Sunday, February 12, 2017

More from the Warp That Keeps on Giving: Turned Taquete

At this point, the problem is making a decision -- ANY decision, for crying out loud! I have been able to weave so many patterns on this warp -- an extended parallel threading -- that it's hard to choose which one I like the best.

So far, I have woven maybe maybe 10 different patterns, using two different tie-ups and lots of different treadlings. I've finally decided on the two in the photo above. (Not one, but two -- but that's OK, because I like the way they work together.)

Both patterns are treadled as Turned Taquete, which I've blogged about extensively because it's such a beautiful structure. The diamond-shaped pattern is created with a simple advancing point twill treadling. Here's how it looks close up:

And here's the drawdown:
For the other pattern, I created a networked treadling based on an initial of 2. Here's the drawdown for that.

So now I have about 8 yards left to weave, which is hopefully enough to make a garment. Lots of keeping track of complicated treadlings -- once again, an argument for purchasing a computerized loom....

And here's one more image, this one of Echo Weave woven on the same warp using a point-twill treadling. My thinking is that this pattern looks good close up, but from a distance of a yard away or more -- which is the kind of distance I like for viewing a garment -- it doesn't show up as well.

Thanks for reading! More to come as I begin creating collapse-weave samples on my table loom, in preparation for workshops I'm teaching in the summer.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Warp that Keeps on Giving: Echo Weave, Turned Taquete, Double Weave, Shadow Weave, and Warp Rep All on One Threading

How do you weave a countless number of structures on one warp? With an extended parallel threading, of course! This particular technique offers a lot of "bang for the buck" for weavers. All you have to do is modify your treadling and, in some cases, change the tie-up. If you're REALLY ambitious, you can change the tie-up and re-sley as well to achieve Double Weave or Shadow Weave.

What is an extended parallel threading? For those who follow the work of Marian Stubenitsky and/or Bonnie Inouye, it needs no introduction. For the rest of us, all it means is that, for starters, you use two colors in your warp, so that you can thread them A-B-A-B, etc. (A being your first color and B being your second). Then, instead of threading a straight draw of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 (just as an example), you thread your two colors using the same line, but separately, at a set interval. 

For example, if you decide you're going to thread at an interval of 4, for an extended parallel threading on a straight draw, you will thread it this way: 1, 5, 2, 6, 3, 7, 4, 8, 5, 1, 6, 2, 7, 3, 8, 4, alternating between color A and color B. Here's a drawdown, by way of example. (I've posted it before, but it bears repeating.)

So your tie-up allows you to lift every other thread in an ascending twill order. This is the basic idea behind the structures I have been weaving. Because I like to paint warps -- and because I like to paint two separate warps in complementary but different palettes and beam them together and then thread them A-B-A-B in an extended parallel threading -- I decided to create an advancing point-twill using this technique. 

Here are some drafts and photos of what I've weaving. 

Variation #1: Echo Weave 

Here is the the drawdown, with a tie-up and treadling for Echo Weave. Note that this is simply an advancing twill treadling.
And here is a photo of the sample I wove. You'll see that I didn't weave the entire treadling, because I was just trying to get an idea of how it would look.

Variation #2: Echo Weave 

Next treadling for Echo Weave, same tie-up. This treadling is an for an advancing point twill.

My woven sample, below. I love the way the pattern seems to sparkle, which enhances the color shifts.

Next, I crawled under the treadles to do another tie-up. (Truth be told, I usually make an error when I'm tying up and have to start all over again. Which causes a lot of sweating and cursing, which is not to be written about in a blog post.) 

Variation #3: Double Weave 

Here is the drawdown for treadling as Double Weave. I will not show you my sample, as I really messed up! I had to re-sley the reed to make the warp ends much denser for Double Weave -- and somewhere along the way my shed got really boggled up. I do have a sample, but again, not for public consumption ;o)

Yes, this would work well with a collapse-weave technique, with one layer shrinking and pulling in while the other layer would "pouf" and add texture. Even with the poor shed I had -- owing mostly to the fact that I was using two different attachments to tie up my treadles, and their lengths varied -- I could tell from my sample that this structure has promise.

Variations #4 and #5: Turned Taquete 

Then I got down under the loom and re-did my tie-up to weave Turned Taquete -- one of my favorite structures because it is so versatile. Here's the first treadling I used. If you look at the treadling, you'll see that, if you remove the tabby, it's the same advancing-twill sequence as in variation #1 above.

And here is the second treadling, an advancing point-twill. Again, if you take away the tabby, it's exactly like variation #2 for Echo Weave.

Here is how the two samples wove up. (The first treadling appears at the bottom of the photo and the second is at the top.)

Variation #6: Turned Taquete

Here's yet another treadling, the results of which I love!

The sample:

Variation #7: Rep

There are a countless number of variations for an extended parallel threading like this. One additional structure I did not mention was Shadow Weave. Here's a drawdown I came up with.

However, this post is getting way too long and it's taking way too much time! Suffice it to say that I'm hoping to create a workshop out of this. And as for all the samples I have been weaving: I beamed a 12-yard warp, 46" wide, using 20/2 silk sett at 40 ends per inch. The weft is, for the most part, 60/2 silk.  

I'm weaving yardage for a garment. Most likely, I will use four or five different treadlings for Turned Taquete -- I might even add a networked treadling in there somewhere -- and alternate them randomly throughout the fabric. I can't choose just one, so I have to weave them all.

And here's the photo that inspired this project to begin with. I can't attribute it to any source, because I found it on the internet long ago. The combination of pinks and greens is irresistible!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

DIY Quick and Easy Craft Apron (or Holiday Apron, or Any Kind of Apron You Want to Make)

For some reason, I like aprons. They make a statement and they certainly broadcast the fact that somebody's working here! Sort of a colorful costume, in a way. And they're tidy, whatever you're up to.

Anyhow, this being the holiday season and considering that I have a lot of hand-dyed cotton hanging around, making aprons seemed like a good idea. I dug up an old one that I wear a lot, copied the shape, and added a few touches of my own. I liked the results so much that I thought I'd share it.

(One caveat: These instructions don't have as many photos as I like to use, simply because I didn't take photos as I was working. So these instructions are wordier than they probably should be.)

Anyhow, here's what you need.

Gather Your Materials

  • 2 yards of hand-dyed or commercially printed cotton muslin or cotton duck or canvas. (I used muslin in a natural color. For the apron above, I dyed the muslin with Pro MX Fiber Reactive Dyes and them embellished it with textile paints and Shiva Paint Sticks. Anything will do, but to me the heavier cotton canvas fabrics are a bit harder to dye, simply because they are stiffer.)
  • If you use regular muslin, as I did, you may want to back it with another layer, to give your apron more "beef." I sandwiched both fabric pieces together using "MistyFuse" iron-on stabilizer, available at Joann's or online.
  • Pattern-tracing paper
  • Thread, scissors, sewing machine, of course

Make the Pattern

Using a sheet of pattern-tracing paper, cut out a rectangle that's 27" long x 22" wide. (Please ignore the blue tape on my pattern. I just happened to piece some odd leftovers together.)

Make curves at the corners on the base of your pattern (the bottom part of the rectangle that is 22" wide), starting 2" above the base of the pattern at each corner. (You see these curves at the bottom and top left corners in the photo.)

For the neck edge and armholes (the right side of the pattern in the photo), trim the pattern this way: Cutting away 6 1/2" from each corner, leave a 9" wide line at the top of the rectangle. Cut away the armholes starting on either side of that 9" wide line and curving down so that the side of the pattern is a full 18 1/2" inches from the base.

(Another way of stating this: Before you cut away the armholes, make a mark on the pattern 8 1/2" down on either side from where the neck will be. Then mark both sides of the neck, starting at 6 1/2" from the corner on both sides. If this doesn't make sense, just email me at dkovn[at]

Cut and Prepare the Fabric

As I suggested, a two-layer fabric is preferable if you're using muslin or quilter's cotton. For the first layer, you will want to cut the fabric a full 1" larger all around. (This is so that you can hem it all around.) Cut the MistyFuse (or whatever stabilizer you will use) the same size as the pattern and cut the back piece of fabric the same size as the pattern.

If you're making an apron that is only one layer of fabric, you will still want to cut it 1" larger than the pattern all around.

If you're using two layers, you will want to sandwich them together at this point. I took the top layer (the front of the apron) and placed it face-side down on my ironing board. Then I placed the MistyFuse on top of that, centered so that there was 1" of the top fabric all around it. Finally, I placed the "back" fabric on top of the Misty Fuse and ironed all the pieces together.

Hem Your Apron on All Sides

All I did was iron the edge of the top layer of fabric toward the back of the apron, all around -- first, ironing the hem in half and then turning that half inward and ironing it once again. This avoids any frayed edges. I sewed it about 1/4" from the edge on my sewing machine. (I actually sewed it with the back of the apron facing up, to make sure I caught all the edges of the hem.)

You will have to work your way gently around the curves at the base of the apron, coaxing and folding the fabric in as you sew.

Making Your Apron Strings

As you can see, you will make just one apron string. Starting at the back where it ties, you sew it onto the armhole and then leave a big loop to go over your head. Then you sew it to the other armhole and detach it for the other side of the tie.

Nice idea, eh? You can use store-bought double-folded bias tape for this, if you like. But I wanted to use my original fabric and, since I didn't have quite enough to cut out the ties on the bias, I simply cut out long vertical strips of my fabric.

The dimensions for your apron strings (which I also call "tape"): Cut out enough fabric, sewing the pieces together as needed, to get a length of 120" (shorter if you're short like me) and a width of 2". Fold the piece in half length-wise and iron it, so that you now have a two-edged tape that is 1" wide. Then fold the two raw edges in toward the middle and iron again (creating your own double-folded bias tape, except it isn't on the bias, but anyway....)

Begin by stitching the tape together for 36" on one side of the apron. Then stitch it to one armhole for 12" approximately. Then leave 24" (or less if you're smaller) for the loop around the neck, but keep stitching the tape together. Then stitch the tape to the other armhole for about 12". Then finish the apron string for the final 36". (Tip: I start by centering the tape at the nape of the neck. Then I pin it to the apron at the neck edges where the armhole begins. This way, I know that the ties are the same length on both sides.)

The neck and armhole connection should look like this:

I think you get the idea. Have fun and remember, there are no mistakes. Only learning opportunities!

Post-script: I added a double-width pocket to both of the aprons in the photos. Because they're the kind of aprons you wear when you're making something and you always need pockets when you're making something, am I right?