Thursday, November 27, 2014


A friend of mine has finally moved into her new home after months of living in the "little house" at her mother-in-law's property.  These placemats are a housewarming gift for the new place.

The warp is 10/2 cotton with  chenille accent stripes (probably a rayon chenille) threaded as crackle.  My original plan was to use two colors of cotton chenille as warp with a 10/2 colored cotton as tabby.  Like all plans, this one had flaws.  The worst issue was that the polychrome (many-color) samples looked just awful!  I didn't care for them at all!  I shifted to a single color pattern (a grey-brown chenille) and a green 10/2 cotton for the tabby weft and was able to weave the mats.  

I made six placemats.  Four mats have "horizontal ladders" and two have something of a "goose-eye" pattern.  They are thick and rest well on the table (and they match my plates nicely...maybe I need to make another set! :).

Monday, November 24, 2014

PVC Weaving Tool and Plain Weave Stripes

I had a student at the studio this week.  She is a new weaver and ran into some trouble warping her rigid heddle loom with a pre-wound warp chain.  I wanted her to see how a warp chain was made on a warping board, but I use a warping reel.  This pvc warping "board" was put together from pieces of my pvc niddy noddy/yarn skeiner.   It's one yard long.  Aside from the straight pipe, it uses some T's and one X connector.  PVC is flexible enough that I'm not confident using is as a real warping board, but it worked great to show how a cross is made and how weavers tend to tie the cross in a warp.

The next pretty little piece is on my 8", 4-harness Structo loom.  It's plain weave with a cotton warp of stripes from commercial 8/2 and handspun yarns.  I planned this warp and had to re-do my calculations about three times.  The first issue was one of sett.  My handspun cotton was 18 WPI.  I usually sett plain weave at 1/2 the WPI.  Sara Lamb in her book Spin to Weave describes using a closer sett with a weft that is finer than the warp.  She says that this helps create good drape in a plain weave fabric.  I decided to try it, and recalculated the warp stripes at a closer sett (I ended up using 20 epi, threaded 1-1-2 in a 15-dent reed.)  The next re-calculation was due to concerns with the accent stripes at the edges of the plain weave stripes.  
Theoretically, when plain weave is being woven, a warp thread becomes a dashed line as the weft covers it every other pick.  I didn't want one side of my stripes to have a dash-dot-dash pattern and the other side to have a dot-dash-dot pattern!  I hate to tell you how much I worried about this!  Finally I realized that if my blue stripes were all odd numbers of threads, the purple accent warps would be on the same shed and would always lift together.  Whew!  There was one more related recalculation when I realized that I needed to have the white background in odd numbers of threads as well, otherwise one group would have a pair of dash-dot-dash accents and the next stripe would have a pair of dot-dash-dot accents.  Woo boy!  Well and good, I finally got it all worked out and am happily weaving at the loom.

Guess what I discovered today?!  I made an error winding the warp.  There is one group of white background threads that is an EVEN number of threads.  But check out the woven fabric: it doesn't make a difference in the way the stripes look!  I guess I got all worked up about nothing.  I wonder if it would make a difference in a different piece....maybe if the weft were thicker??

Friday, November 14, 2014


This olive green scarf was woven on my 8" Structo loom as an introduction to weaving for my daaughter's third grade class.  The kids all got to work the loom and weave a bit and then I brought the loom home and finished weaving.  The yarns are a combination of handspun and Cascade 220 that I dyed.  In the warp the two yarns alternate irregularly, but in the weft each yarn was used for about 2" before switching to the other yarn.  The scarf was wet finished following suggestions from Laura Fry's video "Wet-Finishing for Weavers".  The scarf was washed with a bit of detergent and rinsed.  The water was squeezed out and the scarf rolled up in a towel to remove any excess water.  Then, the fun began!  The scarf was repeatedly thrown onto a table multiple times to felt it slightly.  The felting didn't take long and the scarf drapes well!

This little piece is the end of a sample warp.  I took a double weave class from Jennifer Moore and used these 5/2 cottons for the class.  Unfortunately, after I finished my sampler, I didn't want to do more double weave on this warp.  So, I re-threaded the loom with this little flower pattern (I don't remember the name of the pattern. It was a 6-harness design with plain weave and floats to make the flower petals).  I wove with the bobbins filled from the workshop and just changed colors as the yarns ran out.  Then I had to decide what to do with this small piece of handwoven fabric.  My friends at the Conner Prairie weaving studio suggested a mobius scarf....and so, here it is:

The scarf is too short to wrap a second time, but it is a nice accent (my oldest tried it on for me this week and may be keeping it!).  If I were to make this again, I would aim to make it a little longer and maybe even make it out of something silky--either tencel or silk.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Quilt Top #2 and Knit Socks

A few years ago, I started a major Christmas Quilt project.  For years my family has snuggled under a Christmas Quilt and read advent stories during the month of December.  At some point I noticed that we were outgrowing our quilt.  We didn't all fit under it, or on the couch!  So, I dug out the instructions for the family Christmas Quilt and began making squares for three more quilts. I finished one last year and gave it to my oldest daughter.  As of today, quilt #2 is on the frame and is being quilted.  Whew!  I have one more top to finish piecing and then I'll quilt that one and call the project done.  This year's top is for my son's quilt and I invited him to decide how to place the blocks.  He was thrilled about the assignment and talked to himself as he made decisions about where should this block go and what about these two...  It was fun to watch!

It turns out that this pair of socks are also for my son.  His favorite color is yellow.  Check out how well the stripes matched on the cuffs!  I was impressed!  Unfortunately, the yarn had four or five knots (yikes!) after I hit the heel on the second sock.  But, as my son says, "that's ok, Mom".

The socks are a simple knit 2, purl 2 rib from Charlene Schurch's Sensational Knitted Socks.  They are knit from the top down on double pointed needles.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Introduction to Immersion Dyeing

Linda Adamson at Tabby Tree Weaver hosted a class on Immersion Dyeing of Protein Fibers and I was the instructor!  Three students took the class and we were able to get lots of samples dyed--the first set showed depth of shade, or the range of color (light, medium, and dark), from a single dye color.  The second set of samples were color blends.  We started with yellow, magenta, and blue dye solutions and blended them to make new colors.  Jean Marie added drops of magenta and yellow to the blue to make a "smokey" blue.  Ellen added yellow to the blue in search of the perfect teal for her rugs.  Cindi mixed different amounts of the blue and magenta to make some lovely violets!  We ran out of time and didn't get to dye any of the fibers the students brought--it's amazing how fast time flies when you are busy! Thank you to all who came and dyed!  It's a wonderful, addictive fiber art!