Ethel Stein. The Three Graces, 1995. The Art Institute of Chicago. Gift of Ethel Stein. © Ethel Stein – click to enlarge
When I was living in New York in 1983 I began volunteering in the Textile Department at the Cooper Hewitt Museum (now part of the Smithsonian). Milton Sonday was the curator and a wonderful mentor for me. He introduced me to Ethel Stein and I visited her home and studio one day. She taught me the secret for using the warping paddle and was friendly and generous with her time .
Ethel Stein. Red, Yellow, Blue, Green, Orange III, 1995. The Art Institute of Chicago. Gift of Ethel Stein. © Ethel Stein – click to enlarge
She had just finished building her drawloom after figuring out the mechanics to make it work. She began with a countermarch loom and converted it to the drawloom after studying damask fabrics at the Cooper Hewitt with Milton.
thel-Stein-Moon-Wall-2008-The-Art-Institute-of-Chicago-Gift-of-Ethel-Stein-c-Ethel-Stein – click to enlarge
Her woven work is beautiful and especially so given that she didn’t have a computer or computer generated drawloom at that time.
I was thrilled to find this video of her working and think you’ll love it. I hope to have a video of me working to play at my memorial some day! Other weavers might consider doing the same thing.
Day 5 Naha Okinawa. This is glorious cloth woven by Michiko Uehara an artist/weaver who has exhibited in New York as well as in Japan. She reels the silk threads off the cocoons herself and weaves the most sheer cloth I’ve ever seen. This piece is double woven as a tube.
Another silk woven by Michiko Uehara. She dropped it from the sir and it simply floated down. She showed us maybe 20 large pieces–each one more thrilling than the last.
One piece was woven both warp and weft with threads that came from single cocoons. Always several if not 10 or so are reeled off at once to form fine threads. I held the cloth and was amazed that is was light as a feather. What you see here are the warp threads. If you look closely you can glimpse the cloth.
One of Michiko’s daughters is a potter and made these tiny containers for the tea in the tea ceremony. These are what I’ve been so interested in. Michiko herself wove her fine silks for the bags for the containers made by a contemporary potter in a joint exhibition.
We also went to Haebaru Village to see kasuri cloth being tied, dyed, and woven. Here a man is painting the lines on the threads instead of tying and then dyeing them.
Here two sets of fine warp threads are being put into the reed.
These are warp threads that have been starched before weaving. The warp looked like straw.
This is an excerpt from my book, Weaving for Beginners, on page 67 in the threading section. I find it invaluable and use it every time (I’m threading around 100 ends per inch usually).
Stagger the Heddles
Push all your counted-out heddles to the left (for righthanders) and stagger the heddles on the shafts so you can find which one you need easily as shown in Figure 178.
Left-handers would stagger them the same way, but have them over on the right side of the shafts.
Read Tip #1
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Kolum: White Designs in Doorways
These patterns, called kolum, were in doorways many places: for good luck and to attract ants so they won’t come into the house. The powder is rice powder. We watched women making them and more women watching. The little boy captivated us: everyone took pictures of him. He was darling. The patterns start with dots and then the lines drawn in with a finger dipped in the powder. The last drawing was done by the man who sat beside me on the airplane. His mother taught him. He is in the textile business as the technician for big spinning machines for factories—very up to date machines made in Italy. His grandfather was a weaver. It was so nice to talk with him about his business and our tour of weavers and textile people. He has a little boy about 1 ½ years old. His village is in Madurai and there are looms in most of the houses there, he said (I think). [click first photo below]
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A Few Photos from India
One afternoon we went out to the country to a house surrounded by fields. It was delightful to be in quiet, peaceful surroundings. After lunch some girls gave us embroidery lessons while sitting in the yard. My teacher had henna designs on her palms that were very elaborate.
We saw these two turbaned men lounging. We were told they were wearing what herders wear. I didn’t see any animals around, however.
On Our last night in Ahmedabad we had this special Indian dinner on the roof top of our hotel. We will sorely miss it : The House of MG. Next stop Kochi in southern India.
While I’m up to my neck getting my book ready for it’s 4th edition as an eBook, I will be posting some of my favorite tips here on my home page. I plan for this series of tips to use the ones that beginning weavers might want to know. However, hemstitching was something I learned after many years of weaving. I always thought it was too complicated and I wouldn’t be albe to do it. Sharon Alderman showed me this easy way. She said there are many ways to do it.
HEMSTITCHING ON THE LOOM
This is one of the hand manipulated weaves in my new book, “Weaving for Beginners”
This hand sewing is done while the cloth is still on the loom and is easy to do while the warp is under tension. Many weavers prefer to do it then because they don’t have to hand- or machine-stitch the cut ends after the cloth is off the loom (and before finishing the cloth). They may or may not cut off the stitches later, depending on what the edge is to look like when the fabric is complete. It’s a big time saver when you want to have fringe on the edge because there is no knotting of the fringe needed-all you need to do is to leave enough unwoven for the fringe(s). Note: The instructions for hemstitching at the beginning of the cloth are a little different from those for the stitching at the end of the cloth.
When you are weaving several pieces, hemstitching the edges to be cut later saves a lot of time because neither hems nor additional stitching needs to be done. Placemats, for example, can be hemstitched on the loom and then cut apart and finished right after they are off the loom. Hemstitching the edges of your samples on the loom can save time too.
Use a size thread that will be unobtrusive for the hemstitching. Often, the weft thread is all right to use, but I’ve seen hemstitching that was too bulky because the thread for the stitches was too heavy.
HOW TO HEMSTITCH
Many stitches are called “hemstitches.” Besides different ways to do the stitching, the stitches themselves can be different. Here is one that does the job of holding in the wefts and is quick and easy. See Figures.
The process is only slightly different at the beginning of the fabric and at the end of it. The instructions are given for right-handed people who will always work starting at the left selvedge and work toward the right. Work from the right toward the left if you are left-handed.
AT THE BEGINNING
To hemstitch the beginning of a fabric, on the first weft of the fabric, leave a long tail of weft hanging from the left edge of the cloth. The tail should be 2½ to 3 times the width of the warp. It will be threaded into a tapestry needle and used to do the stitching after a few more rows of weaving are completed. See Figure 1a.
After weaving an inch or a bit more, thread the weft tail into a tapestry needle. The blunt point on the needle prevents you from pricking your finger and piercing the threads. Some methods prefer to pierce the threads to make the stitching more secure. See Figure 1e.
|Begin stitching by holding the weft taut at the selvedge with the left hand. With the needle in the right hand, hover over 1/4″-3/8″ worth of warp threads, then go straight down between the warps and come out at the selvedge. Tug this stitch so that it wraps around the warps and cinches them up into a bundle.Point the needle straight up (away from you) along the selvedge for 3 wefts, take the needle down through the cloth there, and come out again through the opening you just made by cinching up the warp bundle. Read below for what to do with slippery threads.Continue on with the next stitch. Hold the weft in the left hand taut and go around the next group of warps (coming out again in the previous opening), tug the stitch to make a bundle, go straight up three wefts, poke the needle down through the cloth, and come out at the opening you just made by cinching up the bundle. Repeat until you reach the right selvedge.My left hand holds the weft taut and does the tugging. It is engaged at all times while the right hand works the needle.
At the right selvedge, darn (needle weave) the tail into the cloth 1/2″, so it doesn’t show, and cut off the remainder of the tail flush with the cloth.
At the end
At the end of the fabric, make the last weft come out at the left selvedge. Leave a long tail on the last weft (2½ to 3 times the width of the warp) and thread it through the tapestry needle. (Figure F.)
Begin stitching by holding the weft thread tail taut in the left hand, and with the right hand, go around 1/4″- 3/8″ worth of warps, coming out at the selvedge as you did at the beginning of the fabric.
Point the needle straight toward you, for 3 wefts into the cloth; then poke the needle down through the cloth and come up in the space just made when you cinched up the bundle of warps. Notice that now you’ll be poking your needle into cloth, which will be toward you. When you were stitching into the cloth at the beginning of the fabric, the cloth was away from you. See Figures.
|For slippery threads, stagger where you dig in your needle, to make the stitches more secure. If they always go in after the third weft, the whole hemstitched edge could fall off during finishing. You can dig your needle in alternating between the third and fourth wefts-it looks deliberate, and the stitching doesn’t pull out.
This is a video of a book I had made as my Christmas present to my friend in our Women’s Circle. She loves snowy owls and wolves. I ran into Martha McCoy who had her kindergarten class make this book with a story about owls and a wolf. Martha then made this video of the book. I think it’s wonderful–not weaving, but part of my holiday.
Canals On Friday when I walked day we visited some museums and lots of churches. Of course we couldn’t take pictures in the churches but they were spectacular. My partner had a list of places to visit and photograph that took us criss crossing Venice.
The first picture is of the sign for the museum, Ca’ Rezzonico which had many interesting period rooms, as well as a lot of paintings (which I didn’t pay much attention to). Then we saw a marvelous exhibit of drawings by Leonardo da Vinci at the Gallerie dell Accademia showing 52 drawings showing 10 areas that he was interested in. There was the famous drawing of the man with all the lines showing proportions, weapons, studies for art work, and battle strategies, among the 10 topics.
Next stop was San Marco Square. We were surprised at the crowds, it being October. The colored marble on the Doge’s Palace interested me.
I think I have here a picture of the Bridge of Sighs, where prisoners were led off long ago.
We stopped in a small church where the columns were covered with velvet cloth which we had been told was done on occasions.
[click on photos to enlarge]
The last church was the Basilica San Maria Gloriosa dei Frari. It is huge and magnificent. The late afternoon sun was streaming in through the windows.
Today we visited the Rubelli weaving mill in Como. The modern mill was awesome beyond words. This picture shows one aisle of huge looms weaving fast and loud. The cords going up to the ceiling are the cords that lift the individual warp threads at lightening (?) speed. One woman “manned” all these at once, watching to see that all were going all right. Occasionally a loom would be stopped and needed tending. The looms in the aisles were faced inwards where the women could tend them. I can’t remember how many looms there were–maybe 30 or 40.
They still use an old technique used early on in power looms to stop the loom by cutting off the power if a thread breaks. This is done by having every warp thread go through a metal thing. If a thread breaks, it goes slack and the thing falls down which breaks the current. It was interesting that the old technique is still in use. An order takes 6 weeks from start to finish with the actual warping and weaving taking 4-5 days.
This picture is of an old hand woven velvet loom. Rubelli mill had 3 or 4 but only one weaver who wove for us. These are wonderful looms and make beautiful velvet cloth.
[click photos to enlarge]
Then we went to the Museo Studio Tesuto to the Ratti Foundation to see their huge collection of fabrics. Mr. Ratti collected fabrics and samples from dealers and by buying old mills themselves and their archives. He was interested in them to use for inspiration for designing textiles. At the foundation we were taken back behind the scenes inside to the storage rooms and shown fine examples of old velvet fabrics.
The Foundation is right on Lake Como. The picture here is from their building. There is another Ratti center at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Both very well funded. It was dark with a bit of a moon over the lake when we left in a small bus to take us to our hotel in Milan.
It was a busy day with 3 trains to catch to get to Genoa, Milan, then Como. Another good day.
Peggy Osterkamp’s Woven Art Exhibit > click to enlarge
My exhibit is up and I’m very proud of it. If you can’t make it to the opening on the 8th, remember the show is up until the end of January and the gallery is open Tues.- Sat. from 11:00 to 5:00. I’d love to see you at the reception or maybe we can make a date to meet at the gallery and have coffee or something. It’s in a wonderful location in downtown Mill Valley, California, across from The Depot and next to Pete’s Coffee. Here are a couple photos. I’ll have more of the reception.
Here is a person cleaning out her mother’s house. She has a curtain stretcher. Does anyone want it? Here’s her email: email@example.com
I received a comment asking about how to use a paddle with a vertical warping reel. In my Book #1, Winding a Warp and Using a Paddle I do discuss this. Here is a clip from the paddle chapter.
paddle and reel
WHERE TO PLACE THE PADDLE
You want the paddle to be easy to reach, so when you get to the lease pegs, you can easily make the lease and put it onto the pegs.
Other than being clamped to something
approximately at the center of the warping
board as in Figure 118, below, the paddle can be clamped to the bottom of the warping board itself if the height of the board is convenient for you.
Clamping a paddle at a height close to the
pegs on a reel is shown in Figure 119a.
paddle and chair
Clamping it to the back of a chair works well, too. See Figure 119b.
Also, see below where to place the paddle at a warping board.
Paddle and warping board
Lark's Head Knot
Finally, the tip is up on the lark’s head knot. Go to the tips section (choose the heading under the title of the home page) or search for lark’s head knot.
I can’t upload the pictures of the Lark’s Head Knot. My computer is acting up and driving me crazy. I’m sorry that I can’t fulfill my promise to put up the information right away. How to make and use the knot is in my book, Weaving for Beginners on page 352. I hope to get the image up today. Please send your good thoughts to my computer and to me.
Weaving with the Two-stick Heading
I have made a new and complete Weaving Tip describing using the two-stick heading. Click this title to see the full tip: “Using the Two Stick Heading“. This is from my book, Weaving for Beginners, beginning on page 134.
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.
Weaving with Rose Hips, 2
This photo is of the woven piece. The color is more like the top picture.
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Woven Cloth for Ruffle, 2nd view
I’m weaving another in my Ruffles series now on the sewing thread warp. I’m pleased that it is sheer–you can see the treadles through it. It’s slow going because the weft is very fine–like hair. Weaving double cloth is also slow. I maybe did 3 or 4 inches today in 45 minutes. It’s easy and meditative. I’m loving just weaving and weaving–it will take many sessions before it is long enough.
I have my weavings mounted in plexi shadow boxes. The front and back are clear and the sides, top and bottom are white. the boxes are unobtrusive and I like the way the pieces have their own space with this system.
Weaving with more than one warp is something I really like to do. We call it a “supplementary warp” when in theory, it could be removed and an intact cloth would remain.
“Red Square” was woven on 10 shafts–2 for the foundation warp and 8 for the red warp.
The sewing thread warp I’m weaving on now has a supplementary warp, too. In this case these warps aren’t threaded in heddles, but between them. See more in previous posts.
I weight my supplementary warps with washers that are hanging from shower curtain hooks.
The knot to use (because it is easy to undo and redo as needed) is described in 3 of my books because I think it is so useful. “Weaving for Beginners”, Book #2: “Warping Your Loom & Tying On New Warps”, and Book #3: “Weaving and Drafting Your Own Cloth”. See the chapter, Two or More Warps in Book #2 for details.
I’m going up the coast to Gualala, CA, for a few days. I love the country-side and ocean so much. Back in time for the SF Opera Opening Night, then back to blogging, I hope to take some pictures of naked ladies (amaryllis) and the surf/coast for future blogs.
My Weaving Apron (click to enlarge)
Here’s my weaving apron. I couldn’t weave without it. The pattern is in my book, Weaving for Beginners, beginning on page 374. I hope you are inspired to invent your own.