I’m one of those artsy types that believes that the process of making/doing/creating is equal if not superior in importance to the end product itself. That being so, I want to share with you a little more of what goes into creating a handwoven textile.
Weaving is one of those artistic disciplines where it’s not so easy to get half-way into a project then decide to change directions completely. Even quilting can have an element of I’m-just-flying-by-the-seat-of-my-pants-here if you set out to work spontaneously. You need to have a general idea (if not an exact idea) of what you want the cloth to look like in order to do calculations and order supplies. There is plenty of wiggle room in what you use for weft threads, but once your warp is on the loom you’re stuck with it. Creating the warp and getting it on the loom (referred to as dressing the loom) are the most difficult parts of the weaving process. Many a weaver has lost sleep & sanity over these processes. The good news? Once you really get it you’ll never forget it.
1. Decide on a pattern & order materials. That’s a lot of yarn right there.
2. Using a contrasting thread, map out the route your warp threads will travel on the warping-board. See the cross on the bottom there? That’s important.
3. Follow that route with your warp threads according to the pattern you have decided on.
4. Here you can see that I chose black-grey-black-grey-black-teal for my warp pattern.
5. Carefully remove the warp from the board by securing it with ties and crochet-chaining it (using your hand as a hook).
6. This is that cross I mentioned. It keeps all your threads in order. Without the cross all you have is a heapin’ mess of threads.
7. Your warp will wait quite patiently when it’s chained, not much harm can come to it unless you have a child or cat.
8. Here on the back of the loom is where the party gets started! The ends of the warp bundles are slipped onto a rod that is attached to a beam. Onto this beam (the appropriately named Warp Beam) your warp will be wound under tension.
9. It is up to you how you want to create this tension. For short warps like this one I use a wrapping method. Sometimes I wish magic was an option because creating tension can be a big pain in the tuchus.
10. The friction of the warp around the front beam and then back over itself is enough to keep the threads tight & orderly.
Then you’re done!
Just kidding, there’s lots more work where that came from
Disclaimer: This is not meant as a comprehensive explanation of the warping process, I’m merely hoping to wet your appetite for the textile arts with some pretty pictures!
Posted in Fibers, Quilting, Weaving | Tagged art, design, dressing the loom, fiber, fiber arts, hand weaving, process, textile, textile design, warp, warp chain, warp threads, warping, warping board, weaving | Leave a Comment »
Let me sum up the last four months in one word: ridiculous.
My productivity level plummeted even though I never stopped working/going-going-going. I must have spent at-least one month of evenings after work just researching ways to make my weaving more time-efficient. I learned a ton that will help me with future projects, but boy do I wish I had more finished product for the Christmas shopping season!
Today I took 10 handwoven tea-towels to The Cupboard. “Real-life” showed up and got in the way of crafting so that’s all I have to show for myself.
(before ironing + trimming)
(washed/ironed/hemmed/tagged + ready to go!)
The past four months have also been ridiculously fun. Most notably, “real-life” included plenty of gardening, volunteering at the Monte Santo Art Festival, meeting four sweet newborns, attending a Fiddler’s Convention, and dressing up as Pop-Art for Halloween. Oh I almost forgot, I also made three more picnic blankets and a big handful of quick-change-bags!
Here’s looking forward to another ridiculous/joyful/busy season of crafting & living!
Posted in Fibers, Musings, Random, Weaving | Tagged art festival, baby shower, busy life, crafting, gardening, halloween, hand weaving, pop art, sewing, volunteering, weaving | Leave a Comment »
A friend who will tell you when you’re wrong is worth their weight in gold. Nicole at Brown’s Paper Bag let me know that my blog title was painfully grammatically incorrect. I promised her I would fix it immediately.
Friends, this was a little over two months ago and I’m just getting around to it. Sigh.
Posted in Random | Tagged friend, grammar's not my thing, thankful | Leave a Comment »
Last month was incredibly busy getting ready for the Art Stroll. I had all the best intentions of posting play-by-play updates on my studio work, but that dream slipped away pretty quickly. After a month of 75 hour work weeks I decided to take last week “off.” Of course that didn’t happen, either! It would be foolish not to use the momentum gained from this event to continue expanding this fledgling enterprise so I kept on going.
- – -Skip to the end for a studio update! – - -
The stroll was a success. I was incredibly loved and encouraged by the support of my friends and church family, to say nothing of my family. Some of the most unexpected people came out of the woodwork to say a kind word.
At the stroll I was placed in the position of trying to engage the public and show the value of my work. This is no short order. In the end I think I had meaningful conversations with only a handful of strangers, and those were creatives themselves who understand the artist’s plight. Fibers, art and design at large all tend to be misunderstood and under appreciated. I suppose everyone becomes an ambassador for their trade, for better or worse; but it seems to me there is more pressure on those who choose, shall we say, ‘unconventional’ paths to validate their choices. Since choosing to go to SCAD I can’t tell you how many people have asked or insinuated the insulting question “why don’t you do something useful with your life?” I am still working on my response, but I have learned that the art won’t speak entirely for itself. I must give it a voice if I am going to find any success in my work.
It’s another rant entirely to explain how I quantify success.
I did manage to shift directions this week and give my mind a break from the pressure of producing so much in such a short span of time. A new sewing machine was bought, plants tended, books read, a skirt made, a winter line of products planned, and a picnic blanket made in a new color-scheme (just for me!).
In the end I made bias tape out of a natural colored muslin and hemmed the skirt up by hand. The results are very pleasing! I know I’m going to get a lot of use out of this piece.
Posted in Fibers, Musings | Tagged artist's plight, DIY, Fibers, picnic blanket, picnic quilt, sewing, sewing machine, studio, winter line | 2 Comments »
One of these days soon I’m going to post an update of this past month’s craziness. Instead of doing that now I’m going to introduce you to my new friend.
I’ve wanted a new sewing machine for years. The one I had ran a little bit like a bull in a china shop. Recently every time I sewed on it something new would go *clunk.* Over the years I have primarily lusted after Husqvarna Viking, Juki, and Bernina brands. Somewhere along the line I decided that Husqvarna was for me and I’ve been saving for one ever since graduation.
Yesterday I went in to my local Husqvarna dealer to test-drive the machines, get information, and check prices. Let me be quite clear: I had NO inclination to make a purchase… so naturally, I walked out with a barely used, discounted floor-model.
Meet Mr. Juki HZL-F400, everyone. You’ll notice he’s not a Husqvarna. This machine is comparable to the Husqvarna models I had my eye on, but I was hooked as soon as the saleswoman showed me that I could trigger the machine to cut the thread with a tap of my heel on the foot pedal and that it comes with a knee lever to raise the presser foot. Those two features mean that I can stop sewing, remove the fabric, and cut the threads HANDS FREE! Imagine the possibilities. I went to bed last night dreaming about the incredible efficiency of this machine. (Yes, I will proudly wear the badge of Sewing Nerd.)
We spent today getting familiar with one another. Over the coming week I will watch the accompanying DVD and read the manual cover-to-cover, because I’m that person. We made a cotton-linen circle skirt with a pretty pin-stripe, inset pockets and an invisible zipper. Yet to be hemmed.
I feel certain that we have many productive years ahead of us! If I can get a hem in it this skirt just might make it’s debut at church next week!
Posted in Fibers | Tagged circle skirt, cotton linen, DIY, floor model, invisible zipper, juki, juki HZL-F400, knee lever, no pattern sewing, pin stripe, presser foot, sewing, sewing machine | 1 Comment »
Very excited to report that I’ve been chosen as the featured artist at Harrison Brothers for the July Art Stroll! This means I’ll have my very own window display and the opportunity to represent my work. It’s all a bit last minute. I had assumed I would have a bit of down time after finishing the picnic blankets, instead my nose has been to the grindstone! Six aprons, eight more quilts, and if I can swing it, six handwoven tea towels by July 18!
I can feel my social life slipping away. It’s a good thing I love fabric.
Tonight I made pockets for my aprons and coffee-dyed the aprons. Here they are hanging on a drying rack.
I can’t explain what a tremendous temptation it was to brew three pots of coffee and not taste even a drop.
Posted in Fibers | Tagged aprons, craft, DYI, fabric, fiber art, Fibers, hand woven, handmade, quilts, sewing, tea towel, weaving | 1 Comment »
Delivered on Monday… and guess what? Two have sold already!
I’m happy as a pea in a pod. Which brings me to other news. I’ve been digging in the dirt a lot lately. I really like it. In fact I want to quit my day job so I can garden and sew all day.
Free food is the best.
Posted in Fibers, Musings, Quilting | Tagged garden, gardening, picnic blanket, quilt | 3 Comments »