Monday, May 23, 2011

The End

Finally!  The Flame warp is finished.  You can see from this photo that I didn't have much choice but to end it, and as it is, the last scarf is four inches shorter than my standard 72 inches woven.  I don't like having so little left behind the heddles, but since I cut the first two scarves off and tied the warp back on, I lost at least six inches of available warp.  I plan my warp lengths pretty tightly, leaving little extra, so as not to waste much of a beautiful hand-dyed yarn. 

Tomorrow I'll do the beaded hemstitching, then cut these last two pieces off the loom, clean off the loom and the floor around it.  I drop all snippets and schniddles onto the floor as I'm working, and pick it all up at the very end.  Seems more efficient.

The yellow cord divides the twill pattern of the overall scarf from the plain weave ending which serves as the base for the hemstitching.  As I work across (right to left), I gradually pull the cord to the left, leaving a neat space between the twill and the tabby so I can easily see where I need to place my stitches.  I don't remember if someone showed me this trick, or I figured it out long ago, but it makes the whole hemstitching-at-the-end process go smoothly.

The next warp for this loom is ready to go on, and the warping process will begin tomorrow.  It's a pale ecru 100% bamboo yarn, very smooth and lustrous, and will be the foundation for a series of four "pale neutral" scarves, appropriate for the warmer part of the year.  All four weft yarns will be just slightly lighter or darker than the warp, with complex twill patterning, so the overall effect will be tone on tone.  Very subtle.  I do a series along these lines once or twice a year, always a stretch for me, as I much prefer working with lots of color.  However, as an occasional venture, this kind of scheme is rather restful.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

In the Homestretch

Today I'm finishing off Flame #3 -- the weaving is done, and while the patterning is more subtle than I had anticipated, the subtle sparkle of the metallic red component is entirely pleasing.  It'll look lots more sparkly after it's washed and firmly ironed.

The picture above shows how I finish off all  my scarves and shawls -- the beginning end is started with a band of Italian hemstitching; the finishing end gets the same but with the addition of beads worked in with the stitching.  This procedure anchors and firmly holds the warp threads so nothing pulls out or gets wonky; the beads provide a little surprise when the light hits them just right.  The whole treatment has become my signature on many of my woven pieces.  It's time-consuming and fiddly, but effective.


Saturday, May 7, 2011


The pace of production that I've wanted for a long time to achieve appears finally to be close at hand.  Turns out it depends on a number of factors meshing cooperatively and steadily; not sure why I'm feeling so surprised about that, and I'm certainly aware of a place in my mind that reminds me more than I like that it could all go to hell in a handbasket at any moment.  I try -- mostly successfully -- to pay no attention to that dismal outlook.

On Thursday I delivered to Raven Rocks Gallery at Greenbank Farm two new scarves -- the first of four in the "Flame" series.

The warp is a rough, earthy hand-dyed silk noil; the one on the left (#1) is woven with a doubled strand of very fine hand-dyed silk noil and has a crunchy substantive hand.  The weft for the righthand one (#2) is a fine tencel, so the pattern, when the light hits it just right, shimmers in and out of view.  I like that.  Last evening I went to the First Friday gallery walk at the Farm, and enjoyed seeing people's reaction to them.  Also enjoyed seeing how the colors glow under the strong, angled gallery lighting.  I took the above picture in my studio with my digital camera; I'm hoping to get Michael Stadler to shoot these and some other recent work before long.

Here's the warp and the next scarf in process -- it's already about two-thirds done.  The weft is a fine black wool wrapped with an even finer red metallic strand.  The pattern is quite subtle, and the glitter of the metallic will help to accentuate it.  I think.

Yes, it's hard to see the pattern; trust me, it's there.  One repeat stretches for eleven inches, so the 72-inch (approximately) scarf won't have many iterations.  The fourth and final one will be woven with a bright red tencel -- I'm looking forward to seeing the end of this warp.  The next one will be a break from my norm -- a creamy bamboo warp which will be woven with a tone-on-tone series of weft yarns.  

Off to the house to make a dessert for dinner with friends.  Tomorrow, if it quits raining, I'll work in  my vegetable garden and spend some time (rain or not) on the couch with a cat and a book.  Bliss indeed.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Forging ahead

A rainy breezy day, after two days of mostly sun and mild temperatures.  Got very wet this morning taking the dogs for a walk in the woods.  They got wet also, but didn't seem to  mind it.  With the temperature in the mid-40's and a warm (but not waterproof) jacket, I didn't either.  Dropped them off for their monthly bath, and went to a local nursery for some soil amendments for my vegetable garden, where I'd done substantial planting yesterday.  And more to come.  I need to find a bunch of earthworms who'd like to have a new home -- there are few in my raised beds, and the soil gets too easily compacted.  Worms would help a lot.

Above is a close-up of a recent fabric I wove -- it's a mixed warp, with several different yarns randomly sleyed across the width, mostly hand-dyed rayon and cotton.  The weft is tencel, so the finished fabric is shimmery and drapes beautifully.   To the right is the vest which was made from it, with silver buttons and a black rayon lining.  The woman who commissioned it was exceedingly pleased.

Today I've been weaving on the "Flame" warp -- a run of four scarves on a hand-dyed rough silk warp, with elaborate patterning and a nice rough texture.  The first two will be cut off this week so I can wash and iron them, then take them on Thursday to Raven Rocks Gallery north of me at Greenbank Farm.  I'll bring home a few items that have been there for several months, and begin to build up an inventory here in my studio/showroom for my expected summertime tourist visitors.  Having two places where folks can find my work and try things on maximizes the possibility of sales.  And people love coming into my workspace to see how it all happens.