Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Crunch Time

It's always crunch time before a show. My studio looks like a bomb went off. There is fabric, poly fill, yarn, boxes, an ironing board, the sewing machine, and baskets from one end of the room to the other. Phew!!! I have a show at the Holiday Bazaar in Rhinebeck NY this Saturday and as with most shows, I'm trying to finish up some loose ends on projects.
The polka dot scarves came off the loom about 15 minutes ago and I did end up deciding that a black weft would be a fun contrast to the charcoal warp so that the 'dots' are visible when the light is just right. I'm partial to dark colors and they seem to be a hit since they are neutral....didn't you hear? Black is the new black;) Here it is:

I also have to say that I am growing more and more comfortable with Diana.
Remember the satin that I was working on for the pillows to get rid of some of that 8/2 cotton? Well, I wove 7 yards of various colors and barely made a dent in my stash. Too funny! It's like an endless supply. Here is a picture of one of the pillows and I do ask that you pardon the disaster in the back ground. :) It's crunch time:)
The back of the pillow is some fabric that a sweet woman from a local antique shop gave to me. I'm not sure how old it is and I really should have taken a picture, nifty stuff. It's a gold and black and feels as though it is some type of synthetic material......and a little tough to iron. It's thin but, really has great memory or perhaps it's been folded for ages:)
Next, I've got to work on some Christmas projects. Although Sunrise is my 'main' job, I also clean houses.......I clean clean houses (if that makes any sense) and I love the wonderful women that I clean for so, I decided to weave them each a set of kitchen towels. I going to have to go into the 'stash' in the attic to see exactly what I have in naturals up there. Perhaps a plain weave with either a overshot or honeycomb border? Hmmmm. Time to get the wheels turning.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Leaves

I've been trying to think of my next project and what theme I would like to go with. Since I'm most inspired by the things I see in nature I figured that the theme should be 'organics'. Not only does that sound 'cool' (lol....it's the 'in' thing.) but, it would be nice and easy to just hop on outside and get some leaves, right? No. Not for me. It seems each time I think of it, instead of getting up, going outside, and picking up a couple of leaves, I either forget or am too comfortable sitting in front of the wood stove playing Thomas the Tank Engine (better known as playing tracks) with my son. Besides, it's cold out there!!! This has been a battle going on in my mind for almost a week! Well, today there was victory!!! I found the perfect time to get some leaves. A quiet house and the daunting project of altering a shirt (football jersey no less) for a brother of a friend staring me in the face. I thought, "I really should go get some leaves right now!" and that's just what I did. I walked into the upstairs playroom, opened the window, leaned out and sorted through some of the leaves that blew up against the house. First, it's a good thing my house has two stories both on ground level, they are sort of next to each other (both levels) and the house was built into the side of a hill. Second, it's a good thing no one saw me because I teetered there and couldn't stop laughing. Third, I could have simply used the convenience of the door. *sigh* Well, here are the leaves and a rough draft of the network draft.
By tracing one side of two of the leaves, I came up with the rough draft on the graph paper above it. Since some of the lines back track, I will have to edit and modify the lines so that I can create a pattern that can be woven. I'm thinking that I may do several of either one or both to see which works better.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Oh It's On, Baby!!!

YEEEEEEHAAAAAA!!!! I'm so happy:) After fiddling with the shafts, tension, and seating height, I've come to a point where I am comfortable weaving on Diana. As I wove the first scarf, I was finding that I kept missing the latter end of the heddles.....13, 14, 15, and 16. The slight adjustments really helped out and I noticed improvement right away. It's WAY too late for me to be up (oops:) but, I can't stand how happy I am and LOVE the way the second set of scarves are coming out so..... here they are:)
The weft is more of a jeweled purple. My camera may have not captured it under this lighting.
Here is a close up of one of the 'dots'.
:)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Polka Dot Scarves

Well, I'm happy to say that the polka-dot scarves are well under way. I'm only able to weave at this point of my life two nights a week. I'm a full time Mommy and my yarn business brings in the most $$$. I have to weigh it this way until my son goes to Kindergarten in September......and boy oh boy the time sure does fly just like I was warned it would. So, typically I weave on Tuesdays and Fridays in the evening unless I have an 'easy' weave on and my son is shredding papers in the studio for me;) My husband and son went out for a little while on Saturday leaving me home to concentrate on weaving for a hour or two. The Diana is all dressed and I have woven some of the polka dot cloth. As with any new loom, the first project is always the learning project and I usually look back on it and think what I could have done better or should have done differently. I have to say that I was a little nervous about it only due to the fact that the warp that was on the loom was a little sticky and my sheds were not 100%. With dressing the loom with 8/2 tencel for this project, I noticed right away that the threads were not sticking, which is what I figured. Phew! So far everything is dandy and I'm very happy with most aspects of this project considering that I did not take a whole lot of time to plan it. It is basically one color warp and one color weft in a 3/1 twill with a reverse for the dots. The first is a grey and yellow that will be a gift for my Mom. She has been asking for years for a polka dot scarf in grey and yellow and......if she reads this blog, "Here it is;)"

Here is the back of the loom with the threads in the raddle that my darling father in law made for me for my other loom:)


Here is the front of the loom with the threads ready to go on the back beam.


And here we are threading.....I LOVE this part!!!


All threaded!!!


Tension even and tied on the front rod.


Ok... here is a look at the scarves. There ARE a few errors. I'm learning with this new loom that there are a few things that I have to pay attention to. Just like when you drive a new car, there are adjustments to make. With this loom, the shed is limited so my tension is VERY important and that's what I'm working on right now. Naturally when the piece is removed from the loom and wet finished a lot of the pulling that can be seen in the fabric on the front beam will be evened out.

Well, that's it for right now. I'll be back soon with the progress of these scarves;)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Elmo and Ike

You know all of that yarn left over after the pieces have been woven.....the extra little bit there 'just in case'? Maybe it's a foot or two or......three:) Well, I a long time ago I used to save it and use it in my spinning....now, of course, I weave it and stick it off to the side until I can find a good use for it. A friend of mine has taken bits and pieces of my work and added bits and pieces of her work to it and we have come up with some really fun pieces.......some purses, some little bags....simple stuff. I am in awe of her most recent fun creations with some of the whites left over after weaving shibori scarves. So.....I wanted to share some of Elmo and Ike's fabulous creations;) Here's to you Holly;)
Aren't they lovely? You can check out her Etsy shop by going to www.elmoandike.etsy.com . She has some wonderful wedding items.....and might I add unique......seriously! I'm in awe of her photography which usually includes fresh cut flowers and silky backgrounds.

Diana

Well, I have been able to weave off most of the 5 yards of fabric that was on the Diana loom. It was 8/4 carpet warp in a 16 shaft strait draw so, I had some options on patterning. I'm not 100% sure what I'm going to do with the fabric but, there is enough time and planning for that. Last night there was a board meeting for the Wurtsboro Arts Alliance so, I got home pretty late and got to finish planning my first project on Diana. Here is a picture of Tom's warp before I finished.....again I have absolutely no idea what to do with the fabric. I ended up using some rayon in the weft to give it a little shine. (Please excuse the paper on the floor behind the loom....it fell off:)



My purpose for purchasing another loom was that I have been amazed my network drafting. I enjoy (fully) the mathematics involved and had a blast weaving some color study towels in a network draft. It seems to me that once I start to work on a pattern or start to plan out the ideas in my head, I find that if I had more shafts than 8 (say 12 to 16) I could achieve exactly what I would like to see. Basically the style that I find myself attracted to is the loops and swirls that network drafting is able to achieve. This all is not to say that I do not absolutely love the look of traditional hand woven coverlets or enjoy a plain weave or bird's eye twill. I'm just saying that I think the way my mind works is geared towards a multi-shaft loom. Call me crazy but, dressing the loom is my favorite part. :) Designing at a VERY close second.

Here's the 'bad' part. I recently sat back to watch a weaver work on his 32 shaft Megado. Ummm, yeah. I think that one is next:) Why does that make me feel like the Children of Israel caught in the wilderness.......? I will probably name that one Isaac:)

Ultimately the plan is to get used to and LOVE with all of my weaver's heart, Diana. My husband woke me up at 5:04am to ask me why in the world the lights were on and the wood stove out!? I don't even know. All I remember from last night is that my eyes hurt from drawing and erasing and clicking and pointing and counting and saving. Ha!!! My brain fell asleep and so did I. Oh the fantastic thrill of designing leaves me pooped every time:) Well, here is a picture of Diana with the front beam off, something I was VERY happy about. I did not put this loom together even though she is brand spankin new and thankfully it fit in the car without having to take her apart.

I wish I could show what the draft I was working on by I'm not computer savvy enough to get the image on here. It is going to be a large polka-dot pattern on a charcoal warp and one in yellow, purple, and a possible white or black. The picture above shows Diana with the front beam off and my current bench in pulled in to the castle. I just ordered another 'adjustable' bench since this one is WAY too high. Well, that's it for now. I'll be back to report more soon:)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Mabel

One of the hardest things in the world to do is take pictures of yourself within 10 seconds modeling your work with no help. I take at least an hour for each 'photo shoot' (ah ha ha ha...that sounds so funny!!!!) and the pictures are never what I'm looking for once I get them onto the computer. The depth of field is the hardest thing to accomplish because I'm focusing on the wall then positioning myself in front of the camera. This creates a clarity problem.....for me anyway. Out of about twenty pictures or so, I may get one or two that I like then have to 'deal' with the rest. Oh....the reason I have trouble with anyone helping me is that I always want to do this when I have a moment when my son is napping so......................I bought someone. She is very quiet with a barbie like shape (keep in mind here that I was never a Barbie kind of kid) and a fantastic poser. Although our shoots have not yet produced the 'exact' image I would like, it is not her fault, only the photographers (that's me). I have been equally impressed with her ability to 'switch it up' similar to that of Zoolander........only a real model would understand. Well, enough talk. I would like to introduce, the lovely, the marvelous, the impressive and ever mysterious........Mabel.
Mabel is her name.....stylin' is her game;) Here she is with a magenta bamboo shibori scarf.
And the fantastic view of the back of one of my looms;)
There is a good possibility that I have a very imaginative imagination!