Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy Start

This slightly out of focus picture shows my happy start to a new year. Back a few months ago, when money wasn't so tight, I purchased something that had been on my wishlist for a looong time - a set of cases for my collection of Handwoven Magazines. They arrived several months ago, and sat in a box. I was slightly disappointed with my purchase - they came with labels that needed to be applied, unlike the cases I bought several years ago for my Weavers issues - those have the title embossed nicely directly on the case. Still, they are MUCH nicer than the magazine holders I was using before, so it felt really good to finally get the labels applied and the magazines transferred.

My goal for 2009 is to get unstuck, so this seemed like a great start. I love the nice, organized look of my shelf, right behind me as I sit at the loom. (You can just see the corner of the breast beam in the bottom left of the photo.)

For almost the last year, I've been divesting myself of things I seldom use. Not all things, of course, because hope springs eternal. I sold a small triangle loom, my table loom, my previous marudai. I sold a lot of old Weavers Journal and Handweaver and Craftsman issues on ebay. I actually let all of my magazine subscriptions lapse, and even all of my memberships except for my local guild. (I may end up rejoining some organizations, though not right away.)

And yet, I still have two wonderful looms (32 shaft Megado and 8 shaft David), a warping wheel and squirrel swift cage and floor inkle loom, my Lendrum spinning wheel, a charka and a collection of spindles, my takadai and marudai. Now that the first outbreath phase is complete, I want to get better organized and make a concerted effort to actually USE all of my other toys! (That's my biggest problem in life - I THINK about doing a lot of things, but seldom even get things out of my head and onto paper, much less manifest them into something real.)

It will be interesting to see if this phase is followed by an inbreath phase. There was a time when I seemed to continually be acquiring - tools, cones of yarn, anything fibery. I do still get tempted on ebay, but not nearly as much as before. I must say, I'm pretty happy with what I've already got!

Last year, a member of our guild wrote an article on "How to Tell When You Are No Longer a Beginning Weaver", and she asked for suggestions from members. I had a few contributions.

You are no longer a beginner when ...
  • you know to take a pair of scissors to a workshop even if it isn't on the supply list
  • you no longer feel giddy at the prospect of being given a free loom or wheel or cone of yarn
  • when asked your favorite weaving books, Learning to Weave is no longer your only answer.
If asked, I would probably say I'm an intermediate weaver. I learned a lot about weave structure early on in my weaving life, but the amount of actual weaving I've done would probably still put me at the beginning stage. If you average knowledge and experience, I'm square in the middle. The middle is a good place to be - in weaving, in politics, in life. :-)

Happy New Year! I wish you a joyful 2009, filled with lots of playtime with your fibers and toys and friends.

Monday, December 22, 2008


I haven't posted in a while. First, I think I haven't quite gotten the swing of blogging yet. I keep waiting for earthshaking things to happen to blog about. I don't have an earthshaking life (thank heaven) so I need to modify my criteria for blog-worthiness.

To add to my natural slacker tendencies, I've been sick since the day after Thanksgiving. Still not 100%, but at least I finally can function. So.... not having yet done much of anything, I'll share an old photo.

I took this one just before Thanksgiving.

I'm sharing this to prove that in spite of San Diego's reputation for having no seasons, we actually do get a little bit of fall color! I'm thankful for liquidamber trees (aka Sweetgum) because without them, we really wouldn't get much fall color. Ours comes later than most parts of the country, especially in years like this when seemingly non-stop Santa Ana conditions prolong summer way too long. (I don't even mind the warmth so much, but the 10% humidity sucks all of the life out of you.)

Today, it is raining - another rare occurrence for our area. The amazing thing here is that it rains so seldom that when it does, the roads are treaturous, making driving difficult, which people from the northeast consider hilarious. Yes, we are weather wimps here. We make up for it with great courage and fortitude regarding housing and gas prices.

This makes it fairly easy to determine who is native or has been here for a long time, versus who is fairly new to southern California. Newbies complain about the rain. Oldies celebrate. Newbies ooh and aah in the springtime when the hillsides are covered with light green vegetation and lovely sprinkles of yellow mustard flowers. Oldies gripe that all the new vegetation is going to lead to a heightened fire season in the fall. I guess that's true anywhere of anything - we may all see the same thing, but we see with very different eyes.

Merry Christmas, to anyone who sees this. Somehow, it doesn't feel like Christmas yet - perhaps because I've been sick, and so with Christmas 3 days away, I still have not set foot in a store. In a way, that makes the holiday time seem much more gentle, so I suppose it isn't a bad thing. May you find a way to delight in whatever weather you get this week, may you be aware of the grace of good friends, good health, and a steady shower of creative thoughts.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Color Warps, Second Half

Monk's Belt, 8 shafts (red orange and peacock blue)

Polychrome Summer and Winter, 8 shafts (pastel blue, pink, peach, lime green, teal blue, violet blue)

2 Block Polychrome Double Weave, 8 shafts

Intermittent Twill with Color Progression, 8 shafts (rainbow colors)

Undulating Steep Twill, 8 shafts (2 blues, 2 greens)

Corkscrew Twill, 7 shafts (lime green and forest green)

4 Color Warp, Straight Draw on 8 shafts (pastels - 2 greens, blue, orange-gold)

Color Warps, First Half

Color and Weave, 4 shafts (brown and gold)

Five Rotating Colors, straight draw threading, 4 shafts (red, blue, yellow, orange green)

Patterned Supplementary Warp Stripes, 4 shafts (ground - orange, supplementary - tangerine, jade, magenta)

Undulating twill, 4 shafts (orange, yellow blue turquoise)

Lace Weave, 4 shafts (blue and purple)

Broken Twill, 8 shafts (dark red, blue, green)

Oh, the Looms!!!

So much stuff, so many looms, such good energy!

A couple of AVLs...

a lovely Swedish loom.

A rustic barn loom ...

A wall of warping boards ...

... and a wall of spinning wheels ...

and displays of a variety of different weaves ...

And perhaps most fascinating of all - a jacquard loom. It appears to be not yet functional - it will be interesting to see what develops!

So if you are ever in San Diego County - be sure to go to Vista and see the Weavers Barn at the Antique Gas and Steam Engine Museum.

Splendor of Multi-Colored Warps with Betty Vera

I just had 3 days of bliss and a blast at a workshop with Betty Vera sponsored by Palomar Handweavers. The title was the Splendor of Multicolor Warps, and it was an invitation to move from the world of solid color warp and weft into a whole nother thing. I will confess that near the end, when someone asked if anyone would ever go back to a boring solid color fabric again, I did raise my hand. I truly am more of a structure person than a color person, but I learned so much in this workshop, and hope to put that information to good use, soon!

The workshop was held in the Weavers Barn at the Antique Gas and Steam Engine Museum in Vista.

This place is what I want my heaven to look like - it's chock full of the most amazing variety of looms - from incredibly simple to intensely complex, from tiny to gigantic, from ancient to modern. Walls are lined with tools and bins of yarn.

This was the view from the workshop end of the barn...

... and this was the view from the other end.

We had a luscious stash of an amazing spectrum of weft options.

I'll post pictures of some of the looms in the barn, as well as the warps and samples from the workshop, in my next post.

This is the definition of fun!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Cardweaving Loom (Of Sorts)

Okay, to answer Ruth's questions about the cardweaving warps shown in the previous post, here are a few photos and some explanation.

This is the "band end" of the loom. It consists of a board of wood with tensioning blocks (from Linda Hendrickson) clamped on each end of the board with grip clamps. (Originally, I used one clamp on each end, and the other clamp was intended for clamping the whole thing to a table. However, I discovered that using two clamps kept the tensioning block from torquing, so I used it as shown. You can also see that the weaving is currently clamped to the post of the tensioning block with a binder clip. I would prefer to use a clamp - wrap the band around the post and clamp it - but... I couldn't find a clamp quickly, and was trying to get prepared for the demo, so I just used the binder clip. One nice thing about that - when you beat in the weft, sort of grinding to get a nice tight beat, you can push down on the "handles" of the binder clip to increase the tension.

This photo is looking toward the other end of the loom. You can see the cards hanging in the warp, then the warp spreader, then groups of warp threads hitched to the opposite post. The warp spreader is also from Linda Hendrickson - it's the original style she used to sell. I've used a rubber band to hold the metal post in place. I prefer not to have the warp spreader hang on the warp, so I put a block of wood under it, and used another larger rubber band to fasten that to the base board. The graphic you can see there is an enlarged image from one of Linda's articles - showing the position of the A-B line for each pick in double-faced tabletweaving.

This last photo shows the other end of the "loom." Again, grip clamps attach the tensioning block to the end of the board. Groups of warp threads are tied to the post of the block. I struggled to find a good knot for this - I wanted to find a knot that would hold firm, but also be easily adjustable to let out more warp. I found the hitch shown here. It's not quite what I want, but was okay for the moment. It didn't hold quite tight enough, so I then took each half of the warp and wrapped it around the grip clamp. (If I can find the web sit with the diagram of this hitch, I'll post that later.)