Posts Tagged ‘weaving’

Warped Weekend

Sunday, June 6th, 2010

Looking for a way to use up some odds and ends of handspun?  Why not weave a scarf!!

My handspun was dyed in rather vivid colours using food colouring and other commercial dyes.  There was not enough of it to make into mittens or a hat, but the perfect amount for the weft of a scarf.  I chose a black warp (Cascade 100% wool), which toned down the other colours quite a bit.


I chose to do a plain tabby (over and under) weave to show off the colours of the weft.  I love watching how the colours blend into each other, and how there is no real pattern, but since it was all from the same dye lot it all blends anyway.  My loom is a Leclerc 4 shaft table loom.  I got it second hand a few years ago, and have made a few scarves and placemats.

To start weaving, I’d recommend contacting your local weaver’s and spinners guild and asking about their class schedule.  If you are interested in simple weaving you can consider a rigid heddle loom or knitters loom.  This allows you to lift and lower selected threads to create the weave structure.  There is only one heddle/shaft that you manually raise/lower.

rigid heddle loom

table loom

For more complex patterns, a 4 shaft table loom offers more variety in patterns.  Depending on how the loom is threaded, more complex patterns are available.  The heddles/shafts are raised and lowered by pushing the levers on the right side of the frame.  These looms often cost more money, but if you check craig’s list, kijiji or e-bay you can get a good deal on a used loom.

Handles and Things

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

I had the coolest grocery bag at the store today!

Yesterday I went on a search for appropriate handle material.  I’m very pleased with the webbing that I found at Fabricland, but it was pretty expensive.  I needed 2.5 meters of webbing, to circle the mouth of the bag and add structural support, and to allow for some generous handles.

I’m not sure if this bag is finished or if it is a work in progress still.  The fabric is soft, and probably not the best match for a bag–it’s definitely not a rugged carry-all kind of a bag unless I line it with something durable.  I tried to carry books and groceries and things, and I’m noticing that the weave is loose, and objects begin to poke through the fabric, distorting the pattern and stretching the yarn.  I am not very accomplished at the sewing machine, but for this bag I may dare to learn!

I am imagining bringing this bag to the beach, full of towels and sunscreen.  I got so excited about the beach, and feeling so tropical that I had to buy myself a pineapple!  Yummy pineapple….

They’re Back!

Sunday, May 16th, 2010

I guess one-month old pigeons are not fully independent yet.  Tonight when I was watering my plants I noticed that Bernice and Bernie had taken up residence in with my radishes.

To keep them from fertilizing my plants, I brought their “home” back again, and within minutes, they were cuddling in their flowerpot once more.

I was talking with my mom, and we agreed that pigeons might be a little like kids.  They can grow up and move out, but they can always come back and expect a spot to stay.  I don’t mind so much as long as they don’t poop all over my garden.

This evening my sewing machine was back in action.  I was making some project bags out of old bed sheets and things.  While I was all set up for sewing I took the weaving off of my loom and sewed that into what might be a bag or a pillow cover or something.

I’m not quite sure what to make it into, but I’m thinking it might be a cool shopping bag, or craft bag.  It doesn’t really match my decor as a pillow case.

The weaving was warped with cascade 220 charcoal gray wool, and the weft was a variety of wool that I bought at a thrift shop.  This is the first time I’ve tried weaving two layers of fabric at the same time.  It’s a pretty neat technique that results in the bottom of the bag being seamless.  I sewed the two side seams with a very dense zigzag stitch to attach all the strings together.  It seems pretty sturdy.  I just need to find something to use as handles now!

My loom is still warped–enough for 2 more bags I think. I need some colour inspiration though–any ideas?

Generation Gap: Learning to Weave on Youtube

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

About a year and a half ago I did something crazy. I bought a full sized floor loom! Not your typical impulse buy….but then again…I’m not typical.

What makes it even crazier is that, at the time, I didn’t know how to weave. I have knit for as long as I can remember. I have been spinning yarn for the past 2 years, and this seemed (to me at least) to be the next logical step in my textile addiction hobby.

I’m not sure what drew me to this particular loom. It looked so sad….it had just been moved out of a garage, and was sitting on milk crates, covered with a tarp…I’m wondering if this is what dog lovers feel like when they go to the animal shelter. Before I knew it, hands had been shaken, money exchanged, and I was hurrying home to remeasure all the doorways and elevators between the outside world and my apartment.

The first big challenge was to determine what kind of loom it was, so I could see what pieces it was missing (not too many thankfully) and figure out how it was supposed to work. A very friendly Ravelry group helped me to identify it as a LeClerc Fanny loom, a good solid piece of Canadian technology. Within a month, the missing pieces arrived in the mail and I was ready to weave….or so I thought.

The hardest part of weaving is “dressing” the loom, and I didn’t have the faintest idea of how to start. I knew that it involved putting lots of little strings in the right places so they will rise and fall when you push the pedals. Before I wasted my treasured yarn on a project doomed for failure, I decided I needed a bit of instruction.

Where do you go when you want to learn a dying craft?

Youtube of course!

No…seriously! I found some FANTASTIC videos. This one was by far the best, in the span of 6 minutes it gives clear and simple instructions, explains new vocabulary, teaches some weaving and textile history, and makes you want to learn more! I watched it probably 10 times while I attempted to dress my loom the first time.

Thanks to this video, I was able to weave something….it wasn’t excellent, but it was weaving! Later I became more adventurous, trying new patterns that I found on a great site that provides historical weaving drafts (patterns) in a digital format.

I was learning a lot by experimenting, and by accessing the tremendous amount of information on the internet. My skill was improving, but it still felt like I was missing something, some crucial information that would prevent problems with tension, or help make the woven edges more straight, or stop strings from breaking.

So, last winter, I searched out the local weavers and spinners guild and signed up for a weekend workshop: Weaving for Beginners.

one of my wonderful weaving instructors

At the class we were instructed in all of the skills that I had learned on the net. Within the first hour though, the instructors, sensing that I was not really a beginner, asked me how I had learned to weave. I told them about the videos on Youtube. They looked a bit puzzled, smiled, and muttered something about “kids these days”. I’m not sure if they understood. I’m not sure if they even have a computer. I do know, however, that they took one look at my work, analyzed what I was doing wrong, and gave me excellent tips to help me improve.

McLeod Tartan Scarf - A gift for my Uncle

McLeod Tartan Scarf - A gift for my Uncle

That weekend I learned that even though I have all the information I need at my fingertips over the internet, it is still so important to learn a new skill from people. I discovered that what I had been missing was the reassurance of an expert watching me work, answering my questions and pointing out little things that I should do differently. I was missing the shared smiles, and the congratulations for a job well done.

Knit Night

Saturday, November 14th, 2009

Today is Friday the 13th, and it is a good day!

I went to see the Handloom Weavers and Spinners show and sale (still running Saturday and Sunday 10-4). If you are in the Kingston area, check it out. There are some very beautiful items.

My art of the day is the continuation of the puffy mittens, and the appreciation of the complexities of the weaving I saw today!

There were wall hangings, and polar bears…

handwoven bears

handwoven bears

….Felted Angels dressed in handwoven garments…

…beautiful wooly blankets…

…delicately patterned scarves…

…lots of handspun yarn…

…and the cutest little sheep ornaments…

I have belonged to this group in the past, and learned a lot from the knowledgeable instructors who taught me how to spin, and weave

my first weaving

learn to weave workshop--scarf in progres

After getting totally inspired, I headed off to knit at Wool -Tyme, where you will be able to find me on any Friday the 13th.  There were snacks, and coffee and cider, and lots of keen knitters, and beginner knitters.  I enhanced my yarn stash with a lovely skein of Cascade 220 in red.  New mittens are in my future!

dinosaur mitts

dinosaur mitts

There were some interesting projects being worked on this evening:  Dinosaur mittens, a baby bear suit, earflap hats, shawls, a tea cosy, and some were knitting their very first socks.

being mathy

being "mathy"

Anne, at Wool-Tyme challenged us to determine the number of stitches used in this garter stitch afghan.  We were all given an opportunity to be “mathy” and figure it out.  The winner got to choose any skein of yarn, or any set of needles!  (it is now that maybe being swatchless is not the best plan!  I’m not used to such calculations).

puffy mittenthe puffy mitten is getting bigger

The puffy mitten made an appearance, and grew a thumb hole and got a lot longer.  I enjoyed showing others about this thrumming method, and we all marveled at how fast hands heat up when they are surrounded by fleece.  I have to keep reminding myself of how big these mitts need to be!  Lots more knitting to do.

I hope you all had a very productive and creative Friday the 13th!

P.S. Congratulations to Lisa, Noor and Ru who are the three participants in Pay it Forward!