Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Pictures at an Exhibition

Today our committee put the finishing touches on our exhibit, "For the Love of Fiber," in the gallery space of the Arts & Cultural Council for Greater Rochester. The show, featuring the work of some 50 members of the Weavers' Guild of Rochester, runs from April 28 through May 19. If you're in the area and you love the fiber arts, stop by! It's free and open to the public.

Here are some more images, giving you an idea of the variety of pieces on display -- from handwoven items to tapestry to works that are knitted, felted, beaded, dyed, and embroidered. We have sculptures made of paper -- and even a piece embellished with porcupine quills.

Below are some of the beautiful items woven by our exhibit juror, Sarah Saulson of Syracuse.

Two of the Weavers' Guild study groups participated, submitting small works by their members. Here are the submissions from the Tapestry Study Group:

This photo simply doesn't show the beautiful detail of these miniature tapestries. Our Guild has many, many talented members, as this exhibit proves. You'll just have to visit the gallery to see for yourself!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Coat for My Daughter

This coat is handwoven, using JaggerSpun 18/2 Superfine Merino in 6-shaft waffle weave and plain weave. The fabric shows several variations on a theme -- that is, moving from waffle weave in 4 colors (orange, red, purple, and teal blue) to plain weave using a variety of colors in the weft. The warp uses the same four colors, moving from orange in the center to blue at the outside of the "waffle." The inside of the fabric reverses the color effect, so that the predominant color you see is orange (as in the accent fabric at the  end of the sleeves).

Notice how the waffle weave pulls the fabric in and the plain weave spreads it out, creating a ruffle effect at the bottom of the coat. I love this! The effect is magnified because I hand-washed the fabric to felt it a bit (the technical term is "fulling"). This gives the fabric greater warmth and heft -- and protects it from any pulling of some of the long floats that appear with waffle weave.

The pattern is my own, adapted from a sleeveless tunic pattern that I've used in the past: 1036 Mandarin Vest from Purrfection Artistic Wearables. Here's how it looks in back:

And here are some details (below). The cuffs on the sleeves show the reverse side of the main fabric -- which means that the inside of the coat is a bright golden orange!

I made the buttons using the same yarns that are in the fabric. The technique is based on the "Dorset Buttons" that were originally made in the mid-19th century in Dorset, England. (For more on Dorset Buttons, see my previous post.)

I'm entering this coat in the Weavers' Guild of Rochester exhibit, "For the Love of Fiber." (And for more on this, see my post of late March.)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Dorset Buttons

When you're making a one-of-a-kind garment -- handknitted, handwoven, crocheted, felted, whatever -- it's often hard to find just the perfect button. You want the right color, fiber, size, even weight (lightweight is best). So the technique of making Dorset Buttons comes in handy.

They were created by the hundreds of thousands in early 19th-century Dorset, England. You start with a hoop -- nowadays, those plastic loops will do, available at Joann's Etc. and probably anywhere you can buy sewing notions. Using a tapestry needle, you wrap yarn around the loop with half hitches. Next you create eight "spokes" all around the outside of the loop, then you wrap them all together in the center. Then you weave around the spokes, again with half hitches.

This is an illustration, from the book, 50 Heirloom Buttons to Make, by Nancy Nehring:

Here's a closeup:

And here's what the back looks like:

The color variations are endless, which is why they work so well for garments. And you can even vary the stitches, the "weave" direction, the space between the yarns (leaving the "spokes" open like a wheel).

For an excellent source on making Dorset buttons, click here:

The Genius of Richard Landis

 Signal, 1976, Richard Landis I came upon the work of Richard Landis as I was reading  Loom-Controlled Double Weave: From the Notebook of a ...