Category Archives: Weaving

What to write

What can I say?

There’s really nothing going on around here. Even studio time has been on hold because of other things, both planned and not planned. A family situation, taxes, working on a planned trip, you know, all that STUFF.

Yesterday, my brother-in-law came over to cut down some tree branches, a couple of which were pushing against the electrical line from the pole to the house.

There was a dead branch actually just kind of hanging on it, and not a small branch. When that branch came down, it had some interesting bark and insect holes, maybe from birds. Why am I drawn to this stuff?

tree branch

While listening to an online podcast, I worked on finish work, a kind of activity that requires not much from the brain.

Finishing

Driving home from my advocate training the other day, I happened to notice that this old building on the corner of Hemphill and Magnolia still included the words from its past. Dyeing, anyone?

Building of dyers?

And last, but certainly not least, the art group of which I am a member, will be showing work during Spring Gallery Night. More info here.

Spring Gallery Night

After next week, art retreat!

Installation at Artspace 111

Two openings at Artspace 111: A Fascination with Color and Sussie. (I didn’t know what it meant either. Looked it up)

Sussie at Artspace 111

Puye Cliffs is finished without the T-pins.

Puye Cliffs, Tapestry, Wool, dyes, 14 x 19.25 inches, $259 ©Sherri Coffey

Art!

Next week I have a few appointments, then I plan to implement my art retreat. I have a list of ideas, but am going to have to choose one or two to focus on. I keep going back to variations on a line and spirals, but then there’s also more pre-Columbian images to consider. Hmmm… A second art retreat?

New warp

The new warp is a 2-ply natural wool worsted from Weaving Southwest. I’ve never used a color warp before, so it’s an experiment that I hope turns out well. Thirty yards of well. So far I’m loving it. When I sat down and started weaving on this warp, it felt like coming home. It’s been years since I’ve used a wool warp, but it’s great!

New warp

What’s on the loom?

I’m working on a gradations piece that goes from turquoise to violet to blue. Below is a simulation of it, but it looks so much better than this. What kind of a gradation could go with this one to make a diptych? Or a triptych? Thoughts anyone? So far I’m considering turquoise to magenta to blue. They need to have some commonality to go together. 

Gradations in progress

While I’ve been working, these small skeins of mohair were hanging out. I love how they look, warts and all! Mohair has such a sheen and dyes beautifully, at least when the skeins don’t twist back on themselves.

Mohair hanging

barrettes

This is the latest effort to try and organize balls of yarn. I’ve never used these type of barrettes, so had no idea how to actually work them! Saw this idea from a knitting group on Facebook. I’d credit them if I could, but things just disappear on Facebook. See a post, lose a post.

Once I decide on the next project, the dyeing will begin again. Right now, I’m weaving at least 15 inches or so, in order to get the piece on the loom off and start again. Gosh, it feels good!

Where to start

Where do you start when there’s really nothing to say. The typical summer weather has arrived, so it’s hot; that makes it necessary to get out early. There’s been something to do daily, including weekends, which means I actually have to get dressed in real clothes.

Last Saturday

Sculptor at Art Aid Expo

The local art center held its first Art Aid Expo 2017, and the guild was asked to participate as an art group. We brought looms and examples of work. We had lots of folks stopping by and a couple of teachers who would like to do fiber-y things with their students. That’s something I would be interested in working with.

Coming up

Another teachers group has asked up to participate in an in-service type thing, where we will do a bit of hands on again. Plus, the art group that I belong to is suddenly having meetings! Real meetings! I’m glad about that, but like I said, putting on real clothes.

Weaving/studio

This is early in the piece. Another progress pic soon.

The piece on the loom is scheduled to be completed by the end of the month. I’ve calculated about how long I will need to sit each day on a hard loom bench to finish in time.

Rabbit Holes

Along the way there have been a few rabbit holes and I sent an extra email to my newsletter list because they are the first to see new work. If you’re interested, you can sign up here. The studio insiders get to see new work first, sometimes with special pricing before it’s published on my website.

And a rabbit hole: It’s a video a Facebook page called Tallercito de la Autonomía about dyeing with natural dyes in South America. Scroll down to find Process de elaboración de tejidos por artesanas Mink Chincher, June 12, 2016. It’s really quite interesting.


Sometimes it just doesn’t work out

Black and white in progress and it’s demise

So, you may remember the black and white I was working on, you know, the one with the slits. That was just not fun weaving, and I struggled to drag myself to the loom. Plus, I didn’t like the way the black yarns had turned out. So, I woke up one morning and thought, “This is it. I’m cutting it off!” I felt a huge relief in just thinking those words. 

Research

But then I got Kathe Todd-Hooker’s book Line in Tapestry, and got to reading and looking at pictures. You can get the book on Kathe’s website and on Amazon. Kathe’s book has lots of treatments for slits. So, before cutting off, I experimented. One of the first things I read about using slits is if they’re going to be very long, consider turning the weaving the other way. Makes sense. Maybe that works for smaller pieces, but 58 x 30, not so much. This is a vertical design, so that would mean that the visible warp finishing would be where the selvedges usually are after it was hung. I don’t like that much better than slits.

My copy of Russell’s tapestry book

I had also read about using a heavy duty sewing thread every few picks, but I couldn’t find much information about it. Then I looked through one of Carol Russell’s tapestry books and found a picture. It becomes practically invisible within the weaving, and that’s the one I think I like best.

Isolated locking weft

If there are ever any long slits again in my life, that’s the technique I’ll use.

Baby’s got a new box of crayons!

Weaving Southwest yarn bale

These came from Weaving Southwest, one of their Yarn Bales. Aren’t they beautiful? They are
2-ply tapestry yarns. I think the bales became such a huge project, that they are not planned to happen again.

For the next couple of weeks the dye pots will be working overtime. And there’s an ikat experiment in my future. Stay tuned…

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.

 

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!

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!