Wednesday, November 28, 2018

The One Weaving Tool I've Always Wanted!

A wad of string heddles is not an easy thing to deal with while warping. I have somehow 
been able to  wrestle with them one-handed and make it work for all of these years. 
But as long as I can remember, I have wished for a heddle dispenser that would just 
give them to me, conveniently, one at a time. My wish has been granted!!! Yippee!! 
I couldn't be more delighted with my new discovery! It's like having a new toy!


 It seems that a smallish plastic container with a hole in the top will do just the trick! 
As long as the container is fairly full, the tension of the heddles will keep most of them
 in place inside but allow me to pull out one at a time. 
Occasionally, I find that they get tangled around one another, but this has been very rare.

 When I cut a piece off the loom, I have a heddle bundle that looks like this. 
At this point, they are not tangled, but sort of lying next to each other. 


The mint container has a big flap opening on top which allows me 
to easily stuff the bundle of heddles inside........ 


and a small one which allows me to pull them out one at a time. 




This hummus container has a tight-fitting lid. My husband cut a 5/8" round hole in its center.
I pull off the lid, fill it up with heddles and snap it back on.
The heddles are easily pulled through the hole one at a time. 



Currently, I am experimenting with different methods of securing the heddle dispenser 
to the table as I work. A small piece of duct tape made into a roll works great, 
but isn't reusable for long. So, I am in search of some sort of putty to do the job. 
None was available in our small town, so I'm waiting for the next trip
 to the big city to buy some museum putty. 
Please let me know if you have suggestions. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Free Interactive Inkle Patterns

Well, it turns out that there's much more to this book project than I realized. I'm very grateful to my friend and book designer, April Jouse, for helping me organize all of the information in a consistent and nice-looking format. It has required many re-do's and I would have given up many times, except that I really believe in the information that I have to share.

The book will be fun to use because the 200 patterns which I've charted will be interactive. They were created using the Band Weaving Pattern Editor and each one comes with a link for you to use. Open it using the Pattern Editor and create your own version by changing colors, making it wider, making it narrower, etc. Or use it as it is. Save and print it for reference. I've added some sample patterns to this post. They will not be in the book, but will give you an idea of what to expect.

Pattern Editor creator, Jeff Bigot, keeps adding new and exciting functions!  Here's the link to the site: http://www.raktres.net/seizenn/loom_weaving_editor.html
You can now chart pickup patterns in several different techniques.
You can register as a user and save your patterns to a gallery, either your own private one, or a public one. See what others have created! AND you don't have to rely on internet service to use the tool.  Download it to your computer! (Edit: See instructions at the end of this post.)

If you find this to be as exciting as I do, please consider supporting Jeff''s efforts by leaving him a Tip! You can do that here: https://en.tipeee.com/raktres?utm_source=widget&utm_medium=tipbox&utm_campaign=Raktres

I made the following patterns this morning.
Below each one is a link with it's short code. I've made this into a live link so that you can use it to pull up the pattern on the website.

If you give this a try, please let me know what you think!






To download the program to your computer: with the web page open, right click at the top of the page. Then select "Save As". When the menu appears so that you can choose where and how to save it, choose "Save as type:" "Webpage, Complete."

Monday, July 30, 2018

In Celebration of Plain Weave: Color and Design Inspiration for Inkle Weavers

EDIT: I really appreciate everyone who has told me that they are looking forward to publication. I am too! Thanks for waiting! The book is now in the hands of my designer and publication will be sometime around the turn of the year. If you want to be put on an email list to be notified when it's ready, please send me a message at: iweavestraps@gmail.com and you'll be among the first to know! 

Due to the popularity of the plain weave patterns that I've shared on this blog, it's become apparent to me that there are many inkle weavers out there who could benefit from having more patterns to choose from as well as well as some tips for designing their own patterns.
To respond to this need, I've completed a book which I hope will be educational and inspirational. 



The book is divided into three sections.
Section One is a discussion of color theory and band design including my best tips from years of experiments. Get ideas and resources for choosing color combinations. 
Section Two illustrates how to get the various elements of inkle patterns. Learn what makes chains, teeth, stripes, etc and how to balance these in your band design. 
Section Three is full of over 200 individual patterns plus tips for turning these into thousands upon thousands more. 

To quote Helene Bress, from her book, Inkle Weaving, “With just three colors and
50 threads, almost a trillion, trillion different patterns can be formed for inkle bands!
All this can be done in just the simplest type of weave there is—plain weave.”

In Celebration of Plain Weave: Color and Design Inspiration for Inkle Weavers will be available as an ebook and in print. Find it here in my Etsy shop in December 2018.



Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Hidden Tapestry




When this book was recommended to me, I found the title to be intriguing. Because I had not heard of tapestry weaver, Jan Yoors, I did some quick internet research. It seems that he led a very unusual life. There were many facets to him and his story, each of which would be interesting to explore.

My husband and I read the book together, taking turns reading aloud to each other in the evenings. We were both hooked on the story!

Author Debra Dean really dug deep into her research. Through the use of documents, artifacts, diaries and first person accounts, she unfolds the story of Jan and his two wives, Annabert and Marianne.





While Hidden Tapestry is classified as a Biography/Art History book, it is so much more.
Biography, history, romance and adventure are all woven together in this tale.
It tells the story of the three individuals growing up in Belgium and their childhood friendships. It then follows them through the chaos of living in war-torn Europe in the 1940's and their immigration to America. Living in Bohemian Greenwich Village in the 1950's, they settled into a very extraordinary life as a family, living and working in their own tapestry-weaving workshop.

Jan spent many years traveling with Gypsy caravans and the book is full of interesting cultural detail about the Roma. We also learned much from the accounts of what it was like to live through World War II and it's aftermath. The characters showed us their determination, adaptability, resilience and what it takes to follow a dream.

When Jan is drawn to tapestry weaving, he is able to learn the art without formal schooling. As he moves more into designing the tapestries, Marianne and Annabert become his weavers. The author states, "All three were self-taught and had arrived at their mastery together. "
This part was of special interest to me. I have never had any formal art training, yet have made a life and living from weaving, too.
As a weaver this also was most interesting to read "Traditionally weavers use a special comb or beater to pack the weft thread down tightly against the previous row, but Marianne and Annabert used the tip of a screwdriver because that was the only tool they'd had available when they first started."

I highly recommend this book!

To learn more, visit the publishers website here: http://www.nupress.northwestern.edu/content/hidden-tapestry

In this video you can see many still photos of his work as well as the women weaving with screwdrivers.

https://vimeo.com/76620134