Thursday, June 22, 2017

Weaving a Peaceful Rhythm in Double Weave

I am so enjoying the process of weaving this Double Weave color gamp, that I decided it would be fun to make a video so you could see the motion, and the yarns changing with the sheds.

Once again, weaving becomes a mindful moving meditation for me. I am truly grateful to have this in my life for mental health and creative reasons.   ;-)

This video is shot from above, as I wove in a lavender color.

I am using the dark brown beads to keep track of how many rows in this set.  1 bead gets pushed over after completing the sequence below.  1 bead equals 2 rows (back and forth; top and bottom layers).  There are 12 beads, which tells me I've woven 24 rows when the sequence is completed.

The Treadles are tied up as follows :
      Treadle 1 : Shaft 1
      Treadle 2 : Shaft 2
      Treadle 3 : Shafts 1+2
      Treadle 4 : Shafts 3+4
      Treadle 5 : Shaft 3
      Treadle 6 : Shaft 4

The treadle pattern is as follows :
      Shot 1 : Treadle 1    Left to Right         (Top Layer)
      Shot 2 :  Treadle 2    Right to Left        (Top Layer)
      Shot 3 :  Treadles 3+5  Left to Right    (Bottom Layer)
      Shot 4 : Treadles 3+6  Right to Left     (Bottom Layer)

This video is shot from the side so you can see the different sheds opening to allow access to either the top of bottom layers of fabric.  This time I am weaving in a burgundy color yarn.

The weaving goes fast.  It doesn't take long to do 24 pics of any one color.

Peaking through to bottom layer
I can't really see how the bottom layer is progressing -- I only get small glimmers of the colors laying down together.

The fold side where the colors change.

Shafts 1+2 weave the top layer of cloth, while shafts 3+4 weave the bottom later with the fold on the right side.

I'm also getting pretty good at fixing broken warp strings.  Here are a few of the new strands hanging off the back beam and weighted to hold tension even with the rest of the warp. 

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Time : Week 19 Let's Do 52


I had several ideas for this prompt. 

Timeless Cinema
A few weeks ago, the local Time Cinema, an old movie theatre downtown, played one of my all-time favorite movies : Legend with Mia Sara, Tom Cruise and Tim Curry.  It came out when I was in high school in the 1980s.  It's a film that stands the test of time!  I was hoping to get a shot of the marquee with Legend listed, but by the time we came out, they'd already changed it for the next old movies they'd be showing.  I guess Casablanca is timeless, too.

RAVAGES OF TIME - to an old barn

I am participating in Denise Love's 2017 "Let's Do 52 : 52 Weeks of Photo Prompts" to kick start the lull in my photography.   If you'd like to join us, find out more at the link above.  The more the merrier!

Friday, June 16, 2017

2 Cathedral Window Table Toppers for France

 Cathedral Windows Table Topper for France - Hot Set

I needed a few more gifts to bring to France this summer when we visit CL's family there.

Cathedral Windows Table Topper for France - Cool Se

This is from a kit at Nancy's Notions.  You can get a complete kit (with fabrics, batting and backing), or just the pre-cut fast-fusible applique.  IMHO, it's totally worth buying the pre-cut applique.  It's very difficult and tedious to try to cut out that stained glass pattern by hand -- even harder to keep it all even and straight.

I may do some more stitching on it before we make the trip.  

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Weaving Again ... After All This Time

Finally!  The new 12-dent stainless steel reed came (Thanks to The Woolery who shipped it out the day after I ordered it.  Boo to Webs who promised much more than they could deliver -- I'd still be waiting for it in July, 3 months after the initial order.)

My husband cut off the excess (see the separate post on that process) part of the reed.  We installed the new reed, and Lynda helped me finish warping the Shetland wool color gamp.   2 strings run through each slit in the 12-dent reed.  Originally, I was going to use a 10-dent reed with 4 strings running through each slit in the reed, but Lynda and I concluded that would cause problems, as this wool likes to stick to itself, and we thought that it would be a good way to felt it right on the loom--bad idea.  So we opted for the 12-dent to give us a little more room to work with.

We set up the treadles optimally for doing double weave (according to Jennifer Moore); We got the tension all worked out, and threw the initial shots.  And ...   to my utter amazement and sheer delight ...  It worked!
 Left side of double weave, with top layer folded over to make bottom layer visible.

2 layers of fabric with a join on the right side.  I'll need to be careful with that join area so I don't wind up with a gap or a line :

The Fold.

I set up my bead system to help me remember where I am in the treadling sequence.  [This brilliant idea came from the 4-shaft Weaving FaceBook Group.]  Since I only have a 4-shaft loom, this is only going to be common weave.  If I had more shafts to work with (or a wider weaving space, it could have been in a twill or tweed or other fancy weave structure pattern.  In practice, this sequence is relatively easy to remember.  I haven't been using the beads with each throw.

I set up a 2nd string of darker beads to help me track what pic I'm on.  This project requires 24 pics of each color, amounting to 2 inches of fabric.   1 sequence of the treadling pattern equals 2 lines of weft, therefore I have only 12 beads instead of 24.  It doesn't take long to do 24 pics.

And I'm getting pretty good at fixing broken warp with the T-pin method.


It's easier to DO double weave,  than to explain it, so I may post a video of the process.  Stay tuned!

At long last, I'm weaving again!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

My Choice : Week 25 Let's Do 52

My Choice - Abstract Textures
It's no secret I am a lover of textures and patterns.
This photo was taken at The Little Farmer last fall--a lace in Fond du Lac, WI,  with an apple orchard, and wonderful caramel apples.

 Me and Vicki last Fall at Little Farmer

It's the place where my friend Vicki and I have been going to celebrate Fall. 
The old roofing shingles are on the side of their apple shed, along with the top of an apple basket.
You can see the same apple basket cover on the wall just behind us and over to the right.

I am participating in Denise Love's 2017 "Let's Do 52 : 52 Weeks of Photo Prompts" to kick start the lull in my photography.   If you'd like to join us, find out more at the link above.  The more the merrier!

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Creative Framing : Week 13 Let's do 52

Polaroid Snapshot treatment of this previously-posted pic crackled leaf.

I am participating in Denise Love's 2017 "Let's Do 52 : 52 Weeks of Photo Prompts" to kick start the lull in my photography.   If you'd like to join us, find out more at the link above.  The more the merrier!

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Quiet : Week 23 Let's Do 52

Sophie the Newfie Puppy in a Quiet Moment

Here's the original photo.

With 40 years of living with beautiful BIG black dogs, I know how hard it is to get good pictures of them.  They often look like a puddle of black where all detail gets lost. 

Photo Processing :
Layer 1) Original background photo with a few small repairs
Layer 2) Copy Layer 1 - Silver Efex Pro2 - Neutral B/W - Normal Blend Mode 100%
Layer 3) Copy Layer 1 > RadLab : Orange You Glad + EZBurn + Edge Blue + Bilk n Cookies B/W + Montecito - Normal Blend Mode 50%
Layer 4) Crop out bottom part of carpet.

No additional textures added to this one.  Just playing with the lights and shadows.

I am participating in Denise Love's 2017 "Let's Do 52 : 52 Weeks of Photo Prompts" to kick start the lull in my photography.   If you'd like to join us, find out more at the link above.  The more the merrier!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Bokeh-Macro : Weeks 21 and 22 Let's Do 52

Bokeh/Blur and Macro : Tomatillo Husk

1 step away from the compost bucket.  
Too pretty to let go of just yet. 

I am participating in Denise Love's 2017 "Let's Do 52 : 52 Weeks of Photo Prompts" to kick start the lull in my photography.   If you'd like to join us, find out more at the link above.  The more the merrier!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Hand Made Boat Shuttles for Weaving

I think it's time I admitted I've become a collector of weaving shuttles -- So many woods, so many shapes and each one serves a purpose.  Some work better than others on the looms I have.  But you don't know until you try them out.  ;-)

One of the things I greatly enjoy about weaving is that you can make some of your own tools--which I have done at times.

My friend Lynda let me borrow a boat shuttle made from a dogwood tree on her father's property.  The shuttle is special to Lynda because she made it with her Dad, and it fits perfectly in her hands.  Dogwood has traditionally been used to make weaving shuttles because it's hard -- it literally takes a beating and develops a fine polish just by passing through the shed created by the open warp strings to weave a line.

Since I've had it in my possession, I've been studying it ---  Trying to figure out how I could make one myself.  It looks simple enough -- hollow out the middle, cut out/shape the ends, sand it down and finish it off.   I've been making stick buttons simply enough, getting comfortable with the table saw and the drill press, and the chosen finishes.  I took measurements, drew it out, looked for other shuttles online -- nothing is quite like this one in shape or width.  Looked for hardwoods I might want to work with ...   Mmmmmh!  There is some gorgeous wood out there!  Even the blanks are expensive, though.  There are other designs too, where you'd glue different types of wood together for a layered effect.

There are the competing ideas of using a piece of exotic hardwood from some far off rain forest, and using something from my own yard, or my Dad's woods (like Lynda did with the dogwood).

This would require getting a band saw ($400), and learning to use it.  Learning to use a router; working up multiple practice pieces before I get it right; Working out a pattern.  Lots of wasted time and wood, and frustration.  (Here I go back to that poor little misshapen birdhouse I made in shop class in junior high -- Ugh!)  I'd need a better way to do the sanding, too.  And I could easily get carried away buying beautiful wood blanks to have yet another stash of raw materials I never get around to using.  And the finishing is always messy.

Another Option : I could also contract with a wood worker (local or via the internet ) and commission exactly what I'm looking for.  

I finally concluded that:
  • Dogwood is hard to come by these days.  You can't really purchase it online.  You pretty much have to know someone who has a dogwood tree that's dying, and is willing to give you a chunk before they burn it up for firewood.
  • There are many artisan woodworkers out there making BEAUTIFUL weaving shuttles, like these :
Padauk Boat Shuttle by Maximum Warp
Padauk Boat Shuttle by Maximum Warp - back view
Padauk Boat Shuttle by Maximum Warp - side view
    • George Jagger at Maximum Warp in Ottawa, Canada, made this beautiful boat shuttle out of this red Padauk wood from South Africa.  I have a special place in my heart for Padauk, that's why I ordered this one in particular. 

    • HandWoven Design 

    • Bluster Bay Woodworks 
    • I bought this Bluster Bay mustasche profile boat shuttle at Wool Gatherers in Fond du Lac.  It was something I wanted to feel in my hands before investing the $$.  Obviously I decided it's worth it, since I brought it home with me!  It has a wonderful finish and a nice weight to it.  This one is Black Cherry.  I really like the feel of it -- and of course the beauty of the wood.
    • Jim Hockett
    • HandyWoman     Janet Fox makes nice entry-level and practical shuttles for weaving.  She seems to cater to the rigid heddle crowd -- the looms that suck in the knitters who have a big yarn stash.   I have a few Handy Woman shuttles already!   The red one is Brazilian Rosewood and the wider one is oak, designed for rigid heddle looms that may have a narrow shed opening.  These shuttles have a rougher finish, not quite so smooth, but they are certainly functional!  Handy Woman offers a wide variety of wood choices and shuttle styles.  Keep looking back at her website, as her stock and styles turn over quite rapidly.  She is very reasonably priced, too.
  • These woodworkers have already mastered their craft.  Why not support them?  
  • It would be cheaper in the long run to purchase a handmade beautifully-crafted boat shuttle (or several), than to tool-up, learn the skills, and make my own.
  • Unless I want to start a new hobby ...   
  • Vintage 1980s SHUTTLE
  • I picked up this like new "vintage" shuttle on eBay.  Funny to think about anything from the 1980s being vintage, as that's when I was a teenager.  I guess that makes me vintage, too!
  • And this beauty!  Antique hardwood weaving shuttle from the 1800s--another eBay find.  It's been well-used through the years, but is still in good shape.  It's got a nice patina on it.  I'm pretty sure this one is dogwood.    I am certainly planning to use this one myself!
    After I cleaned it up, and gave it a restorative coat of revitalizing oil, I discovered these little stars on the handles, and some indents for thumbs.  Very nice detail!  Not sure if the thumb prints were built in, or put there with constant use?  
    • This is the one that came with my current floor loom.  It's about 2 inches wide, and feels good in my hand.  It's big enough that it stays straight and true when I throw it through the shed.  I'm not sure of the brand, but Lynda assured me it was a top-of-the-line hardwood shuttle.  It looks like there was a label inside the bobbin case, but it has fallen off through years of good use.  Who knows : I might already own a dogwood shuttle!  Anyone recognize this one by brand?
    I might still be motivated to make one of my very own weaving shuttles some day.  Let my Dad and Unca Ray pick a good specimen from the woods (Cherry or Maple or Apple or even Pear).   But now I won't be paralyzed with ruining an expensive piece of exotic wood with my amateur attempts to learn the craft and get it right.  There are parts of woodworking I love -- the smell of fresh cut sawdust; seeing the wood come alive with the right finish.   There are parts I hate : Sanding, finishing.

    And still-- there are many designs floating around in my head ...  This might not be the end it! 

    And still -- I'd rather be weaving!  Actually -- that's the trouble.  I'm still waiting for the new 12-dent reed to come.  It's currently on back order at who now says it won't be back in stock until July!   Since I've already been waiting 3 weeks for it, I cancelled that order, and ordered it from The Woolery instead.  They mailed it out on the very same day.  They have excellent customer service!

    So instead of twiddling my thumbs, I've been surfing the web for gorgeous weaving implements.  
    I think I'm done for a while, though!

    This reminds me of the scene from Detectorists were Lance is telling the story about the guy who started collecting cacti, and soon had to move out of his place into a bigger house -- just for his growing cacti collection.  

    Monday, May 15, 2017

    Long Exposure : Week 20 Let's Do 52

    Long Exposure

    I realize Denise might have been trying to get us to work with the settings on our cameras and literally try some long exposure with this prompt ...  I also know how much she appreciates old and abandoned sites, as she finds some wonderful textures there.

    I took a walk this wkd and found this barn, long-exposed to the elements.  As you can see, it is not aging well.  No one is taking care of it anymore.  No one can afford to.  I'm sure the next time I go by, it will have completely collapsed, or been bulldozed to make way for a new home.

    Photo Processing :
    Layer 1) Old Barn Pic
    Layer 2) Jerry Jones Texture Photo Grunge #4 - Multiply 100% (to fix the blown out sky)
    Layer 3) Copy Layer 2 - Overlay 43% (to brighten it up a bit)

    Here's another -- more stormier version.  The main difference is a purple stormy texture :

    I am participating in Denise Love's 2017 "Let's Do 52 : 52 Weeks of Photo Prompts" to kick start the lull in my photography.   If you'd like to join us, find out more at the link above.  The more the merrier!

    Sunday, May 14, 2017

    Fiber Frolic Spring 2017

    Lynda and I went on tour for the Rites of Spring 2017 Fox Valley Fiber Frolic last wkd.

    We started with Lindago Alpaca Farm, not far from Lynda's house.  Lindago has a large needle punch felting machine, and they will allow people to rent time on it for $20 / hour.  Lynda is looking forward to working with this machine.  She and Linda from Lindago may be offering some needle punch felting classes in the near future ...

    At Lindago, I got a very reasonably-priced 1/2-batt of black alpaca fiber mixed with sheep's wool.  She said it was 2nd rate, and that was why it was so cheap.  In my mind, it's soft, already carded, clean, and suitable for my purposes.  I'm still looking for something to mix with the very fine Maggie Newfie fur and Keba fur so I can spin it.  This looks to be about the right color black.

    I also got this lovely pair of fingerless gloves made by "Elizabeth" at Classic Alpaca, though Fair Trade.

    Then we trekked out to Sabamba Alpaca Farm with B&B.  Lynda wanted another grey fleece from Abraham.  I am so enjoying spinning the alpaca roving I got there last fall, that I wanted more ...  No roving this time, but I did get a nice creamy soft fleece from "Zak."  The nice thing about the alpaca fleeces is that I don't have to wash them, like sheep fleeces (unless they are really dirty).  Alpaca fleeces don't have the lanolin / sunt (sheep sweat) that the sheep fleeces have.

    Mrs. Sabamba had a bag of a prize-winning fleece there with the scorecard from the last competition.  Very impressive.  She explained to us about the crimp.  Their fleeces tend to have a longer staple length, and if the crimp goes the whole length of the lock, you know it was a happy alpaca.  If they lose the crimp at any stage, you can tell that they were stressed in some way.  Very interesting.

    Just like big dogs ... sort of.

    Self Portrait : Week 16 Let's Do 52

    Apple Blossom Tattoo - Self Portrait
    I used one of my own textures for the background.

    A lot of photographers seem to relish being BEHIND the camera, not in front of it.  Even I am not all that comfortable seeing pictures of myself (Who IS that person?), so the idea of doing a self-portrait is fraught with issues.

    I know there's a whole movement of people doing selfies on their smart phones.  Ironically, that camera eye on my iPhone was damaged probably in removing/installing its protective shell/case.  So I can't easily do Selfies.  No great loss!

    A few weeks ago, there was something circulating on FaceBook about a photographer who takes pictures of people BEHIND the things they love.  You never see their faces, as the thing they love covers the face. 

    Still shy ...

    Still shy ...

    Did I mention I also like rust?  
    Here I am hiding behind a metal garden sculpture made by Lee Smith.

    All right -- You wanted to see the real me.  Here I am ...

    I am participating in Denise Love's 2017 "Let's Do 52 : 52 Weeks of Photo Prompts" to kick start the lull in my photography.   If you'd like to join us, find out more at the link above.  The more the merrier!

    Saturday, May 13, 2017

    DYI Dizzy Diz

    Simple Diz made of Lilac Wood

    I also a very simple Diz.  What the heck is a diz, you ask?  It's basically a 1/4-inch hole that you pass combed or carded fiber through to make roving -- which makes it easier for spinning into yarn.  Usually, I just spin from the batts made on my carder, and skip the dizzing step.  But I was recently reminded how spinning from roving is even easier.

    My friend Lynda was lamenting that she had all this fiber, but no way to turn it into roving, which would make it easier to dye.  Lucky I took that spinning class 20 years ago!  There, I learned about dizzes -- You can buy fancy ones, but why?  All it is is a hole -- In the class, I remember I made a very simple diz by cutting the corner off of a recycled tofu container.  Worked great back then!

    2 dizzes - Side view and top view. Very simple made from recycled tofu containers. 

    This time, I took a few of the larger Lilac rounds, and drilled 2 sizes of holes for different gauges of roving.  This will work fine for me, though Lynda may want a larger bored hole for thicker / denser roving.

    Anything with a 1/4-inch hole will work.  a button or a bead, or a wooden wheel off of a child's toy. Lynda may even end up using a recycled water bottle or milk jug with the bottom cut off to get the wider bore she'll need for denser roving.  The shape will also help to funnel the fiber into the whole and get the fibers going in the same direction. 

    Here are some fancier dizzes. Just so you can see what else is out there.

    And this is how you use it :
    How to Prepare Wool Fiber with a Diz  This one show using the diz with a hackle :

    How to Prepare Wool Fiber with a Diz

    A diz is used when making a combed top. It is a disc or oval made of wood, plastic, or cardboard with a 1 to 2 i...

    Spinning a batt- Dizzing

    I demonstrate dizzing a batt into roving to spin. Learn More at