Tuesday, May 31, 2011

New warping technique

In the past, I have always measured out a small part of my warp and put it directly onto my loom.  However, I read somewhere that if you tie off your warp in a lot of places, especially at the crossing section, then you can measure everything out at once and then sley your reed all at once.  I decided to try it this time around.  So, I measured out 60 threads of each color 6 times, so 720 threads.  Then I sleyed the reed starting from the center point and added a few colors to the end pieces that were empty. I decided to do a small border around the whole blanket, so the left side got an extra section of light blue.  Then the right section only got threaded half a sequence because that is where the seam will be.

I have decided to mark every 12 inches of woven space, and about 5 feet start the wrap up procedure.  Then I have to make a second panel as close to matching as I possibly can!  I hope this works!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Stormy skies

I saw these two sitting together while I was gathering supplies and thought that it was a nice touch!  It looks like a storm is brewing.  I mean, the project is called "Huichol Lightning" so we'll just follow with this theme!

So I'm going to go with this color combo:

They're going to look really nice together!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Change in Huichol plans

I think I want to try something beyond dishtowels with the Huichol plans.  I really want to make a blanket.  But my loom has a weaving width of 26", so I will have to make 2 panels and sew them together.  I am definitely experiencing some apprehension with this plan.  Do I sew them together before I wash them?  Can I make each panel relatively the same size?  Will the seam be bulky?  That's only a few of them, but I am excited to try something new.

Here's the original draft as a reminder:

I think I'm going to use 12/2 cotton in electric blue and cream.  The pattern calls for 8/2 at a sett of 24 epi, which is a loose twill sett.  Working with 12/2 cotton is a lot like working with 10/2, so I think I will chose a set of 30-32, which is a twill for 10/2.  That means I can either use reed #8 with 4 threads per dent, or reed #10 with 3 threads per dent, or reed #15 with 2 threads per dent.  From the veggie towel experience, I know that it's ok to have 3 threads per dent because they wash out.  So it does leave my options very wide open!

For the size, I'm thinking of filling the across width as much as possible, so 26" across which might shrink down to about 24" or 23".  So 23" x 2 panels = 46" across... with a length of at least that plus more.  I'm thinking if I warp 2 yards per panel, that might have the correct length.  To get the panels to match, I'm going to take careful measurements while I'm weaving.

The only thing I'm not sure about is, do I sew the panels together before I wash it?  If so, I worry about the ends of the threads fraying a little bit, because I'm going to hemstitch the edges and leave a little bit of fringe like I do on my dishtowels.  But maybe I could do the twisted fringe, it would be a bit longer in that case, but wouldn't fray with all the washing it's probably going to go through.  I've never had problems with fraying on my dishtowels if I wash them while they are connected first and then cut them apart.  But if it's a first washing, the ends look like they fray a little bit.  So this is the part I will have to think about a little bit more.  With twisted fringe, I might add 1 more yard to the initial warp length, just to be sure I have enough to get a grip  and twist!

I'm excited to try this blanket!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Veggie towels are done!

I like how these turned out!  I like the way the colors all work together well together, too.

Friday, May 27, 2011

My P2P choices!

My P2P partner  Judy has posted the pictures I get to work with!  They are incredible and I already have some good ideas.  You can read her original comments on her blog.  I am re-posting the pictures here, and they are in no particular order, I think they came out alphabetical by title.

Here are some of my initial thoughts:

 I see this picture as being some great shapes with twills, the yellow can be my new "curry" yellow cone of yarn that I haven't used yet in anything else.  It almost looks like a bird's eye that isn't quite complete, because it's not a perfect diamond shape.  It would make a neat striped twill.  I really like the details in the cream color, I wonder if I could get some yarn with nubbies on it that would pop out after washing...

 This building offers a lot of square designs, I almost feel a waffle weave that is long and skinny coming off of this, or maybe even just a play of darks and lights arranged in different ways.  I almost sense a nice conflict because they aren't perfectly square!  And on the right there is more emphasis in the horizontal and the left there is more emphasis on the vertical.  This would help me step out of my bounds of having everything so square and perfect.  It might be fun to play with some Fibonacci numbers.

This one is incredible... the colors, the stripes, the shapes, and the way the colors change with the shading.  It's actually one of my two most favorites right now.  I see the flowers as being nice dots of colors combined with stripes.  The purple flowers in the background are just incredible mixed with these reds and blues.  Purple is usually one of my least favorite colors, but it really strikes me in this picture.  I feel like I suddenly have a craving to find some purple yarn.  And very soon!  Can you imagine stripes and dots?  I wonder how I can do something like that... hmmm... or stripes going down in columns with some squares in of colors in the middle... like this:

Of course, my colors are a little off because I just used the paint program on the computer to sketch it out quickly, but it's a start of an idea anyway.

This is another one of my favorite pictures.  I really like how mellow it feels.  I could imagine myself sitting up there behind the brush watching it all while wrapped in a lovely shawl or blanket that is made of very soft brushed wool.  The colors would match these in the photo.  Some nice forest greens, gray blues, and creams with dots of that rooftop color... what color is that?  Clay?  

I love the reds and greens in this picture.  I see in the petals there are some darker red stripes that would be fun to play with.  The yellow pollen on the flower would be fun to play with also... maybe some embellishments of some sort?   Or some loops of yarn that stick out just a little bit?  Almost like a terry cloth material, but just in a few gathered places, not all over. 

This one offers a lot of neat nature colors.  I like the shades of browns and grays, and the little plant growing off on the side.  I love the forest theme we have going on here, I love being in the forest.  I can almost smell the pines in this picture.  I also like the rings in the trunk and the cracks.  The bark is also cracking.  I keep thinking of some neat patterns in the crackle weave.  I've never tried crackle weave and this might be something fun to work with.

I feel like each of these pictures could be a project!  It's going to be very hard to chose just one picture!  I've got a lot of pondering to do.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Reed Marks

In the past year, I have been afraid of threading a reed with anything more than 2 threads per dent because of reed marks.  But in order to make the veggie towels, I had to use a 2-3-3 threading, and I worried about reed marks.  This is what it look like while weaving:

However, I am really happy to announce that they all washed out just fine!  During the washing and drying process, the threads always tend to re-arrange themselves to find a happy balance in the finished product.  Not being afraid of threading more than 3 threads dent opens many more doors for the e.p.i. and sett choices for the reeds that I have on hand.

All washed and pressed:

I am always glad when I try something new and it DOES work out to be o.k.!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Pine Trees

I saw this pine trees pattern in the November/December 2009 Handwoven Magazine, page 62.  They were designed by Karen Tenney and called "Holiday Towels," but I thought that I could make them look like year-round pine tree towels if I didn't add any red.  We have a nice pine tree shower curtain in one of our bathrooms and this will make a great accent decoration!

I used the same warp as the veggie towels, and just added this one in towards the end.  The only thing that is different between the two drafts is the tie-up, so I was excited to put something else on this warp.  I was putting the veggies on only 1 side of the towels, but I wanted trees on both sides this time.  In order to do this, I had to weave the 2nd one up-side down so that it would appear right-side up when it was done and folded in half.

The draft:

On the loom:

And all washed and pressed:

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My magazine quote

I was quoted in Handwoven Magazine!!!  It's on page 11!!!  Go look!!!

You know how cool it was to see my name in print in my most favorite reading material?!  Wow, that really made my day!!  This is the first time my name has appeared in this magazine, but I have a goal someday to write an article and get it published here!

Even though that was really exciting, I'm kind of sad at how crinkled and ripped my magazine came this time.  I usually take such good care of my stuff and to have it arrive in this condition was kind of heartbreaking, especially when my name is printed in it!  Oh well, at least now if my water bottle leaks on it or I mess it all up, now I won't feel as bad!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Teacher by day; Weaver by night... and summer vacations.

One of my students drew this hilarious picture of me.  It is such a cute picture!

And I do think the clothing does resemble handwoven material... don't you think?!?

Only 1.5 more days of school and I will have 2 months of solid weaving time ahead of me!  2 MONTHS!!!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Huichol lightning towels

When I got the January/February 2011 Handwoven magazine in the mail, I saw the article on the Huichol (pronounced WEE-CHOL) lightning towels on page 56 by Connie Childs Elliott and couldn't wait to make them!  I haven't officially chosen my colors yet, but I always love blue and have plenty of it!  Plus, blue could be the sky and the rain, and the white can be the lightning bolt.  I was thinking of maybe doing yellow, but I think it might look too "sports team-ish" if I do that.  I know 3 schools right off hand that have blue and yellow for their school colors.  So.... I might stick with blue and white instead.



I was reading about how important weaving is to the Huichol people.  In fact, the Huichol culture believes that weaving is a way that women can communicate with the gods.  They believe that the top of the loom is the sky and the bottom is the earth.  The unwoven warp threads are the sun.  When woven, the sheds are the winds that carry the rain clouds to the Sierra Madres.  And the weaver is making it rain when the shed is beaten into the warp.  In this paticular project, the author talks about how the front is the zigzags of lightning and the back is the straight lines of rain coming down during the storm.  The spindle used to make the yarn is the heart of the sun.  I think that's pretty cool!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Great ideas!

I love this idea to make a bag!  I'm going to add this to my "to do" list!

I also found this project that would be fun to do, especially with kids!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Lowell Mill Girls

One of my teaching assignments this year was history.  I really enjoyed our unit on the industrial revolution, especially the part about the mill girls.  This is a fascinating topic to me.


My students and I had a long conversation about why this part of time was important.  Also we discussed what mill life must have been like.  They also know I like to weave and so we discussed what it takes to produce something small, and how much more it would take to do this in a factory under such grueling conditions.  Someday I would love to be able to tour a museum and learn more about these girls and this period of time. 

Here's a really good video.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

My Pics to Picks pictures

I've been considering my picture choices for the pics to picks (P2P) challenge.  Here are the pictures for my partner, Meg.

I want to include a picture from my home state Arizona.  It is well known as the Grand Canyon State, and for a good reason because it's not only a beautiful place to visit, it's also my favorite vacation spot.  It's such a lovely place to hike, camp, and enjoy nature.  The Grand Canyon has all kinds of beautiful rock layers in it.  There's nothing like standing by the edge and just feeling the wind and looking out into the vast openness. 

My second picture is of my cat Zip.  I have 2 cats that make me laugh everyday with funny little things they do.  I love to watch and listen to them chase each other around the house.  This place wouldn't be the same without them. Zip is such a fluffy and fuzzy kitty!  I love his pink little nose and shades of orange.  He has some neat stripes in his fur.  He has got such a "Mr. Cool" attitude.

And the third is this beautiful picture of clouds.  I love cloud watching!  I also love monsoon season in Arizona.  I love to feel the heavy, thick air and smell the rainy breeze.  It usually a relief when a monsoon rolls in because it cools things off a lot.  There are a lot of senses and emotions in this picture.

The fourth picture I am sending over is this one that is very green from Washington state.  My husband's family lives there and we enjoy visiting a few times a year.  My favorite time to go is summer because everything is so green and thriving compared to the desert life in AZ.  This is a picture of honeysuckle at Liberty Lake.  There is definitely a burst of color in this picture!  I love the little stamens that are sticking out of the flower. 

A little about me:
I love to weave!  I think I was born to weave, but I didn't discover it until just a few years ago.  While growing up, I learned how to make quilts with my mom and wood projects with my dad.  Later when I got married and lived in a tiny apartment, I took up knitting and spinning.  This was when I decided I really wanted to learn to weave, but I had to wait until we moved to a bigger place.  Today I have five looms, ranging in all sizes from inkle to rigid heddle to floor looms.  I can spend days and days in a row with my loom and never tire of it!

Enjoy the pictures!  And good luck!  I can't wait to see your inspirations and plans!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Veggie towel draft modifications

After weaving one towel already, I have made a few changes to the draft so that I don't have to do the skeleton tie-up.  The skeleton-tie up was taking too much concentration!  When I studied the draft really closely, I realized that one pedal tie-up (the lone 7) was not even being used and the 7-8 could be combined with the 1-7-8, so then I was left with exactly 10 pedals!  Perfecto!  So I rewrote out the draft with these changes.  I also re-wrote the draft using only one shade of green, since that is how I'm weaving the colors.

The project is still weaving upside down, and I realize now that it's because I have a jack loom that lifts the shafts up!  I would rather weave it upside down though instead of having to lift pedals 2 through 8!  Lifting seven pedals would be quite heavy!

Another change I have made is to keep the veggies closer together and start them sooner at the bottom so it's more of a motif sequence on one side at the very bottom of the towel.

I would like to try designing my own fruit towels.  Already I have tried designing an apple and cherries.  And I also want to try treadling a tree towel.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Humanitarian Weaving

A friend at work lost her grandmother last week.  I decided that I wanted to giver her a dishtowel, but I wanted it to be more than just that.  So I found this really cute basket to line it with and made some REALLY GOOD banana muffin!  The texture was incredible, but I think it's because I used my Blendtec Total blender, which REALLY IS the World's Best Blender.

Here's the recipe:
1 egg
1/2 olive oil
1/2 tsp vanilla
2-3 bananas
1 tsp cinnamon
dash nutmeg
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
1.5 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt

Optional adds: chocolate chips and/or 3 tbs cocoa powder, nuts, raisins

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Place ingredients in blender jar in order as listed and secure the lid.  Press the button until mixed.  Pour into muffin tins and bake 25 minutes.  Or 4.5"x8.5" loaf pan for 60 minutes.  Remove, cool, and EAT lots.

*** PS. The friend loved the dishtowel!  ***

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Weaving helpers

Such good helpers... sometimes... okay maybe not... they just like to play with the string.  Which is So. Not. Helpful. At. All.

But I can't say "no" to the company.  They are good at that!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Veggie towels progress

Yay! Veggie towels have been started!


While winding on the warp, I noticed one thread that didn't seem to be attached into any heddles.  Fortunately, I had my heddle sequence correct, I just missed putting that one string into the heddle.  So I had to improvise!  And this seems to work just fine!  I have safety pins holding this make-shift heddle onto the metal bars on the shafts and rubber bands in-between held together by another safety pin where the thread enters.   As long as I keep from jostling the warp with the shuttle, the threads don't get caught by the safety pin!  That was easy!


I found these enormous cones of 12/2 cotton at the yarn store.  The color choices were limited, but they were extremely inexpensive!  And it washes up to be SO soft and nice!  12/2 is a fun size to work with.  It makes a thinner feeling towel than 8/2.  Also, I like how you can use 8/2 as the overshot weft with 12/2 as the tabby.  That's what I did with these veggie towels.

When I started weaving them, they didn't look quite right.  Then I realized I had my pedals wrong!  I had the 1 & 8 switched in my mind.  So the designs are weaving on the back.  No worries!  I am going to leave it for this one towel, and then switch them to be correct for the next one so I can enjoy the designs more while weaving! 


They sure are cute!!!  I love them SOOO much!!  I knew when I first saw them I had to make them!!!

I've already sold one of these to a friend!  I can't wait to show it to her.  I believe she's going to send it to an aunt who is having a birthday.  I cut off this first towel and I'm going to give it to her today so she can have time to package it up and send it off.  I can't wait!

Friday, May 13, 2011

A weaving challenge!!!

Did anyone else lose their last few days of posts?  I lost a few, and some comments... :(  So... here is this post AGAIN!

I discovered a really cool weaving challenge at this website!  I'm really glad I was able to find it, because the deadline is on the 16th!  In this challenge, you are partnered up with another weaver and you exchange 3-6 pictures that will be used to inspire your partner's weaving pattern and design.  I am really excited to send my pictures along and excited to see what I get and what I can create from the pictures.  So if you're interested, sign up before Monday!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Bertha Gray Hayes

One of my weaving heroes is Bertha Gray Hayes.  I am just amazed by her miniature overshot patterns.  There is a book with all of her patterns in it, and it's a wonderful book.  If you get a chance to look at it, you will see.  I love the names she gives to her overshot patterns. 

This is her pattern called Lambeth Walk.  It is really crazy in black and white! 

Here's a closer look!  I have this hanging in my classroom at school for the kids to enjoy.  We discuss it during our optical illusions unit.

And this one is Trellis.  I tried 3 different pattern colors for this one, but I like the bright colors the best.  It really modernizes it.  The back is really neat looking, also. 

Back design in one of the other colors.

The colors in this one just don't have enough contrast.

If you want to see more of Bertha's patterns, they located in the August and September 1956 Shuttle-Craft bulletin.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Measuring out the new warp

The warp is measured out for the veggie towels and spaced on the reed!  I'm using 12/2 cotton in the color of hay.  The epi is 27 on a #10 reed, so I did 2-3-3 spacing.  Now all I need to do is get each string into the right heddle, which is a 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-1-8-7-6-5-4-3-2 sequence over and over again.  Then wrap it up onto the back beam and we're ready to rock!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Weaving to the end

I wove right to the end of this warp!  For an 8 yard warp, I got 8.5 towels!  I repeated 2 of my favorite designs at the end, the pinwheel and herringbone patterns. 

I love the way all the towels look after they've been woven and they're waiting on the front beam!  They roll up pretty thick.


And of course it's always fun to see how far across the house they stretch.  This warp goes the length of the living room!  And it gets the cats' attention.  Shoo!!!  Shoo!!!  Keep those claws retracted!


Here's the final project all washed, pressed, and cut apart... they are so pretty!  I love them!  This will be a hard set to separate and give away or sell.  (I think I say that all the time about each set I weave...)


Free patterns for these towels:
Towels 1-4, 7-8
Towel 5
Towel 6

And this is the pattern for the very end half towel, #8.5:

For part of this pattern I used a white weft, which also turned out nice, but I think I like it best with the different colors of weft.