Is it vacation yet?

Brittle Star bloom

A surpriseThis flower greeted me Tuesday morning when I walked outside at 6 AM. I won’t even touch this plant, so it has survived through benign neglect. The points on the leaves are very painful, and with the way the plant grows, it’s hard to pick up without touching.

So, after seeing the bloom, a little research was in order. I thought it was a cactus of some type, but no, it’s a bromeliad. Well, guess that still puts it in the category of cactus and succulents. Who knew?

Brittle Star plant

In the dyeing department

Here are the results of the overdyeing with turquoise. Nice huh?

Turquoise overdye

In the weaving department

It’s slow-going with the piece on the loom. It’s got a lot of white rectangles on a black background, so I didn’t like the sawtooth effect of interlocking. That means it’s a slit kind of weaving, something I’m not enjoying very much. At first I tried not sewing them up, but when the pattern began in the middle of the piece, that was no longer an option. So now I’m weaving and sewing slits. How many inches can I do a day? This is not the week to find out, since I’m in a social whirl of a week.

In the miscellaneous department

This picture popped up on my Facebook recently. It’s from last year when the boys and I did some tie-dyeing. I still kind of like those socks!

Unfortunately, they’ve become too old to want to visit for two weeks now. You know, girls, etc. I knew it was going to happen, but I’m still sorry. Well, kind of. I really just want a vacation right now! It seems like I’ve been working really hard, but there’s not much to show for it.

Tie dye socks 2016

And since it was just Father’s Day, I thought I’d share this photo. This is my father with my daughter (the mother of the above big feet and tie-dyed socks). This is the essence of my father-kids and horses. He really loved to have all his family around, especially if he could also get in some horses along with them.

A mistake, but at least I caught it early

Mistake

Do you see it? The mistake. It had to come out because the dimensions of the piece would be affected.

Despite having to take out an inch and a half of the black and white piece, one of my goals for the week was to actually take scissors in hand and cut into the Color-aid paper. The design above is not what I started out to do, but I found that once I had some shapes cut out, it was fun to move them around and see what would happen if

I kind of like it; maybe I’ll weave it.

Design with Color-aid paper

Commitments, commitments

Something else that I committed to for the week was to finally overdye the rest of the greens with turquoise. (I did the overdye with blue weeks ago.) I’m not sure that these greens are going to be a great deal different from the ones overdyed with blue. Anyone need some really pretty greens?

Green samples

Results

Finishing

Because of several upcoming events, I need to get to the finish work, steaming, making hanging boards, Velcro, etc. so that they can be photographed. So this is my day: weave a few hours, do finish work a few hours. At one time I timed the finish work, just to get an idea of how much time to estimate for a job. I have since forgotten that number, but maybe I’ll do it again.

However, I think I’ve finally decided on the type of finish to do now. Everything has been tried, but I’ve settled. While on the loom, I do one round of soumak, then six picks of warp, reversing that when I’ve come to the end of the weaving. Then I do a woven edge, using five warps. This leaves the ends up towards the body of the piece. Then those ends have to be needle woven in.

Getting started. The right side has the woven edge done.

Needle woven into the piece.

 

A weaving conference Texas style

Shopping at the RedFish booth

This past week was a busy one with learning, visiting with friends, shopping, and listening to inspiring talks. The biennial weaving conference of Contemporary Handweavers of Texas was held in Sugar Land, Texas, a place I’ve never been, even though I’ve heard of it all my life. It’s close to Houston, an area I avoid–traffic, you know.

Wedge weave/4-selvedge

Wedge weave

As soon as I heard about the workshops for this year’s conference, I knew I had to go. I may have mentioned my attempts at wedge weave a time or two, so Michael Rhode‘s class of wedge weave/four-selvedge weaving was a must. Wouldn’t you know it, though…I left my loom at home. Thank goodness Michael had some frame looms for sale, quite nicely designed too. Turns out I was doing wedge weave correctly but I need lots more practice. One of them problems was not leaving enough weft before beating down. Michael brought many of his own pieces for us to examine. He’s an excellent teacher.

Wedge weave

Color

Mary Zicafoose was teaching several classes, so I took a couple. One was using Color-Aid papers to do some color exercises. Now I’ve had a set of these papers for years, but have only used them once to design. After all they are expensive, and I certainly don’t want to get them out of order. You realize how silly that is, right? So, my goal is to actually use my papers and practice putting those scissors into them and cutting. Maybe try designing a bit.

Mary also did a seminar on symbols, which is something that I love. I can’t tell you how many books I have on symbols. So, more inspiration there, and a desire to go back to those symbols.

The theme

The conference theme is Connecting Threads, Crossing Cultures. Deborah Chandler , who has spent a great portion of her life working with weavers in Guatemala, gave a great keynote talk about this topic. On another evening, Mary talked about her first connection to textiles, expanding farther to textiles in many cultures with most of the photos from her own travels. Michael gave the closing speech, but I’m sorry to say I missed that one. However, he too has done much travel and seen weaving in many countries.

 

Deciding

Which Size

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Which size?

So, here I am, just happily weaving along, when I reach a length that mathematically speaking is supposed to be pleasing to the human eye. That’s the drawing on the left. It was not pleasing to me, so back to the drawing board. I added enough inches to the drawing to equal a dynamic rectangle size. That one pleased me, but I put it out on Facebook and Instagram. The majority agreed with me, so weaving continued.

By the way, since the first drawing seems to be in the land of the missing, I scanned the photo, increased the canvas size to add the simulated inches, then filled in with color. This solution came to me during my morning walk.

While doing the weaving, I filled my quill and measured to see how much weaving this quill could handle. The piece is 36 inches wide and this filled quill wove three inches. My bobbins for the other shuttle will only weave about an inch, so this is a good thing.

Filled quill

The piece is off the loom, the warp is ready for the next project, a black and white piece. Below is a picture of just a bit of the mess around my loom bench, times three. Why times three? Because this image is representative of the studio clean up that has to happen, if sanity is to stay intact.

The mess

 

Butterfly Weed

More morning walk

Above is a picture I love, but it was not taken during my morning walk. Below is the morning walk picture. The consensus is that these are puffballs.

Puffballs

 

Color changes and walks

Coreopsis

Morning musings

I hate to even say this out loud, so to speak, but I’ve started doing some walking–don’t want to jinx it. Many years ago, I walked 5 miles a day, and it was wonderful. All kinds of inspiration and problem solving happened during those walks. I have used the excuse that my knee hurts not to walk, but after the trip to London, where we walked for miles and went up and down stairs in the Underground, that can’t be an excuse anymore. Now, it’s time to increase distance.

Stops for snapping pics with my phone is also happening. These street repairs always fascinate me. Surely I can figure out some way to use those. Street writing. The coreopsis above are one of my favorite wildflowers. Of course, the fact that these have yellow and red might be a factor. The balled up yarns from last week?

Street art

Back to the weaving

I’m trying to finish up the piece on the loom by the end of the month, and I’m ahead of schedule. However, I still haven’t dyed the yarn for next month’s project. That has to get done this week.

The beginning of this piece was posted last week, and here’s another part. 

Another section

With all the color changes, there are ends to weave in. I prefer to do them while on the loom.

Ends

Walking elsewhere

Purple Clover

These beauties are at the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens and Botanical Research Institute of Texas. The beds may be shared by the two organization, but I’m not sure. BRIT has a prairie planted on one side of its building, and these are native plants.

Having a great time!

On the loom

Love the colors!

The colors on the loom are really exciting to me! Even though it’s just throwing a shuttle (which has the ability to be boring), the colors are fun. Here’s a picture of some of the yarns I dyed and balled up lately.

All balled up

The reddish violet one was originally a reddish magenta, which I overdyed with violet and polar red. Not only do I like the color, it turned out as expected. The yellows are dyed with Sabraset Mustard Yellow at 1.5%.

Winding needs improvement

Now, back to that throwing the shuttle thing. For whatever reason, no matter what I do differently, the two strand of yarns are not rolling off the bobbin correctly. You can see the problem below. That’s how much slack there is between one strand versus the other.

Extra weft

Then I remembered the new shuttle that I had, the one that uses quills. Tah dah! 

When I first started to weave, many centuries ago, I used quills. However, I’ve slept since then, so winding the weft onto the quill takes a bit of practice. I’m using a 1/4 inch dowel to hold the quill, and dug this driver up from a long lost box. Wonder if I can also find the charger? 

And all is working now! I have not wound a huge amount onto the quill, although the shuttle-maker (High Desert Weaving) says that it will hold over 45 yards of a bulky yarn.

Quill in shuttle

Winding weft onto the quill

So, I’m a happy weaver again. Nevertheless, I’ll have to solve the winding problem at some point. It’s funny how sometimes there is no problem, but now there’s a huge problem.

Now, what are you working on? Do tell!

Bringing work home

Path to the Sun in box

Wall Gallery in Dallas has closed, so I picked up my work a couple of weeks ago. The one above, was sinking and no longer very attractive. It was returned to the framer by the gallery owner, and I was to call with instructions about the piece.

When I mentioned to the framer that the piece was sinking, he said that he would fix that. Instead, I decided to have it completely removed. If it sank that much in just two years, what was going to happen in two years after fixing it?

The piece below is still in its acrylic sandwich, but I think I’ve figured out how to remove it. I never liked the way this one looked in this frame. So now, I’m going to have some big pieces of acrylic. Anyone know how to cut it? Might be fun to do something with it.

And speaking of cutting … I would like to learn about cutting sheet metal. There are a few ideas floating around in my head. I need to take a class, if I could find one.

Door

View of the acrylic “sandwich”

Gallery walls

Running in place

RED

Maybe I’m a bit out of control with the red right now. This was done on the small 5-inch Mirrix Lani loom.

I learned some lessons here, but I’m don’t think I will ever apply them because I didn’t really enjoy weaving this very much. You can tell by the ribs of the warp the direction this was woven. Curves are a bit wonky, as is size.

One of the most important lesson I learned from this is to not mark the warp with the design until the first element is finished. I ended up with so many marks I couldn’t tell what was what.

When I decided on doing this little piece, I was thinking maybe a color word for each color, or the same word in different fonts. Now I know that the idea of weaving words is better than the actually weaving words is–for me.

What’s going on?

Do you ever feel like you’re not getting anything done until you look back at the week? That’s my place right now.

I’m always trying to figure out where I put my reading glasses. They’re usually on my head or hanging from my shirt. I’m trying to get rid of the carpenter bees, but they keep multiplying. Whack-a-mole, anyone?

Interruption after interruption, but then I look back over my bullet journal and see how many things I got done and how many items are no longer on my to-do list. (That’s kind of useless, since more things are added to the list all the time.)

Dyeing

Here’s what I dyed last week

Red dyeing

And here’s what I’m dyeing right now.

Mustard yellow

Both of these are two of my favorite colors to dye and use. The mustard, at 1.5% is at a slightly higher percentage than my usual 1%. The red is 2%. I use Sabraset acid dyes from ProChemical.

Mustard Yellow and Deep Red

I think the next up will be a purple of some kind, and finally some black. I do still have that black and white piece to weave!

Inktense colors

And last …

Because I was going to do some design work, I got out the Inktense pencils, but then when I looked at them all, I decided a color chart might be helpful. Here you see the fruits of my labor. They still need a wet brush going-over, but that’ll come later. Maybe something like paint chips would be better? At least they’re in color groups!

 

   

Razzle Dazzle

Overdyed greens

Dyeing

One of the tasks on my list last week was to overdye the greens below. You can see the results above. I’m not thrilled, as I was hoping there would be a bigger difference in the colors. Yes, they are nice greens (and a blue), but now what? No matter, I’m overdyeing the next batch, which is very similar in color with turquoise. The blue one is the second from bottom in the picture below.

Green yarn

Another goal

… was to get this off the loom. It’s done, although it hasn’t been steamed or anything, but here it is. Makes me dizzy, so the working title for now is Razzle Dazzle.

Razzle Dazzle (horizontal)

And here it is flipped. 

Razzle Dazzle (vertical)

Warp, 36.5 inches

My next two pieces have been planned, one black and white and the other a bright stripe. I’ve increased the warp to 36.5 inches, a real pain. The back beam has 48 inches of warp beamed, but I never let loose the extra inches. So, I had two unwind three inches on each side to get the extra inches needed. It is now tied on with the header woven, ready to go. Now I need to do some dyeing of reds and 3 more skeins of black. Woo hoo! I’m excited to get started! I’ve also got a bitty project going on the Mirrix.

What’s everyone working on?

More progress

10 more inches

I’m not going to take another photo until this sucker is off the loom. Right now, I have about 8 inches to go, and 20 butterflies going. Why? Who knows!

In other news

After working on a commission, I thought I would never use the color green again, but I have excavated for the excess yarns and overdyed part of them with blue. The “new” yarns aren’t washed yet, so that picture will have to wait. Next week. I did take a sample of each color so that I can compare, and there’s the picture below also.

Green yarn

Since I’m speaking about greens, how ’bout these pictures from Borough Market of green vegetables? I can’t remember what the swirly one in the second picture is called, but I love the pattern.

Although I’ll be dyeing some black yarns next, I’m thinking about overdyeing the rest of the green yarns with turquoise. Do you think those yarns would be able to play nice in a weaving?

Looking at these greens reminds me of Pantone’s color of the year, Greenery. If you go to the Greenery page, scroll down to look at their suggested color combinations.

Asparagus

Vegetables

Then there’s the sunflowers. I took a photo of sunflowers and used Waterlogue on it, thinking that some sort of blurry “painting” might make a good weaving. Hmmm….. maybe I should try the vegetable pictures with Waterlogue too.

Sunflowers

Sunflowers 2