Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Transparencies, Negative Space, and Learning Curves

 I wove a transparency the other day.  It's not my very first such creation, but maybe my second or third.  It's not really pretty.    Not long after I finished the piece I borrowed the book "Sheer Delight: Handwoven Transparencies" by Doramay Keasbey from my library's inter-library loan program.  On page 104 (or so) is an article by Terese Ridgeway discussing the way new artists typically place their art on the page.  Figure A at the far left is just like mine--a typical new artist's positioning of a flower on a page--right in the center with lots of empty space around it!  The figures show a progression:  B has the flower taking up more of the space on the page; C has repetition of the motif; D, the more advanced, uses negative space to frame the flowers.

Feeling very "young" in my artistic abilities, I went on-line and researched a bit about using "negative space".  It's an interesting concept--the idea is that the shapes around an object help define the object--and I made some sketches of the chairs in my basement.  One of the tutorials I found on-line at Drawspace.com suggested using a frame and  framing a still life and then sketching that.   Since sketching is not one of my strengths, I decided to try "sketching" in wool.

Here is my framed still-life:

And here is my needle felted interpretation of the still-life piece:
Some of the things I was working on were the angles of the table/grey foam interface and the curves of the shadows.  It still looks like a new artist's rendition of an apple on a mat, but it was fun to create and fun to look at the spaces around the apple that help me to see it's shape.

Friday, March 08, 2013

Things that Come and Go

There are some projects that come and go so quickly that all I have left is an empty loom.  For sake of the photo, I grabbed the waste thrums from the project and draped them over the shafts!  

This piece was a single color warp, single color weft that wove wonderfully fast!  The structure is 8-shaft crackle (a point twill variant) and it probably took me longer to choose my threading and warp the loom than it did to weave it all.--Ok, it helps that it was a short warp, just three yards, but still.  It was fast weaving!

The black and tan yardage is for me to use.  The other half of the warp is green and tan that I plan to use for a group project my weaving guild is doing.

The only problem with projects like this that come and go so quickly...is that I want more!  And now I "have to" warp the loom and start weaving all over again.  :)  That's a good sort of bummer! 

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Tail Spun Yarn

 So I have finally tried my hand at tail spinning yarn!  I've read about these yarns in various places--Jacey Boggs has some in her book "Spin Art", and my new book by Lexi Boeger (it's an older publication--just new to my shelf!)"Intertwined" has some--but the reference that really got me started was Sarah Anderson's new book, "The Spinner's book of Yarn Designs".  I love Sarah's book!  It's a wonderful reference!

The white yarn is a core-spun cloud of mohair.  It has a commercial yarn core (a mohair/acrylic blend), loose mohair fibers (pulled out from an old sliver and carded), and a fine strand plying it all together (I think this one has a handspun cotton for the plying strand--it was in my stash and was the right color to blend in well!).  It was fun to spin!  I used my Louet S75, a bobbin driven wheel, so that I could start and stop easily.

Tail spinning is different from cloud spinning.  Instead of a cloud of fibers, it uses orderly locks of fiber.   The butt or cut end of the locks are flicked open and then spun onto the core, stopping an inch or two before the curly end of the lock.  So in my lovely green turban below I have about two inches of wrapped core for every lock end.  It's slow spinning, but so fun in the end that it's fun to do!  The green locks are hand dyed Lincoln that I purchased from Lisa Crawford of "A Rare Breed" at the annual SWIFT meeting last weekend.
What shall I make from these amazing, green locks?  I think I have a whopping 6 yds of yarn.  Gulp.  Not a lot to play with there!  I used one ounce of locks.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Pin Weaving/Needle Weaving

My weaving guild is working on a group project for MidWest Weavers Conference.  I'm working on weaving some flags.  I considered a number of different four harness weave structures for the flags and wasn't excited about any of them.  I almost put on a warp for monk's belt--it would have worked really well for the USA flag above, but not for the Union Jack that I still need to do!

So I turned to pin weaving.  I have Handwoven Magazine (Mar/April 1994) that has an article by Nancy Sutton on weaving a patch with a needle on a loom made from pins and cardboard.  I was out of cardboard, but happened to have a piece of foam, so I am learning to "needle weave", although I call it pin weaving.

One of the most interesting things I am learning is that I am not (yet?) a tapestry weaver.  The loom was a breeze to create!  I made a graph paper cartoon, added the pins, and some warp thread, and was ready to weave.  I started weaving.  And I wove.  And wove.  And wove.  The photo above took me the better part of a morning.  Argh!

From the standpoint of getting the flags I need, without a lot of loom waste and without having to either re-thread or rewarp the loom, this is working.  And I think they will look nice in the finished project.  It's just that they aren't done yet.  And I'm not very patient today!