Monday, August 27, 2007

From the Same Cloth

I really wanted to title this post "Sisters" because these two bags are like sisters. They are made from the same fabric, but the personalities are significantly altered by the edge treatments.

Bag #1 seemed to take forever! The sides of the bag are knit together in a modified I-cord treatment. It was a bear to knit, but the edge seems to let the background color of the weaving continue into the edging. The top edge is a simple overcast stitch to keep the loose warp threads under control (there is a line of backstitching underneath it).

Bag #2 was a speed demon! Even with all that fringe, it was finished in one evening! The warp threads on the front edge were braided. Every few wraps of the braid, I would pick up a new bundle of warp threads and let an old set hang down for fringe. The sides of the bag are sewn, and a braided cord sewn on for trim and a handle.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


I purchased some buffalo fiber at the Michigan Fiber Festival last weekend. The woman who sold it suggested blending it with some wool because it is apparently very warm by itself (not to mention expensive & I bought less than an ounce!). Here are my buffalo "sandwiches". There are at least three batts stacked together in the photo. I'm not sure yet how I want this to be spun. It may need to sit and wait for a day or two!

This is an edge treatment that we didn't cover in my workshop last weekend! This is a thick, twill fabric intended to become a shoulder bag. To finish the edges at the top of the bag I backstitched a line across the piece about3/8" from the edge. Then I stitched around the raw edge with the yellow yarn, taking care to place the loops right next to each other. The rounded edge looks good from both sides and covers all the loose warp threads.

And, just because it's canning season, here's a photo of my stewed tomatoes in process. I started with a bushel of tomatoes--big slicers--got almost half of them canned, did some salsa, and gave the rest away. Boy how I admire those who do big time canning! It is a lot of work! (But the end result is very satisfying!)

Saturday, August 18, 2007

"There and Back Again"

I spent the last few days at the Michigan Fiber Festival in Allegan, Michigan. My "excuse" for going was a finishing techniques class taught by Joan Sheridan Hoover titled "Take it All Off". My sampler is the lovely green thing in the photo. It is decorated with no less than 10 finishing techniques! My favorite technique is the one that doesn't show well in the photograph--it's on the top edge, second in from the right. It is a netting made by tying overhand knots at the edge of the weaving, followed by a second or third row of overhand knots lower down the fringe to create a simple netting.

Some of the best parts of taking a workshop class include:
-interacting with other weavers--we are an amazingly diverse group of people!
-interacting with instructors--these are people who in some way, shape or form, "do" weaving for a living (or some portion thereof). I like seeing who these people are...learning skills and techniques. Technically, Joan was teaching a finishing class. However, she was also teaching teaching skills. I learned lots listening to her.
-working on samplers! Samplers are cool! I want to have an excuse to do more samplers! Silly, I know, but look at all the information I have in that one piece of weaving! 10 edge treatments!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Waste Warp

A trick for minimizing waste with handspun warps is to use a "waste warp". A strong yarn is tied to the back beam and threaded through the heddles. The handspun warp is threaded through the reed and tied to the waste warp, one thread at a time. The waste warp can be reused. The handspun warp can be woven, theoretically, up to the knots that join the two warps.

When the threading is done, the warp is beamed, as usual, and the weaving begins! My waste
warp is the waste from my curtains. It was already threaded in a twill variant. I played around with the treadling to get a different pattern for this project. I think this fabric will be felted, due to some long floats, and then turned into a bag. The yarn is a friend's handspun.

Here is the draft I am using. The long floats occur at the sides of the three dots. Hmm. I'd point to them, but that doesn't work! As you move to the left from the tie-up square, the threading is: 12343214. Follow that second 4 down into the drawdown of the draft and there are three black squares. To the left and right of those squares are the long warp floats.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Random Artistic Moments

I got to color a t-shirt! This started out as a black print on a white t-shirt. My 4-year-old got to choose which color went with each dinosaur, but I got to color! Coloring with crayons (even the fabric version) is somehow therapeutic!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Wool Socks & Summer

These socks lasted on my feet for about two seconds after I put the camera down! It's hot here and these are 100% wool.

This is the "Tipsy Knitter Socks" pattern from "Socks, Socks, Socks". My gauge is a little off--these are hard to get over my ankle--but perhaps in winter that will be less of an issue. The yarn is hand-dyed, hand-spun Cotswold wool from my parents flock.

Notice how the two socks don't really match colorwise? I should have split the roving lengthwise and spun each half into yarn for one sock. That would have kept the color more consistent between the two.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

New Tools

I got some new tools recently. This one (being explored by my youngest) is a spool rack. It is different from other rack I've seen, but will work well for storing yarn and also for putting cones of yarn together to see if I like the color.

This is an amazing tool--it's a bobbing winder! It winds almost as fast as the little hand mixer winder I made! It's nice because it allows for greater control in winding speed and doesn't use any electricity! Plus, it's easy to wind!

Good tools are amazing!