Wednesday, August 29, 2007

First Towel Arrives

The bar is set pretty high. What a beautiful towel sent to me by Stef M!
It is woven of unmercerized cotton and variegated tencel, 24H point twill threading.

The color is slightly off here, but I love the look of it.

24H Point Twill meets Turned Weft Ikat. I got the towel warp off the loom, but that is all I got done in the studio today. My attention was drawn to converting digital images to slides. I delivered 46 images. I can pick them up on Friday. I am sure I will tackle Power Point after this adventure.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Edge of........Power Point

Amazing! If I weave just a little bit everyday, having woven happens. I could have finished this off this evening, but I have a pretty full plate and besides, I wanted to show this moment. Have you ever noticed how the last few inches of a weaving takes the longest amount of time?

I am in the process of preparing a program "Turned Weft Ikat" for the Whibey Island Weavers Guild on Sept. 6.
I have a wonderful "Easy Ikat" slide show I have been presenting for quite a while now, but I have been taking digital pictures for the past 4 years. So here I am poised on the brink. Do I buy a slide scanner and laptop? Do I sit down and figure out how to work the power point program? Or do I print out 5o of my best pics from the past 4 years and have them made into slides?

For the past couple of days, I have been printing 4 x 6 digital images having elected to make this year my last year of slide presentations. Now I am having a good time playing photographer. In order for me to have the slides back in time, I have to deliver them tomorrow.
I couldn't resist winding back. I have to stop and keep wiping my drool off this warp.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Just Our Yarn Inspiration #3

I haven't had much time to work on this today, but I just had to show you. I can't wait to see how this weaves up.

Sadly I have several deadlines that will keep loom time down to a minimum for the next couple of weeks. Though I have been keeping up my commitment to weave everyday, some days it is only an inch.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Just Our Yarn Inspiration #2

After I wound a bunch of Turned Weft Ikat chains, I thought to myself "Why don't I intersperse my horoscope in between the ikat?" It will make a really nice sample (chuckle)

Just for the record, I still have enough tencel to wind another horoscope warp. That would make 3+ warps (counting the ikat) from 12 skeins of Just Our Yarn Tencel.

And what of the yarn that is wasted in Turned Weft Ikat? Well, I get to indulge myself in this little guilty pleasure. The widths of all 4 are 2" to give you an idea of the size.

There is almost always some use you can put to almost any piece of yarn:)

Friday, August 24, 2007

Just Our Yarn Inspiration

Another of the vendors at the NEWS Conference was JUST OUR YARN.
Notice the rack of luscious painted 10/2 tencel yarn. Also notice the beautiful tencel horoscope scarf at the top of the rack.
These are the colors I selected for the horoscope weaving and some of the yarn that was leftover after I wove the above scarf.
In one of my Dye Days, I decided to ikat overdye some of the tencel (the colors) along with the bamboo yarn (black, gray, and white). I was curious about how the tencel would dye up, which was great by the way.
Now that I have started to integrate my NEWS experience, I realize I have to have a tencel weaving of my very own and bring another something new in Turned Weft Ikat to my upcoming lecture. I'm not certain what I am going to do exactly, but the only thing I know is that the warp is 3 yards long sett at 32 epi. It will be fun to watch this grow.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Towel Exchange

I continue to weave a little bit every day. The current weaving on Grace, ikat dyed unmercerized 8/2 cotton towel test.

I received this email today.

Hi Bonnie,

Is the towel exchange for Alphabet towels only?
I have a towel to exchange but it is a two block basket weave/twill not
done with a color palate for words


And so I replied:
Hi Maureen,
I guess I didn't explain the towel exchange very well at all. The alphabet towels are towels I make as gifts for friends and relatives, and I use them as samples in my workshops. I don't trade them. The towels I trade are the ones I happen to be working on at the time, in this case the ikat towels (blue and white in 8/2 unmercerized cotton). The towels I receive are hopefully whatever you are working on and reflect your individual weaving path.

I used to buy handwoven towels at our guild sale because I knew I would never weave them myself. Who knew I would come to love these little cloths? I am most interested in towels not like the ones that I make.

There is only one request for the towel you send me is that you label the towel with your name in some way. If you don't have an actual label, then either embroider your name or find some other way to let me know whose towel I am using. I am finding it harder to remember the more towels I get.

I think I will put your email on my blog along with this response. I am sure you aren't the only person who interpreted the towel exchange this way.

Thanks for writing! Your towel sounds perfect!


I was going to tell you about where I get my woven labels, but I can't seem to locate that information just now. If anyone is interested, let me know and I will dig deeper.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Guatemalan Inspiration

Little by little, parts of my July trip have begun to integrate into my weaving life.

After I left New York, I took a train up to Massachusetts to the NEWS Conference. Among the many many wonderful experiences, the Mayan Hands booth in the vendors building has been in my thoughts today.

Mayan Hands is a fair trade organization that has been working with Mayan weavers since 1989. We now work with approximately 200 weavers, organized in groups of 12 to 50 women, living in eleven different communities around the western and northern highlands of Guatemala.

I am not much of a traveler, but back in 1974 I did visit Guatemala. I thought it would be wonderful to visit a country that devoted so much of its energy to weaving. I also had this mistaken notion I would look Guatemalan. I actually looked more like the Guatemalan version of a Martian, at least that is how it seemed from the expressions on their faces. I also discovered just how limiting for me it is to not speak the language. I know many people seem to be able to just get along, but I realized I was not one of those people. But most of all, I was undone by the poverty I encountered. To be able to create such magnificent weaving and not have much more than the beautiful handwoven clothes on your back was almost more than a struggling first world weaver like myself could take in.

I hadn't really thought much about that trip until I encountered Brenda Rosenbaum,
a wonderful woman who was in charge of the booth. Brenda told me I had a Guatemalan spirit, and I think she might be right. Many people tell me my weaving looks very Guatemalan.
Brenda told me I should come to Guatemala and work with the weavers. Now you know why I have been thinking about my previous trip.

I am still a Martian, but perhaps there is some way I can help. Maybe by writing about this, some ideas will gel.

Here is a strange coincidence. Meet Manuela from Chichicastenango. I found her in the window of a shop around the corner from me. I walked by her for several days and finally went in and purchased her (a year and a half ago). She has been sitting in my studio since then watching me weave. I don't think I ever read the tag, but after I returned from the Conference I did. On the back it says: Maya Doll Project created by: Maya Traditions
I checked out their website and discovered a most amazing thing: Maya Traditions and Mayan Hands two small fair trade businesses joined together to form a nonprofit named Associacion Tejedoras Unidas ("Weavers United")

Manuela is a very magical and beautiful doll who has been quietly working her magic in my weaving studio. There is so much more to say, but I haven't figured out the words yet.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Towel Fascination

Here is an array of towels woven in 10/2 mercerized cotton using my Woven Words technique. Mostly I weave towels as gifts. From the bottom up we have: Tess Archer (celebrating the birth of my grand niece); Matt & Marla ( celebrating cousin Matt's marriage to Marla); Virginia (a fund raising project for a Virginia Harvey video produced by the Northwest Designer Craftsmen Living Treasures Video Project; alphabet sampler (just for fun); Paper Towels ( in honor of Cis and Chic Paper, my favorite Aunt and Uncle); and Tarses Tartan (for my immediate family).

I don't have any of my older ikat towels, but I have started a new series ikat towels which will become the towels I will use in my ongoing towel exchange.
TOWEL EXCHANGE: It goes like this-- You send me a towel, and I will send you a towel. Above are some of the towels I have received. I use these towels all the time. I also have lots of handwoven napkins. Many of the towels and napkins are interchangeable. It is fun when I have folks over for dinner to have them select their napkin as no two are alike.

I don't use the Woven Words towels except as examples when I teach. Well, that's not completely true. I carry the Tarses towel in my purse for those times when I wish I had a towel with me.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Gary and Grace Enjoy Summer

What with all the travel and house guests, it would seem like nothing gets done in the summer. However, now that I have committed to weaving everyday (when I am home), I am finding it easier than I had thought it would be. Here is what (or should I say "who") is on Gary, a good example of the Bambu 7 "kit". I am weaving this shawl using yarn from Cotton Clouds and using Irene's horoscope (the owner of Cotton Clouds). Very soon I will post detailed instructions for ordering a kit and what is included in said kit.

Grace features another 8/2 unmercerized cotton towel sample. I like to weave something in ikat prior to giving an ikat presentation (September 6th at the Whidbey Island Weavers Guild).

My current fascination with handwoven towels is somewhat of a mystery to me.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Saori Weaving Hob Nobs with Blanket Panels

I didn't have anyplace to hang and photograph my "Weave Everyday" piece, so my Big Commission Blanket in progress was kind enough to offer a contrasting backdrop. I didn't know what to expect when I cut this weaving off the loom. I had no plan! I just wove whatever I felt like when I sat down to weave! I never expected to experience a rush when I unrolled the cloth beam. I don't think weaving will ever be the same for me although now I have to weave a horoscope weaving and another ikat towel sample for an upcoming lecture.

I am a little nervous about laundering this piece as I have blended merino wool (warp) with merino, musk ox, and cashmere for the weft. I will probably wash by hand and dry flat. I have had things I have woven in merino wool shrink as much as 45% in the washer, and my experience with cashmere is it hardly shrinks at all. I was surprised to discover the cashmere sweaters I get from the second hand stores can be washed on gentle and dried on low with fabulous results.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Weave Every Day, 3+ Blog Freeze

Torn between feeling I should report on my recent trip and my desire to share my current process (and having out of town guests), I suffered Blog Freeze! In order to recover from this debilitating syndrome, I will just have to move forward. As I absorb aspects of my trip East, I will let bits and pieces come through and weave themselves into my experience.

However, I continue to weave a little bit everyday.
I have to admit it is lots of fun to focus on the weft for a change, to not think about the outcome.

It is grand fun to inlay some ikat yarn.

And here finally I believe I experience the Saori Spirit. I will cut this off the loom this evening and promise to show it to you no matter what.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Weave Every Day, 2

Even through HP, I continue to weave some on a daily basis. It seems that everyday I sit down at the loom I am a different person. What emerges as I weave is totally unplanned and a complete surprise. I try not to think about what this piece is going to look like (or even what it is actually going to become). Whatever it is and however it looks, I plan to put it in a Northwest Designer Craftsmen Group Show next month. I had to tell them what I was going to submit, so I said I was weaving a scarf. It may become a very very long scarf or a long thin wall hanging.

I discovered some merino wool ikat dyed yarn I had used in a wool ikat blanket and thought it would be fun to play using the ikat in the weft. I couldn't resist introducing the lavender cashmere stripe as I just received this new color. I don't know what I was thinking putting on a red warp, but I must have been in a red mood that day. It is interesting just how little the red actually shows although it does influence the general "look".

I realize I have dropped the thread of retelling the story of my trip, but I will get to it.

Potter Interlude

Need I say More...

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Weave Every Day

The essence of the Saori Conference for me was the idea to weave every day even if it is only for 5 minutes. When I got home, immediately set up the loom and started to weave. As I weave, I think about my Saori experience. I only spend a few minutes at a time at the loom. I am not thinking about what the finished piece is going to look like. Each time I sit down at the loom, some color or thought grabs my attention and away I go.

Mimi and Ginny at NEWS

Here are a couple of wonderful women I ran into in Northampton. Notice their beautiful Color Horoscope Weaving Shawls. How could you not! Mimi and Ginny took my Color Horoscope Weaving Workshop at the Florida Tropical Weavers Conference back in 2001. One of the downsides of the workshop is that the weaving happens at home after the workshop. I never get to see the finished weaving, so it is really a great thrill to actually get to see some of the results.