Friday, January 22, 2021

Jacket left front in progress

Here we are with the jacket, the left front. Or maybe the right, I'll decide soon before I start shaping.

The first section is my last couple of days of spinning and plying. It takes about four times as long to spin as to knit. 

The first section is better spun than the next, which is pretty chunky. Moving along.

Monday, January 18, 2021

The back progresses

Here's the back, two pieces, steamed, not yet joined together, until I'm sure I like the way they are together.  There are other options, but for now I'm liking this one.

And, since my stock of roving is running lower now, I've ordered three more little bags of it.  I get this direct from Goats Magosh Etsy shop, and it's fun to look there and see the familiar colors and kinds displayed.  I'm getting the ends of them, the only way this project will be in my budget.  And it's even more fun to have all the different types of roving to work on.

It occurs to me now that I can identify them from the Etsy shop, since they're labeled by type and name there. Must do that. 

And I have to get spinning now, since I've knitted up most of the yarn I've made up to now.  I did say this was a big project, didn't?

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Pre ceramic textiles of Peru, 7000 BC and later

I just watched a wonderful Zoom presentation of the Hajji Baba Club, about early textiles using indigo, in ancient Peru.

I wondered what ceramics had to do with textiles, and eventually learned that, because there were no ceramics at that period, dyeing with ochers and indigo was most common, since without solid containers which could stand up to heat, to use as vats, it was not possible to do the natural dyeing which came in after the ceramic container was introduced.  Interestingly, it would have been much easier than indigo dyeing, which needed several processes, and for which the chemistry is more complex.

This is one plant source of indigo, which also happens to be an edible potato plant, an all purpose item of vegetation. I recognize the blossom shape from my own potato growing experiments in containers.

Because indigo dyed yarn or fabric changes color after it's lifted from the dye, seemingly magical as the colors change and end up blue, it was considered sacred, and was restricted in its use.

These experiments in using ocher dye were done by the presenter, and are remarkably similar to my own kitchen dyeing, except that I use natural plant material and flowers. He used potash as a mordant, as I do nowadays.

They also used milkweed bast for fiber production, and anyone who has watched Sarah Swett's adventures in milkweed where she's done exactly that, then spun and wove it, will be as riveted as I was by this historical confirmation.

The fragments of  textiles have been recovered from a sacred site, about which I have some feelings, even if history is being served, and involved burials, also possible propitiatory offerings. There were some objects, probably funerary, which involved wrappings, and look startlingly like modern avant garde fiber craft work.

The twining and weaving in general was highly skilled, and mindblowingly complex, multiple warps, using a frame loom, handbuilt, the toba loom.  I'm looking to see if it's a backstrap affair.  I asked questions about this, and about what we know of the spinners, but lost my signal before they were into the q and a, so I'll have to pursue that myself. 

They were recording the presentation, which is this one, above,  Dr, Jeffrey C. Splitstoser, so it may be possible to find it again.  I think I'll give it a try.  They had viewers from all over the world, every continent, very exciting stuff.

If you are interested in history of textiles, natural dyeing, weaving, spinning (the presenter knew all about z and s spinning and pointed it out in the twine they used) you will really like this.  If I can find a link, I'll let you know about it.

I missed some bits, because friend next door was coming and going, doing work on my tire pressures and is also trying to improve his wifi signal which he shares with me, so there were interruptions which I had to attend to, he's doing me favors!  So maybe I can fill in the missing bits if I can find the recording on line and if it's available.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Second half of the back in progress

 And now you can see better what I'm doing.  This is the second part of the back.  Yet to come are two fronts and two sleeves and a load of spinning and plying before I can get to knitting

 Since I'm still waiting on news of the car, I've been busy at home trying not to think about it. A bit more knitting today. Here's how the two sides will make chevrons. I think I like the upward points rather than the other way up, more cheerful.  The way they seem to link evenly is a bonus, not planned, but a function of the size of yarn ball I've been making.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Anniversary of the Great Winnowing, suggestions for dog hair

 This is the full extent of my art materials now, since the Great Winnowing of January 2020, those innocent days before lockdown.

And here's the now empty and echoing art studio on the top floor.

I have not missed a single item from the Winnowing, which benefited a lot of artists and students and the recycle, and some neighbors.  Only one tiny bag needed to be tossed in the garbage.

And. different subject,  here's the pin I made last Spring from cashmere goat fiber given by Quinn.  I ended up spinning, crocheting and felting to make this nest with eggs.  At the time I asked for and got a lot of interesting ideas from blogistas, which went into my finally deciding to make this.

Today I was offered a bag of hair from a beloved Belgian Malinois who died in early 2020.  Probably different texture, and I think may be mixed with another fiber in order to spin.  I will get maybe a couple of yards of yarn from it.  What I'm asking for is ideas on what to create from it as a possible gift to the owner.  She might like a small memento of her much missed companion.  I can spin, weave, crochet, knit, felt, whatever works. 

So would you come through again?  If you also read Field and Fen, you'll see this in there.  But since some people read only one of my two blogs, I thought I'd for once repeat myself, unusual for me, in order to catch as much input as I can.  Thank you!

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Meanwhile, back at the ranch..

 Back to the knitted and woven and spun and plied jacket.  I made a second pocket here

Using earlier yarn than I did for the other pocket. 

I like very much the way the changing colors create a design

And here's the second pocket

Remember I said that my spinning has improved, the yarn finer and more consistent, and it might show up a bit as I progress with producing yarn for the jacket?  Here's a case in point. The two pockets.  On the left earlier, chunkier, yarn, and on the right later, finer, more consistent yarn, the first pocket I made.  I may add a row of crochet to the right hand pocket if the difference in size bothers me enough. Right now it's just a useful observation.

This is all very well, you say, yes, pockets, but where's the jacket you're going to attach them to, huh, huh?  Well, here's one half of the back, completed, steamed and looking pretty happy.

Well, yes, half of the back, big deal.  Where's the rest of the jacket, then?

Well, some of it's here

And some of it's here

 And I may have to order more fiber.  Fortunately there's no deadline on this, unless you count wanting to wear it before the weather gets hot again.

This is like showing the window frames for the house that's still a heap of timber next to a hole in the ground, but that's fiiiiine.

I can't tell you how happy I am making this endless project.  When I get tired of rolagging, I spin, and when I get tired of spinning, I ply.  Then knit. By then I'm ready to make rolags again. I've learned so much about the yarn and the skills and myself in this process.

And there's always that stitched Robe waiting in the wings for her chance to work again.

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Weavers, embroiderers, beaders of Mindanao

 This was the presentation I mentioned to you a few days ago.  I put up the link to it and another on rug medallion design last week, not knowing then that it was going to be a great antidote, peace, art, people living together and making beauty, to the ugliness we witnessed a few days ago, and are still dealing with.

The rug presentation was okay, very dry, terms not explained to the uninitiated, and largely a sales promotion for the presenter's book, which is no doubt very good.  However, the real treat was the other one, about the groups of people in the Philippines, on Mindanao, in the mountains.

If you didn't remember to get there, they did record it and it might be possible to catch up on it, anyway, here's the introductory screen to help you do that.  The introducers were a bit taken aback at the sheer size of the audience, saying that it was huge, from every continent. And I'd say it lived up to the audience.

It was respectful, helpful, and very understanding of the sophistication of the work produced by the women of this area, all making and wearing their own one of a kind clothing, and selling amazing artworks produced from simple looms. You'll see backstrap looms in action, creating complex and wonderful designs, enormous pieces of fabric.  Some of the early fabric was abaca, the same fiber I use in handmade paper, from the banana-adjacent plant.

 Men process the fiber, a lengthy hand done task, and produce filament that can be warped on a loom and dyed with the black dye used for their designs.  They still have to observe the condition of the filament as they work, though, since a long dry spell means a pause in weaving, since the abaca can break if stressed when dried out. They also use cotton fabric for embroidering and beading.

I took just a few shots, not very good image on my screen, but they did their best.  Where you see beading, it's often hand carved mother of pearl, individually created, and many of them crowded into the  tops, where the shape is simple and the beauty is in the weaving and stitching, including embroidery and applique, and the beading. Men's clothing is also colorful, embroidered and beaded.

Where you see a name and an old person with the presenter, she's the weaver, great artists, some of whom have died in the last couple of years, very aged and still working in the traditional designs of millennia. The designs feature people as well as natural objects, trees, stars, mountains, eagles, all with meaning and worked and worn with respect and a spiritual connection to the tradition. 

The family groups are dressed in their best for the occasion, women wearing the garments they made and designed, within the traditional motifs but with their own interpretation.

In the pictures of work on the loom, you can see the sheer size of the pieces they make, with the backstrap loom, showing it's the weaver, not the complications of the loom, that make the work.

 It was an hour of restoration for this viewer, and I'm very glad I remembered and watched it.  I hope some of you blogistas did, too. I know some people were planning on it and I hope the events of the week in the US didn't drive it out of your memory bank.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Art saving us again

 Yesterday while I was listening to the horrific news from Washington, I did fiber prep.

 This work, making fauxlags from silk combed top, kept me on an even keel. Silky handling, lovely fiber, great antidote to stress.

Sunday, January 3, 2021

I finally got weaving

 Foreword:  If you came in in search of the information about next Saturday's museum presentations, scroll down to the previous post. It's all there.

 Meanwhile, in the midst of spinning and plying and looking at Rebecca Mezoff's tapestry weaving book, I got thinking about pockets for the jacket I'm making.  At first I had thought of diagonal knitted ones. But I also wondered about some weaving element.

 Rebecca does a lot of tiny works, as a form of note taking, like a knitter doing swatching.  So I thought about that, then decided no, I wanted to use the beloved potholder loom.

This is the one that everyone says Oh I had one of those when I was a kid, made my Mom a potholder, I wonder what happened to the loom..and it's really not just for kids.  It's a very nice little tool, particularly if you buy this kind, made in America with real metal with properly designed pegs.  I've made long pieces by crocheting together a series of squares.  And you're not stuck with squares. You can weave triangles or rectangles within the size of the loom.  Nora will show you how.  But here I wanted a square.

I used my trusty Tunisian crochet hook as a weaving hook, works a treat

I had to go back to Norah Crone Findlay for a reminder on how to get started warping the loom.  This is a lovely paperback, which I think I've recommended before.  She specializes in very clear useful instructions and photographs. 

She also has a YouTube channel from which I learned how to use paper clips to make a four selvedge weaving, which ended up being a purchase award piece at a regional show shortly after, and is now hanging in some elected bigwig's office, it being in a public art collection.  So there's that.  Here's me, at the gallery, looking gormless, and getting the official word that Red Building, tapestry, woven in embroidery floss, four selvedge,  had been selected.

Back to the potholder loom: here's how you go

And then, people think, well, this is all very well, but with yarn looped around on all four sides, how do you get the weaving off and finished?  It's like a crochet stitch, just lift up the first two loops, slide one over the other, pick up another, all the way round till you reach the starting point again.  When I do the corners, I loop twice, because there's a bit of slack where the yarn turned the corner.

And here's the pocket, steam pressed and looking okay, for an hour's work from thinking about it to looking for the iron

You can see how the yarn bloomed nicely and filled in all the gaps you saw on the loom.  I think I'll probably make another pocket, and line them so they don't sag in use.

Which will reintroduce stitching into my life, about time.

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Early alert for two great online presentations next Saturday, January 9

Two wonderful textile programs are free for the registering.  Bear with the sudden changes in font and layout, I'm cutting and pasting from information sent by the Princeton Rug Society.  The great rug event I reported on a while back is the caliber of these, I think will be well worth checking out.  For me the Medallion Carpets will be on at 1 p.m. next Saturday, followed at 2 p.m. by the Woven Dreams program. So you can get both, I hope.  If the links are not live for you, you may have to cut and paste. I've signed up for both, and received an acknowledgment and link.

Here they are courtesy of email:

Remember the two for one movies of old? This is what Saturday Jan. 9 will feel like when you watch the two programs from the two coasts. Just don't mix up the times. Here is the East Coast (New England Rug Society) info that comes first:

--> REMINDER: Saturday, January 9, 2021     1 PM 
Eastern Time
Early Persian Medallion Carpets and Their Collectible Derivatives
P.R.J. (“Jim”) Ford 

Register here:
After you register a personal log-in link will be sent to you automatically.

Mr. Ford will discuss designs of the early Persian medallion carpets (16th-early 18th centuries), and how these designs percolated into Persian carpet folk art and were revived in collectible rugs. He has worked in the oriental rug business for 64 years and is the author of Oriental Carpet Design (1981) and The Persian Carpet Tradition: Six Centuries of Design Evolution (Hali 2019). 
This one is Eastern time, adjust accordingly

AND, here note that the time is Pacific time, so adjust to your location.

--> REMINDER: Saturday, January 9, 2021     11 AM Pacific Time
Woven Dreams from Sacred Mountains:
Textile Traditions of the Tboli & Blaan of Mindanao
  Craig Diamond, Independent Researcher and Collector

Register here:
After you register a personal log-in link will be sent to you automatically.

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Tapestry returns, stitching too

This is an elegant how to book on everything you ever needed to know on the art of Tapestry Weaving.  Rebecca Mezoff does a lot of teaching, on YouTube and elsewhere, and is very skilled indeed.  She got Sarah Swett to write the foreword, so that inclines me to study this book. 

Aside from the instruction, there's a gallery of tapestry art, from very modern, tapestry is art, and it changes as art does

all the way back to medieval, the Unicorn Tapestries.  There is a collection in the Cloisters, part of the Met, which I've visited, and another in the Cluny Museum in Paris which I totally failed to visit when I lived there, because I didn't know about it.

And here, harking back, is a stitching I created years ago, been exhibited and had a good deal of attention.  It's from a picture of one of the Cluny tapestries, stitched in a single strand of floss, on 38 count silk gauze canvas.  I just used the picture as a reference, working on a blank canvas.

 It's 6" x 4" framed in a little wood frame which works quite well for it.  I've also used this image, scanned it and taken transfer prints from it. Got my moneys worth, I'd say.

Meanwhile, if you're interested in tapestry, Rebecca covers every sort of loom, from the large floor loom to diy pipe looms and wooden craftsman made looms.  I don't think there's anything you can't find in this book.  She also deals with color and design, just everything.

Even if you don't plan on working in tapestry, it's a great book to wander through just for the visual pleasure of the whole thing.