Friday, January 30, 2009

Byways in Handweaving

There came a time back in 1969 I was living in Connecticut, and I didn't have a loom. Byways in Handweaving literally saved my life. I worked my way through the book cover to cover, and had a wonderful experience.

This was not the first time that Mary Meigs Atwater changed my life though. I first got this book in 1960 (although I only looked at the pictures then). It showed me another path---away from commercial weaving and industry for which I was being trained.

I know everybody has heard of and possibly tried inkle weaving, but I had never seen or heard or it back then. I taught myself from the book and created the piece you see below.

Yes, I was crazy even then. What I find most interesting about this vest is it shows the seeds of weavings to come in the following decades--piecing together smaller weaving--and bands of vivid color. I don't know what became of this vest. I sold it to someone now lost in time. I was thrilled to find these slides. In many ways it is better than having the actual weaving. You know it would look terrible on.

If you were alive back in the 60's, you know that fringe was very important.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

On The Edge

Although my edges are often admired, I have struggled with them for...ummm...48 years. A recent wonderful post by Cally got me thinking about edges in addition to my recent foray into twill. I have to say I was really pleased with the edges on the twill scarf, so I thought I would tell you what I did.

I always use a floating selvedges, but recently I started using these clips to act as weights. The red one is heavier than the orange, so I added a film can with coins inside to match the two. The weight is 5.95 oz (or 169 g).

Something new is that I doubled the floating thread (since the warp yarn was already doubled, I actually quadrupled the floater). I also skipped a dent between the last warp thread and the floater. I neglected to take a picture of the front, but if someone requests it I will.

Have you ever noticed that if you change one little thing, it makes a huge difference?

And speaking of edges, these are the sample swatches I cut and included in the Inauguration Day Special. I didn't cut up the shawl. I wove an extra couple of feet, but they are all gone now.

Friday, January 23, 2009

OMG---My Second Blogaversary!


This day sort of crept up on me. I have been distracted with all of the events of the week. It took me a while to select the image to best describe my journey to date. This picture was taken in the mid 70's. I believe this characterizes my blogging adventure.

I had to try my hand at tapestry type weaving. Since I don't have any notes, I can't tell you anything about this piece. All I know is that I raffled it off. I decided how much I thought the weaving was worth ( didn't think anyone would pay that much), and sold just the number of chances that would equal the worth. I don't remember who won or anything else about the piece. It was the 70's after all (grin).

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Successful Day

Here is the picture of my completed Barack Obama Horoscope which accidently got erased from the last post. (Bambu 7 warp, sett 20 epi with recycled cashmere weft)

I received 9 orders! After substracting for paypal fees and mailing expenses, I am able to donate $225 to Weavolution. I can hardly wait for the roll-out!

Stay tuned for more unique weaving opportunities coming your way.

Monday, January 19, 2009

So What 's in an Inauguration Day Color Horoscope Weaving Kit?

Color Horoscope Weaving is a unique method of color blending. It is a perfect exercise for those who struggle with color in weaving.

It turns out if you "google" Barack Obama horoscope, it pops right up. (the good and bad part of being famous) Click here to see my completed shawl.

The kit contains a copy of the horoscope and a winding draft that translates the horoscope into color. Also included are complete directions for winding the warp and suggestions for fiber and color selection.

There are 360 ends in the horoscope warp, one end for each degree of the circle. I use 12 colors, the rainbow, but one could use any 12 colors or any fiber. If, for example, you used yarn that sett at 20 epi, you would end up with an 18" shawl. You can mirror image repeat the draft and end up with a 36" wide piece. I often add solid borders to my weaving if I want to add extra width. So really the "kit" is a customized color sequencing system that is adaptable to any weight fiber and can be woven as just about anything.

I always use a straight draw with 4 harnesses, but some of my students have threaded for a bird's eye twill. If you were to use 60/2 silk, it might be best to use 8 harnesses, and I think plain weave or a straight twill are the best structures since the color arrangement is so complex.

INTERESTING FACT: Whatever 12 colors are selected to use, these colors will combine to make over 5 billion color possibilities. The human eye can only determine about 8 million color variations. Like snowflakes, no two horoscope weavings are exactly alike.

The icing on the cake is a woven swatch (Bambu 7 warp, recycled cashmere weft). And to top that off, I offer email support throughout the process.

Friday, January 16, 2009


I'll bet you thought I didn't have it in me (grin). A fellow, who brought me 30 cashmere sweaters over the past year, requested a herringbone scarf. I had to talk him into making the warp a slightly different shade than the weft. I used Bambu 7 sett at 18 epi and just doubled the cashmere rather than tripled as it was a heavier weight cashmere. I used a straight draw and am dancing the twill with a direct tie-up on 4 harnesses.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

From the Archives

© Geoff Manasse 1982

This is one of my favorite pictures. Have you ever had a professional picture taken? It is quite a process. Unfortunately shortly after I had this picture taken I gained 100 lbs, my hair turned gray and I started wearing glasses. It is wonderful to look back though, and January is the perfect month to look both forward and back at the same time. All of the cloth in the picture are of Color Horoscope Weaving woven in 20/2 cotton (even my jacket). My looms at the time were a 45" 4 harness Herald and a 40" 8 harness Gilmore.

When I see this picture, I think of the word MASTERY. I had mastered normal body weight after months of dieting which I was able to maintain for exactly 24 hours.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Many Shades of Hope

Shortly after the election back in November, I noticed such a outpouring of hope I decided to create a weaving entitled "The Many Shades of Hope". I rarely begin a weaving with a title, but we live in rare times.

It has taken a couple of months of thinking and designing to come up with a plan. The idea is to weave a shawl or MobiQ and have enough left over to cut up for little lavender pillows. The radom space-dyed yarn between the words will be used for the seams. I don't know if you can see the little red stripes, but they are the cut lines. The goal is to design something to cut apart but looks good as a whole uncut piece. It was challenging to have such variance of color. I moved the sections around quite a bit, but I think this configuration is the most pleasing.

I settled on 5 different mirror imaged color ways of the word HOPE. I used the 4 favorite colors of mine (second from right) and 4 of my friends.

I like to show my back to front warping (using a raddle), and I love taking pictures of warp through heddles

I actually like having both looms set up this way since it is so easy to photograph both warps at once. By the way, I just finished weaving the smaller warp. Pictures to follow.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

When I was a Newbie

I have been slowly converting old slides into digital. This one amuses me quite a bit.

Here I am in 1971 at the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena Montana. I am weaving on a Hammett 4 harness counter balance loom. Hanging on the wall is Lee's Surrender from "A Handweaver's Pattern Book" although I was in the midst of my weed wall hanging phase.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Have I arrived?

I am stumped to know how to label this post. My step brother just sent me this link and thought I would find it interesting. I am bemused but thought I should share this with you.

Someone is selling a huipil that I made back in the 90's when I was doing craft fairs. It looks new and the seller has displayed it very nicely. I have no idea who bought it originally. The starting price is good. I hope it sells. Take a look.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Stepping Forward

Here is a glimpse of my studio on New Years Day. My apartment is like an extremely well appointed cave. Although it is midday, I still have to use lights except for when I weave on Gary who is right in the alcove with windows on 3 sides. Don't get me wrong, I kind of like the cave effect. I know my yarns will never fade.

Speaking of which----my first accomplishment of the New Year. You cannot believe how this feels! I used Bambu 7 for the warp ( sett 20 epi) and combined it with recycled cashmere in 19 different shades.

I made this piece extra long so I could cut swatches to send to those ordering kits from me.
I haven't taken the scissors to this yet, but I will as soon as I finish this post.

And then I quickly re-warped Grace for a Woven Words Commission.


Which brings me to my New Years List....
I wasn't sure I was going to post it, but what the heck. (I have inherited Meg's long posts)

1. Those things for which I am grateful
My creative mind; good health; NIA; my cute apartment; my 90 year old mother; my brother's help; my new and old friends; Seattle weather; the blog world; convenient organic foods; Weight Watchers; The Weaving Goddess; good neighbors; spiritual unfolding; helping hands
2. My accomplishments in 08
The Festival of Moving; reducing my possessions by 1/3; Finished The Big Commission; Order Color Horoscope Weaving Kit on Blog; The Un-knitting Factory; Progress with Woven Words; Scarves for 4 friends who are long term cancer survivors; Healing project at St Marks Cathedral; Published ikat article in WeaveZine; Dye Days
3. Those things still languishing on the back burner
Saving the world with weaving; volunteer work in my craft organizations; updating my website; organizing my papers; selling stuff on ebay
4. Accomplishments I desire in the year to come

(Actually it is a long and boring list which I promise to reveal as I accomplish each one)
5. Things I am ready to release
Self Doubt; Procrastination; Fear; Unwillingness; Constant need to Dine Out