I love little tricks in weaving, especially if they help me to avoid tying knots for fringe. I don't know, but I would much rather take the time weaving in ends and perfecting the surface of the cloth, not tying knots. The Italian Hemstitch is one of the solutions that I have learned to create a beautiful hem without worrying about the fabric unravelling and also avoiding tying knots.
This past weekend I attended the Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival (also known as the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival). To put it simply: It was a mad and crazy knitter's paradise.
I would love to have a giant studio space with big windows, long tables to lay out my weavings and ample space to walk around my loom. However, at this stage in my weaving career and personal life, I can only afford to have my loom in my living room. And since we have moved from Western New York to where we are now- that living room space is approximately 50% of the apartment (my husband is so gracious).
Overshot is like a Pandora’s Box. You just open it up, just a little bit to try to get the basic understanding and all of a sudden you are waist deep in antique patterns, new vocabulary words and the desire to know EVERYTHING. We are going to break down the wide world of overshot into smaller bite sized knowledge nuggets. This is so you can build your knowledge of this amazingly in depth and diverse structure and be successful in creating and weaving your own.
I've tried a lot of different social media avenues with my weaving work. I have a Facebook for Comfort Cloth, I have a Twitter account and I have Instagram. Let me start by saying I hated Instagram because I felt like it was disconnecting people from the real world. "Oh we have climbed all the way to the top of this mountain- hold on a minute while I Instagram it!" Not my idea of enjoying the moments of your life. However, I am finding that I am using Instagram a lot, especially for my weaving endeavors.
I just finished another warp of blankets from my loom. As I was looking to what I had left, I had quite a bit of loom waste left over. I decided it was time to try a new technique to preserve the threading of the heddles and the sleying of the reed but still wind on a new warp. I tied on the new warp to the old warp- thread by thread. This may seem crazy- but this way I can weave the full length of the older warp and not have to crouch down behind the loom to get at the heddles all over again.
This past weekend I went to Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts to attend the biennial conference "New England Weavers Seminar". The conference included a series of lectures, hands on classes, and other educational opportunities such as Juried Shows, Guild Exhibitions and guided tours. Since this was my first time attending and I do not have a loom that is easily transportable, I decided to take a series of lecture classes. This year the theme was "Weavers Together: Never Ending Weaving Stories" which brought together historical, cultural and technological influences that showed in many of the weaver's work.
So, now that you are weaving overshot on your loom- what exactly is overshot? Where did it come from? What makes it so cool? The origin of the technique itself may have started in Persia and spread to other parts of the world, according to the author, Hans E. Wulff, of The Traditional Crafts of Persia. However, it is all relatively obscured by history. In The Key to Weaving by Mary E. Black, she mentioned that one weaver, who was unable to find a legitimate definition of the technique thought that the name “overshot” was a derivative of the idea that “the last thread of one pattern block overshoots the first thread of the next pattern block.” I personally think it is because the pattern weft overshoots the ground warp and weft webbing.
I contracted the weaving bug when I first started looking at overshot. There is something about the idea of making circles and curves in a format of 90 degree angles that has always been intriguing to me.
Eric and I picked up the loom from Pam Engberg, weaver and teacher at FireWatch Weaver's in Brimfield, Massachusetts. Pam and I met through the online forum weavolution. For those who do not know, weavolution is a digital community for weavers to meet, share ideas and projects and to problem solve issues they have while working. It is an excellent resource to connect to weavers around the world. Pam and I met over a discussion on articles she had written concerning the different techniques of designing and producing shadow weave fabric.
It is no longer winter time and I now live in an area where I am a hop, skip and a jump away from the Adirondacks. As I have been exploring outside I've been bringing my camera along to take pictures to document the trip but also to find interesting colors, textures, and proportions that I could use in future woven products. Here is a little post to explain what I look for, and some awesome ideas that I have.
My blankets are woven and being washed. Because of their size and my limitations in space, I have to wash the blankets one at a time in my bathtub and hang it over the shower curtain rod. To eliminate having a completed flooded bathroom floor from the dripping water I first roll the blankets in a towel to soak up the excess water.
Recently, I received an email with a question about reading tie-ups, specifically referencing a page in the The Handweaver's Pattern Directory by Anne Dixon. If you look to pages 38 and 39 of this book (and elsewhere, this is just specifically mentioned in my email) the threading of the pattern looks simple enough. With most four harness patterns there are six treadles that are used. Two for the tabby and four for the twill patterning. In these drafts however there are 12-14 treadles being used. I also had that same surge of panic when I looked at those black blocks in the tie-up thinking to myself "how am I supposed to weave that?! My loom isn't nearly big enough to accommodate all of those treadles!"
Once upon a time I had a professor at college who pushed making samples so much that it drove me up the wall. I developed a diversion to producing samples for anything and just jumping right in and solving issues in the final project as I worked.
Remember, after New Years I made the resolution to weave blankets at some point this year? Well it is finally happening and the warp is on the loom and ready to roll! It took me about two days to thread all 960 ends into the heddles, another couple of days to wind on all thirteen and a half yards and almost an entire afternoon tying on to the front beam.
Today's post we have a lovely profile on the weaver Laura Fry! Laura Fry has been a professional weaver since 1975 and in 1997 received certification as one of Canada's Master Weavers. She has written Magic in the Water which is a wonderful book about wet finishing your handwoven cloth. As she likes to say "it isn't finished until it is wet finished!" Her book is a must have for book shelves and her woven work I just admire.
I love looking at photographs of textiles, especially when the colors are rich and saturated. When I can see the individual stitches or picks of the cloth I tend to fall into the imagery. The age of digital cameras and inexpensive photo editing software makes it incredibly easy to share your own work with the rest of the world. Even if you are not confident with a camera, here are a few tips to help take baby steps in creating beautiful photographs of your weavings!
A chromophobic impulse is a fear of corruption or contamination through color. Many weavers who begin to design their own works often feel intimidated by the use of color in their work. The imminent fear of choosing the wrong colors acts as a deterrent from exploring different color combinations.
I have been adjusting to the new schedule my life has been developing for me. I am having a bit of a writers block so I have decided to show you some of the new goodies that I am getting ready to put on the loom. I am making some more ombré infinity scarves in different color families. Using the Harrisville yarn is incredibly rewarding because the heathered quality of the fiber makes the transitions from one color to the next seem effortless. Each one of these warp chains is 13+ yards with 214 ends each.
This is the first weaving that I've done since the move. I have actually had this yarn since December (or January) and I have been aching to weave this forever. It has taken a while because we had to move, set up the loom and deal with a few issues (of the feline variety). But here are some shots of the fabric now that it has been woven!
Have you ever planned your weaving project, full of excitement to weave it off the loom? You get rolling, winding bobbins and just full of anticipation to see your finished creation? Then, about ¾ of the way through the project, you go to wind another bobbin and you can’t find your weft yarn. Why can’t you find it? Because you have used it all up because you didn’t account for the amount of weft you would need. So when you order more yarn or go to your local yarn shop, you can’t find the same dye lot, and you are left with a project which is not up to your standards.
So you have finally found a weaving draft that you love. You can see it in your house are wrapped around your neck and you are so excited to get started working on it! But how much warp do you need? How much yarn do you need order in order to make the warp and have enough for weft? How do you figure out the sett? There are so many things to think about and it can be very frustrating.
I have a weak spot for books that have beautiful images of textile art and techniques. I saw this at the 2010 Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival and I HAD to have it. Then soon afterwards, I received a second copy of it in the mail from my Dad as a birthday present. So I have two glorious copies, one that I can photocopy and scan for mood boards, and the other with a perfectly intact binding that I can showcase.
You have been finding cool weaving drafts all over the place, you are getting excited that you are starting to be able to understand what you are reading. You skip over to a library you know has books of weaving drafts and you try to explore some historical weaves. You open up a book and suddenly there are no pictures! All there is are grids and notes and nothing to indicate what you are looking at.
As I unpack boxes into bookshelves, I inevitably stumble upon my many sketchbooks from my years at college. The edges are always wavy from being taken out in the rain, or having dye splatter on them. The covers easily bend under my fingers. And in some the bindings are falling apart because I have tossed it into my bag so many times.