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).
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]
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.
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.
THE ABOVE TIP IS AN EXCERPT FROM BOOK 3: “WEAVING AND DRAFTING YOUR OWN CLOTH” AND “WEAVING FOR BEGINNERS”
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.
Over the holidays I spent a lot of effort getting my entry ready to send to the jury for the Textile Society of America show. There were two photo shoots and much work on getting the entry just right. I submitted two days before the deadline. What a relief! I sent in 3 entries: “Four Veils”, “Heart Sutra No. 1” and “Heart Sutra No. 2” along with details of each.
[click photos to enlarge]
The first photo shows the set up for photographing “Four Veils”. A lot of care was taken to get the lighting just right.
This photo shows me fiddling at the last minute.
The second shoot was for two of the pieces I did on pages from an old, dilapidated Japanese book. Again, to get them to show up in their frames took special lighting. I’m thrilled with how well the two pieces look. Wish me luck with the jurors. I’ll hear in March. The show will be in September in Los Angeles.
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.
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]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This photo is of the woven piece. The color is more like the top picture.
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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.
“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.
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.
The other 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).
I wove what I hoped would be a narrow band to be sort of a border separating parts of my wavy wefts cloth. I used white because that was what the warp is and it would blend in since a lot of white shows in the wavy wefts cloth. I forgot that light colors really advance and actually look larger than darker ones. I made my “border” 2 inches tall–it looked much wider. In fact it sticks out like a sore thumb.
What to do–it came near the beginning of my proposed hanging. Well, since the lam broke, it made me stop and think about it. I cut off what was woven and made narrow hems which look much better. In the illustration the wide border is a little rigged up, but it shows an inch of white. Originally the border was 2″ tall and really looked too big. But that lesson of light colors looking larger really came home to me.
One of the lams broke! Yesterday my friend beefed up the lams. I am waiting for the glue to dry before proceeding again. There is a lot of pressure on the treadles and thus, the lams. I played with what I had woven already until the loom is fixed and ready to go. It’s a good thing, really, because there was a part I wove that didn’t look good and needed to be removed. At first I thought of unweaving down to the “bad” place. Then I was thinking of cutting the whole piece off and cutting it into parts that I like. I did cut it off and mounted the pink area you see on a card. It can stand alone but could be matted, too.
The blue part looks very nice, too.