Saturday, June 8, 2019

The potholder loom returns

Bit of spinning, bit of dyeing to get the yellow I need, then a couple of sections of the summer scarf I was thinking of before, when  the rhl turned it into a wall hanging. I'm just a helpless prawn of fate, I tell you.


There will be a series of sections, to be crocheted together in some interesting way I haven't thought of yet.

This is very airy. The Tunisian crochet hook is working as a  weaving hook. I also use it as a shed stick on the Hokett loom. All purpose tool.

And, when I found the potholder loom, I remembered the little motif, top left there,  I hadn't taken off it, so I did. This is handspun and dyed, and it will be part of something bigger. I think. Interesting organic shape.

I have three tapestries in the studio waiting to be framed, and I think all this may be displacement activity to avoid the dreaded, I mean great fun of,  framing.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Dyed roving ready to spin

Learned a few things, one being that even the smallest drop of red overcomes even a lot of yellow. I plan to dye more roving yellow, since I accidentally got orange there.



All in all, ready to spin this batch and see what happens.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

I have dyed, and here are the pictures

Results of the dyeing caper, from white to bright:


Draining over the sink. The roving doesn't seem to have felted,  always a concern.

I can spin colors together or card them together, depending on what I need to weave. And  I can spin the solid colors. There's probably enough for a small tapestry.

Nice evening's work.

Help, I'm dyeing here!

Food coloring and microwave dyeing of roving. This is done in stages so as to get the dye completely into the fibers without cooking the roving.



I think this is the last of the Coopworth roving. It's friendly and I'm hoping for good tapestry results.

Ideally when it's done, the water is clear and the fiber is dyed. The white vinegar is the mordant, and once the dyeing is done, at the end of the dye, teehee, sorry, the dw detergent helps get the last traces of unabsorbed dye out of the fiber. That way it won't migrate onto the user.

Since I'm wanting this for tapestry, not wearing, it's less of an issue, but still a good idea.

And since this is food safe, it's okay to use the regular microwave.  Gloves were out for show, then cropped out.  I never remember to put them on. My fingers are an interesting series of colors now. I do use the wooden spatula and the tongs. This stuff gets hot.

All this means that spinning will happen soon. And I'm wondering if it would be nice to get a Turkish spindle..again. Wondering, that is, not getting.

New artwork, partly tapestry

So this just came off the loom. Possibly finished. Definitely keeping the loops.



Monday, June 3, 2019

Finally got to the gallery to establish that I'm in the show

The Gallery at Mercer County community College. I picked a few favorites. The reflections on the glass made it difficult to get others.














And Alice the gallery director obligingly took a pic with me and my work, Red Building, and the certificate showing it's now in the public collection.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Seascape off the loom

Just off the loom, and will rest a while before steaming, finishing and framing. The fringes will not show after finishing.


Like this


Just thought you might like to see the right off the loom stage.

This is Seascape and it's 5"x 8", a golden rectangle.

We'll see how it goes now. I see definite technical improvement.

And I have an idea for the next one, needed to finish this one to free up the loom.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

First artwork off the Beka

This just came off the Beka loom, not pressed or fancied up. In fact I think it's better not to fuss with it, since the irregularities are the point. Size 42"x5".

On the rug shows the color okay



But the raking light as it's hung on the wall, is helpful, to see the interesting threads.




This was an adventure, every single feature being new learning. Clasped weft, heddle threading,spaces, stitching, slits, separate weft inserting tapestry work into evenweave -- that's the pink section at the top -- thrills and spills with the heddle, a near disaster at the end when a couple of warp threads came adrift, needing quick  thinking.

Threads from Kamala and Asha, and some hand dyed by me, crochet hooks from Mittens, loom from the embroiderers guild, I think we did okay. It looks so demure. You'd never guess what it put me through!

And this one was a learning piece which will be useful to get to the next one.

I fancy trying this loom to do card weaving. It's a handy way to wind a continuous warp, rather than have it strung right across the room. Have to figure it out.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Seascape tapestry almost complete

This will be a golden rectangle, 5x8", and is almost there.



Very pleased with the color and texture of the crewel yarn. And with my growing friendship with this little loom.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Current tapestry under way

This is where the current work on the hokel loom  is.

It's a luxury to have a lot of related shades to work with. Crewel yarn weft, cotton warp.




Thursday, May 23, 2019

Interesting mix of a day

So I was supposed to go to the Mercer County 19  art opening last evening, just too tired after being out all day, to go out, park, walk endlessly, etc, and since I was very unlikely to win an award,  skipped it.

The gallery is in the middle of a large campus, surrounded by green and trees with parking an afterthought way on the horizon.

Decided to stop in the gallery this morning instead, on the way back from another errand.   Then a thunderstorm broke out, in the middle of donating at the first stop, the thriftie, the man refusing to help me as I lugged a trunkload  of heavy stuff  to the donation area, busy on his phone. Usually they're very helpful.

After that,soaked, I decided that all that walking to the gallery in pouring rain without an umbrella was not on. I'd check the gallery another day.

Kept on, came home, time to work, working at the loom at a point where I couldn't stop anyway, phone rings, missed it. Turns out I won a purchase award from the county for my tiny tapestry.

So an annoying day turned very good.

And here's the cause of the excitement






Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Tactile joy in art

In every art form I've encountered, and that's quite a few, there are pleasures in handling the materials that don't relate to design or decision making, but to process.

In monotype making, that wonderful feeling of pressing out the image under your hands. In painting it's taking off the edging tape around your watercolor so you see a clean sharp edge. In crochet it's the acrobatics of the hook. And now I've found a new one, in weaving with a continuous warp.


 This part is hidden now
And this is today

It's when you roll on the work on to the cloth beam, see what I did there, Mittens,  to make space to continue.

Your earlier fabric is now hidden in the roll, and you tighten up the warp threads again  to continue. That turning motion is great. And the sense of storing away the earlier work.  There's a literal sense of forward movement that you don't get with a fixed type warp. It feels important.

Collateral features!

Friday, May 17, 2019

Experiments under way

I find that there's a limited window for working at the Beka before my back starts to object, so I focus and get a bit done in the time I seem to have.



Quite a few experiments in these few inches, different yarns and clasped wefts and discoveries that fancy knotty yarn is the devil to draw across, but nice when you get it there.

Also finding that this sort of loom doesn't give the drumtight tension you need for tapestry, so there's that.

And an open space section there, done by sliding in a strip of card.

Much learning, and this will be a summer scarf, I think. Several of the ideas here will recur as I go along.  That angled section, short rows if you're knitting, don't know the weaving term, will happen again but in the opposite direction a few inches hence.

I have even rolled a section over the cloth beam now, complete with protective paper. Gosh, such expertise. So many firsts, to be more accurate.

There's something very calming about quietly weaving, once it's under way. Can't be rushed.

Looking back in amazement at the learning curve over the last few weeks, wheee!!

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Rigid heddle update, tapestry likewise

Yesterday was all about learning to warp the rhl, sorting through numerous conflicting sets of instructions, until I finally decided to just go for it, what's the worst that could happen.

And here's where we are. Warp ends are about six feet in length, enough to be struggling with as a beginner and enough for the long narrow saori work I'm thinking about.





The top shows the warp wound on whatever they call that back thing, over paper. The paper keeps the warp threads organized and not getting all mixed up as you roll it on.

The bottom of the weaving is waste thread, woven in to organize the groups of warp threads into evenly distributed threads. It looks quite nice though, and I may not discard it at the end, we'll see. And I have not  inserted paper at the bottom, whatever they call that beam, that will happen once I weave enough to wind the warp along a bit.

I resorted to duct tape to secure the warp ends. Once the work is cut off the loom, that will go away. This is not exactly according to Hoyle, but don't tell the weaving police.

However there's a little adjustment, the heddle blocks attached with velcro straps to  the side supports. That's the  alternative to throwing the loom out of the window after discovering that, after three hours of warping,successfully, using a tiny crochet hook, thank you, Mittens, one of yours, to navigate the tiny eyes, as I say, right after admiring my new learning and amazing expertise, I found out...

That I had the heddle upside down. So the ears intended to rest in the supports, giving the other shed, were not there.

Soooo, refusing  to rewarp for hours for such a trifling reason as a non-functional setup, I fastened the heddle blocks, solid side up, to the side supports. Works a treat. Now you can raise and lower the heddle to change the shed, wheeee. And the blocks have two uses.

Art is all about problem solving, which is one reason for children to learn it, great life skill, aside from its total necessity to civilization, where was I..

The yarn at work here is courtesy of Kamala. And Ginny introduced me to the loom.

Then, back to tapestry, crewel yarn also courtesy of Kamala, here's the latest finished piece, which will be mounted on fabric and framed. Several options of fabric, organza, linen, silk thank you Cynthia, and if you want to weigh in on choices, please do.

1. Sage green linen

2. Gold organza

3. Green organza

4. Gold organza over stamped linen

5. Silk

6. Silk

7. Silk


I've decided that framing is the way to go for these little weavings. You can see them better as paintings in fiber this way.

Do pick your choice of backing. Crowd sourcing is great.  And as you see, my work is a women's cooperative! I'd really like your input.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Materials for next weaving

The current small tapestry is off the hokett loom, steamed, and now resting under weights, pix when ready.

I'm deciding what fabric to mount it on for framing, and it might be a piece of silk from Cynthia. There's one warm color that might work. Or I might think about a piece of linen, or something with texture.


Meanwhile, see the beautiful shuttles I received today, the smallest for the Hokett loom, the others for the rhl.


And the heddle blocks arrived, seen here in action, supporting the heddle while I warp it. Once warped, the blocks are retired.

But here's the start of the next adventure, in saori weaving, on the heddle loom, yarns courtesy of Kamala, and including the threads I dyed recently, all of which will work well together.


My friends in art are the best!

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Mercer County Artists 2019

Happy dance in the studio, the tiny tapestry was accepted into this year's exhibit.



If you're local, come to the reception,  Wednesday May 22, 5-7.30, in the Gallery at Mercer County Community College, aka MCCC.

It's very exciting that my new art form got a warm reception right away, first piece out of the house, first tryout.

I tried out another which didn't get in, so I had to go pick it up today, high winds, pounding rain, long walk from parking lot to building and back. Now outfitted in dry clothes, and about to have a celebratory pot of tea.

Landscape, almost there



Here's the first piece using crewel yarn weft and a cotton warp, on the Hokett loom. I'm quite liking it. About another inch to go.

Then on to saori weaving with the new rhl, rigid heddle loom. After hauling out my handspun and possibly dyeing, or plying with other threads. Rainy weather, so no hankering to be outside.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

New arrival in the weaving studio

As of today, I'm the proud custodian of a 20" rigid heddle loom, probably a Beka, here gracing my dining table.



Previous owner had started warping up, hence the blue yarn. I probably won't use that yarn for a couple of reasons, though I'll study how it was rolled on, which someone did just fine.

It was donated to the embroiderers guild some time ago, never had a taker. But I have learned a few things since I first saw it and had no idea what it was. 

I've been wanting to try using a heddle, for card weaving and tapestry, so here's my new adventure. The heddle is that bit in front of the yarn, with slits and eyes cut in it.

One reason I'm unlikely to use the blue yarn in situ is that it's probably too thick to thread without colorful language. Someone didn't observe that the heddle needed a finer yarn. May be why it was abandoned in the first place.  Also it's too fluffy to work as a warp for tapestry.

I looked the loom up online and found some not helpful videos about how to warp it, and a listing showing it would have come with heddle blocks, a sleying tool, shuttles, etc.

Sooooo, since the loom was free, I decided to treat myself to a few beautiful tools..you know, to honor it. Or something..pix to follow when they arrive.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Clasped weft weaving

This is the latest skill I'm working on which solves a few problems in switching colors and bringing them across to meet. I've learned several ways of changing colors, but this one suits my needs best.

I've just started a new landscape today and you can see these lovely transitions starting to emerge, very smoothly and subtly.


It's a way of locking two warp colors and drawing them across to exactly the place you want to them to meet.

It's very soon to be showing you, but I really like this, and wanted to share. I learned it from Kelly Casanova on YouTube. She's working on a rigid heddle loom, so I adapted to my Hokett, and it's working.

You can adjust the place as you see it happening, suits my style fine. You do get a double warp thread so that might be an issue, but here, with good crewel yarn, packing down nicely, just with my fingers, haven't used a tool, it works.

Next up: doing this with three colors.

Friday, May 3, 2019

The box unpacked and new tapestry in the works

So here's the crewel yarn and some supersize handspun, all laid out.



That was right out of the box.   It's now organized and shelved more or less in color families.


And since there's a cool technique I want to try immediately, here are the makings of a tapestry to happen on the hokett loom.

Some green will probably get in there, too.

Thanks, K. Timely donation to the tapestry department.


Thursday, May 2, 2019

And instantly the universe responds

Same morning I pushed out a lot of old artwork, this box arrived.



Crewel yarn. A whole lot. Perfect for tapestry, I'd guess. Sent by a friend in stitching who's clearing out for a couple of retiring stitchers. Timing.

Clean up fights depression

It also helps creation. I'm in a period of feeling down and my doctor has ideas about what's up, already looking into that. Meanwhile I need to purge the studio of the detritus that mounts up when you're productive.

It's a lot harder than winnowing out other stuff, because it's about who you really are and who you were when you made it.

Donating materials is easy. But the art itself, that's demanding.


I've significantly reduced the loose moraine of drawings, photographs, computer art, paintings, prints, handmade paper, which record about thirty years of work. Probably since the last time I did this!

Amazed at the range of forms and ideas, most of which did get exhibited. Found evidence of awards and recognition I'd forgotten about. So they've served their purpose. And each phase you go through enables you to get to the next one.

By way of relief I also went through the large crate and drawer of  appliances and tools, and pulled out a lot to offer around before loading them for a thriftie run. That was easy.

One thing that keeping stuff around does is to suffocate future ideas. Old art keeps you anchored in the past. So every now and then it's good to be clear about what you are unlikely to do again, and move the evidence out. In this case to the recycle.

And I was still stuffing bags of artwork on paper into the bins when the truck came to pick up. No time for second thoughts. Good.

I did find a bunch of good drawings which are worth a new home. If you'd like one, just let me know. And donate to your local food bank or animal rescue instead of paying me.

Send me an 8×10 envelope with your address and postage on it, and I'll get to work on it. Subjects are flowers, leaves, outdoor things. Small, frameable.

This will help my spirits, too.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Newly warped

Here's today's prep for the four selvedge weaving which will use some of the dyed thread.


Paperclips to hold the warp rather than a removable jig, after a morning yesterday of total failing too sad to recount. Involving the total explosion of a fully warped jig just at the moment of installing it in the loom, ready to get to the supplemental warps.



I did rescue the warp thread, and you see it here in use, warped up with fifty clips top and bottom. Yesterday I decided to quit while I was behind.

Today is another day, another chance. Fifty clips across approximately three inches, will probably  widen a little when I  get it organized, about 16 epi, that's like stitches per inch.

I'm not on the loom I intended, since if I can't get the jig working I need either longer Velcro bands to secure the warp rods, here knitting needles, or shorter sides on the loom, which I can do but not this morning. So this is a set of stretchers.

There's always a way to get there, even if it's not the one you first thought of!














Monday, April 22, 2019

Happy Earth Day! My bit toward caring for the planet

My own little contribution to caring for the earth, here's the dyeing all done for now. All done with plants, nuts and vegetables.

Black walnuts, yellow and red onions, spinach, turmeric, iris.



Ready for action as soon as the loom is jig-ready.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Dyeing at Easter

Happy Easter to you if you celebrate it, and since chez boud today is about working, Handsome Son being at work, we'll celebrate tomorrow when he's free.

So today I'm dyeing a lot of  white warping thread, and emptying the freezer at the same time.



So far I've used red onion, spinach, yellow onion, black walnut and iris. Still simmering are black walnut, spinach and yellow onion.



 

Seen on left is some of the iris, then the next four are gradations of the red onion. 

The iris is the liquid from the papermaking  vat left from making iris paper after all the paper pulp was used up, and it works as dye, too. This was one of those frugal ideas I get. Also lazy, since this way there's no need to make the dye all over again.

I did the red onion over several hours, giving different hanks a progressively longer dyeing time, to get a gradation.

 It's very subtle, but in use I think it will be effective. And I am eager to weave with all this thread, very different from my homespun yarn and the embroidery floss I've been working in up to now.