Thursday, April 14, 2011

Time to Weave

With George having started his new job on Monday, we're adjusting to this new phase of our lives. He wasn't very enthusiastic about the new place, but how could he be? Our last jobs were as perfect as any job could possibly be. However, I'm delighted to see his enthusiasm building. He's learning so much, and sees the opportunity to learn much, much more. This is a very good thing!

And me?  Well, I'm learning lots, too, about weaving. I'm taking this time to learn and practice things I've wanted to learn forever. Now that I seem to be over the worst of the warping issues, dressing the loom is nowhere near the daunting task it has been in the past. It's kept me from weaving for years.

Weaving to Sell
So I decided to see if I could actually sell my work. Many people have encouraged me, including a woman at the St. Francis In The Wood Fair.  I think she's probably one of my guardian angels. I'm convinced my angels show up in human or animal form from time to time to take care of me and push me in directions I need to go.  They have some typical forms I'm coming to recognize, too.

After being inspired by a piece on Ravelry's Warped Weavers group, I decided to use some variegated Tencel I've had laying around forever. I used the variegated in the warp and black Tencel in the weft. I somewhat fearfully chose a twill pattern in Marguerite Porter Davison's A Handweaver's Pattern Book. I say fearfully because the drafts in the book are in the old style and I wasn't sure I could read them correctly. But it proved much easier than I had feared.  There were a couple of  false starts. I forgot the prime rule of design.  If you have a complicated yarn, and most variegated yarns are, you need a simple structure. Of course, I tried a complicated structure. And immediately unwove it and used a simpler tie-up and treadling. I promptly broke a warp thread - Tencel takes less abrasion than bamboo, I think.  But I patched the thread and had no further trouble with it.

The two scarves I warped on wove off quickly enough, especially considering I was also weaving the Peacock Shawl on the 8-harness loom. They looked good, even straight off the loom.  But wet-finishing provided the miracle it usually does.  And without further ado...

Twill Scarves
Here is one of the scarves!  With an amazing amount of fear and trepidation, I opened an Etsy shop where I listed them for sale.  We'll see what happens!  I need to spiff up my shop, but at least it's there.

I'm pleased with the interplay of the color against black.  If I had it to do over again, and had an unlimited amount of Tencel in the house, I think I'd choose a navy blue for the weft.  The black is a little harsh.  Here's the detail of the scarf.
Twill Scarf Detail

Overshot is Hot... But Slow
The Overshot Runner on the Loom
I'm gravitating to finer weaves and more traditional structures. I've wanted to try overshot for years.  I've been collecting overshot books forever, it seems.  But I've never actually tackled a project. Warped Weaver's winter Weave-Along this year was overshot.  Looking through the postings, I decided to squeak a last project in on that WAL. I chose a table runner project in one of Interweave's e-books - the same project that many others in the WAL chose. For a first project, I'm glad I did. I used a natural colored cotton in the warp and tabby weft and an indigo blue wool for the pattern weft. It looks almost black and white in the photos, but I was going for the traditional natural / indigo look.

Threading the loom required attention.  It's amazing how complex something can be in only four harnesses. But I used the small-group theory of threading - thread a small number of heddles, double check them, tie them off and forget them!  Thankfully, there were no mistakes. When I started weaving the tabby header I was almost dismayed to see how open the weave was.  But fortunately, I had the benefit of everyone else's experience telling me that the tabby needs to be open to accomodate the pattern weft. I planned the pattern weft in a single strand of the blue wool.  But when I sampled it, it seemed kind of thin.  I opted to double the wool... and promptly realized I didn't have enough.  I think that problem will get taken care of, though.

Overshot Detail
So beautiful... And so much what most of us think of as traditional American.  Overshot didn't originate here - like many things it was brought here by the colonists, but it was raised to a folk art here.  So many patterns were developed here and have names reflecting American history - much like quilt patterns and names.  Next up will probably be placemats in Lee's Surrender at Appomattox... if I can get my parents to stop cringing at the name!

The Peacock Shawl is Finished
And it's as beautiful as I thought it would be. I have several more color combinations in mind to do it next time.  I want to try the peacock color again but using an emerald green for the weft instead of moss green. I think the resulting color will be closer to true peacock.  And I want to do it in two tones of white - I think it would be beautiful for a bride.  And I'm going to try the unthinkable - running a glimmer thread along with some of the warp threads. I'll probably get tensioning nightmares, but that's what the weighted S-hooks are for.  And I have two shades of pink in SoySilk that would probably be gorgeous!  So many projects, so little time!
The Shawl


  1. So pretty Deb! I'm going to start singing "Dream Weaver" whenever I see you from now on.

  2. Thanks, Linda! I'll have to post about my adventures with The Owl. I never thought about it, but Dream Weaver is one of my favorite songs, Wonder why..

  3. I love that overshot runner! The intricacy in all your pieces is so nice.

  4. Thanks, Nan! It's wonderful to finally sit down and learn how to do this. There's more to come!