Sunday, April 28, 2024

Notes from CNCH, the Conference of Northern California Handweavers

 


Let's start with the photo above: a series of samples woven on eight shafts in deflected doubleweave by Marta Shannon. It's just one picture of dozens of interesting, colorful, and always original samples created by weavers in my workshop this past weekend: "Deflected Doubleweave for Collapse Fabrics."

The goal of my workshop was twofold: 1) to teach weavers to recognize and even design deflected doubleweave patterns and 2) to push the already tactile, off-the-grid quality of DDW by using "energized" yarns such as Colcolastic, metallic gimp, wool-stainless steel, silk-stainless steel, overtwisted linen singles in S and Z twist, overtwisted wool singles in S and Z twist, and, of course, the ever-reliable Jaggerspun 18/2 superfine merino, which fulls beautifully when you give it some wiggle room in the cloth. (Bottom line: plain weave resists fulling and other collapse techniques, because it's the most stable, firm structure of all, while DDW encourages pleating, poufing, and billowing of your fabric because it has warp and weft floats built in, by design,)

That's a lot of words, so here are some photos to give you a better idea of what we were working on.

Some four-shaft samples woven with wefts of both active and inactive yarns. Weaver Rusti Icenogle points to the bottom sample, which pleats vertically because the rose-colored weft is wool/stainless-steel yarn, which fulls and draws the fabric in after it's washed and agitated with hot water and soap.

You know that famous quote, I think it's from Laura Fry, "It ain't finished until it's finished"? We spent a lot of time at the sinks in the ladies' room scrubbing away at our samples, using regular hand soap....

Above, a series of samples woven by Autumn Barr, who was weaving on her brand new eight-shaft loom for the first time. Her warp was 10/2 cotton (brown) and 18/2 merino (white) and she alternated these two yarns as weft also. It's hard to see in this photo, but the sample at the bottom shows lots of horizontal pleats in the brown stripes, which are drawn in as the white wool fulls in the washing.

This sample belongs to Denise Lee, who wove an eight-shaft pattern I call Mardi Gras. For this sample, she alternated green Colcolastic and 10/2 cotton in the weft. The Colcolastic yarn, brand name Venne, has a 20/2 cotton strand combined with a strand of elastic, which shrinks up immediately when washed.

These samples are woven on eight shafts by Colleen Harvey-Arrison. The larger blocks in teal are 18/2 merino, which fulls and draws in the magenta cotton blocks, adding texture and making them curve and flow over the fabric.

The CNCH conference, affectionately known as "Cinch," is held every year in a different area of northern California. It's well worth attending, with exhibits, vendors (including Lunatic Fringe Yarns, Dharma Trading, and Eugene Textile Center), a keynote speech (this year by tapestry artist Susan Iverson), terrific meals, and lots of friendly fiber artists.

Take Sara Lamb, for instance, who is a well-known author, teacher, spinner, dyer, and weaver.


Sara wears a jacket she wove and sewed, of course! Plus the yarns are handspun silk that she dyed, all plain weave in structure -- showing off those yarns to the maximum.


The cloth is warp-emphasis (and is displayed horizontally in this photo).

I got to rub shoulders with other weaving royalty as well: seen below, Ana Lisa Hedstrom and Peggy Osterkamp. I had dinner with Peggy -- during which at least two weavers came up to our table to thank her for her many books that helped them build their weaving skills.


I fell in love with this tapestry on exhibit, shown below, titled "Pandemic Oasis" and woven by Nancy Isaac of the Loom and Shuttle Guild in San Francisco.


I also fell in love with this tatted piece, a work in progress by Nancy Alegria, in which she is recording the temperature and the sunlight (encoded in colors) of every day in 2024.


Even after the conference, I'm still taking it all in. Lots of learning, too many purchases (I won't list them, but there was yarn involved), and great camaraderie. 

Here's to next year!















 



Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Can You Name Your 10 Favorite Weaving Books? These Are Mine.

 

For me, hands down, my list starts with this one. Not because this is how I learned to weave or even because this is how I learned that weaving has cosmic possibilities. It's because I can't stop learning from this book and I love the beauty and intricacy of the ideas in this book. Sometimes I can't fathom what she's writing about, but I keep trying.

What's more important: Taking care of a book or reading it a lot?


I spent maybe a decade weaving my way through this one. 


And writing notes on it -- in pen -- which is not very classy.

"Strickler," that's how weavers describe it, sort of like "Beyonce" or "Marilyn" -- a true star. This book is a delight and (in my humble opinion) belongs in your library if you have eight shafts. Maybe even if you don't.


Atwater -- another single-name star.

I think Mary Meigs Atwater single-handedly resurrected the art and craft of weaving in America in the 20th century. This is not hyperbole. We owe her almost everything (again, in my humble opinion). Published almost a century ago, the book is grandly and authoritatively titled: The Shuttle-Craft Book of American Hand-Weaving, Being an Account of the Rise, Development, Eclipse, and Modern Revival of a National Popular Art, Together with Information of Interest and Value to Collectors, Technical Notes for the Use of Weavers & a Large Collection of Historic Patterns. My edition is inscribed "Wayne Baker April 1951," a year before I was born. 


Davison. Now that I think about it, ALL of the weaving classics 
are known simply by the last name of the writer/weaver.

First published in 1944, my version is from the fourth printing in 1947. I treasure this book for several reasons -- among them, it's stamped with the name "Ruth C. Herron." She was a beloved member of our guild and a superb weaver, who continued to correspond with us from her late-in-life home in California, where she died at 107. I think of her often. 


Even Ruth wrote in her books, albeit in pencil.


This book. 
We all have our heroes.

Is there anyone more loved among weavers than Anni Albers? From the Bauhaus to the gold medal for craftsmanship from the American Institute of Architects, the weaver who summoned us to "take a thread for a walk" and continues to teach us to this day. This book is her masterpiece, second only to her art.

Oh my gosh, I'm only at book number five. But this is a good time to pause and qualify my listings, to try and explain why I've chosen them. My list is by no means a "must have" for every weaver, or for beginning weavers, or even for a guild's weaving library. Not at all. These are just the books that I, at this moment in my life and in my weaving practice, love to have on my bookshelf. You might say these are my "desert island" books -- you know, if you were stranded on a desert island and could take only a handful of books with you, what would you choose? I'm also writing this as a sort of dialogue with you, the reader (assuming you've gotten this far), hoping you might, like me, appreciate the weaving books you love and perhaps even consider reading the books I've listed, if you haven't read them already.

(Not that I've read each book cover to cover. I'm really not that kind of a reader when it comes to books about our craft.)

So on down the list. And one more note: This list is not in any particular order of preference or value. It's just for perusement, as libraries themselves are.


I have to include Chandler. May the weaving goddesses bless this book, 
because this is how so many of us learned to weave. 

There was a time when I referred to Chandler as I was dressing my loom, as I learned to read drafts, as I was deciphering how to sley 16 ends per inch in a 12-dent reed, all of the basics. She gave us this gift and this book will always be in my library for that reason.


Wait, what? Not quite about weaving, but this book is 
where I go down my own special rabbit-hole.

If you love dyeing, as I do -- and if you love creating textured weavings using shibori-resist techniques, as I do -- this book is another masterpiece, a weaver's companion. (Detour: There's a relatively new book out there, a brilliant book written by a former New Yorker writer who became a guard at the Met: All the Beauty in the World. You should read it, just saying.) Anyhow, this book by Yoshiko Wada presents all the beauty in the world of shibori. It's a big book, 9 1/2" high by 12" wide, with 211 pages of photos large and small, with information and inspiration about the magic and mystery of the Japanese art known as shibori. 

Three more to go. This is hard and a lot of you may not agree at all. But I will press on. (Get it? Press, as in publish?)


Another book in my own area of interest: Ann Richards's definitive book on weaving dimensional textiles. She approaches her designs with a laser-like focus and creates beauty as a result.

Ann Richards of England is one of the luminaries in the field of dimensional weaving. I traveled to London to study with her, and that workshop plus this book gave me a foundation to build my own textured weavings. The joy is in the process, from start to finish: learning how to tame unruly threads as you dress your loom and then how to give them freedom as you weave so that they have room to move about in the finishing. And the finishing is a joy, as you see a fabric change almost organically in the water.

Sometimes the best books are those that continue to offer up insight and enjoyment well after you've read them -- or rather thought you read them. 


There's a saying attributed to several sages: "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear." This book keeps bringing me lessons for new techniques -- and I've owned it for at least 20 years.

Ah yes, the old Weaver's magazine, perhaps one of the greatest how-to resources for weavers. Somehow I got my hands on the entire collection (which is another treasure, but not a book, that I could add to this list). Fabrics that Go Bump is a compendium of patterns and instructions that appeared in a number of issues, all focused on achieving bumps, pleats, ruffles, and billows in your fabric. I turn to this book often for inspiration and understanding.

So what's number 10? Stubenitsky once again!


Why? Because it's crammed with originality and innovation 
about one of my favorite techniques: deflected doubleweave.

 Stubenitsky always lays a world before you, this time looking at the graphic, colorful, texture-full world of deflected doubleweave. (The woman is merciless when it comes to writing books: I think she's at five now, if you include Janna Weaves, and they're all abounding with patterns and ideas.) What I like about this book is that she offers a solid explanation for drafting DDW, which isn't as easy as it looks. One of my friends whose work appears in the book, when I asked how she arrived at her wonderful designs, told me she "played around a lot." And I understand exactly what she meant. There is a mystery to creating these designs and Stubenitsky helps de-mystify much of it. 

That's my top ten. For right now, at least. What are yours? If you're like me, you have a library -- some of which you love, some of which you like, some of which you don't like but can't seem to part with. We need them for our work but we also need them as friends, it seems. That's what books are for.

I can't forget to mention my own book, 
which is a favorite because I wrote it ;o)

Thanks for reading!













Thursday, February 15, 2024

We Are Experiencing Technical Difficulties. Please Stand By.*



*Warning: This post is just partly about fiber.

Remember those test patterns on your old black and white TV? They were typically accompanied by an ear-piercing alarm to tell us that a TV station (we had three back then) was malfunctioning for some reason or other. Kids like my sisters and me -- who loved watching the Three Stooges and Bugs Bunny and Spanky and Our Gang -- were out of luck.

Truth be told, I'm experiencing technical difficulties right now, accompanied by malfunctions in my weaving, ever since our house was damaged by water -- more like flooded with water -- last September 18.

After the flood

Another water-logged view

How did this happen? I had just gotten back from teaching in Rockville, MD, and had come down with Covid. (First time, so I'm a novice.) My husband and I were quarantining in separate bedrooms and I got up early, around 6:30 a.m., and... stepped in what felt like a deep puddle.

You know how crazy our reactions can be when something weird like this happens? My first thought was, "Larry is going to kill me because I left the window open and it rained last night."

But it wasn't just a puddle. This was a lake. I continued splashing to the bathroom and heard this gushing sound pouring from the sink. An indoor waterfall kind of sound.

The Culprit

That's all it was! A burst tube that connected the water source to the faucet. It was probably gushing for hours.

The next weird thought: We tried to soak it up all by ourselves. Larry went and got the shop vac and I got a bunch of towels. Maybe we weren't awake yet. Or maybe "de-Nile" isn't just a river in Egypt. (Get it? De-NIAL -- as the joke goes?)

We quickly came to our senses and called a company named Jet-Dry. (Shout out here to Walt Latiuk and his team.) They showed up like the cavalry and spent the rest of the day clearing out the house and soaking up the water. I've learned a lot of words since then, among them, "mitigation," which means bringing in all kinds of really loud equipment to dry things up. (About half of the house was affected -- but not my looms and not Larry's pianos, amazingly.)

It took almost a month to dry the house out, using all manner of machines and tubes and mats and fans. We lived in a hotel during that process. (Bonus: We amassed lots of points.)

And then we started the renovations. Here I give a shoutout to Brad Colletti and his crew, who came highly recommended by Walt -- and completely lived up to his recommendation. 

Starting to replace the ceiling in the living room

We live in a house built of concrete and steel. I think that was super-quality construction back in 1929, when it was built. So in this photo above, you're looking at concrete supported by girders and steel struts in the ceiling, newly reinforced by sturdy two-by-fours. This house is built like a battleship. It's hard even to hang a picture on the walls. 

I won't print some of the oaths we heard from contractors who came to take a look when we were asking them to bid. "Wow" was the mildest we heard....

But Brad and his team took on the project and fixed things really fast. 

Ceiling fixed, not yet painted, husband observing (left)

We're pretty pleased with the results so far, although we haven't yet moved back home.

Better every day!

So, back to the title of this post, referring to "technical difficulties." I'm not talking about the disruption and stress of having our home break -- because, unlike so many folks around the world, we have insurance (shout out to Jeff Yorkey at State Farm) and a home to return to and a contractor who was terrific. 

No, I'm not fretting about the house. I want to talk weaving, of course! 

16-shaft Jin design with painted warp, currently on my Toika

All during this craziness, I just couldn't find my weaving chi, you might say (actually it's more accurately spelled qi). It's a Mandarin word that, as I understand it, means vital life force, spirit, energy. Chi can be depleted by illness or stress.

And guess what? When you're under stress, you're not going to do your best work. I learned that the hard way.

I threaded my loom once, in fine linen dyed with natural dyes (in colors based on a water theme, oddly enough), and wove it with less than stellar results.

Yawn

I actually cut off this warp, something I've never done before, and put on another warp, this one in 16/1 linen in much bolder colors.

   
Yikes!

So I cut off that warp too (I figure I'm a veteran now) and slowly backed away from the loom. This phase -- staying away from the loom -- lasted a month or two, maybe more. It bothered me, because nothing I did seemed to work. I felt like I couldn't even count (which I often can't, to be honest, even on good days).

But nevertheless, I persisted. (Remember that famous comment Mitch McConnell made about Elizabeth Warren, when she continued to speak after the U.S. Senate voted that she stop speaking in opposition to the confirmation of Jeff Sessions as U.S. Attorney General? It's become a feminist rallying cry.) 

Nevertheless, I persisted. I had a warp on another loom and decided to tackle it.

Long, long story short: After way too many miscounts and re-theading and re-sleying (and re-sleying again), I have a viable fabric (shown in the third photo above and shown in a detail below).

The weaving goddesses decided to give me some slack.

BUT there are errors. (If you look closely, you can see a treadling error in the middle of the photo above.) Quite a few. So you know what I've decided? This piece is for me alone, not for show, not for sale. I may sew it into a tunic and tell people not to look too closely at the fabric.

I might even wear it out of pride, optimistic that I'm starting to find my chi again.

Errata

Thanks for reading!





















Monday, December 11, 2023

My Gift to You: a Free Cowl Pattern in Echo on Four Shafts

My gift to you this season: A free pattern (see below) for a handwoven cotton cowl in an Echo/Crackle design* on four shafts. No matter what holiday you celebrate this winter -- and even if you don't celebrate any holiday at all -- you have my endless thanks for following this blog and my work, for being a part of the larger weaving community that means so much to me and to all of us.

So what are we looking at? A pattern that calls for less than a yard of woven fabric and takes up less than 12" weaving width on your loom. To create the cowl, the fabric is sewn into a circle using a flat-felled seam on your sewing machine or by hand.  


Here are the instructions.

Warp yarns: 10/2 mercerized cotton in two colors (colors that differ in both hue and value -- for my cowl, I used purple and gold)

Weft yarn: 20/2 mercerized cotton (I used bright red)

Warp: Wind a warp of 400 ends plus two ends at the beginning and two at the end for floating selvages. Length: one yard of fabric plus loom waste (more if you want to sample first, to test colors and to doublecheck your threading, which I highly recommend).

Sett: 36 epi (sounds dense but this is a warp-emphasis fabric with a fine weft)

Width in reed: 11.11" (that's about 11" for the fabric plus one extra dent on either side for the floating selvages)

Threading:


Tieup and Treadling:



For those of you with a table loom, here's the liftplan:


Here's what the drawdown looks like in Fiberworks, showing one complete motif (one full treadling repeat):


Instructions:

Weave three full treadling repeats (three motifs), beginning and ending with about one inch of additional pattern for your seam.


Cut off the fabric, serge or otherwise secure the beginning and end, and then immerse it in a bin of warm water using a bit of dish liquid or shampoo (or Orvus Paste or other soaps that are good for fiber). Line dry and then iron the fabric on both sides.


Create a circular cowl shape by sewing both the beginning and the end of the fabric together width-wise using a flat-felled seam on your sewing machine (or stitching by hand) with thread of a color that blends in well with your fabric. The goal is to make this join as invisible as possible. For instructions on how to sew a flat-felled seam, consult the internet, where you'll find videos, photos, and written instructions on how to do this.

For those who use weaving software, you can download the WIF by clicking here. (Please note that this is a Fiberworks .dtx file. If you use a different weaving-software program, please email me by clicking the "Email" link provided in my profile section on this blog.)

I just designed this pattern for my workshop, "Echo and Jin: Variations on a Theme," because I like to offer designs for all kinds of shaft looms, from 4 shafts to 32 shafts (but that's as far as I go).

*One note: While this pattern might easily be classified as Crackle -- because it uses a Crackle threading and treadling (without the tabby shots in between), I have modified it with some Echo techniques. For instance, there are two colors in the warp (keeping in mind that, although this is not typical with Echo, two colors can be woven on consecutive shafts, so that the interval between parallel lines is 1). I suppose you could say that this pattern is, ultimately, a mash-up between Crackle and Echo....

If you have any questions, send me an email (again, click on the "Email" link in my profile section of this blog). And thanks for reading!












Sunday, November 19, 2023

What to Do About Fraying Selvages...

 A brief intro here: I like to use lots of photos in my blog posts, because weaving is such a visual medium.

But this month's topic doesn't really require photos, because we can all visualize the problem -- and who wants to see a photo of a fraying selvage, anyway?

So with that out of the way, let us begin with my first text-only blog post ;o)

A weaving friend from the Potomac (MD) Fiber Arts Guild wrote me recently about a problem she was having with fraying selvages -- a problem that most of us are all too familiar with. What follows is my reply. I welcome comments from anyone and everyone who has any other pointers!

_______________________________________________________

The problem of fraying selvages is so common -- and there are lots of ways to deal with the problem. (I won't use the word "solutions" here, because often you have to analyze what's going on and then try several different approaches before you've found a solution.) 

For starters, you can have problems with the yarn itself (that is, poorly spun yarn can definitely cause problems with selvages). This means you might have to add something sturdy like Sulky machine-embroidery thread as floating selvages, in that way avoiding abrasion of the real warp selvages.

Aside from that, here's what I recommend.

1) Floating selvages definitely will help protect your warp ends. I typically recommend two floating selvages, sleyed together in one dent, on both sides of the warp.

2) Fraying is often the result of pulling too hard on the selvage after you've thrown the shuttle (that is, you throw the shuttle to the right, for instance, catch it with your right hand, and pull in too tightly on the left selvage). That makes for lots of draw-in on the selvage. (I'm right-handed, so I have this problem often on the left selvage, because that's the one my right hand pulls tighter on as it catches the shuttle and straightens out the weft.) Try being more gentle, "laying in" the weft rather than just yanking on the yarn to set it straight. (That's what we weavers are often inclined to do, because we want to make everything straight and tidy, don't you think?)

The best way to diagnose whether you're pulling on the weft too much is to look at the beater as it hits the fell line. If your yet-unwoven warp-ends at your selvage stretch at an angle, so that the fell line is several dents inside your weaving width, then you've got too much draw-in and you're putting lots of stress on your selvages. 

3) Beat on an open shed. This technique, I've found, can also reduce the draw-in on the selvages because it allows for more weft yarn to snuggle among the warp yarns at the fell line (thereby creating less tension at the selvages). What do I mean by beating on an open shed? Step on the treadle to open the shed, throw the shuttle, and then beat with your foot still on the treadle and your shed still open. Only after that do you close the shed. (The more common way we've learned to beat is to step on the treadle, throw the shuttle, release the treadle, close the shed -- and then beat. Beating on a closed shed is harder on the selvages because, in my view, the weft has less room to wriggle up and down among the warp ends, snugging it in so tight that it pulls more on the selvages.)

4) Also, you want to think about how you weave your floating selvages. Here's a technique developed by Janet Dawson and I share it because I've found it helps reduce draw-in. Instead of throwing the shuttle over one floating selvage, across the shed, and under the opposite floating selvage -- and then repeating this figure-eight throw for every pick -- try this: With each throw of the shuttle, weave OVER one floating selvage, through the shed, and then OVER the opposite floating selvage. Then, with the next pick, do the reverse: weave UNDER your floating selvage, through the shed, and then UNDER the opposite floating selvage. This, in my view, also reduces draw-in because the traditional "figure eight" of the weft yarn creates just a bit more tension than the circular approach that Dawson recommends. Weaving "over/over" and then "under/under" your floating selvages is a gentler approach, given that the alternative, the figure-eight approach, puts more tension on your selvages (again, in my view).

5) Try using an end-feed-delivery shuttle, which allows you to tension the weft more precisely so that it's not delivered as tightly. Also, with an end-feed-delivery shuttle, the weft is fed directly from the end of the pirn rather than from the wide slit in the boat shuttle, where the weft is fed as it spins erratically around the bobbin. That means, with the end-feed-delivery shuttle, the yarn is delivered in more of a straight line. You'll also find that, with an end-feed-delivery shuttle, the weft glides more gently across the fell line. Here's a link to where you can find excellent end-feed-delivery shuttles: https://blusterbaywoodworks.com

6) Many weavers swear by using a temple, which tensions the cloth, helping to take tension off the selvages. (I don't use one, but that's just me.)

7) I've read discussions that delve into the intricacies of the warp-yarn twist versus the twist of the weft yarn as it turns on the selvages, where pick-by-pick the weft slowly untwists one of the selvages because of its opposing S or Z twist direction. This I cannot even begin to analyze ;o) but I do see how  it might create a problem. Again, if you suspect this is the issue you're dealing with, you're best off adding floating selvages using a sturdy yarn like rayon embroidery thread.

Whew! This is a big topic for a small detail. Many of us, at least when we first learn to weave, beat hard and pull on the shuttle hard. But I've learned that weaving calls for a more Zen-like approach, you might say, drawing on the shuttle just enough but not too much. As Aristotle famously said, "In all things, moderation."

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, October 21, 2023

'Weaving Outside the Box' with Katherine Luhring of Lunatic Fringe Yarns

Deflected doubleweave scarf woven by Katherine Luhring from my workshop, 
"Weaving Outside the Box"

This month I'd like to share an essay by "Katzy" (pronounced "KAHtzee") Luhring, one of the managers at Lunatic Fringe Yarns. Some background: Over the summer, I taught "Weaving Outside the Box: 12 Projects for Creating Dimensional Cloth" at the Intermountain Weavers Conference in Logan, Utah, a workshop based on my book of the same name. We were lucky to have Katzy in our class, as she brought a lot of knowledge and information about some of the special yarns that are sold by Lunatic Fringe. 

Here's a post she wrote for the Lunatic Fringe blog, starting with an introductory paragraph about her weaving adventures. Thank you, Katzy!

_____________________________________________________

We Lunatics have gone to a lot of conferences over the 30-plus years that we have been in business.  However, it isn’t very often that we give ourselves the time to participate in the classes offered at the conferences. This year at IWC in Logan Utah, we sprang our fearless leader, Katzy, from booth duty so she could take Denise Kovnat’s dimensional-cloth workshop. Let her tell you about a few of the wonderful things she learned along the way.

By Katzy Luhring

Denise Kovnat’s dimensional-cloth workshop at IWC was a fabulous opportunity to experiment with interesting yarns and learn some new things! Denise asked all the class participants to choose a project from her book,  "Weaving Outside the Box, 12 Projects for Creating Dimensional Cloth." I chose project #1, the Deflected-Doubleweave Scarf on four shafts.  To be perfectly honest, I chose it because the project didn’t have too many ends, it used 10/2 mercerized cotton yarns, and it would fit on the 4-shaft Wolf Pup Loom that we had room to take with us to Logan. Seemed like a perfect fit all the way around!


I wanted to spend the workshop time making samples and learn more about elastic yarn during the workshop.  To give myself plenty of warp for playing, I wound a six-yard warp of 10/2 Tubular Spectrum Thyme and 5 Blue. This was twice the warp length that Denise recommends in her book. I knew I would have plenty of warp to experiment to my heart's desire.

What Is Colcolastic Cotton Yarn?

Denise's instructions call for Colcolastic cotton yarn for one of the weft yarns. This is a yarn that I was unfamiliar with, but after a quick Internet search, I found it at Lone Star Loom Room. When I received the yarn (in a very short amount of time), I discovered that the yarn is a two-stranded yarn: One strand is 20/2 cotton and one strand is a thin elastic, and these two yarns are wound together onto the spool. I could make my own yarn by using one strand of 20/2 Tubular Spectrum mercerized cotton yarn and combining it with any of our thin elastic yarns: ramie, cotton, silk. The color possibilities are endless!

And how did these two yarns wind onto a bobbin? No problem there. I have since used both a hand winder and an electric bobbin winder to wind the spools from two cones and have not had any trouble with the yarns getting tangled either as I wound onto the spools or while I was weaving. 


Play Time!

Three days of class trying different yarns and learning how the weave structure works and interacts with the weft yarns. It was heavenly! I tried elastic ramie, elastic silk, elastic cotton, both by themselves and with cotton yarns. I experimented with weft yarn colors to see how the two layers interacted. So much experimenting and so many things to try!


Not So Plain Weave.

Denise designed an interesting project: The first 18" is doubleweave with a top layer and a bottom layer. When I first warped the loom and sleyed the reed, I couldn't understand how we were going to get a functional fabric in those first 18" from the big spaces that are in between the yarns on each layer. There are gaps of about 1/4 inch! I trusted Denise's instructions and wove the fabric with the weft yarn floating across those gaps. When the fabric is washed, the warp yarn shifts over to fill the gaps and you can an interesting, almost plain-weave fabric with lots of drape.

Plain-weave section before washing

Plain-weave section after washing

Splash! Now to Make Things Go Bump!

The center section of the scarf contains the elastic and cotton weft. There is a nice texture to the fabric while on the loom, but it is relatively flat.  And the fabric remains flat when you take it off the loom.  The magic really happens when the fabric gets wet! When washed, the elastic in the weft shrinks up and takes the warp yarns along for a ride, creating ridges in the fabrics.  The 20/2 weft yarns bubble up and make a loopy texture on one side of the fabric.  You can stretch the fabric out to see how it originally looked, but when you let it go, the pleats reappear. Magical!

Center section before washing

Center section after washing

To the Loom!

When I left Logan, my brain was bursting with new ideas and I have been spending lots of time at the loom finishing up the first batch of scarves and working on new ones.  Thanks Denise for a wonderful workshop!

Finished scarf before washing




Notes from CNCH, the Conference of Northern California Handweavers

  Let's start with the photo above: a series of samples woven on eight shafts in deflected doubleweave by Marta Shannon. It's just o...