My Thoughts about Color Wheels

screenshot.02-04-2013 15.43.36A color wheel that was introduced to us in our guild program on Optical Mixing is the first one shown here. It is called the Magenta, Yellow, Cyan (turquoise) color system or color wheel and the one more suited for weavers. Our speaker told us it was better to use this one than the one we all learned and are familiar with which is the Red, Yellow, Blue system or color wheel (which is for mixing light). This is the second one shown here.

 If you look at my previous post screenshot.02-04-2013 15.44.02showing my own stash of colors, you won’t see anything like on either wheel. That’s because the color wheels show us intense colors. In real life, most of us don’t stick to only those intense colors—we darken, or lighten, or dull them, or mix them optically with other colors.

 So, how do you use a color wheel if the colors aren’t what you like? The colors on the wheels are NAMED. That is what is important. You need to name the colors or read them first. For example, red and red-orange and red-purple are names of three colors (officially called hues). Then you can use the wheel for relationships of the hues to one another or to put together color harmonies. For example, harmonies might be hues that are opposite one another or beside each other on the wheel. THEN when you know the names of the hues you are looking for, you can “doctor” them us (so-to-speak) so they aren’t so intense and to my mind, more beautiful or interesting.

 You can change a hue these ways:
Change the value,
Change the intensity
Change the temperature

 That’s how you get nice interesting colors that don’t look like kindergarten colors.screenshot.02-04-2013 15.48.20

 One of my teachers, Cameron Taylor Brown, had us make different color wheels. We named the colors from the regular color wheel we were used to. Then made these: one color wheel with all the hues being light in value (pastels), one with all dark hues, one with duller hues, etc. You see, we named the hues but then made up color wheels (like pallets) with the same hues but changed in the ways I listed above: value, intensity and temperature. There were some I liked screenshot.02-04-2013 15.49.00better than others. Using the yarns from one wheel makes your work look coordinated: to add punch, she suggested adding something from a completely different pallet (color wheel).

 For our talk on Saturday about Optical Mixing, we will be talking about value. Threads that are of the same value will blend or mix.

 One important thought: You don’t need to have all the colors in the wheel—just work with the ones you like or have.

 Use what you like and used the color theory color when you are stuck.

 My mentor, Helen Pope, always used to choose what ribbon for her pony tale by using a color that was one step from the opposite of the color of her outfit. In other words she used the harmony “split complementory”

A Weaving Failure

A Weaving Failure –
Peggy Osterkamp
-click to enlarge

This is going to be the first time I’ve given up on a project. I was careless again and let the find threads tangle again. I spent a lot of time working on a few tangles, then when more appeared, I decided to give up. I think I’ll keep the warp—10 yards and see what I might do with it off of the loom. If I wet it, it will shrink and shrivel and tangle more—I may try to control the tangles. Anyhow, I want to get another ruffle warp going and can’t wait to fool around anymore with this “thing”.

A friend who is a writer mentioned the value of fallow time—I think that’s what’s going on with me. I’ve been working a lot on the show and the holidays so have given up going to the studio and working at the loom everyday. It’s quite a relief not to push every minute. This is something new for me and I rather like it.

Remember: “The only thread that can’t tangle is one under tension!”  I won’t let it happen the next time!

Weaving with Weighted Selvedge Threads

I weight my selvedge threads separately almost always. I learned from Jim Ahrens that you could use stronger threads for the selvedges when you want to weave with fragile warp threads. I’ve shown the knot I use to hold the weights in many workshops and in two of my books, but it is wonderful to have a video so you can see the motions of my hands. You might still need the diagrams in the books, but I think this is a big help. The books are: Weaving for Beginners and Weaving & Drafting Your Own Cloth. Both have a whole chapter devoted just to selvedges.

New in My Weaving Life

Three new things:I began weaving again on the sewing thread warp. After being away from the loom awhile, it really feels good to be throwing the shuttle–even to weave samples. The blog is being redesigned and I’m thrilled with the new images. Better yet, the button to order my books is working. So, with a click you can now add to cart! Go to the Book and DVD section on the home page.

 

Beautiful Scarf, Unusual Sett

Ellen Miller's Doube Weave Scarf (click to enlarge)

Ellen Miller showed me her gorgeous alpaca double weave scarf. She was disappointed that the sett wasn’t exactly balanced as typical double cloth is. This showed more in the white areas. My sense is that it is beautiful with the more open sett.

Beautiful White Block

You can still see the solid black and white areas. For her warp and weft (both the same) she used less than the 80% figure  (Ashenhurst calculations) and this is one time I think less that 80% turned out beautifully. (The sett is more open when less than the  80% figure is used.) One reason is that the threads were dense in the warp because of the double weave. That made friction in the reed that prevented the wefts from beating down too much as can happen when the sett is more open than the 80% figure.

The Blocks (click to enlarge)

That Special Tie Up: Only Use 4 Treadles!

One tie up for all 4 shaft looms

I received this comment about the tie up I posted. (Search for tying up your treadles.)

 

“Thanks for the tie-up, Peggy! What if you have a 6 treadle loom and want to add a tabby tie-up? Is it best to put it in the middle or on the outside treadles, in your opinion?”

Here’s my opinion:
No, no, no!! The extra treadles just get in the way and offer the chance for mistakes. To do tabby put your foot between the treadles and push 1&3 with one foot and 2&4 with the other. Then you can walk the treadles. Which two treadles to not hook up you can decide on depending on how your feet fit the treadles–and what’s comfortable. Getting comfortable helps avoid mistakes. See page 2 in my third book, Weaving & Drafting Your Own Cloth.

Tensioning Linen Warps

This week I put on a linen warp and remembered a trick I learned long ago–and it miraculously worked yet again. Immediately after tying the threads on the apron rod all nicely, the tension on the threads became greatly uneven. There were very, very loose threads scattered all across the warp. They had been all evenly tensioned when I tied the knots but the tension didn’t stay. Here’s the trick. It comes from my Book #2, Warping Your Loom & Tying On New Warps, on page 63.

Tensioning Linen Warps

Getting even tension on linen warps is a special situation; linen threads always seem to become uneven as soon as you begin weaving. Don’t re-adjust the tension on the bundles. Instead spray the warp with water from a plant mister and immediately begin weaving the heading. All the threads straighten up and weave perfectly when they’re dampened this way. You should only have to do this once, at the very beginning of the warp, whether you tie surgeon’s knots or lace the bundles.

Bobbin Types for Boat Shuttles

Fit bobbins to cavities

Certain bobbins fit certain boat shuttles. Look at the cavities in your shuttles to determine which is the right type of bobbin to use. When I was learning to weave I heard about this but didn’t think it was important. Then when I was demonstrating fast weaving with the wrong bobbin I was embarrassed because the weft thread kept jerking. I learned my lesson that day. This is from Weaving for Beginners on page 94. I hope this saves other weavers from frustration!

The cavity in the shuttle where the spindle is mounted has either squared-off corners or oval, rounded corners. You need to fit the bobbin to the cavity in your shuttle or the thread will jerk or jam as you are weaving. Squared-off corners of the cavity are for bobbins with flanges at the ends—similar to those on the ends of spools of sewing thread. See Figure 223a. In a round-cornered cavity, use bobbins with extensions sticking out from the flanges. See Figure 223b. Bobbins with extensions are readily available and can be used in either type of shuttle. You can put a small bead or a sewing machine bobbin on the spindle at each end of the bobbin if your bobbins don’t have extensions, and your shuttle has rounded corners in the cavity. See Figure 223c.

There is more about handling boat shuttles beginning on page 111. Learn to weave without the weft thread jerking and tangling.

Doubling Stand Mentioned in Handwoven Magazine

Doubling Stand

In the new Handwoven on page 60, there is a tip at the top of the page suggesting using a doubling stand. It is a piece of equipment I couldn’t get along without. You can buy one or rig one yourself.

This is taken from my book #3, “Weaving & Drafting Your Own Cloth“, page 67. More on doubling stands follows on page 67. How to make your own is at the end of this post.

Have you ever wanted to combine two or more yarns as one weft? Have you discovered it doesn’t work very well because, no matter what you’ve tried, one yarn always loops up so they don’t lie flat together in the shed? The answer is: use a doubling stand to double up weft yarns so they come out of the shuttle together and evenly.

Warning!! Do not double warp yarns because the upper and lower yarns will be of different tensions when they leave the doubling stand. It isn’t a problem with weft yarns.
Doubling stands can be homemade or purchased. Figure 112 shows a commercially
made stand. (Note the optional tension box for winding tight weft packages.)One or

more yarns are put on vertical posts with the yarn guided exactly up from the centers of the posts, just like an ordinary vertical creel. Read more about creels on page 76.

Above these yarns is a single cone or spool of yarn supported by a vertical tube instead of a post. The yarns below are guided up through their respective thread guides and then up through the tube and the center of the extra cone. Then, the lower yarns plus the upper one are taken together up through a guide above the center of the top cone. You can see what happens: The yarn from the upper cone encircles the yarns coming up through its center. This encirclement keeps all the yarns together without any of them looping up during weaving (Figure 113).
To guide the bottom threads up through the cone on top, fashion a long hook from a coat hanger or use a long heddle.

The three keys to keep in mind when setting up a doubling “situation” or  making a homemade stand are:
1. The thread guides for the lower spools must be exactly over the center of the pins
or dowels that hold the spools or cones.
2. There must be enough space between the tops of all the packages and their thread
guides to allow the yarn to whip off the packages freely.
3. The top cone or spool must have a way for the lower yarns to pass up through its center.
A tube to hold the top cone is the hardest thing to find—try hobby shops. You could use a short length of copper tubing with the sharp ends sanded. However, there are many other ways to accomplish the job. I’ve seen one cone underneath an upside-down “milk crate” with another cone sitting on top and the thread from below coming up a hole in the crate and through the top cone. There are many ways
you might make (or rig)a doubling “stand”.

A Quick Way to Start New Wefts

Changing Wefts (click to enlarge)

This comes from Weaving for Beginners on 115. It’s quick and does the job nicely.

How to change wefts
I like to tuck in the old weft about ½” into the next shed, snugging it up against the selvedge and pulling the tail out of the shed to let it
lie on top of the cloth. The shed stays open, ready for the new weft. I leave the new weft’s tail, which is about 1″ long, dangling outside the selvedge and cut it off later. See Figure 272. Other ways to change wefts for other yarns are given on page 131.

Tying On New Warps Question

Here’s a question I received yesterday. “I want to tie on a new warp for some scarves. However, I want to change the sett from 18 epi to 16 epi. Is it possible to do this?If so, how? I also would like to make it an inch narrower. Do I just not tie on the threads from the original warp and let them hang?”

Ideally when tying on a new warp the new warp should be exactly the same as the old one, hence the question. Yes, I think it would be ok to make the new warp with the number of ends needed and just tie those onto the old warp. The old warp ends not used can just hang. (Would you center the new threads, or just begin tying at one edge and have all the extra ends on one side?) You would then pull the warp ends through the heddles–the old ones will just go along for the ride. Then you’ll have to cut the ends to sley the reed to the new sett. You can cut so the thrums (ends of the old warp) are used when you sley the reed so you will have less loom waste for the new warp. Of course, if you want the keep the thrums for fringe, then cut off at the knots and re-sley.

These procedures are for when you tie on new warps behind the heddles as I recommend. For an over view of the process, go to the tab, “Weaving Tips” on the home page and look for “Try Tying on New Warps This Way”.  It is so much better than tying on in front of the reed and dragging the new warp through the heddles. In my Book #2, Warping Your Loom & Tying On New Warps, I explain this thoroughly–especially how to tie the knots so the new warp is on tension immediately.

You can use the Search button on the upper right corner of the home page, too. Search for “tying on” there are several entries.

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.

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.

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.