Category Archives: tablet weaving

Change

OMG! I looked and it has been TWO weeks since I last wrote!  I hate new schedules.  They play havoc with old schedules.  Everyone, at one time or another has had to change a schedule.  There are life events that make sure of that.  My current ‘life event’ is that I am moving.  Maybe.  The maybe is getting more probable as time goes on.  First I have to do this thing and then that thing while coming up with a new schedule.  So as much as I enjoy writing this blog on a regular basis, it might be a little less regular for the next month or so.

The plant is basil. The other side reads: Please don’t eavesdrop when I’m talking to myself.

Which is a shame because I have all kinds of wonderful things that I am still working on.  Last month I spent a day rewarping the leaf trim.  When I first warped for that trim I had two distinct hanks of warp.  I had dyed a hank of green and another hank of white various colors.  When I beamed the warp I left it in the two hanks.  At first, this was not a problem but as time went on , the more I wove the more tension problems I was having to deal with.  So I cut off the ribbon I was working on and re-beamed that warp so that it was all nice and smooth and the tension problems went away for the most part.  This ribbon is much smoother with less obvious errors.   The side benefit from this extra bit of work is that the ribbon is fun to weave again.  I’ve almost got two feet done.  It takes about an hour to do two inches.

At 12 o’clock is the rep sample, at 5 o’clock is inkle band and 7 o’clock is the leaf band.

Meanwhile, there is my weaving class which is exploring rep weave.  I have wanted to play with rep weave for the longest time.  I have a project planned, the sampling done, and I’m working on getting a loom free to work on it.  I did finish what was on the inkle loom.   A loom looks naked when it isn’t dressed.   I found some really fine thread at the Goodwill and decided to work with floats.  That is the easiest thing on the loom I have at the moment.

Which is a good thing because I am moving.

Sunday bits

Bit 1:  Yesterday was the fleece sale at Recycled Lamb.   For once I didn’t take any pictures.  I was too busy making bracelets and talking about tablet weaving.  Not taking pictures also allowed me to avoid temptation.  This was hard.  There was this gorgeous fleece that had a gradient color from gray to very dark brown.  I went to get my wallet, I was that close to buying it, but when I came back the fleece was gone.  Saved by a stranger!  A good Samaritan took pity on me and my tiny house and bought it.  I did grieve briefly and then did not venture towards the wool for the rest of the day.  Well, until the end of the day when there was two fleeces left and I kept touching them and looking at the color.  Both were white.  Fleeces, like paint, have different whites.  One was a handkerchief white, that white that looks crisp with a very faint tinge of blue, while the other looked more coffee cream-white.  Sister Sheep will be at Estes Park Wool Festival (June 7 to June 10).  So will  some of their fleeces.

Bracelets made from t-shirt yarn

Bit 2:  The bracelets were made using t-shirt yarn  with a fringer.  Sometimes I used ribbon as well.  There was someone sitting next to me who was spinning so I’d reference what she was doing and link it with what I was doing.  The kids got a bracelet and a basic understanding of how things, when twisted, make other things.  They liked their bracelets and I got to practice with a wide range of age groups.  This is going to be a farmers’ market project.

Bit 3:  I like demonstrating.  When I forget myself that is.    When I listen to myself talking I think about how a word is said, how many times  I’ve repeated myself, what my voice sounds like, if I’m using the appropriate words,….I have a huge list of what to watch out for when I speak.  Then there is the audience factor:  am I looking at each person who is listening to me, am I getting the question, is it interesting….and that list goes on.  In short, the best way to demonstrate is not to listen to what I am saying.  When I’m thinking about it, I am my own worst critique and I sound like a blithering idiot.  Fortunately, for me, I don’t mind being a blithering idiot.  I do get on a pedestal at times and it is healthy to get knocked off once in a while.

It is Annual Temptation day this Saturday

On Saturday, April 28th at the Recycled Lamb(*) there will be fleeces. I bought my first wool fleece here last year.  (http://random-rabbit.com/2011/05/08/my-job-my-life/)  IF I were smart I would not take any money in any form.  I would not take my jeep.  I would not even look at the fleeces.  They will have fleeces from Sister Sheep, Ancient Treasures Alpacas, Midnight Moonsong (*) and others.  They will also have some live animals.  I know that there will be sheep, alpaca and rabbits and maybe some others.  For demonstrations there will be spinning and tablet weaving.  I get to demonstrate the tablet weaving from 10 am to 3pm.  It will be lots of fun.

Not buying a fleece wouldn’t be a problem except for two things:  there are benefits and  it has entertainment value.   It is fun to wash and comb wool.  I could never be a hairdresser because the only hair I have ever like to touch is mine.  A fleece is a whole different story though.  Washing a fleece is kind of fun.  Once it gets washed you can comb it, tease it, felt it, dye it, and a few other things that I haven’t thought about.  I even have easter egg dye ready for a dyeing adventure.  It is like dyeing easter eggs only I don’t have to eat the eggs afterwords.  Wool can be combed into miniature batts and then sold.  Or sit on my shelf waiting to be spun.

A picture just because.

The benefits are equally alluring.    I like the smell of wool  and I love the soft hands I get from lanolin.  Wool has lanolin.  Lanolin, before people became phobic about allergies, was used in a lot cosmetic products.  Some people are allergic to lanolin but not everyone.  Lanolin  is a natural lotion.  If you hate lotion but would really like soft hands, take up spinning wool. Before I took up spinning,  I  never had smooth hands.  My first 16 years of work life I was a waitress.  I washed my hands a lot which is a drying action.  The next 16 years I dealt with paper.  Paper soaks up any natural oil one might have.  I also washed my hands a lot because lots of paper means lots of dirt. Since  I took up spinning I have smooth hands for the first time in 32 years.  My hands are not snagging on every fiber they come in contact with.  How cool is that?

So you see why this Saturday is going to be challenging for me.  I have to take the jeep.  I’m taking my inkle loom and it doesn’t fit well on the scooter.  I’m pretty sure that I am going to take money as well.  I might resist buying a new fleece.  I’ll be sure to look at all the alpaca that I have still to spin.  I might even be able to avoid my inner child that is softly saying “But you don’t have much wool left.  Just that little handful of Jacobs fleece to wash and comb and you can’t dye that.”  I’ll only be there for 5 hours, from 10 to 3.  I should be able to withstand temptation that long.  Shouldn’t I?

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Recycled Lamb: 20th and Youngfield, Lakewood, CO.  http://www.recycledlamb.com

Sister Sheep:  http://www.sistersheep.com/

Ancient Treasures Alpaca:  http://ancient-treasures-alpacas.com/

Midnight Moonsong:  No listing. Yet.

A spinning story

Once upon a time I was a weaver with loads and loads of projects that needed to be done.  Then I gave a talk about card weaving to a group of spinners on their distaff day.  As a reward the sponsors put me in for a door prize.  I won.  I cannot win the lottery but I can win a spindle and some fleece to practice with.  Note that one of the requirements of winning this spindle is that my name was entered into the door prize.  I think the moral here is in order to win one has to play.

my first spindle and combed fleece.

Time moved on and I attended my first fleece sale.  Again it was to demonstrate card weaving.  I saw this fleece and thought that if  it was there at the end of the day I’d buy it.  It was.  From that point on I didn’t gamble with fiber.  Not at any point throughout the rest of the year did I say publicly or to myself that I would take a risk about getting fiber.  Yet, I managed to get  three alpaca fleeces: one white, one brown, and one black; a spinning wheel, and a spinning video.

My spinning wheel. Much faster than a spindle.

It is a new year now. Part of how I celebrate the new year is to see the stock show. This year I specifically went on days when sheep were showing.  Also this year there was a new thing: a silent auction for fleeces. There were two Jacob fleeces. The minimum bid on both was pretty cheap so I jotted my name down on one. See? This time I didn’t say it silently to myself, I shouted it out to the rest of the spinning world that I wanted this fleece. My first hint that I might get it was that my name was the only name on the list after being shown for two weeks. The auction only had three more days to run. Still, people sometimes want what others want.  It was also before the days when they had fleece sheep shows which meant a lot of people in a high traffic area walking by with fleece on their mind.   Surely one of them would like the fleece from a cute Jacob sheep.  This was my way of encouraging someone else to buy the fleece.

Jacob sheep from Moose Mountain ranch ( http://www.moosemtnranch.com )

The stock show ended Sunday. Monday they called and said come pick up the fleece. Wednesday I rode my scooter for the first time this year to pick it up.   There was some wind. Thursday I washed some because it was a nice sunny day with no wind.  That way the sun could dry it. The small selection was almost dry last night when I brought it in.   Today it is snowing.   Somehow I don’t think it is going to finish drying outside.

unwashed Jacob fleece. White and black.

Animal Tack

Girth. Made with horse hair. *

Yesterday, my daughter and I went to the National Western Stock Show.  I love going to the stock show.  When I first started going it was because there are amazing things to look at and dream about buying.  In other words, great shopping!  There are products that are only sold at trade shows like this.  Artists whose work I only see at the stock show.  If you want a great photograph, go to the stock show.  Metal art anyone?  See it at the stock show.

rope *

My current love is looking at animal tack.   Way before nylon existed there was hair.   Horse hair when the culture held horses. However, not all cultures are near equines so one can substitute fiber from yak, alpaca, curro sheep or anything else that can be spun.  Since tack is used to hold and manipulate animals, the qualities needed for the fiber change.  Strength of the fiber is more important than the softness of the fiber.

tack used on a Yak

A 1500 pound bull isn’t going to care if the rope is soft.  The handler, on the other hand, will care if the rope breaks.  Ropes don’t have to be a pretty color either.  This allows the rope to be made with colors other than white.  Tack is going to get dirty so why dye it another color that is going to be smothered in brown.   Within those two restrictions comes great beauty.  There are a great variety of colors in animal hair.  There are all kinds of browns, blacks, whites and any mixture in between which can make a wide variety of patterns  with the express purpose of moving animals.

Isn’t rope grand?

Rope work made with horse hair *

*  Made for Vaquero Real Cowboy Stuff.  E-mail vaquero_brand (at) hotmail.com

I am a weaver

Front of ivy bandBand with snaps. Possible bracelet

prototype of a camera case

brocade band front. cotton and ribbon

I am a weaver.  I like making things and it doesn’t really matter if the design comes from my mind or someone elses.  These are just some of the things I have hanging around the house.  The Ivy band, the honeycomb, and the cotton brocade band are things that I am currently working on.  Everything else are things I have lying around.  Please note:  the really good stuff gets sold.  Stuff that hangs around the house are prototypes and have what others call minor flaws but I call major errors.  I have been told to stop pointing them out.  My tablet weaving gallery has more pictures of styles of bands.  Special orders are FUN! The best way to contact me is by e-mail.  Deesweave at earthlink dot com.

Enjoy.

Things ended and things started.

The change of the seasons always makes me maudlin.  There is something wonderful about watching the sun move to the left of me as I face east in spring and sad about the sun moving to the right of me in the fall.  The most obvious is that when the sun is on the left the days are getting longer.   Remember, I’m in the northern hemisphere of the world and quite a distance from the equator.  While the sun moves, the temperature changes and the rhythms of life move on.  The good news is that the fall scarves that I’ve been making the last couple of weeks are finally starting to sell.  The bad news you ask?  Well, as usual, there is not enough time in the day to get all the things done that need done.

The double-faced warp that I had on my Big Wave loom is done.  I now need to sew with it.  I am pretty sure that I’m going to have something to sell out of this.

4 yards of designs

The ‘Tips’ segment has already been attached to my tip jar.  And the Random Rabbit attached to my sign.  It is  wonderful to finally have a variety of samples to show what  I can do.  I now have a brocade yoga belt, samples of lettering and pretty soon three of those designs are going to be some kind of holders.  One peacock is going to be a double needle holder.   That center piece below the tips section is going to become a wristlet with a hidden pocket.  My daughter is going to make a cobechon.  That piece is a practice piece as this is the first time I’ve used any double weave techniques.  First time pieces are always wonky.  The width on the piece varies and I’m not happy with the tie off. For all the flaws though, I’m pretty happy with the learning.

mug rugs

Meanwhile I finished some mug rugs.  I had a special order and made extra.  These were fun.  They were made on my cricket and I’ve since warped the cricket to make more.  This time though I’m going to make mug rugs with my hand spun.  I’ve managed to spin a lot of bits and pieces showing other people how to spin so I have lots of singles with various width.  It will be perfect as either mug rugs or a thin scarf.

My biggest project is warped and ready to go on my Big Wave loom.  I took a weaving class over the summer and we dyed plant fibers.  The first time was just play to see what could be and what colors there are.  I have three skeins of very colorful yarn that is waiting to be something.  The second class was more specific. The class was to dye something for weaving.  I’m going to weave a band with leaves on it.  I’ll talk more about it in a later post as there are a few stories to tell about the band.  It is already a bit different from what I pictured in my head.  Yet, it is still magical.

Dyed white and overdyed green.

My first impression of the weaving is that it is too busy.  The white was to represent flowers and the green the leaves but I might have used too much color in the white.  I have lots of yardage to play with and the ability to change so we’ll see what it is to become.  If nothing else, this is a very colorful warp.

Monday flotsom

Good morning:

It is 18 minutes into the day and I have insomnia.  Just for the record:  I hate hormones.  Insulin is a hormone.  Estrogen is  another hormone.  Melatonin is yet another  hormone.  An imbalance in any one of them (or any other bloody hormone needed) will create havoc with  emotion or sleep behavior thus making life infinitely interesting and not always in a good way.  Best talk about three other noteworthy blogs that I read regularly instead.

Creating Ruth  (http://creatingruth.wordpress.com/) is very interesting.  She writes about the felted creatures and takes wonderful pictures.  I believe they are pictures of England.   The talk sometimes is about how to do things but it is mostly about the felty folk who have wonderful adventures.  (eta:  The author lives in Scotland.  I want to go to Scotland)

Next up is a new one to me:

Opusanglicum (http://opusanglicanum.wordpress.com)  This blog features textile arts in old england.  One might not be aware of this but the Society for Creative Anachronism is world-wide and likes to recreate things from the 15th to the 17th century.   Needlework is a big part of that scene.  As it happens, so is tablet weaving which is why I like reading about that kind of stuff.  Anyway, this lady talks about costumes and needlework.

This one is also new to me and doesn’t have anything to do with string of any kind!  Nope, it talks about Bees.

Inspired Beeing (http://inspiredbeeing.com/  )  talks about Bees and honey in Turkey.  Very good stories and pictures.  I get to find out about Turkey and bees and a little bit of human nature.  Lots of fun to read.

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Well, now that I’ve eaten something and written something maybe Morpheus will visit.  I got to visit another alpaca ranch and I’ll have a couple of stories from that visit next week. More importantly, I have pictures!  Have a good Monday.

Bands

Camera strap

Most bands made today are monochromatic or double-faced.  These are the easiest to mechanically make and therefore more cost-effective.  I’m sure that almost any type of band can be woven by machine but why?  In centuries gone by the color was mostly in the band or trim because color was expensive.  Color is no longer expensive so our clothes have lots of colors while our trim doesn’t need the color.  Trim, or bands, are there to support whatever they are attached to and are not meant to take away from the thing that the band is attached to.  Take camera straps for instance.  Camera straps are there to support the camera which is the ‘wow’  piece of the ensemble.  So most camera straps are monochromatic and made of nylon.

close up view of band. width is actual size

The thread is strong enough to support the expensive camera and that is all that is needed.  So when a fantastic camera strap walked by when I was at the Renaissance Fair  I had to take a picture.  O.k. the strap didn’t walk, but the owner of the camera was walking and graciously allowed me to take a picture of the strap.  It seems that he and his wife used to live in Mexico and someone there made this band for him and he turned it into a camera strap.  My guess is that there is no nylon in this band but it is still strong enough to carry a largish camera and will last as long as the camera lasts.  Not everything has to be made of synthetic thread  to be strong and lasting.  While looking at the thread I guessed it was made by wool.  The borders look like plain weaving and the angular pattern could have been done by tablet weaving.   Also, this was done with rather thickish thread or yarn.   Fantastic piece of work.

Purse strap

As a maker of bands, I am always looking at them.  It is like a clicker in my mind:  how is the band made, what was used, how is the strap being used, how much weight is it holding etc.  Most times it doesn’t matter because they are one color, nylon, warp based, and holding anywhere from a pen light to the lumber on a semi. On purses or carrying cases it can even be made from the same material is the purse.  While these do make interesting statements, they aren’t woven so not worthy of  me making a fool of myself by hollering ‘Hey Miss, that is such a neat band, can I take a picture of it?’   like I did with this woman who had this really neat purse with this really neat band.  The band was machine-made but still note worthy as it is an idea that I can store away for when I want to make a band similar to it.  There are two warps.  The first warp is the support warp and is the actual band.  The chevrons are done using a second warp.  .  The mystery is how to do it by hand.  Oh the design possibilities.

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An aside:

   If are on the road at 6 am heading north on hwy 287 you will see balloons as you approach Greeley.  I’m not sure where all these balloons originate but starting around Niwot/Erie area there are balloons in the sky to the north.  It is a neat sight to see.   I’m too busy driving to take a decent picture but this one gives a hint of the wonder.  This picture is better seen as a full screen picture so  double-click .

  Also:  If you get a chance to drive hwy 76  going east towards Fort Morgan  take a gander at all the sunflowers.  We have had lots of rain in CO this year and there are sunflowers everywhere with accent flowers of white.  It is well worth taking a short drive.  The flowers start when the plains starts.  That is, no buildings just lots of land which is generally from Brighton area going east.

Time

worker bee with lots of pollen

There is not much going on in my life at the moment.  As crazy as it sounds, I think I need a vacation.  Summer solstice has been and gone and this is something that didn’t hit me until I started writing 8 for the month and realizing it is August.    The days are getting shorter by minutes at a time.  The true reason that I pay attention to the solstice and equinoxes is because this lets me know what time of season it is heading towards. Spring equinox is always a hurrah as that means the days are starting to get longer than the nights.  Winter solstice means that the days are getting longer period.  And summer solstice? This means that fall is on its way even though the days are still in the 90′s and the official season is summer.

Flowers gone, seeds are starting to mature

After the summer solstice is when the growing season starts to bear fruit.  I don’t think I’m going to have tomatoes this year as the plants haven’t even flowered yet. I probably will have cute little winter squashes though.   The lettuce has finally bolted so in a couple of weeks I can plant some more and couple it with  some radishes.  I almost have carrot and beet seeds ready to harvest.  Quite possibly in a couple of weeks.  But it also means that this Sunday I’ll be planting the second crop of carrots and radishes.   One of my neighbors is going to thin out her hostas and I’m going to get a few and plant them.  I also, finally, bought a Y joint for my hose.  Now I have a dedicated hose for my small front yard and one for the back yard.  This should make watering more productive.

My spinning season is taken a bump as well.  I still have 1/3 of a fleece from a sheep and a half fleece from the alpaca.  I also rented a drum carder for a week.  I should have some batts to sell at the farmer’s market as well as a lot of batts to spin when it is winter.  I am also going to write a tutorial on spinning.   I need pictures though and me taking pictures of me spinning on a spindle isn’t going to happen easily.  Meanwhile, drop spindle is pinch, twirl, park, pinch, draft, let go  and small yank.  Then repeat.    Now doesn’t that make perfect sense?  I’ll get pictures.  It will be much better.

Triangle design from "50 Designs from Around the World"

I was going to write a band that said “five sheep, a goat, a dog and two cherry trees” so I could practice the spacing between the letters.  This would be a wish band.  The land to support said animals and produce is a given.    I’m still in the decision stage of do I practice some more or make things to sell?   I have tablet woven a different design and am going to do a couple of other designs from Linda Hendrickson’s books. At my best estimate I still have 4 yards of warp to work with.  Lots of small projects can be done with this warp.  I’m pretty sure that there will be a couple more peacocks in this set.  Then I’ll make something with them.  Maybe just bracelets.  Needle holders might also be a good idea.

Yet, somehow, a vacation sounds real good this week.

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Schedule update:

Saturdays I’ll be at Erie Farmers Market

Mondays:  08/08/11 teaching children spinning early in the morning at Recycled Lamb.  This class is full.

Monday:  08/15/2011 to 09/05/2011 Card Weaving for mixed level class.  Also at Recycled Lamb from 6pm to 8pm.  $60 plus materials.  $25 deposit.  WS17