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.

 

 

 

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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

 

Congrats Grad, a gift for my sister.

My sister, Melanie graduated with a masters degree in education a few weeks ago. The plan was to make her something as a gift.
I started sewing her a dress last month, well sort of. I cut it out and then it sat in the to-do bin.

Simplicity 1417 is a really cute peplum sheath dress that I knew she would like. The dress was cut from a really cool two-tone stretch denim purchased back in my college days. It is navy with a pink undertone. Barely having enough, some of the pieces were cut from a botched pair of pants I made out of the fabric.

Simplicity 1417

Simplicity 1417

I had to cut some of the pattern pieces from a botched pair of pants made from the fabric

I had to cut some of the pattern pieces from a botched pair of pants made from the fabric

 

Before the dress was finished I was inspired to weave her a sash. I’m really falling in love with supplementary warp pattern weaving. It is lithuanian tradition to weave sashes to give away as gifts. The old sashes would be long enough to wrap around the waist.  My weaving buddy helped me to draft a pattern for a short sash with my sister’s name and graduation year.

Weaving draft

Weaving draft

I chose to use a colorway inspired by a painting me and Melanie did together. The colors are very non-traditional for this type of weaving. My friend says it has an African vibe. It didn’t take me long to veer off the beaten path.

Peony painting done at UCanPaint2 art class

Peony painting done at UCanPaint2 art class

Weaving in progress on a a traditional Lithuanian frame loom.

Weaving in progress on a a traditional Lithuanian frame loom.

Weaving close-up. Supplementary warp patterning

Weaving close-up. Supplementary warp patterning

Finished sash. I like the traditional tassles at the ends. They remind me of guppy tails:-)

Finished sash made from perle cotton. I like the traditional tassles at the ends. They remind me of guppy tails:-)

Anyhow, I love how it turned out. The sash made for a truly unique gift.

Melanie with her graduation sash

Melanie with her graduation sash

Melanie H. MAEd 2014

Melanie H. MAEd 2014

The keepsake sash with diploma

The keepsake sash with diploma

 

Now for the dress. I did finally finish and she likes it! Other than a minor alteration needed to take in the back princess seam this pattern was sewn straight out of the envelope without a fuss.

Melanie's Simplicity 1417

Melanie’s Simplicity 1417

Simplicity 1417 side

Simplicity 1417 side

Simplicity 1417 back

Simplicity 1417 back

I want to make this dress again for sure.

Weaving Senovinis: The gifts of crafting in public

It’s been a few months now since I began crafting in public at my local library on Sunday afternoons. I work on different projects. Spinning (people especially love to see the spinning wheel at work), braiding, piecework, knitting or whatever I can stuff in a basket.

It is so fun to talk to people who see me working. Many are reminded of someone who used to craft or are just wondering what the heck I am doing. Occasionally I  will meet someone who likes to make things or has tried it in  the past.

No matter the reason, it is always a blessing to engage people about the joy of crafting.

The first time at the library I met an awesome woman and now dear friend whom I later found to be from Lithuania. Her craft of choice is weaving traditional Lithuanian narrow bands and sashes. She learned from her teenaged cousin while living in a concentration camp. In all her days here in the States, now in her 70s, she has not met another weaver that uses her method.

Traditional Lithuanian Weaving

Traditional Lithuanian Weaving by my friend

I had tried the technique in my college days using an older Supplementary Warp weaving video by Jacquetta Nisbet. On sale Here. I made the small sample on an inkle loom and left it at that.

Supplementary Warp Weave Video

Supplementary Warp Weave Video

Well when I saw my friend’s work I was inspired to revisit the technique. It is beautiful! I have found no other technique that can produce the kind of dimension that hand-picked weaving produces. She offered to teach me to weave in her way using a traditional frame loom and string heddles and sticks to manipulate the treads. There are very distinctive patterns that are used. So far my favorites are the tulip and the tree.

To add the different colors we tie them on in one continuous loop

The 1st weaving uses orange to make the pattern and two shades of green silky perle cotton for a border. To add the different colors we tie them on in one continuous loop

1st weaving sample. We use a picture frame as a loom!

1st weaving sample. We use a picture frame as a loom! We use a charted pattern to keep track of when to pick-up the colored pattern threads.

Tulip pattern weaving. (You can see the finished 1st sample to the left)

Tulip pattern weaving. (You can see the finished 1st sample to the left)

Traditional frame loom.

Traditional frame loom.

Tulip pattern detail

Lithuanian Tulip pattern detail

Tree pattern draft and woven sample

Tree pattern draft and woven sample

It’s so clever and fun to do. We often weave until after midnight. The time just flies when you’re have a good time. I can’t wait to fully explore this technique.