Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Painted Skein Becomes Warp - Part II

From this...

To this. (Just the beginning, but I'm liking it so far!)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Handpainted Skeins as Warp

I really like working with handpainted yarn... I really enjoying winding warps and painting them, but, with two kids and too much to do, I just haven't had the time (for about three years, lol!). So, the next best thing is all that lovely handpainted yarn that's already on the market.

When the color changes are relatively subtle, I just wind my warp as I normally would. When the skein is one of those really yummy, non-repeating, contrast-y ones, though, you run into the Cat Barf problem, as pointed out by Syne Mitchell in this Weavezine article. The handy-dandy Bonus Content to the article describes a nice way of working with non-symmetrical skeins. I had one of those - Why didn't I think of that?! Doh! - moments when I read the article...

Here's a picture of a painted skein being wound into a warp using Syne's method:

The skein I'm winding here is about 50" around, and I need about 100" for one of my scarves, so that worked out just right. I basically made a big 100" diameter circle with the yarn, making a cross on the left side. Any longer and I would need a lot bigger warping board!

Here's the cross. Looks weird, doesn't it? But since I generally warp front to back anyway, it's really the same thing. I'll just cut it a bit above or below the cross (haven't decided yet) and proceed as I normally do.

One thing I did notice is this:

The yarn tends to get a bit out of whack as I wind. But that's actually just fine. I wound the skein all onto the pegs and then I just sort of tugged/slid those upper, misaligned yarns back to where I wanted them:

Easy! They slid very nicely along their path, nothing tangled, and now the colors are placed more or less how I want them (I may have to mess about with a little more, but I like this so far.) (And pardon my messy dining room - it's basically a project room for Bella and me at this point...)

Just one more picture:

A bunch of scarves, hanging on the upstairs railing to finish drying. Right up above them (not in the picture) is bottom of the new sun tunnel that was put in when we got our roof replaced. I love it -the upstairs landing is now the brightest place in our little Cape!

Obviously I'm way behind on photographing/listing things on Etsy and 1000Markets. Ah well, it's summer, it's slow season for me. (And, yes, I do need to finish painting the stairwell... It never ends, lol!) Open Studios this Saturday, though, and I'm trying to weave like mad to have inventory for the Boston Ahts Festival in September as well as the big Lowell Open Studios, etc.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Tying On - Efficient or Not?

I've always kind of wondered whether tying on a new warp onto an old warp is actually a time-saver or not... I don't often repeat weave structures from project to project (short attention span), but I'm in the midst of doing just that:

I finished up one set of turned Ms and Os scarves (neutrals) and decided to do another set (in greens/browns), so, there it is - tied onto the previous warp. I just hold the yarns together so the ends line up and tie an overhand knot with both threads acting as one, if that makes sense. The knots didn't slip at all.

A slight hitch in the process - my first warp didn't have a whole heck of a lot left over, so I tied my warp bar (temporarily, lol) to the fourth shaft on my little Harrisville loom, just to take the tension off the yarn and hold it in place while I tied on in front of the reed.

I timed the whole warping process for both sets - and, surprise, surprise, it actually took about 15 minutes *longer* to tie on than to just start over entirely! Interesting.

A couple caveats - I can do this threading more or less in my sleep. I'm also a relatively quick threader, from what I've seen (hard to tell, of course). But, I did come to the conclusion that for smaller projects and projects that I can whiz through the threading, tying on doesn't make sense for me.

For larger projects with more complex threading (like the 16s advancing twill on my Weavebird), I would probably tie on if I were repeating a design, even if it takes a long time, just because it eliminates all possibility of threading errors.

Anybody else try this little experiment? I'd love to hear if it's faster for you. Maybe I'm just incredibly slow at tying all those knots!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Summer Daisies

Can you tell it's summer in my little garden? (Cone flowers, love them.)

The daylillies are incredible this year! Tons of scapes because of all the rain... (I need to deadhead!)

Bella standing next to her inspiration flowers...

And here is the present for Baby Daisy! Bella drew the pictures, then I embroidered it on muslin and made it into a pillow...

And her is the darling Daisy herself, completely charming her Tio Carlos (aka Mr. Skiingweaver). (If anybody wants to see a couple more photos from our trip to Brooklyn, I'll be putting them up on my Facebook page... I didn't take very many because I am lame, lame, lame!).

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

More photos of the Weavebird Project

Finally managed some more photos of the 16s advancing twill project. I'm still not completely happy with how they came out (I'll be redoing them!) - purples are so hard to photograph sometimes and the natural light has *not* been cooperative lately.

The scarf shades from deep purple at the edges through blue, teal, a couple shades of green, to a yellow-ish green in the middle (and then back again). I'm thinking of doing a warm colorway next (reds and oranges and yellows)...

A bit more detail, here:

Hung up in the common area of the Fourth Floor at Western Avenue Studios, just for fun:

Yup, the color more or less disappeared on this shot, but you can get a sense of the repeat this way (212 ends! how fun!).

And, lest we forget that four shaft looms can be an awful lot of fun, too, here's the project that's currently on my little loom at home:

Some sampling to begin (just a little - the warp here is SeaSilk and is *insanely* expensive!) - I settled on a silvery 20/2 silk for the weft, and am combining these nice little waves with diamonds for the center 30" or so of the scarf.

I'm also completely dying to post photos of a fun collaborative project that Bella and I are working on for Ms. Daisy (my next-to-newest niece and Bella's next-to-newest cousin, lol) - but I can't because her Mom reads my blog sometimes and I don't want to give it away! Working on *another* project for brand-brand-new great-niece Ms. Kathryn (born on July 5!), too... I'll post photos of both once they're no longer surprises.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Incan Bridges - Recreated by MIT Students

I have run across this rather neat article a couple of times, so I thought I'd share it (combines weaving and my alma mater!). I'm not sure how to post the article in it's original format here - but you can read it here if you want to.

The Last Handwoven Bridge, Rebuilt by MIT

Dylan Thuras is a guest blogger on Boing Boing. Dylan is a travel blogger and the co-founder of the Atlas Obscura: A Compendium of the World's Wonders, Curiosities, and Esoterica, with Joshua Foer.

When conquistadors arrived from Spain they were shocked. Spanning vast canyons, and longer than any existing European or Roman bridge was a type of bridge which they had never seen before: an Incan suspension bridge. Today only one example remains.

Made of woven grass, the bridge spans 118 feet, and hangs 220 feet above the canyon's rushing river. The Incan women braid small thin ropes which are then braided again by the men into large support cables, much like a modern steel suspension bridge. Handwoven bridges lasted as long as 500 years and were held in very high regard by the Inca. The punishment for tampering with one was death.

Over time, however, the bridges decayed, or were removed, leaving this single testament to Incan bridge engineering. This previously sagging bridge is now repaired each year, and christened with a traditional Incan ceremonial bridge blessing. The bridge is in extremely good condition and is a perfect location for all of us wishing to indulge in long harbored Indiana Jones fantasies.

Though the Spanish tried many times to build stone arch bridges all were failures until steel and iron bridges were introduced to the mountainous Peruvian countryside. Today the rope suspension bridges are being studied, and even recreated by MIT students. The students made a 60-foot-long version of the Incan bridge which was stretched between two campus buildings.

More on the Atlas here, more on the story of the bridge here, and about the MIT recreation of the bridge here and slideshow here.


Man, wish I had discovered classes like this when I was an undergrad!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Camping, Recital, Rain, Roofers... And My First Weavebird Project

My card reader is working again! Hooray! (Was having trouble reading the memory card from my camera, and I just don't like posting photo-less blog entries.) So, brace yourselves, lots of photos to follow (including a weaving-related one at the end!).

Our campsite at Pawtuckaway State Park (everybody in jammies still) - we were right on the water! A mama duck with eight ducklings would visit every day - and we saw tons of egrets and heard loons and built a campfire every night, it was lovely. Apart from the rain (every day except one). And the fact that I came down with a terrible flu that basically knocked me out for 10 days (mostly at home).

The kids loved having the water right there - and nobody fell in!

Home again, and it was time for Bella's dance recital...

(These pictures are actually from the Dress Rehearsal - but she did wonderfully both days!)

And, we went to Kimball's Ice Cream with Ginga (my Mum) after the recital. Yum! (Isn't that a cute bag she's carrying?)

Notice the sun? About the only days it has been sunny for the entire month of June have been Saturdays, it's been awful! We are getting our roof replaced (as I type they're up there banging away) and we've been waiting forever - we signed the contract in May. Crazy. The poor roofers must be losing their shirts because of the weather!

And, finally, something weaving-related. I had to use my flash, so the picture doesn't really capture the colors, I don't think, but this is my first project from my Weavebird, going into the sink to be washed - it's a 16-shaft advancing twill (with a 212-shot treadling repeat!!) - in bamboo.

I figured I had enough to get used to on the first project (Texsolv heddles, which I like, very quiet), an overhead beater (which I also like, just a bit different motion to get used to, but also very easy), and a new treadling method (because the Weavebird is a compudobby - my brain kept expecting an open shed on both treadles, lol, but, no, one open the shed, the other closes it). So I stuck with a familiar yarn - Bambu7 sett at 20 epi for the twill - and am really happy with the end result.

I was a little afraid that I would find weaving on a compudobby a bit boring - I've always enjoyed the physical action of treadling, it reminds me of playing the organ, which I did sometimes back in the dark ages of my youth - but I loved it! The colors and pattern were just so much fun to look at, I didn't get bored at all. I've got enough warp left to do another scarf in this colorway, I'm hoping to get in to the studio sometime after the 4th...

Speaking of which - Happy 4th of July to everyone! Here's hoping for sunny weather for us Northerners and a bit of a cool-down for the South!