it needs more than that, but how much?”

Here are my thoughts. Does anyone have more information to tell us?

I’m not sure of an amount of weight to tell you. You want plenty of weight, that’s for sure–probably more than a pound on each side. What you want to achieve is to have the warp spread out to the width it is in the reed. You need whatever it takes to accomplish that. So much depends on the situation, such as, how wide is the warp and how much does the cloth draw in? I have a lot to say about draw-in in my new book, “Weaving for Beginners“–over 12 entries in the index.  (Too much tension on the warp can cause too much draw-in, for example.)
A weaving friend suggested that if you have a very wide warp it probably would be better to use an actual temple to be strong enough to hold out the warp wide enough. (There is a limit to the amount of weight croc clips can hold.)

Think about Ashenhurst’s Rule

I use Ashenhurst’s rule to take the mystery out of sett (warp or weft-wise). Check this out in my Book #1, Winding a Warp & Using a Paddle” and also in my new book, “Weaving for Beginners“. In both books I’ve devoted a chapter to determining the ends per inch (epi) or sett. Book #1 has more details. In upcoming posts I hope to explain it and say why it’s so very, very useful. If you can read the book(s), you’ll be ahead of the game.  I’m swamped with getting my room in my studio emptied–more about sett next week or so.

Warping Paddles

Slot and Hole Paddle

For many weavers, “paddle” is a mysterious word. Perhaps they’ve tried and never quite figured out how to make it work. It may have seemed awkward, confusing—but always seductive. How liberating to be able to warp multiple ends at once! But keeping one thread organized and moving freely onto the warping board or reel can be a challenge—how much

All Holes Paddle

more dexterity it must take to manage four or six or a dozen! But that is exactly the advantage of using a paddle. The paddle lets you measure many threads with every pass up and down the board or reel. Becoming proficient with the paddle need not take any special dexterity—in fact, its use has developed precisely because it acts as an extension of your own hand. See the Weaving Tip: Why Use a Paddle?

See Chapter 1: Using a Paddle, in my Book #1, Winding a Warp & Using a Paddle.

A Weaving Teacher’s Happy Day

Double Weave: Two Separate Layers (click to enlarge)

Today a weaver (former student) and a student (a super beginner) came to see my show. The now-weaver, former student brought me wonderfully gorgeous things he had made! Was I ever proud! What pleases me greatly about being a weaving teacher is that none of the students’ work ever looks anything like what I weave. Each one does interesting and original projects. That is thrilling.
Now he is learning double weave and I wondered if he had read my chapter about it. He hadn’t realized it was in my new book, Weaving for Beginners. I always loved to teach double weave to what I called, “virgins”. I wanted to be the one who introduced them to the subject. See my tip about double weave.

Doubling Stand

My other visitor is a motivated “beginner”. She bought a small floor loom that I found in a second hand store. Today she went home with some of my “stash”–it was wonderful to find such a good home for my extra equipment. I gave her a warping board, an electric bobbin winder, a wooden swift, a ball winder and best of all–a doubling stand. I think two boat shuttles went home with her after her previous lesson.  See the tip about the doubling stand.

I’m Still Teaching Weaving

Someone wrote to ask if I was giving up teaching weaving when I give up one room of my studio. I still teach privately in my weaving studio. There is still space for that. I love seeing people one-on-one. When I retired I decided a book for beginners was necessary for my good methods to get out to potential weavers. My new book, Weaving for Beginners, came out mid June and has been a huge success. I’m hoping that it along with my other three books will take the place of my teaching classes and workshops. Also, my DVD on setting up the loom is helpful. So, you see, you can not have me and have me, too. See descriptions of all my books and DVD here on the blog or order on my web site: http://www.weaving.cc. Let me know if these suit you. PS There are two  wonderful reviews of my new book here on the blog. Use the Search button to find them.

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 Reed Mystery

Obi woven with fan reed (click to enlarge)

Last night before my head hit the pillow I had a solution to the fan reed problem. I wonder if anyone else came up with it? I’ll wait awhile to see, and then post my solution. The problem was how can straight selvedge-to-selvedge wefts be woven as well as the wavy wefts shown
in my obi.

Fan reed
Obi woven with a fan reed (click to enlarge)

More About the Fan Reed

Fan reed (click to enlarge)

Lauri asked how the fan reed works to make wavy wefts and well as straight-across ones. When the fan reed is raised and lowered, the spacing in the reed changes to cause warps to be more dense or less dense in areas, making the weft wavy.  The waves occur this way: where the warps are close together, the wefts can’t beat down as much so the wefts will be higher so-to-speak. Where the warps are sparse, the wefts beat down significantly more. At first I just thought that if the reed were stationary the wefts would be straight, but there is no place on the reed where the wires are evenly spaced. I, too, wonder how the obi was woven with mostly straight wefts and areas with wavy lines. Any ideas? The obi hangs in my living room, across from the computer where I look at it everyday. I’ll be pondering this question. I hope someone will have the answer.

Read more about fan reeds in my post on January 18, 2011.

Heck Block for Warping Reels

Jennifer asks for a quick way to warp multiple threads at a time. The most available method for weavers today is to use a paddle. I have a chapter on using various types in my Book #1, “Winding a Warp & Using a Paddle.”

Jim Ahrens’ warping mill which I use in my studio has a heck block–a marvelous (and old) mechanism that he made. I am warping 10 ends at once while  making a thread-by-thread cross (lease).

This is from Page 16 of my Book #1 ,” Winding a Warp & Using a Paddle.” I don’t know if anyone makes them now, AVL did for awhile. You might look them up in old weaving books from Europe.
The heck block

Heck Block (click to enlarge)

The heck is a mechanical way to spread your warp at precisely spaced intervals along the frame of a warping reel. It moves up and down on a vertical support that stands next to the reel, or if the reel is horizontal, it moves back and forth on a support alongside the reel. The central
support of the reel extends beyond the reel and turns with it: a cord wound around this support is attached by a pulley to the heck.
As you turn the reel to measure out your warp, the cord unwinds, and the heck block moves along the length of the reel. As you turn the reel for the return trip, the cord winds back round the pipe, drawing the heck back along its support. Multiple warp ends, which are threaded
into a leasing and tensioning device on the heck block, are carried with the heck
and so are laid down on the reel automatically.

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.

Solid Colors in Rep Weave

I received a question about weaving the Rep Weave portion of the sampler in my new book, Weaving for Beginners, on Page 127.
QUESTION: “I’m not clear on how to weave a few rows that cover exactly the same threads.”
ANSWER: Remember, in rep weave, there are two sheds and they always alternate. There are never two consecutive rows of weft that cover exactly the same threads. The look of the cloth is a solid color, but the 1,2 shed ALTERNATES with the 3,4 shed. The solid color is achieved when you use the same color weft for BOTH sheds. With this weave the wefts pack down so you can’t really see the two rows because they appear as one row. So, just remember, always change sheds  and alternate them–never repeat the same shed twice.

See two important tips for Rep Weave in the weaving Tips Category.

An Illustration Found!

I have been very unhappy that an illustration in my Book #2, Warping Your Loom & Tying On New Warps, wasn’t correct. Today,  I found the correct version of the illustration in my own Book #3, Weaving & Designing Your Own Cloth.
It’s on page 43. See the comment I got about this technique.

Concept for Tying On New Warps Behind the Heddles

The incorrect illustration is  in the Tying On New Warps chapter, right at the beginning. (Page 99, Figure 142.)  It is meant to show the concept for tying on new warp threads BEHIND THE HEDDLES. It really is a much better way of doing it. Most weavers don’t know about this method. Read more in the Weaving Tips section of the blog. Here is the way the illustration should be.

A New Idea for Floating Selvedges

My student today had trouble seeing the floating selvedges. I got the idea to make the threads in a contrasting color! I never thought of doing that in all my years of teaching! It’s so much fun being able to dream up solutions after so many years.

Floating Selvedge in the Shed

Read more in the Weaving Tips section of the blog.

More on weighting separate selvege warps begins on page 306 in my new book, Weaving for Beginners.  All about floating selvedges can be found beginning on page 304.