Friday, September 18, 2009

Reading for Study Group

I am in a fantastic study group for multishaft weaving and this year our topic is "Design Your Own Cloth." We are doing an intensive study of weave structures. Here are the books I'm reading as we go along. I'm trying (but not always succeeding) to read the appropriate chapters in each book for each month's topic. It's incredibly interesting and I'm learning a lot.

Sharon Alderman's Mastering Weave Structures is an amazing book. All you have to do is read the chapter on plain weave to know that if you read this book carefully you will have a lifetime of weaving ideas.

Ann Sutton's book, The Structure of Weaving, is another great inspirational book. When I read this book or Sharon Alderman's, I just want to run to the loom and try things. Unfortunately, it's a lot easier to get ideas than to actually execute them - the loom refuses to warp itself.

Irene Emery's book, The Primary Structure of Fabrics, is a classic, and rightly so. It puts all of these structures in context.

And, finally, there is Doramay Keasbey's great book, Pattern Techniques for Handweavers, which shows you how to design the textiles.

All in all, it looks to be a fabulous, although fairly intense year for this study group. We've also grown this year and have several new members who will bring their ideas into the group.

Friday, September 11, 2009


I haven't yet posted anything about my bookbinding. I haven't been as active with that craft but I recently started back up and made a few books. These are two of them. Bookbinding is a nice sideline to weaving because the books get done a lot quicker than a textile, so there is a bit more immediate satisfaction from having completed something. I'm planning to do some experimenting with weaving my own book cloth so that I can bind the books with handwoven material. Right now, I'm using commercial book cloth and decorated paper, some hand make (but not by me) and some printed.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Doubleweave and Color-and-Weave

I haven't been posting for a while - more on that later - but for now, here are two scarves I recently wove on the same warp. The first is a doubleweave scarf that I designed and was the reason I put this warp on the loom. It was quite difficult to weave - 4 blocks on 16 shafts and heavy lifting - so I didn't want to weave a second one even though I put on a warp for two scarves. So, I resleyed the warp to a looser sett and wove the second scarf as color-and-weave. Two interesting but totally different scarves.

As for why I haven't been posting, I just feel that I should post photos with my posts, but I'm willing to spend five minutes writing a post, but the extra little time involved in taking a photo, uploading it to the computer, adjusting it so it looks nice, etc. is just enough to discourage me. So, I think I'll try posting for a while but not showing current photos - I'll wait until I've processed the photos and then talk about that project.

The two scarves that just came off the loom today use a combination of five-thread plain weave blocks alternating with five-thread satin blocks on a painted warp. One has a purple weft and the other a red, slightly bumpy weft. I like them both but you'll have to wait until at least next Monday to see them ;-)

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Towels Off Loom

The six towels (and a towelette from extra warp) are off the loom. Here are pictures of them, some from the "front" and some from the "back:"

And, here's a close-up picture of one of them:

I was happy with them as they came off the loom, but when I washed them I got a lot of tracking and the patterns became quite muddled. You can still see them from a distance, but up close, the pattern gets lost. Quite a disappointment. I used a combination of cotlin and 8/2 unmercerized cotton from a mill-end batch. Next time I may try mercerized cotton for the colored yarn, although I'm not sure which of the yarns caused the problem. Maybe next time I won't do six towels before I see how they wash.

Thursday, February 05, 2009


I've been out of town and not weaving for a few days but I just finished towel #6. I warped for six towels but still have warp left for another, possibly shorter, 7th towel. Here's a picture of the first one:

This isn't my favorite pattern of the ones I've done - I'll post more when they're off the loom. I need to get the 7th one woven tomorrow and finish at least a few to put in our gallery on Tuesday, which is jury day.

I joined another guild - three wasn't enough. For years I resisted joining the Weaver's Guild of Greater Baltimore because they meet the night before the Central Pennsylvania Guild of Handweavers and I just can't bring myself to go to two guild meetings in twelve hours - one 45 minutes away and the other 2 hours away. But I also felt bad about not belonging to a close and very active guild. Some day I'll find the secret of 36 hour days.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Well, let's give this blog thing another try. I seem to stop and go in spurts.

The crackle scarves have been off the loom a long time - one is actually sold and gone. Maybe I'll post pictures of them sometime later just for closure.

I now have a warp on the Macomber loom to make six towels. The warp is half cotton and half cotlin, both in a natural color. Here is a picture of how I thread the loom when going back-to-front.

I hold all the shafts up by sticking a strong rod under the metal lifters at the castle. Then I still need to use a really short stool so the heddle eyes are about at my eye level. I tried a regular chair but it hurt my back. Of course, the lower stool hurts my knees, but not as much as the other one hurts my back.

My studio is in the lower level of the house and it's winter, so the room is about 5 degrees colder than the rest of the house, hence the heater blowing warm air on my feet.

The towels will be a set of fancy 16-shaft twills. I'm actually weaving the third one today, but will save the pictures for later in the week.