It's been 10 days since the end of my intensive. I'm still working on "finishing" previously woven projects. The Bhutanese Motif Intermesh project is complete! There were a few moments when I thought "now why did I decide to wrap all these fringes?", but I just thought of all the Andean weavers and the tremendous effort they go to with their work and that silenced those thoughts. Here is the finished hanging.
And here are a few detail photos.
Yesterday all the pieces of a previous project came together into a bag. (I love making bags . . . oh, maybe I've said that before) This one was fun, like a puzzle. Hmmm . . . how to combine the two main weavings? How to make a clean finish at the top? How to make a shoulder strap with a wide part? Little by little it all came together. There are more details about this project here: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/jwweaver/first-two-intermesh-warps
I'm finishing my five day Winter Weaving Intensive today and the focus of the day has been finishing. Instead of starting new projects I turned to doing the finishing work. I tend to be so eager to weave that projects off the loom but still need some finishing work done to them pile up as I excitedly plan and start new weavings. Not today. This week satisfied that urge to weave intensively for a little while. A little while.
When I started this intermesh design I didn't know what it would become, I just wanted to weave intermesh and this design. My usual inclination is to make bags - I love making bags - but the shape and size of this when the weaving was complete are not good for a bag - too long and narrow. And I didn't want to fold it such that only part of the design was visible. So it will become a wall hanging.
Today I began the finishing touches. I added four rows of weft twining in the same "copen" blue color as the borders to give it a finished look on the bottom. Then to give the fringe a finished look I began wrapping them. The end of each wrapped bundle of warps will have a bead to finished it off. I got really lucky that the number of warps I chose to bundle and wrap just fit through the hole in the beads I chose to use. Lucky. And the bead is tight enough so I don't need to tie a knot to secure it. I like that. I'll continue on like this across the warp.
Even though I've completed this five day intensive - lots of weaving will continue. There are many more projects on the list and lots of projects to finish.
I am deeply grateful to Chef Max for providing all the meals and doing all the cleaning this week - allowing me the free time to simply weave, weave, weave. It was great!
This is what became of those yarns I showed you at the end of yesterday's post. Pretty lively, huh? Or maybe a little crazy. If you look closely you will see the blended colors in the rust/gold stripe and the green/yellow stripe. I tried the blending a different way in each stripe. As the weaving occurs the rust/gold creates alternating horizontal bands of color. The green/yellow becomes vertical bands of color. When you step back the colors do blend - if you squint and don't wear your glasses.
Here's what it looks like woven so far. Both sides.
I think the ikat stripes are too wide and the white parts on the ikat are too long. It should be more subtle. The whole thing is just too busy. I'm not convinced about the color blending, it just looks like stripes that are not so pretty.
The happy part is that doing pebble weave pick-up with 10/2 cotton is possible for me. I can actually see the threads! I'm working very hard to keep my edges straight. I just have to solve that issue!
I like this enough to try again. It's fun.
The tablet warp came off the loom today! I actually like the "back" that you see here and have decided that it is the front. It's a pretty long warp - about 2.5 yards - so there is lots to play with on a bag or something.
I've often wondered why there is such a sense of satisfaction at the completion of a project. Why is that? What is that? I almost always start a new project right away, either planning in my mind, or actually winding a warp or dressing the loom.
Today I completed two weavings. The intermesh and the towels. Very satisfying.
In my youth I made my living as a modern dancer. Weaving these towels was reminding me of choreography. When first learning a dance the movements are counted in rhythm with the music. It was very common to count to 8, and start over again. For years I would count my steps as I walked around town - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 - and repeat. After months of rehearsal muscle memory sets in and the dance becomes a part of you. You no longer have to think. The music tells the body what to do.
This is how weaving these towels felt. The choreography of pressing the treadle, tossing the shuttle and squeezing the beater with the percussion music of the harnesses falling was like dancing at the loom. No need to think what to do next - just dance.
And then I started a new project using these yarns.
This will be a wee-little project that will be a sample for three things. This is 10/2 mercerized cotton. The center will be a small pebble weave design using the black and beige. It will be my first attempt at using this small a yarn for pebble weave. I want to see if I can do it. That's the first thing.
The second thing is trying out some colors for this year's Weavers Challenge at my guild. The challenge is to use Split Compliment Colors. So I've chosen purple, (that cone in the center is actually purple even though it looks blue in the photo), green/yellow and yellow/orange. Now I don't actually have yarn that is green/yellow or yellow/orange so I've put the green and the yellow together and the rust and the gold together to see if they will blend into the green/yellow and yellow orange.
The third thing is Ikat. See those light specks on the black cone. That is "reverse" ikat. I dabbed a drop of bleach on the yarn and the black turned to beige. So there will be two small stripes of black and beige ikat in the project. This is my winter time ikat. Instead of putting dye onto the yarn which I need warm weather to do, I'll take dye out of the yarn. We'll see how it works.
Two more days of my intensive. I'm really having fun!
I've realized that my sense of the amount of time required to complete a weaving has been strongly influenced by weaving in small blocks of time. Normally I have one day a week that I devote to weaving. On the remaining six days I might catch a few minutes here and there. This has given me the sense that it takes multiple days to complete a project. When large blocks of time for several days in a row are available, suddenly the end of the warp arrives much faster!
I reached the halfway point on the Intermesh design today and continued into the second half. The entire design has 81 pattern rows - I have 33 rows yet to weave.
The border warps on this project were becoming slack. To tighten them up I put an extra dowel behind just those warps and tied it to the far warp bar. That worked for a while, but as I continued weaving they grew slack again. Why? I was scratching my head - does that really help? Maybe so because just then I discovered the real problem. As I weave my edges are not staying straight. The entire weaving is getting wider. As I advance the warp and roll it up onto the front bar the new part is wider than the previous part and as it rolls up the edges "fall" off the narrow weaving underneath it! As a remedy I rolled additional dowels within the bars, just as is done on a floor loom when winding the warp onto the back beam. This is helping, but of course it is only a stop-gap measure. The real solution is to weave straight edges. But how? Lots of practice. Chef Max suggested a laser beam level as a guide. Hmm? Just might be the answer.
Before the week started I had the warp wound for another floor loom project. This one is also from the same Handwoven Magazine issue (March/April 2013) It is Robyn Spady's "Generational Dish Towels" pg.64-64. This is what the warp looked like mid-day yesterday. I spent the second half of the afternoon getting it on the loom, so I could continue weaving today. Didn't get the loom dressing complete until today, but once it was on weaving went quickly. I'm using an 8/2 unmercerized cotton for this project: gold and beige for warp and wine for weft.
Funny how that mess above becomes this.
The tablet warp continues to grow, but does not grow more appealing. Here are photos of the "front" and the "back". Neither one is great, but the back is better. If you step way back and squint real hard the front looks fine.
Overall, a good first day. Here is how the intermesh backstrap project looked in the beginning, after the morning session of weaving, and when it was time to put it away. After about 6 pattern rows into the weaving, I realized I needed to expand the design. It was compressed. So I unwove back to the beginning and started over. Now it is turning out better.
The afternoon session went well. Amazingly well. The entire warp was finished after 2 hours! It was a short warp, that's why. There was a mistake in the treadling instructions that took me a few minutes to get worked out. (of course the corrected version is in the very next issue of Handwoven. Here you can see the yarn colors I used, what the warped looked like when I began, and the finished fabric.
SisterMimi made these wonderful, felted "weaving slippers" for me. She didn't know they were weaving slippers when she made them. My old slippers are too bulky to fit between the treadles on my floor loom, but these new ones are perfect. I attached yoga mat soles to the bottom so they don't slide off the treadles. Now winter weaving is much cozier.
These next few photos show my homemade "weft doubler". This project uses a double strand of 10/2 yarn for the weft. This method works very well.
After supper it was time to work on the tablet band. It started out looking like this, and after two hours it looked like this only longer. I'm not too pleased with it, but fortunately the back is more interesting. I'll get a photo of it when it comes off the loom
The idea for this intensive came to me as I was reading Laverne Waddington's blog backstrapweaving.blogspot.com. She had recently visited a weaving school in Massachusetts and I got to thinking about how much fun it would be to spend a week doing just about nothing but weaving. But, I'm not really thinking of learning any new techniques right now, I simply want to weave, weave, weave and not need to stop to attend to life's other necessities such as food shopping, cooking and cleaning up afterward. I do enjoy those things, it's just that sometimes I find myself so involved with a weaving project that I can hardly tear myself away from it to go cook.
Then it came to me - what if I did a weaving intensive right here at home. I could have all my meals prepared for me and get all the shopping for them done in advance. The focus would be on techniques I already know. I ran the idea by my resident Chef and he was completely willing, able, and ready to fully participate! Excellent! - that was a key ingredient.
Now, to plan the projects and prepare the looms. The idea was to spend the week just weaving, not planning projects and dressing looms. I love planning projects and dressing looms, so the weeks before the intensive were lots of fun. Now it is Sunday afternoon, the day before the intensive begins. All preparations are complete. There are 28.5 hours to wait until the fun begins!