Saturday, August 19, 2017

More Collapse Weave Samples: This Time, Double Weave with 30/2 Silk and 30/1 S and Z Twist Wool

To me, that looks like happy cloth! All crinkled and intricate with blocks in black that remind me of fish swimming upstream.

So often, collapse weave mimics nature, with its organic forms and energy. Nothing flat or two dimensional about it, which is why I love it.

The samples I'm sharing in this blog post hark back to a workshop I took in London with Ann Richards, author of Weaving Textiles That Shape Themselves. That workshop was in 2014 and it continues to inspire me.

One of the drafts Ann shared with us was a double weave structure on 8 shafts using a warp of 30/2 silk and 30/1 Z twist or S twist wool -- your choice -- to create alternating layers of silk and wool. The weft was the same -- and you could again choose either 30/1 Z twist or 30/1 Z twist wool for the second layer. (If you chose the same twist for both warp and weft, you would get a more subtle collapse effect after washing. If you used yarns with twist in opposite directions for warp and weft, you would get a greater collapse effect. I used 30/1 Z twist in the warp and 30/1 S twist in the weft.)

Here's Ann's original structure.

Here are my samples.

Front before washing

Back before washing

Front after washing

Back after washing

Pretty cool, huh? As always, I stand in awe of the laser-sharp focus that Ann brings to her designing. I tried my hand at modifying the tie-up and treadling, so see if there were some new forms I could create from this. First I decided to weave linear stripes.

Here's the drawdown, same threading.

And here are my results. In order of appearance: front and back before washing and front and back after washing.

The vertical pleats on the front are crisp and linear, which I like very much -- but the back also has some visual appeal. There's potential here, perhaps to develop a draft that turns the stripes into boxes. More playing with Fiberworks, which I don't mind at all!

(As I write this, I realize that this post is mostly photos. But that's what we do, right? Create visual art that is often hard to describe verbally, although we do the best we can.)

So here's the last drawdown, this time with interrupted lines of black on the front. The fabric is the image I started with in this blog post.

And here's the fabric, again showing front and back before washing and after washing, in that order.

So often for me, weaving samples prompts as many questions as it answers. What can I do next? What kind of garment would this make? Would it work with painted warps? How can I alter this structure to make it appealing in a new way? I never considered myself to be a weaver who follows the code of "Sample, sample, sample" -- but I'm beginning to see the benefits of doing so.

And so, dear reader, beam on! And thanks for visiting.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Bhutanese Textiles with Wendy Garrity -- at the New Weaving and Fiber Arts Center!

A detail of Bhutanese kushutara weaving

Luckily, for those of us who love textiles, we can travel the world without leaving our homes. Last week at the new Weaving and Fiber Arts Center (more on that later), Australian Wendy Garrity took us to Bhutan. 

Her presentation focused on the gorgeous fabrics known as kushutara, woven on backstrap looms by Bhutanese women in their homes. Pictured above: Garrity at the start of her presentation  -- before we remembered to turn the lights out! Her blog is called "Textile Trails."

Kushutara (supplementary weft brocades, also spelled kushuthara and kishutara) resemble embroidery but are hand woven -- often on looms that are built into the walls of the weaver's home. They have a discontinuous weft, as you see in the details below (front and back of the same fabric, respectively).

And they are gorgeous! Weavers use continuous weft-pattern designs called sapma and discontinuous weft-pattern designs called tingma. Garrity explains tingma this way: "The discontinuous supplementary weft patterning consists of sapma (inlay) and thrima (twining)." These techniques are all woven in brilliantly-colored silk in seemingly random color palettes. The results are what Garrity refers to as "eye candy."

So here, for your viewing pleasure, is some of the eye candy she brought along to show us.

As so often with textiles, photos don't do justice to the real pieces. The work in this last photo, for instance, has an eloquence and complexity that is hard to convey secondhand -- mainly because the full yardage in all its glory has a tremendous variety of colors and patterns. For this reason, Garrity urged us to view all of her fabrics from a distance as well as up close.

And I have yet to mention the new, larger home for the Weaving and Fiber Arts Center. What an expansive, bright, loom-filled site! Here are a few photos, to give you an idea.

The new location, just around the corner from the old one

Looms to the left of you... 

Looms to the right... 

And table looms at just the right height!

This fall, at the new location, I will be teaching beginning weaving and advanced beginning weaving (kind of a contradiction in terms, but you get the idea) as well as a natural-dyeing workshop. For more information, you can check out the courses as soon as the new listings are posted, which should be by mid-August.

Thanks for reading! 

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Using a Warping Reel: a Short Video

If you're a weaver, you know that summer is conference season. (Well, I guess autumn is also conference season, and then again, if you live in the southern hemisphere, winter is summer up north, so winter is also conference season.... But I digress.)

Anyhow, I'm getting ready to teach at MAFA (MidAtlantic Fiber Association) in Pennsylvania and  at the Hartford Artisans Weaving Center in Connecticut. And I'm winding warps for both workshops. LOTS of warps. For MAFA, I wound ten seven-yard warps and for Hartford, I'm working on 18 eight-yard warps. I am not sure I will ever set up another workshop where I wind so many darned warps ahead of time.

So, what to do? My warping board is big enough, certainly, but it requires a lot of moving back and forth and up and down. Which is inefficient and slow.

The answer for me was a warping reel. I can stand in one place and, moving slightly, wind an eight-yard warp in less time than it takes on a warping board. While I'm not one who aims to weave as efficiently as possible (if I wanted efficiency, I probably wouldn't have become a weaver in the first place), I do appreciate saving time on production work.

I borrowed a warping reel from my friend Leslie Mendelson and it helps a lot. (Thank you, Leslie!) Which is why I made this video, in hopes that someone else could benefit from a demonstration. Thanks to my husband, Larry, for directing, production, and financing ;o)