Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Inkle Weaving Books, New and Old

Since I am working on writing my own inkle weaving ebook, I decided to review my collection 
of inkle books and see what has already been said and done.  I started weaving in the 1970's and 
still have a number of my books from that era. Surprisingly, there were a lot published  in that decade and not many new ones until this decade. It was SO  much fun to thumb through all of these! Each one has some wonderful stuff in it. As I looked, I noted the different terminology and types of drafts used by the authors. Now I know why I call things by the names that I do. Some patterns were named by the authors of these vintage books and those names have stuck with me although other terminology  is in common use nowadays.The method of pickup which is known by many names like: Sami,  Baltic, European, Basketweave and Supplementary Warp, has always been known to me as "Speckled Background" thanks to Evelyn Neher. 

Inkle Loom Weaving

This was my very first inkle book and the one which provided the plans used by my dad and I to build my very first loom back in 1976. Unfortunately, the tensioner on this loom was not the best. The book, published in 1973, is easy to find for sale online at about the same price as it was new. It is full of project ideas, many of which reflect the time period, but some of which would be timely still.
Just look at the photo below of that dapper gentleman in a handwoven necktie!
Don't you just want to make one for a man in your life? 

Helene Bress's book, originally published in 1975,was updated in 1990. 
If you can only buy one book, buy this one!  It is still available! 
It has plans for building looms and I have a large floor standing inkle loom built from the plans. 
Very sturdy! The how-to section is great for those starting out. It has good directions
 for pickup techniques, brocades, finishes and many project ideas. 
Also, a handy chart is included with specific yarn types and approximate warps per inch. 

"Band Weaving", published in 1974, demonstrates so many techniques: Weaving on an inkle loom, soda straw loom, Hungarian loom, twining loom, as well as finger weaving, backstrap weaving with a rigid heddle and card weaving.  It provides an interesting comparison of techniques! 

Mary Meigs Atwater, a weaving legend, did much to promote the craft in the USA in the first decades of the 20th century. She is credited for importing the first inkle loom to this country from England and encouraging it's manufacture here. This book, "Byways in Handweaving", first printed in 1954, is fascinating. Not only does she discuss various methods of weaving narrow wares, but gives patterns and instructions for weaving bands from Estonia, Peru, Guatemala, Africa, Scandanavia, Bolivia, Egypt, and several Native American tribes. 
I only wish that they were in color!

Published in 1982, this book has a bit of everything from building a loom, warping, pickups and project ideas. My favorite project is making your own "Moccasin Slippers", although I confess that I haven't tried it. It is the place where I first learned to weave letters even though I have since discovered a method which I prefer over this one. 

Evelyn Neher's book, "Inkle", published in 1974, includes a segment on tapestry weave, not usually discussed in inkle weaving  books. The section on looms, historical and modern, is wonderful!! Check out that picture below of a Polish weaver. She has her warp tensioned between one knee and the opposite foot. (If you click on the photo, it becomes larger.)

Although there are a few other books in my band weaving library, the above ones have been the most influential in my inkle weaving career. 

Susan Foulkes is best known for her book "Sami Band Weaving",  which I also have. 
This little book, "The Art of Simple Band Weaving", published in 2013,specifically illustrates the designing of plain weave bands, and is one of the best books currently in print for that purpose,
 in my opinion. 
Susan is an excellent teacher and has several nice YouTube videos, including one which was  made as a companion to this book. 
In this video, she demonstrates how to weave a band using 5 different loom types. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

New Features for This Blog - More Information and Resources!

Over the past few weeks, I've been working behind the scenes on this blog, adding and editing pages to make it more helpful as a resource site. I'd like to introduce you to some of the new features.

Uses for a Woven Band is now a page full of ideas collected over time and with assistance from other weavers. Thanks to those of you who have added your comments, the list now includes over 100 items! I've even added some pictures from my archives for fun.

Inkle Weaving FAQ's and Answers is a page that came to mind after hearing many of these questions asked repeatedly by newcomers to the Inkle Weaving Group on Facebook which I frequent. Members of that group helped by adding some questions to the list and also some answers. The page includes a section on inkle terminology and also lots of links for more detailed information.

Some of the questions which come up often are about making heddles and warping the loom.
To address those, my husband and I made another one of our low-budget home videos which I've posted below.

Don't miss the Resources page if you want to launch on an exploration of neat stuff around the web on band weaving. I've recently added a few new things.

The Products I Recommend page is fairly new and has links to online sources where you can purchase some of the things which I am happily using.

The Upcoming Events page is changing rapidly these days as I sure have found a lot of interesting things to get involved in here in New Mexico.

Soon, I'll be adding to the Classes, Programs and Demonstrations page as I have some plans in the works for a series of classes in my area.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Patterns for 1" Wide Bands

Most often, I seem to work in 2" widths, creating the guitar straps which are the main product that I sell. Consequently, many of the pattern drafts which I have previously shared are for 2" wide bands.
Recently, I made some new products in 1" widths and had difficulty adjusting my designer's mind to this narrower width. I was using the same yarn but had only half as many threads to design with. Wow! At first I was frustrated, but then, after a few tries, I started creating designs which I really liked.
I thought I'd share some of these with you here. Each pattern draft is shown below the photo. Consider the top row of the draft to be heddled warps and the bottom row to be open warps.
If you use any of them, please send me a message with a photo as I really enjoy seeing how my designs inspire other band weavers. And if you like this post, please share it with others in your network on Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, etc.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Cochineal - The Red That Colored the World

"Throughout art history, a broad red brushstroke has colored the finest art and expressions of daily life. Yet, while most people know red, few know of its most prolific and enduring source: American Cochineal, a tiny scaled insect that produces carminic acid. Fewer still know the story behind its explosive global spread after its first encounter by Spain in 16th century Mexico."  From the  Santa Fe Museum of International Folk Art's  website. This month, they will be opening a new show entitled : The Red That Colored the World. See more information about that HERE.

This show got me thinking about doing something different and was my inspiration to weave a collection of wool hatbands, using yarn dyed with cochineal.
I went shopping on the web and found some New Mexico Churro yarn, handspun and hand dyed by volunteers at El Rancho de Las Golondrinas. In nearby Santa Fe, it is a museum dedicated to the history, heritage and culture of 18th and 19th century New Mexico. They have a very active fiber arts program!

 I purchased several shades of cochineal-dyed yarn in red-orange, maroon, pink, and purple. To that, I added some white and yellow. Using this yarn proved to be a challenge as it was all single ply and some was thick and thin.

The results were good, I think. It was fun to challenge myself to make interesting and varied patterns using only 19-25 threads. It is unusual for me to weave such narrow pieces with such thick yarns. I used my Ashford Inklette loom and wove these one at a time.

Some surprising color changes occurred during the rinsing process. The yellow turned to a rich gold color which I find particularly beautiful. The red-orange darkened to maroon. Fun!

After the first few, I started combining these yarns with some from my stash to create more varied color combinations. Mostly, I stuck with other yarns which were made in New Mexico.

After using up all six skeins from that original purchase, I found another source of naturally-dyed  yarns on Etsy. The skeins pictured below were purchased from Heritage Yarn's Etsy shop.
It is a nice two-ply wool. The blue was dyed with indigo, and the gold with onion skins. Her yarn prices are VERY low and it is nice to work with.

Since there is more yardage in these skeins, I didn't feel as though I needed to be as conservative in using them. I am weaving on my Schact loom, and am able to warp it to weave two  hatbands at a time. So far, I'm on my fifth one. Because the two-ply yarn is easier to work with, as is the larger loom, this group is going faster!  

Some of these will soon be listed for sale in my Etsy shop and at other various locations in New Mexico.