Saturday, October 15, 2016

Coming Soon: The Weavers' Guild of Rochester Holiday Sale

It gets better every year! The members of our Guild offer their best and most beautiful items -- including fiber arts, pottery, woodworking, basketry, and other fine crafts -- at the Holiday Sale 2016.

This year, the event takes place at the Perkins Mansion, better known as the AAUW mansion at 494 East Avenue in Rochester. Here are the dates and times:

Friday, November 4, noon to 8 p.m.
Saturday, November 5, 10 a.m. to  5 p.m.
Sunday, November 6, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

There will be demonstrations as well, for those who want to study at our Weaving and Fiber Arts Center in East Rochester.

For images and more information on the sale, click here.

And here are some photos of a coat I just finished for the sale. (If you're interested, I've already listed it in my Etsy shop, here.)

Monday, September 19, 2016

Just Off the Loom: 12-Shaft Double Weave from Stubenitsky's Echo and Iris

A while back, I wrote about how to re-work a 12-harness double weave pattern that had a LONG lift plan. What to do when you have just 14 treadles and the drawdown calls for 24? Basically, I truncated the liftplan and it worked just fine. The photo above shows the piece on the loom.

To back up: the pattern was from Marian Stubenitsky's book, Weaving with Echo and Iris. On page 163, she shows a multi-color double weave pattern with four colors in the warp and two in the weft. Since I had a lot of 18/2 superfine merino in my stash, I wound a warp and beamed it on, mainly because I had never woven anything like this before and I was excited to try.

There were problems, of course. (Need I say this? I think of every warp as a journey and I always have to work the kinks out at first, even when I have woven the same pattern before.) For instance, the treadling was on a curve, ascending and descending to create the diamond shape you see above. Trouble is, when you're weaving double weave, you have to "skip" a treadle as you reach the point where you reverse order -- otherwise, you repeat a pick and it looks like an error. So, where you would normally weave 6-5-4-3-2-1-2-3-4-5-6, for instance, you can't do that with double weave. The reason being that the odd-numbered treadles are weaving one side of the pattern and even numbered treadles are weaving the opposite side -- and that means the even-numbered side would have a repeat: 6-4-2-2-4-6 with nothing in between the 2's. So you have to skip a pick on that side, weaving 6-4-2-4-6.

If you don't follow me on this, suffice it to say that I had to adjust the treadling a bit. And then there were the selvages.... It took me maybe 12 inches of weaving before I got those right. Not easy.

And finally, there was the problem of not being able to see the underside of the fabric as I wove. This isn't a problem unless you're weaving double weave, where the bottom layer is diffferent from the top. Many weavers recommend using a mirror attached to the breast beam so that you can see the bottom layer as you weave. Which I should have done. It's a lot easier to correct a treadling error on the loom instead of stitching in a new weft with a tapestry needle once the piece is off the loom.

Enough complaining. Here's how it turned out, after plying the fringe and washing (and fulling it slightly).
The blue side

A closeup

The black side, with an iridescence 
that reminds me of oil in a puddle

Thank you, Marian!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Scenes from Convergence 2016

I like to call it "Camp Convergence" -- a gathering of the clan of handweavers and fiber artists from North America and overseas. Some 600 (just an estimate) of us wove and dyed and felted and spun and shopped and connected and learned and then shopped again.

This year the conference was in Milwaukee (more on that at the end of this post, as the sad story of political trouble unfolds*). I taught classes for the first time ever and I can assure you that the pleasure was equal to the work involved! My three day workshop, "One Warp, Three Fabrics: Weaving with 60/2 Silk," focused on warping with fine silk and weaving with three very different wefts. The class aimed to give students a feel for the variety of fabrics they could achieve: a balanced fabric using a 60/2 silk weft, a collapse-weave fabric using a 30/1 wool overtwist, and an elegant thick-and-thin structure alternating silk ribbon with fine silk wefts.

Here are just a few photos from the workshop. I wish I could have photographed everyone and all the beautiful results -- but as you may know from taking workshops, it was a whirlwind!

Christine Williamson brought along her Baby Wolf.

Richard Fox wove this gorgeous palette.

Here's Roberta McKinney at her loom...

And here's only a portion of what she wove!

Jennie Hawkey teaches weaving.

She decided to add a point twill to her structure.

Here's Carol Collard on a unique table loom.

And here's what she was weaving.

 Diane Rabinowitz brought along a piece she wove -- one of her first, 
I believe -- and I asked her to pose with it.

This is the color fabric she wove using the silk ribbon. 
The warp yarns will shift and wave after washing -- a desired effect.

Serendipity often happens at workshops.
Christine Williamson brought along a shawl she purchased
(overseas, I think, but can't remember where) that used the same
technique we were working on with our silk ribbon wefts. After washing,
the fine warp yarns slide like rain over the thick wefts. 
Not orthodox, I know, but beautiful!

Here's the workshop, in a nutshell: Fabric woven with a 60/2 silk weft, top left;
fabric woven with 30/1 wool overtwist, then washed, top right; 
fabric woven with a variety of hand-dyed silk ribbons 
alternating with fine wefts, not yet washed, bottom.

Finally, our group, at the end of the workshop. On the far left you see Rachel Snack, who was our talented and able student assistant. Rachel is a graduate student in textiles at Philadelphia University and it's clear that she will be teaching at Convergence someday soon....

More to come in a second blog post, looking at my other two classes, "Sawdust, Leaves, and Bugs: Shibori with Natural Dyes," and "How to Make a Dorset Button."


*A postscript on events in Milwaukee after the conference: While we were in Milwaukee, my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed the city after hours, following the river walk and drinking craft beer. Little did we know what a tragedy was soon to take place, as an unarmed black man was shot by a police officer just days after the conference. Civil unrest, the National Guard summoned, a curfew imposed.... The story is so familiar and so heartbreaking. Are we, as a nation, learning anything? Will we, as a people, ever move beyond our racial divisions? I hope and pray and sympathize for all of us as we struggle with our horrible legacy of racism and violence. Milwaukee, we are with you.