Category Archives: Weaving

London

Progress

You may have guessed that I have been traveling. One of the things I did before leaving was to make a list of what I wanted to do when I got home. When I travel, even if it’s just for a long weekend, I have a hard time getting back into a routine. Frankly, I’ve been a little restless about staying home and working, so this list was extra helpful.

On my list is getting some dyeing done. So far that hasn’t worked out so well. I’ve had appointments, and well, a social life. Lunch out two times in one week? Unheard of. There’s also a coffee date already set up. What’s with this social life thing? Oh well, it’ll be over with next week.

My body clock is not back to normal, though, so I am getting some weaving done. Progress is slow. The goal for the above piece is to reach 30 inches (only 20 inches to go!). I’m hoping to get it finished soon, because another list I made is of the pieces I want to weave in the next few months.

Traveling always brings inspiration in one form or another. Mine seems to be spirals and pattern, as usual. Below are examples from the British Museum in London. I already posted a picture of spirals at the Underground station.

Pattern

Egyptian spirals in British Museum

Handweavers Studio

One should always find the local weaving shop, right? I was told by a friend that this is one of the best she’s visited anywhere, so a visit was definitely in order. My friend was right–it’s a great shop! Handweavers Studio and Gallery

A bit about the trip

My daughter, son, grandsons, and I traveled to London. One reason we did this is because my daughter said that when we took them back when they were in high school, it was a life-changing event for her.

We decided to rent an apartment in the Bloomsbury area, which turned out to be an excellent decision. We were only a couple of blocks from the Russell Square tube station, so getting around was easy. When I first started looking for a place, I was looking at how many beds there were. Then I realized that I should also look at bathrooms. Five people, one bathroom? Not an ideal situation. 

We really loved being to stay in one place and visit when we made our way back after a long day of sightseeing and walking miles. 

Back to the schedule

After over 17 hours of trains, planes, airports, and auto, I got home after 9 pm, had a bit of dinner, and headed to bed. When I woke up in the middle of the night to make my way to the bathroom, I was disoriented in my own bedroom. Weird. But all is well now, and I’m back to work. It was a great trip, and we all had a good time. The list I made ahead of time has served me well.

 

Again and again

63 inches and counting

What’s that quote about insanity and repeating actions?

I’m insane, according to that definition, because I’ve done it AGAIN! Now whether this is really a mistake in my ikat-tying or another kind of mistake, I’m no longer sure. However, a lesson has finally been beaten into my head…I have to do a better job with the cartoon to make sure that the wrong sections aren’t tied or not tied.

Label, label, label!

I haven’t quite decided what the best process is for that yet, but it has to happen. The cartoon above is for ikat. The one below is for a tapestry. As you can see, they are black and white outlines. Should I label the ikat ones with color ID like the one below? Or should I color in the cartoon with felt tip pens?

Cartoon with color ID

I could use some ideas for a prevention technique.  Or maybe this piece on the loom really is the piece from hell, and all will be better with the next one. Whaddya think? (And did you know you can actually find many Google entries for that word?) Or should it be whatcha think?

Frustration, new starts, plus clouds

Section 3-again

Big roadblock

The piece on the loom was moving along at a pretty good clip–until I hit a speed bump! Section 3 of the ikat yarn was next, but it just wouldn’t work, no matter how I tried to manipulate it.

Darn!

So, I got the cartoon out and compared the yarn to the cartoon, and guess what? The positive and negative spaces were totally reversed. Black was white, white was black. Believe me, I tried everything before reaching the conclusion that it would just have to be done again. No getting around it. I checked sections 4 and 5. Yes, they are correct. So, I started measuring the yarns.

While waiting …

The measuring and tying is done, so dyeing is next, maybe today. (I actually had a social event on Tuesday). But while not weaving on the big loom, the small loom inspiration is coming together in my head. I have several ideas to work on, including a few that go with a series I’m planning.

And then there are the clouds

Last week I was driving home after visiting my mother, when I looked up and noticed these really wonderful clouds. They were like waves across the sky, like nothing I’ve ever seen before. I took the next exit and stayed on the service road so I could take pictures. Having not mastered the panorama setting on my phone, I just took individual shots and pieced them together in Photoshop, very obviously.

Wavy clouds

Then I took one bitty section and made it black and white.

Black and white clouds

And played around with ridiculous colors. 

Color, anyone?

Can this be turned into a weaving? What do you think?

Is it already Wednesday?

waste basket of untied ikat tape

 

Tied/Untied

Is it Wednesday already?

Seems I can no longer keep up with what day it is in the week. Yes, it’s Wednesday. Yes, my blog post should be ready. No, it is not ready. What’s going on here?

Ikat untying

Just in case you were wondering,untying ikat tape from the yarn takes almost as much time as untying it. And then there’s the winding onto shuttles. Over the years I have learned that I prefer certain shuttles for this, one called a poke shuttle. I always overfill them because there does not seem to be a good place to cut the continuous weft. 

Filled shuttles with section one

Labeling

Someone asked me about keeping up with which shuttle is which. It just requires labels, many labels. When I’m measuring the yarn for ikat, I label where I start with “bottom left.” When I end the section, I label it “top right.” When I wind onto the shuttles, I start with the top right end, so that I can begin weaving with the bottom left. You have to weave in the direction you measured the yarn, or the pattern will not match up.

You can see in the image below that I am using a ski shuttle. I really don’t like it very well for this, but my other shuttles were full, and there was still a bit of this section of weft left to wind.

Ikat in progress

Weaving ikat

The actual weaving part of ikat goes fast, plus it keeps my interest because it requires attention to matching the pattern and the selvedges. This means that quite a bit of the piece is already woven.

This is such a close-up that you can see how the edges of the color don’t seem even near the right spot, but when it is seen without enlargement, the edges look fuzzy, but not so extreme as this detail.

Detail

Maybe I’ll be finished by the next time Wednesday rolls around.

Disaster! Kind of

No, not a world, or even national disaster

Progress after the disaster. Find the broken warp.

This is my personal weaving disaster. I sat on my loom bench yesterday, only to discover a broken warp, and upon further examination, I discovered several frayed ones. Since I was really not willing to lose all the work on this piece, I slept on it before making a decision about what to do. I decided to weave to the farthest point in the weaving, hand beating rather than using the loom beater, then to advance the warp way past the problem and start the weaving again. Maybe I’ll end up with a triptych. Or not. An experiment of sorts.

Warp advanced past the problem

Listening and weaving

In this picture, you can see that the first section has been completed, and the warp advanced. Another piece has begun with waste yarn. Next step, some knots, a few shots of warp, some soumak, and the weaving begins. On the cartoon below, you can see where first section ends.

Stopped the first piece at the red arrow

While all of this weaving is going on, I am listening to Burying the Honeysuckle Girls. While listening, I am reminded of a book I read years ago called One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd, a period piece.

Many details have flown from my memory, but someone came up with a plan to give 1000 white women to the Indians to appease them and perhaps stop the many battles. But where to get the women? From the insane asylums, of course.

This was during a period of history when the men (husbands or fathers or brothers) could commit women family members to an institution when those women did things that didn’t suit the men. Like not marry someone, or do something embarrassing, or … whatever.

The women were chosen for this project, and because of how women were committed, some were not actually insane. And the tale goes on from there telling the story of one particular woman, through her journals. Those journals are so realistic that I had to remind myself that they are fiction.

Back to the Honeysuckle Girls

This story switches back and forth from present day and the thirties. The setting for the thirties is in a rural area of the mountains in Alabama, where men would still commit their women when they displeased them. The present day setting is in Birmingham, Alabama, where the main character is trying to save herself by finding what happened to her ancestors. At first I wasn’t sure the girls were going to hold my attention, but as it progressed, it does.

Read any good books lately?

I forgot!

What”s on the loom

Crazy time

It’s been so looney tunes around here, I forgot what day it was. Between spending more hours in the studio and setting up a new computer for my mother, well, you get the picture. All the same, I am really pleased that skipping the computer until afternoon means that I’m getting more work done–with enthusiasm!

Always the finishing

I’m spending my evenings doing finish work and/or working on a small piece. Unless I am too tired, that is.

Does a clean studio mean a clean mind?

Unfortunately, I am now into the cleaning the studio portion of my week. That means that anything that pops into my head is so much better and must be attended to RIGHT NOW. Now why would that be, when I find such treasures as this one? There’s lots of stuff in there that I don’t want anymore, so I’m putting it all into a big bag to sort through and donate later. I’m having a visitor later this week, so it should look at least a little bit presentable.

Beaded emboridery

Studio time

Just starting the orange crosses

Crosses in progress

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red stripes and broken warp

Here comes purple

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Changing habits

I’m trying to change a habit or two or a million, but the for today, the main new habit is getting into the studio before checking email, etc. Because I don’t just stop there. It just goes on and on, checking one thing after another. A complete time-suck!

My new habit is getting into the studio immediately after coffee and newspaper time. That means it’s still dark when I take those steps. Often, lately, that means starting a fire for warmth. The form this habit has taken for now is to weave for an hour, have breakfast, then 2-3 more hours in the studio.

Getting stuff done

I am also doing other stuff around the house before getting to the computer. In fact, I am writing this right now at around 11:50 AM and have still not checked my email. For whatever reason, once I get to that email place, I’m a goner as far as accomplishing much. What’s up with that? Does anyone else have that problem?

Finished! Well, except for all the warp ends, steaming, fixing those broken warp ends, etc. Perspective is off in the photo.

Choosing color

You can see the weaving progress in the images above. When I first started those red stripes, somehow in the middle of the night, I became convinced that they were the wrong color of red, that I needed to dye some “deep red.” The next day, I dug out a bit of leftover deep red, and realized I had the best color after all. When I looked at the dye formula for the stripe I had woven, it was a combination of deep red and scarlet.

Around the house

Have you heard of Instant Pots? That amazing all-in-one pot that sautés, slow cooks, pressure cooks, makes yogurt, and changes the sheets? I had been looking at one, but couldn’t make myself click the button and buy it because of the price. Right before Christmas, Amazon had one of those one-day sales, so at half price, I clicked. It’s taken a bit to embrace this pot, but I think I finally have.

I have a stove top pressure cooker, and I like it. However, my brain requires constant vigilance with it. I like the little pressure thing on top that jiggles and makes noise. I have to set my timer because otherwise, I go walkabout. And I don’t dare get too far from the stove.

I finally got brave enough to try the pressure cooker with the Instant Pot. It’s wonderful! When you want to make a stew, you just press the button for stew. It pressure cooks it for a preset time and keeps it warm when the time’s up, all done silently. I cook pintos on a fairly regular basis, and there’s a bean button for that. Today I’ve cooked garbanzos for hummus. Yum!

Experimenting

I’m still experimenting with some small pieces that I hope will be at least kind of three dimensional. What’s going on in your part of the world? Working on any habits? New something around the house? Cooking anything different? 

 

 

More cross work

On the loom

They’re baaack

Well, I’ve written about this before. Crosses. The design below has been modified during the weaving process, mainly because of mathematical errors. Yep, no mathematician here! Then there was digging all of the yarns out, finding enough of the various colors to complete each section. Believe me, I have been counting square inches and weighing yarns to make sure there was enough to weave a stripe. Because blacks might look alike, when you weave different dyelots, there’s always a line of demarcation. That won’t be a problem with the stripes because each stripe can be a different dyelot.

Crosses, stripes, border

The middle section is a totally different story

I needed more black that matched for the middle section. First, I looked at two different local yarn stores, but found nothing suitable. That means dyeing. And it’s been really cold. Now, I apologize for that statement to all of you who have had all the really cold and snowy weather for the last few weeks, but for North Texas, it’s been cold. 14 and 16 degrees at night is unusual for us. Highs in the 30s–maybe--is cold for us. And I had to clean the dyepots before doing the dyeing. 30 degrees! They were really in need of cleaning, but not as bad as the image suggests. Lots of reflection going on in the stainless steel sides. The actual dyeing was a relief; at least it involved fire!

Cleaning the pots

These crosses were originally designed with each arm being 4 inches wide, with 2 inch posts. Not sure about the vocabulary here, so here’s an illustration. However, that design changed as I mapped things out so that they would fit on the width of the warp. The cross width is a little over 3 inches, but the other numbers are the same.

cross measurements

Frankly, after the holidays, house guests, it’s hard for me to get back into the swing of things, but the weaving is back, as is the hard weaving bench. I’m also trying to spend some time working on some 3-D pieces. Those are pure experimentation, so we’ll see if they ever see the light of day.

 

Woo hoo! 2017, here we come!

Blackeyes for luck in the New Year. I cheated and had a Texas Caviar in the store.***

Do you make New Year’s resolutions?

I gave that up a long time ago, but I was thinking about that as I drove to the grocery store. My family and I are going to London later in the year, and my knee needs to be better for that. Now, there’s nothing I can do for the bone-on-bone, but I can strengthen the muscles that support the knee. So, I was thinking…strength and balance for the new year. But then I realized that could be a good think for many areas of life.

Strength

Strength to do the hard stuff, to say no to things that don’t support what you need, to work when you’re not in the mood, take risks with your art.

Balance

Balance has always been difficult for me, being that all-or-nothing person that I am. One thing I need to balance is my social life (or lack thereof). This means I need to get out more, meet more people, say no to taking the easy way out and staying home. So yes, the knee needs to be improved, but so do those other things. Do I dare say this is a resolution? Thinking ….

Pulled warp

Experimentation

I am doing some experimental weaving and plan to continue in 2017. The scary part is all the time spent on the experiment and then what if it doesn’t work? Does that come under “strength” from the paragraph above?

wood in my new wood rack

Because it got down to 14, I decided it was time to stop putting off the new wood delivery. In the past, the wood guys have been sketchy at best, but this time there were reviews on Nextdoor about a new (to me) wood guy, I took the plunge. Chuckwood’s was great! It was really interesting to watch them stack the wood, like really good rock layers. Then there’s the new wood rack, made by my grandson, with help.

Then for no reason other than I like shadows, here’s a picture of a wall in my kitchen.

Shadows, just because I like shadows

*** Follow the link for the recipe, but leave out the tomatoes. Jícama really gives it an extra crunch.

Fall is coming

Fall on the loom

Fall on the loom

Fall color abounds

I decided to weave using mostly fall colors, but now I’m wondering, “What was I thinking?” Notice all those little pieces of yarn hanging around? Normally, I would needle-weave these in while it’s on the loom. There are millions of these little guys. It would take longer to weave them in than it took to weave this. Also, normally, I weave right side up, but I’m going to make an exception here. I had also thought to hang this vertically, thus using my usual method of hanging with a board and Velcro. That can’t happen with all those bits of yarn hanging around on the back. So, I guess I’ll have to build a frame, wrap canvas around it, and stitch this to the canvas with invisible stitches. Drat! says the lazy me.

Fall at the store

Fall at the store

And then there are lines

I was captured by this display as I left the grocery store. Love the colors of all these squashes, and others that are not in the image. Some of the colors are beautiful, even if they’re warty–lots of different shades of green and orange.

Ceiling/roof at my bank

Ceiling/roof at my bank

Had to visit my credit union last week, and I just had to get a pic of the clouds through this structural ceiling. I’ve always loved it, ever since they rebuilt after a tornado many years ago. My phone doesn’t do the whole roof/ceiling justice. Don’t you love the black lines against the blue of the sky and the soft white of the clouds?

September by Kathy Spoering

September by Kathy Spoering

Calendars

Since there seems to be a theme of fall here, I’ll move on to calendars. Have you seen Kathy Spoering’s calendar tapestries? She has put these tapestries into a calendar, which can be purchased from her Etsy store.  She started this series with her Four Seasons tapestries in 2003 and continued on to weave a tapestry for each month. I got mine last week! Isn’t it great! There are so many things that I have no desire to do weaving-wise–multi-shaft pattern weaving, pictorial tapestries–but I so admire the skill of the artist and the beauty of the finished work. Just like there are paintings that I would never choose to hang, but I admire the skill of the artist and the creativity in the work.

I seem to be giving myself birthday presents this year. Of course, the best one of all is that I get to wait at the auto shop to get lots of high-mileage preventative things done to my car–NOT! Would rather have scheduled this for a time other than my birthday, but other days were full. Oh, well….