Double Weave V-Shawl

I tried something new on my Artcraft table loom. I attended my first weaving guild meeting with the Duneland Weavers in January. Someone brought in some left over wool weaving yarn remnants to share. I grabbed up 2 different shades of turquoise and some black yarn wound on cones. I also got a pre-wound ball of a finer (perhaps 22/2) black wool yarn.

The yarn was a very fine Jaggerspun merino/silk blend. This is perhaps some of the nicest stuff I’ve worked with to date. I saw a video on Youtube showing the process of weaving a V-shaped shawl using double-weave and found this the perfect opportunity to give it a try.

The cloth is woven in 2 layers up until the warp has about one wrap left on the back bend. Each end is then snipped from the back beam one at a time and passed through the sheds as a weft. This creates a cool biased plaid effect.

The weaving went pretty simply. The warp was made using random stripes of the colors I got from the guild meeting. The only consideration I made with patterning was making sure that each stripe had an even number of ends so that both layers of the shawl would match. I pretty much used all of the yarn on the cones and am left with a small amount of the black weft yarn.  The loom was threaded as a straight 1,2,3,4 threading and sleyed at 15epi with 2 ends in each slot to accommodate the double woven fabric.  I added some handspun grey wool yarn to lighten the colorway.

This shawl was pretty simple to weave once the layers were established with a (1); (3);  (1, 2,3); (1,3,4) treadling. As a beginner I still don’t know why this works, but it just does. The selvages on the bottom layer were a little inconsistent (but serviceable) because it was kind of out of sight and out of mind a lot of the time.

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Stick shuttles worked best for the narrow sheds. (I taped the end of one so that I would not mix up my weft layers)

I wove this a few hours at a time in the evenings after work and was finished in about 7 days. I found it easiest to use stick shuttles which were less cumbersome than the boat shuttle and let me weave longer without having to advance the warp so often. I also liked that the stick shuttles could hold a lot more yarn than my boar shuttle bobbins. A little tape at the end of one of my shuttle helped me prevent mixing up the weft when weaving the layers.

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Warp used as weft for double woven V-shawl

I thought it was tough to remember which shed was supposed to be opened for the warp-as-weft weaving section. I had to treadle the pattern backwards and remember what shed I was on after walking to the back of the loom to snip the warp threads. I basically wove this part standing up. It might have been more exhausting having to walk around to the back of a floor loom to snip hundreds of threads, one at a time.

The ends of the v-shawl were finished by hemming them into a V-shape.

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Hemmed ends of v-shaped shawl

The trimmed fabric was used to make a slouchy hat to match.

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woven slouchy hat

All in all I’m pretty happy with the result although I don’t know if I’ll weave another any time soon.

Just off the loom: hand-dyed wool, natural colored cotton yardage

So, I am just having all sorts of fun weaving these days. I am really happy with how my handspun, hand dyed/ natural grey wool wrap turned out. It is really soft. I ended up braiding the fringe and adding beads. I left little loose tufts on the fringe. I think it adds character and reminds me of the playful nature of the yarn.

I warped and wove the full 15″ width of my Leclerc Dorothy loom with most of my remaining handspun colored cotton. Oh my goodness!! I love, love, love the feel of the fabric. Believe it our not I have never handled handspun, hand woven cotton fabric before. It has a certain wild yet lush quality to it. I plan to use it for clothing. It was fun just weaving bobbin after bobbin not worrying about the pattern. I just pulled random colors out of my basket and wove till I was finished.

My Dorothy loom only holds 4.5 yards of warp. I was amazed at the shrinkage of the cotton. My finished cloth was 4 yards 5 inches. After washing it was 3 yards 23 inches!

For what it’s worth, I do not own a bobbin winder and my shuttle only came with one plastic bobbin. Not to be deterred, I made some bobbins out of packing paper and wound them using a pencil with masking tape on one end affixed to my spinning wheel. Works like a charm.

 

I also put a warp on my Kromski rigid headle loom. This one is just some clearance navy cotton yarn I felt like using up paired with a tan/gold recycled sari silk that is too close to my skin color to look good on my without a contrasting color. There was only enough cotton warp for about 2 yards of fabric. The pattern is a very simple weft float using a pickup stick.

 

 

 

A Spinners Milestone: Weaving with Handspun Yarn

I have been spinning yarn since 2005. My first experience with the luxury of working with natural fibers was after winning a gift certificate to Evelise’s Yarn Shop at the Berrien County Youth Fair . An Afghan that I had crocheted with acrylic yarn won Reserved Grand Champion.  With the gift certificate I bought my first designer yarn, a black cotton, and a pattern for a beaded crochet handbag. The bag was a success and I was in love.

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My first bag made with fancy commercial cotton yarn. Still sparkling after 16 years.

 

Unfortunately I could not afford to buy more natural yarns. I was over the cheapo acrylic and so I stopped crocheting. At college the following year I gained new hope of acquiring “good” yarn when a professor at my university did a show and tell with spinning equipment. I became fixed on the idea of spinning my own yarn.

Online I ordered a kit that came with a book , Spin It by  Lee Raven and 1oz of roving. The book had instructions on how to make a spindle out of a CD. With a pencil, CD, and the small bit of sliver I became a spinner. Shortly afterwards I learned to knit.

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The book that started it all.

I knitted a lot of lace shawls with my handspun. I love making them but that was all I would do with my yarn.  After a while I had way more yarn than projects I wanted to knit up. I kind of got bored.

For the longest time (12 years!) I was so afraid that my yarn wouldn’t be strong enough to weave with, especially my cotton. It was only safe to crochet with it.

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Crochet shawl made from hanspun cotton dyed with tumeric. The pattern is Moondrop by Lori Carlson published in Interweave crochet Winter 2016

A few years ago I had crocheted a ruffled throw with my natural colored cotton  See it here that I wasn’t all that happy with. I just kept crocheting in a round until I had used up all of the different colors of cotton in my stash. After a while it started to come apart  where I doubled the stitch count. I decided that I had nothing to lose by unraveling the throw to reuse the yarn for weaving.

I warped random colors on my Leclerc Dorothy table loom that I bought in my college days. With a simple plain weave I slowly but surely realized that my worries were unfounded. Without any special treatment I was able to weave an eclectic little scarf. Oh the new possibilities!

This week I met a new milestone. I am now using my handspun to weave!

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Finished handspun, handwoven natural colored cotton scarf. I’m in love!

Not wanting to lose momentum I decided to unravel a shawl I knit from handspun wool. I alternated a painted handspun with a natural gray that proved to be scratchy against my skin. The pattern was just mindless, uninspired blah. I wouldn’t miss it. Finding a darker grey rambouillet yarn in my handspun stash that was nice and soft  I began warping my Dick Blick Art Craft table loom. Sadly the loom sat untouched for 6 years. I found it at a garage sale in Amish country for $125 and thought it was too fine of a machine to pass up.

So far so good. I am looking forward to doing more with my handspun.

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Handspun wool weaving in progress. I am using stick shuttles because they give me more weaving space on a table loom.

 

Here I Go Again: Still Weaving

So, now I’m dusting all of my weaving supplies off again. It’s been a long time. I really haven’t used the inkle loom I bought as a college student since I was in college. Sad, sad, sad. Welp, here I go again.

I had so much fun weaving the strap for my new drawstring backpack that I decided to wind  a warp and get weaving. I had been meaning to try out the pattern that came with Jacquetta Nesbitt’s Supplementary warp patterning video lesson so I copied the pattern down and wound a warp with #10 crochet cotton. The technique was still fresh in my memory since it is the same method that I was using to weave the Lithuanian sashes. I love picking up and dropping threads while watching the pattern emerge.  Oh, and that swiping sound the beater makes when I secure the weft thread to lock the pattern in, like music.

 

It’s a work in progress. The yarn I used makes a band only half the width of the sample on the tutorial due to my yarn choice. It is only 1.5inches wide. But hey, who cares? I’m having fun. Lately I’ve been wearing my inkle bands as hair-ties just as an excuse to have them out.

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card woven band as a hair-tie

 

A few days later I thought, well my Kromski Harp Rigid Heddle loom is looking kind of lonely since I cut the bag strap off of it. I saw this as a perfect opportunity for an experiment. I decided to try one of my favorite plain weaves, houndstooth, using (gasp) acrylic knitting yarn. Not caring much about what would happen I didn’t bother overspinning the yarn. Plastic, gah. Every since I learned to spin yarn I have been a total snob against acrylic. I didn’t want to risk ruining my good stuff on an experiment (I have struggle with warping my loom in the past), so there. The rigid heddle loom is great for projects when you can’t afford a lot of loom waste. You can keep weaving all the way to the end of the warp, no problem.

Any how, I think the scarf patterning looks nice. I would use this color combo again. The acrylic made a very dense and stiff fabric. I’m kind of on the fence as to whether I will like wearing it.

I Could Use Another Bag, Maybe Two

I Could Use Another Bag, Maybe Two

I’m not much of a fancy, shmancy purse kind of girl. Usually when I carry a  bag it’s on one of two occasions. For everyday, I wear a small pouch on a long cord, just large enough to carry  my cell phone, keys, and cards. When I am traveling whether for a long walk or on my bike I use a drawstring backpack  for anything I bring along. This summer I realized mines were looking tired. This was the perfect excuse to get crafty.

Back in my college days I attempted to learn embroidery. What I actually learned was that I am not guru material. I haphazardly use a running and chain stitches in order to add doodles of color. It works for me.

For both the pouch and drawstring backpack I used this technique with 3 strands of cotton floss to embellish some denim scraps I had. The cord for the pouch  is cotton knitted eye-cord I made.20161127_112019

Things took an unexpected turn when I was deciding on straps for the backpack. Long ago, like literally 12 years ago, I became obsessed with learning to weave as a college student majoring in Apparel, Textiles, and Merchandising. At school we were learning to weave on a big, elaborately engineered dobby loom. In a search at the local library I stumbled across weaving that was a little more my speed. Apparently I could weave with just cardboard cards, tablets. The cards would act as harnesses to raise the threads for weaving. I was able to weave narrow strips, the first using 10 cards with 40 threads. I never did anything with that sample (or any of the other narrow bands I wove). All these years later it would be the perfect addition to my bag project.

Great! Well sort of great. I only had enough for one strap. I needed to make another narrow band to match my original. This proved trickier than I thought. I remembered the pattern was from the book Creating With Card Weaving by Sally Specht. I found the draft and threaded up my cards with the same #10 crochet cotton used in the first weaving.

In the end I realized that somehow I had managed to mix up the color sequence (not even realizing it). The two straps are different plus my old sample is more irregular with obvious mistakes. Oh well, I still think the bag turned out nice.

As a bonus, I am obsessed with weaving again. Time to dig out my old weaving hoard.

The Send-Off Sash

Earlier this month my brother-in-law was deployed to Afghanistan with the US Air Force. I decided to weave him a keepsake sash as a parting gift. The project went together nicely. The weaving technique used is called supplementary warp patterning.

The woven text is DH (His Initials) 14 (deployment year) ZIJAKERY (The acronym they use for the children Jadin, Zion, Keyin, Rylen) 2 paw prints (their cast Wiley and Tiny) and MH (My sister’s initials)

The send-off sash on the loom. Almost finished

The send-off sash on the loom. Almost finished

Send-off Sash just cut off the loom

Send-off Sash just cut off the loom

ZIJAKERY is an acronym my sister made up for their children Jadin, Zion, Keyin, Rylen

ZIJAKERY is an acronym my sister made up for their children Jadin, Zion, Keyin, Rylen

Completed Send-off Sash. The ends are machine stitched into a point and unraveled for a neat fringe finish

Completed Send-off Sash. The ends are machine stitched into a point and unraveled for a neat fringe finish

Send-off Sash. I added a blue linen backing to make it more durable and a hook for utility

Send-off Sash. I added a blue linen backing to make it more durable and a hook for utility

See You Soon!

DAvin Deployment

Just Married: Keepsake Wedding Sash

Not, me. A dear friend got married yesterday. I wanted to make a gift for the couple and thought well why not weave them a keepsake wedding sash.

I have been learning about weaving Lithuanian sashes with my friend, Donna for the last few months. While I love the supplementary warp patterning technique I am still learning to merge my design asthetic with the traditional Lithuanian colors and patterns.

Perle cotton thread used for the warp. The dark blue will be used for the background

Perle cotton thread used for the warp. The dark blue will be used for the background

I am very fortunate to have someone that can help me translate my ideas in to a finished project. In this case we came up with an original floral motif and modified traditional heart motif to separate the names. The letters are all Donna’s original charts.

Part of the charted design

Part of the charted design

This book is written entirely in Lithuanian but thankfully has lots of pictures

This book is written entirely in Lithuanian but thankfully has lots of pictures

 

The book where we found inspiration for the heart motif between the names and waves (snakes) to underline them

Inside the book Lietuvos Etnologija where we found inspiration for the heart motif between the names and waves (snakes) to underline them

None of the books we have for this technique have letter charts included. In fact most books we use for reference are scholarly works written to document this nearly lost baltic sash weaving tradition. We have to redraft or transfer every pattern from pictures in the books.  I chose a dark background color instead of the traditional light neutral background for this project. For some reason bright colors on a dark background excite me in a weaving.

Frame loom ready to weave

Frame loom ready to weave

Weaving the original floral design.

Weaving the original floral design.

The sash turned out really nice although it departs from tradition in pattern motifs and color. Weaving took  about 20 hours  not including designing, creating the charts and dressing the loom.

Time consuming but I have to say I enjoyed every bit of the process.

The finished wedding sash

The finished wedding sash. It took me more than 20 hours to weave