Friday, October 20, 2017

Pattern Variations- Three Designs on One Warp

I like telling my customers that they have a one-of-a-kind woven piece.
With the guitar straps, my main focus, they are woven one at a time, so that's easy.
But, right now I'm making a collection of hatbands.
If I put a long warp on the loom, I can get 3 hatbands out of it.
Then I asked myself, how can I make each one different?
If I am using plain weave only, what are my options?
My answer: add warp threads, subtract warp threads, change the color of the weft.
In this series, I tried all three of the above. (To see detail click on photos to enlarge them.)

When I warped the loom initially, I used 5 colors: dark purple, red-violet, burgundy, red and turquoise. The borders are purple, so by using red as a weft it showed up nicely as red dots along the border. (At left in photo).
After weaving the first 34" I made the following changes: cut and removed the 4 red warps, added in 4 more purple warps at the outside edges, and changed the weft to purple so it blended in with the borders. (Center band in photo)
For the 3rd variation, I cut and removed the 4 burgundy warps and changed the weft to turquoise.
(At right in photo)
I'm satisfied that each one of the bands has its own character; each is just a bit different than the others.

All of these changes were simple to make as I went along. In this photo you can see what happened when I added warps. I ran them in the same path as the original warp and they just sat alongside the section that was already woven. No problem.

Below are two more examples. In these experiments, I used a medium length warp and only got two bands on each.

At left is the first band on this warp. I wove it with a contrasting black weft. For the second band, shown at right, I added two warps in the center, a tan and a black. This changed the design from a simple pair of black stripes to a tan chain within the black stripes. 
I also changed the weft from black to rust.

At left is the first band woven on this warp. For the second band, shown at right, I added to each border one burgundy and one turquoise warp and switched the weft to orange. 

Sunday, May 28, 2017

A Good Trick from My Upcoming Book

When my friend, Karma, asked me if I used this trick, I was blown away by it's cleverness and wondered why I hadn't thought of it myself. I thought everyone should know, so I'm sharing. It's one of the tips which will be included in the inkle design book I'm working on. 
I hope to have it finished late this summer.

By using a comb with long, straight teeth, you can preview a design without even having to set up a loom. Simply weave under and over the teeth in the comb. Even numbered teeth will represent one shed, and odd numbered teeth, the other. 

After weaving the preview on the comb at left, I decided to omit the motif in the center. 
The actual woven strap is shown at right. 

In this photo, with the woven comb laid on top of the woven strap, you can see how well the woven comb mimics the woven strap design.

The spacing on this comb is a bit wider, so the pattern is stretched out a bit from what the actual woven design is. 

I searched for the perfect comb with long and strong teeth. The comb used here is actually a vintage angelfood cake cutter. It's a little bit bigger than needed. 

My search finally led me to this hair pick, or Afro pick. I bought a large quantity to get a good price.
So, now they are for sale here in my Etsy shop: 

Monday, May 8, 2017

New Mexico Fiber Crawl

New Mexico offers a wealthy textile tradition that is steeped in its diverse culture and enriched by its extensive history. To honor, promote and showcase the creative work produced by fiber artists across New Mexico the EspaƱola Fiber Arts Center (EVFAC) is launching its first annual
New Mexico Fiber Crawl, taking place May 13-14, over Mother’s Day weekend,
and beginning with Friday night Kick-off Parties on May 12.

This free event takes you on a tour of cultural centers, stores, museums, farms and the studios of local Fiber Artists from Albuquerque and the East Mountains in the south to Taos in the north.

I'm very excited that my home studio will be one of the stops on the tour!!!  I'll be open on Saturday and Sunday from 10AM to 5PM.   Mine will be one of two studios in our small town of Edgewood. Robin Pascal will also be on the tour. 

During the two-day event participants will be given a free Fiber Crawl Passport and a map with a list of artists and sites along the trail. There are four regions that cluster activities within geographical areas, allowing participants to “tour the Crawl and join in the community events while sight-see our beautiful Northern New Mexico along the way” April Jouse, EVFAC Director of Operations suggests.

I've invited some of my friends to share in the fun at my place.
Guest artists will include the following:

Judy Chapman will provide demonstrations on the art of Needle Felting. Judy has been felting for about 12 years and is an award winning Needle Felt Artist.( Saturday Only)

Liz Clow produces individually designed articles of clothing. There are up-cycled sweaters felted into vests, bags, and hand warmers. Hoodies, underwear, and Art T-shirts are stamped and painted with landscapes and fun words. There will be some newer styles and seconds at wholesale prices for this show only.                                                    LIz will be here both days. 

Becky Arnold spins yarn and sun dyes wool and silk fibers. Becky will be here (Saturday only) with her spinning wheel demonstration. 

Polly Freyman became inspired through her work at a historic farm where she volunteered.                       Fascinated by different qualities and textures of wool, she quickly acquired a used loom and sheep                           of seven different breeds. She has experimented with weaving, wet felting and creating wool collages.                    She enjoys sharing the versatility of this natural fiber.  Polly will be here both days. 

For more information visit the NM Fiber Crawl website at:

Friday, March 24, 2017

Should You Wet Finish Your Woven Band?

At first, when I started weaving, it never occurred to me that I should do anything to finish my bands once they were off the loom. They looked finished to me. Back then, I had no experienced weaver to tell me what to do and it was not mentioned in the books. Now, I almost always wet finish them.
This term may mean different things to different weavers. For me, it means putting them in a small bucket of water overnight. 

             On the loom                                                             After wet finishing

A term long-used in the weaving business is fulling, most often used when referring to woolen cloth. By wet finishing, the fibers are encouraged to shrink up and close the gaps between individual threads, making the fabric fuller.  If you look closely at the two photos above  you will see that the band has shrunken up a bit in the water, and the pickup pattern looks nicer because of it. The individual threads are not so much seen as individuals now, but are closer together, giving a more graceful line to the pattern.  Edit: the above band is woven from Omega Sinfonia cotton yarn. 

Another thing that soaking or washing does is allows the colors to bleed if they are going to. I have often been surprised by how much color comes out of the yarn into the water. To keep this color from being absorbed back into the band, I use the miraculous Shout ColorCatcher sheets. I buy them in the laundry section of the local supermarket and they do exactly as their name implies. Most of the time I find that half of a sheet works fine for one woven band. If a lot of color is bleeding out, I change the water a few times but leave the sheet in. I've often wondered how I could use these interesting dyed sheets in some way. Please let me know if you have ideas!!