Sunday, November 06, 2016

Lizard Afternoon


My friend Dottie recently took a trip to the Caribbean, and sent back a picture of a lizard climbing up on a deck.  They are as common as squirrels there.


I asked her if I could play with it, work it up into something artsy.    So I cropped it down, and ran it through Topaz Impression with one of the painterly filters, and this was the one I liked.  ;-)

Thanks, Dottie!

Brilliant Bead Markers Hold your Place in a Pattern Repeat


Someone on the 4-Shaft Weaving FaceBook Group came up with this brilliant idea. 
Use number beads to map out the treadling for each row of weaving.  The numbers tell me which shafts I need to raise (or which treadles to push) for each row of weaving.  Rows are separated by a different, smaller non-number bead.  You just work your way across, filling lines of weaving on your cloth, and marking it done by pushing over the next section of beads.  When you're done with a pattern repeat, you just flip all the beads back to one side and start over.

Makes me feel like I'm using an abacus -- which is cool -- even though I never learned how to use an abacus (I'm not that old) as calculators came about in my generation of schooling.

At present, I have the beads strung on a string atop the reed / beater.    This seems to be working well for me.  Though a wire might be easier to thread (those wooden beads are kind of "hairy" inside and the string catches on the rougher wood inside. 

I tried it this afternoon ---  It is such a great help to keep me on track in a pattern repeat.  Less chance of messing up the pattern, but repeating or skipping a line.  And it's so easy to throw the shuttle, and flip the next round of beads to mark your place.  Much easier than trying to follow the index cards, and keep track of where I am on paper.   Although, I'd argue they work together -- Index card for planning and record keeping; Beads for the doing/execution.

It also holds your place if you get interrupted, or have to refill your shuttle, or have to go and eat supper, or see what the dogs are barking at ...  You know exactly where you left off because the beads tell you what's next.   Brilliant!


This is Draft Pattern #14 from my Craftsy Class for Floor Loom Weaving.  
It's called 2/2 Dornick.  
As you can see from the beads above, there are 6 lines to this pattern repeat, and with the bead markers, I don't think I made any mistakes in my sample runs.  Hurray!
And it makes the weaving go fast because I'm not hunting for what I need to do in the next line of weaving.  It's right there on top of the beater bar.  ;-)

I couldn't find number beads at my local craft store, so I bought some generic wooden beads and wrote the numbers on them, as needed.  It's actually much more versatile to work this way.  I'm using a green separator bead (that's what I had in my stash) in between lines. 

Turns out I need to get another round of wooden beads.  The next pattern I wanted to try required more beads than I had!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Shuttles by HandyWoman


This is my birthday present from DH.  I've been looking at HandyWoman's beautiful work for a few month's now.  I decided these are the weaving shuttles I wanted, rather than a fancier and more expensive brand name ...  And I'm tickled that it's a woman doing the wood working.  ;-)


I put my order in on the weekend, and was greeted to these beauties a few days later.  Apparently, she makes the specialty wood shuttles to order.  In my case, I wanted the Brazillian Rosewood boat shuttle and a rigid heddle shuttle for narrower sheds.  On the website, she states these are made of scrap wood -- the one that came is definitely oak.  Very solid!

Kudos to Janet in Texas for making a fine product!


Here's a round of sample weaving with different yarns.
The brown at the bottom is a Lion Brand Homespun in plain weave and 2/2 Twill above that.
The middle yarn in browns and neutrals is a wonderful alpaca someone gave me ...  Same for the blues at the top.   Weaves up beautifully!

I'm learning that all the different shuttles have different uses.  You can only wind so much yarn onto the boat shuttle bobbins.  It may be that the stick shuttles will be the more appropriate tool for weaving yarns.

Here's a detail shot, a little closer in ...

I was also experimenting with using strips of cloth leftover from quilting for weaving rugs.  These strips were cut a variety of widths, and sewn end-to-end.  They compact when you beat the cloth.  They weave up fast -- It won't take long to make a rug when I get down to it.  We set this warp a little wider with rug weaving in mind.  As you can see from above, it seems to do just as well for finer yarns--especially the twills.

 
I signed up for an online class on Floor Loom Weaving at Craftsy.  The teacher is Janet Dawson.  In one of the first lessons, we're learning how to read weaving drafts, the pattern notation.  She gave us several very common drafts to start with.  I used the cheap white walmart yarn above to practice Half Basket (lower half of pic) and Basket Weave (upper half).    I'm amazed at the complete coverage of the half basket weave, and how it completely covers the warp strings.  By the names, and the pictures on the drafts, I would not have expected that.  

Here are a few other weave patterns
Playing with Pointed Twills 

Broken Twill (at the top)
Plain Weave at the bottom -- I'm using that as a seperator between the different weave patterns in this samplar.   Sorry for the blurry image.  The white was harder to photograph.

There are so many variations and possibilities with a 4-shaft loom!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Everyday Inspiration - Earthy Abstracts



Just to show I'm still interested in photography, and that that there's "Inspiration Everywhere," I submit these abstracts found on a Sunday morning from an otherwise mundane source.


These are pretty much straight-outta-the camera with no post production manipulation other than cropping and straightening.  These were NOT run through any filters or apps to create this effect.


Hmmmh ...  This could be a new weave pattern!



Any guesses as to where these might have come from?

Scroll down for the answer ...















A flower vase!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Kessenich Floor Loom is here!

 

It's here!  The Kessenich Floor Loom is here!  Sitting pretty in our guest room ...  Even unrolled the nice woven rugs for its feet. 

I have a mind to clear out everything else possible as THIS BEAUTY is the guest of honor.  That might mean getting a smaller bed for the space, and using this room less for storage.


  

Last weekend, Lynda and I finished warping the loom.   Here the warp strings are running through the heddles of 4 shafts in a very standard set-up.  A set of 4 strings, running through the first set of heddles in all 4 shafts.  We did that all the way across the loom ...   We warped from front to back, as this is what Lynda knows and seems to work well on this particular loom.



Warp tied on in bundles all across the warp beam apron at the back of the loom.

 Warp is secured to the breast beam (bottom of pic) so we don't pull it through while we're winding the warp, and loose all our good work.  The reed makes such lovely order of what looked like a tangled mess while where were working through the process.  Amazingly, all those tangles fell right out as we worked.  

Ta-dah!  All warped.  
We wound on about 8 yards.  Since I need the practice, I didn't want to put on too much.  This is set up for weaving rugs with a "looser" reed.  Since the supposed rags will be course, I didn't need such a fine reed as you'd need for weaving lace or towels.   


We tried a few "test" runs, and it works beautifully -- as Lynda said it would.  Only 2 threading errors, and they were pretty easy to fix.  
From the bottom :
Set 1) The initial runs just to space the strings out evenly for weaving.
Set 2) Common weave
Set 3) 1-3 Twill
Set 4) Common Weave
Set 5) 2-2 Twill

The common weave and the 2-2 Twill will be good for making rugs.




We changed the tie-ups for the treadles so they would make more sense for me, then she showed me 2 versions of Twill that I should be able to weave, along with a simple common weave (which I'm used to on my little loom).    Who-hooh!   


Folded and ready for transport, even with the warp intact.   Secured with a few bungees.


After we folded it up, it JUST FIT in CL's car (for future reference : 43 inches wide x 52 inches tall x 17 deep, folded)  Whew!   There was even room on top for the warping board.
It spent the night in CL's car.  We got back after dark, and didn't want to try and move it without good light.  Too many moving parts. And heavy.

I'm so excited! Now -- what to make first? 

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Spinning at Sabamba


On Saturday, Oct 1, Lynda and I went out to Sabamba Alpaca Farm in DePere, WI,  for their Day-on-the-Farm Open House.   They invited spinners to come and spin fiber into yarns for visitors to see what can be done with the alpaca fibers.  

There were 4 of us spinning under a tent just outside the barn, with the alpacas within site.  It was very Scottish weather yesterday, so we were grateful for the makeshift shelter.    Visitors stopped by to see what we were doing, and to ask questions about spinning, the fibers, etc.  We were happy to explain ...

The 2 ladies from the Fox Valley Spinning Guild who'd been there all day had these Woolee Winder fliers on their spinning wheels.  No hooks on the flier.  Instead the Wollee Winder loop moved up and down the arms of the flier and deposits the yarn onto the spool evenly, so you don't have to stop and move the yarn down the hooks when one section of the bobbin gets full.  Kind of a cool innovation! They sell for about $225 and can be fitted for many different spinning wheels -- including my beloved Louet S90.  I'm not quite convinced I need one yet ... but who knows?  It solved a problem I never knew I had!


Lynda was spinning a swanky "Tail Spin" yarn where she plied curly locks in with 2 strands of yarn.  The idea is that the resulting yarn can look like a swanky 1920s (or would that be 1940s?) collar with the kinky/crimpy locks falling out of the yarn.  Would be a great collar ...    [Sorry--I couldn't get the camera to focus on the locks.]



I was working on a simple yarn from an old bag of angora fiber that I won as a door prize when I first started getting interested in the Fiber Arts way back in 1999 (or so).  It's about time I did something with it!  Very soft creamy fiber to work with.  Maybe I'll even have enough for a hat this winter?

 
Clouds of angora fiber.  Ahhh!  
"Drift away on a fluffy cloud ..."

 

It was neat talking to Sally and Tom Schmidt, the owners.  Although they raise the alpacas, they don't do the "finishing" or crafting the fiber into finished products--although their shop is filled with mittens, hats, gloves, shawls, etc, they send that off to a mill to be made for them.  Lynda has a fleece from Abraham, a beautiful gray alpaca -- who just so happens to love having his picture taken with visitors.  She wanted to get more of his fleece, and was happy to meet the old fellow.   Tom and Sally were genuinely moved to see the gorgeous yarn Lynda had made from Abraham's fleece. 

I was looking for a black fleece to go along with Maggie (Newfie) fur.  Sally did not have any raw fleeces on display or for sale on Saturday, as most of these visitors were looking for finished products for Christmas presents.  Although she did introduce us to Abraham, and the couple of beautiful black alpacas in the herd.  She could easily rattle off their family lines.   Lynda and I will have to go back another day after Sally pulls those fleeces out of storage.  Another road trip!

***********
I also got an invitation to join The Twist of Fate Fiber Arts Group that meets at Menasha Public Library on the 4th Wednesday of each month.   I'm hoping this might replace the whole in my heart when Conversations in Cloth died.  I think they meet in the very same room!

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Threadpainting at Lake Lucerne Quilt Camp 2016 : Part 2


I made progress on several blocks from the Day at Loon Lake Quilt :

Threadpainting the background landscapes from Loon Lake

Threadpainting the Jumping Fish from Loon Lake

 On Friday, I decided to "warm up" by securing some of the fusible appliqued landscapes by using some of the fancy stitches on my machine.  Good thing I brought all my thread boxes, too!





 It's good to test your machine, settings, thread, stitches on a practice piece BEFORE trying to do it on the real thing.  You can see some of the stitches did not like the thinner embroidery thread on the bobbin.  I needed a heavier weight-thread for these fancy stitches -- once I made that change, they stitched beautifully!


Then there's the fish :




 THese are most of the colors I used to thread-paint the jumping fish.
I was glad I brought a long my thread boxes!



 Here's the back-side of the fish, so you can see all the stitching I added AFTER the initial applique.

 Here are the backsides of the landscape pieces.  You can really see the outlines of the stitching without all the color on the front side.

Wild Quilting at Quilt Camp at Lake Lucerne 2016 : Part 1


 Just back from another weekend at The Quilting Friends Quilt Camp at Lake Lucerne.  October is always a lovely time of year to make the drive west of Oshkosh.  Only a few trees starting to turn colors so far ...

I made progress on several projects :

Threadpainting the background landscapes from Loon Lake

Threadpainting the Jumping Fish from Loon Lake

Wild Quilting a Pillow Top (This post)

10-Minute Table Runner (It actually took more like an hour)

Borders on the Disappearing 9-Patch (almost)


 The Wild Quilting Pillow Cover.  A little difficult to photograph as the thread matched the fabric so well--I was going for under-stated here.  The fabric come from a rayon skirt and top that had been nicely dyed by someone.  The waistband of the skirt was toast, though, and not wearable.  But -- oh, what a dye job!






 
Here's the back-side after the quilting was done, but not yet turned into a pillow cover.
I used an old mattress pad for the batting.  
It gives a nice "puff," and it's been well-washed over the years.

This is a project I've been wanting to do ever since I saw The Quilt Rat's pillow ...  and more recently took the online Wild Quilting Class at Craftsy with Christina Camelli. 

Here I was auditioning patterns and designs on a whiteboard BEFORE I tried to stitch them out.



 
Me and Laura Ramseier.  Laura organizes and runs the wkd, along with Jolene Stadler.  I get the distinct honor of sharing a table with Laura.  She is a veteran Quilter, and I so enjoy spending time with her.   I heard all about her chickens -- She's been quilting chickens for years, but now she has 3 live chickens at home -- with a coop and everything!  She made a Carolina Log Cabin quilt last year in honor of her daughter who died too young of breast cancer.  The quilt will be raffled off next month -- I bought some raffle tickets for a chance to win one of Laura's amazing quilts.  ;-)

Here are some scrappy stars for the quilts she was working on this weekend :