Monday, November 8, 2021

Another Year of Pandemic Towels

 20211 has been another year of spending time at the loom.  I've been doing some different things with the towels I've woven as well as visiting tried and true approaches.  I was motivated more by weaving challenges and classes this year.  

A lot of people have been weaving Susan Poague's Turned Taquete' circles.  I finally succumbed to this structure, which can be a lot of fun, because of a group challenge to weave something using the 2021 Pantone Colors of the Year.  This design was adapted from her article in Handwoven Magazine, May/June 2019, pg 46.  It was woven on 8 shafts with 10/2 cotton for the warp and weft.

Turned Taquete' Drawdown
Turned Taquete' Towel


Another challenge this group suggested was to weave something in linen.  When I think about linen, I normally think about towels.  I also think about lace structures.  These were woven using 16/2 linen for both warp and weft for all but one of the towels.  For the first one, I decided to use 10/2 cotton just to make sure things were working well.  

Linen Towels

Linen Towels Drawdown


Another group I belong to decided to use US National Park posters as color inspiration for woven pieces.  I picked the US Virgin Islands as my inspiration.  These towels were woven with 10/2 cotton for the warp and weft in six different colors.  The structure is a fancy point twill, treadled in a couple different ways, for each towel.

US Virgin Islands Poster


Virgin Islands Towels

Virgin Islands Towels Drawdown


I next took a break from challenges and did a bit of free-hand colors.  I have most of my 10/2 cotton yarns sitting on top of a bureau and while I was weaving over the course of a week or so, was looking at one corner of the colors.  They were all kind of neon and pastel.  The colors reminded me of the textiles from the 60's.  So I used those colors for the next group of towels.  The towels were threaded to an extended point twill and woven with various treadlings on 8 shafts using 10/2 cotton.

60's Towels Colors
60's Towels

60 Towels Drawdown

Recently, I became interested in a weave-along with Tien Chiu and Michele Belson dealing with gradient colors in weaving.  The weave-along was intended for napkins, but I couldn't resist weaving towels instead.  These had a red and yellow 10/2 cotton warp in a series of curved gradients.  I used a number of different colored 10/2 cotton for weft, including yellow, very light pink, magenta and fuchsia.  The structure is straight twill on 8 shafts woven with a 2-2-1-1-1-1 tie-up.  

Gradient Towels

Gradient Towels Drawdown


A couple of towels from the "vault".

Lupine Towel

Russian Cloth Towel


I have found over the years that there was warp left over from a towel run - not enough for a towel but too much to just throw away.  I hemmed a bunch of these and they are bread cloth size.

Towels are a great way to play with color.  I'm sure there will be more next year.

More Pandemic Scarves

I guess we all thought that we would be long finished with COVID by now, maybe soon. But I have continued to wade through my yarn stash and have been making scarves while mostly at home. I've just about used all of my available tencel yarn and need to make more inroads into the silk. 

I started off 2021 finishing off the last of my Just Our Yarn 10/2 tencel yarn.  For the first scarf, I need to use yarn from two different skeins fr the warp.  The blue with a little maroon went nicely with the basic blue yarn that I had picked for the warp.  This scarf was treaded to an extended point twill and woven with an advancing point.

JOY Blue Scarf

The last JOY scarf I was able to weave used more blue-green colors.  For this scarf, I used a "M's" threading combined with the advancing point treadling.

JOY Blue-Green Scarf

Having run out of JOY yarn, I looked around at what I did have.  I had been working to reduce my stash by either selling or giving away yarns that I didn't think I would use in the near future - or had that "What was I thinking" feeling.  I saw a couple of skeins of yarn - a Noro blend and somewhat heavy silk yarn.  They looked good sitting next to each other, so I decided to give them a try as a scarf.  The Noro was a rainbow of colors and the silk a bright pink.  I used the Noro for the warp and the silk for the weft.

The Noro was threaded to an extended point twill and woven with an advancing point treadling.

Pink Kudo Scarf

Pink Kudo Scarf Detail

Digging back into the stash, I found several skeins of 5/2 tencel I bought from Teresa Ruch in Oregon.  These were oranges and reds.  The first scarf I wove was mostly orange.  With this as warp, I used an 8/2 red tencel.  The structure is an extended point twill on 8 shafts, woven with an advancing point treadling.

Orange Ruch Scarf

Orange ruch Scarf - detail


The next scarf using Teresa Ruch tencel used two different color ways - one more red and the other more orange.  The weft was the same 8/2 tencel as in the previous scarf.  The structure was a sort of fancy twill on 8 shafts and an advancing point for the treadling.  

Orange-Red Ruch Scarf

Orange-Red Ruch Scarf - detail

The last skein of Ruch tencel I had was very red.  

Red Ruch Scarf

Red Ruch Scarf - detail


With no more tencel to play with, I started back to my stash.  The county fair was approaching.  The scarf categories in the Weaving Division had recently been split into three - protein fiber, plant fiber and man-made fiber groups.  I didn't have an entry for the plant fiber section, so I decided to find some cotton yarn. I had several skeins of Cascade Yarns Ultrapima fine cotton yarn in peach and light peach.  I haven't been a big fan of using cotton for scarves, but I thought I would give it a try.  

The structure was fancy on 8 shafts with a point treadling.  The hand is a bit heavier than the scarves I usually weave, but not overly so.  

Peach Cotton Scarf

This Fall, the opportunity came up to take a virtual class in Deflected Doubleweave with Natalie Drummond.  The students were from all over the East Coast of the US and Canada and I knew only one person, so it was fun to take a class at home and meet a great group of weavers.  The class was fun and much different from other types of weaving I've done.  After samples, I wove a scarf from the class warp.  The warp was 5/2 tencel in two different color ways - one solid and the other variegated from Teresa Ruch and 20/2 tussah silk from Jane Stafford.  The weft was an 8/2 cotton and 20/2 tussah silk.  

Deflected Doubleweave Scarf

It's fun to look back at different styles of scarves I've woven during the pandemic.  

JOY Green Scarf

Pink Silk Scarf


JOY Green Fuchsia Scarf
JOY Green Scarf

Coral Green Silk-Merino Scarf

I'm sure there will be much more scarf exploration in the future.


Saturday, September 25, 2021

COVID Weaving

The one thing the COVID-19 pandemic has given me is time to weave. It’s amazing how much extra time one gets when all your meetings are just “down the hall” rather than a car ride away. We are all tired of the images of that virus appearing everywhere, but in 2020 it held a bit of fascination from a design perspective. 

 In the past several years, I have been studying how to use ProWeave software to create weaving designs. Last year, I also was interested to see if I could create a pictural representation of that COVID-19 graphic that had been holding our attention. Using ProWeave, I graphed a picture of the molecule. From that depiction, I was able to “superimpose” weave structures on the positive and negative faces. My “go-to” is a 1/3 and 3/1 straight twill.  These designs were created for 24 shafts.

COVID-19 Graphic

1/3 3/1 Straight Twill Draft

I also designed drafts for 1/3 3/1 broken twill.

1/3 3/1 Broken Twill Draft

The straight twill was too elongated but the broken twill was getting closer to what I had in mind.  

1/3 3/1 Broken Twill Sample

I then tried an 8-end satin structure.  ( Note:  The draft shows the underside as I wove the samples.)

Front and Back Sides of Satin Sample                          

8-End Satin COVID-19 Draft


Although this structure worked to get the visual effect I was hoping for, there are 7 end floats.  But I wove samples for a sample exchange and one towel. I hadn't woven satin before and I realized that the sett wasn't quite right, but this towel, woven with 10/2 perle cotton is soft and a bit luxurious.

I'm not sure if I will spend any more time with this design, but the technique is an interesting one to achieve images in my weaving.

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Scarves During a Pandemic

Finally for this phase of the pandemic, scarves are really the true story.  In March, I wove a silk merino scarf in colors that weren't really my thing.  This yarn was 50-50 merino and silk blend.  I used it in the warp and weft, weaving an extended point twill design.


Coral-Green Merino Silk

Coral-Green Merino Silk - detail



When we went into self-isolation, I thought it was finally time to start using the good yarn.  I had been promising myself for about five or six years to do that.  I was headed to the silk yarn I have but on the way got a bit diverted by tencel yarns.  I really thought it might be a safer choice on the way to using silk.  

Over the years, I had bought several (read many) skeins of Just Our Yarns 10/2 tencel yarns.  They had fabulous colors and encouraged a mix and match approach to weaving with them.  Sadly, the company is no longer in business, but there were those skeins in the yarn bin.  

I approached the first scarf in tencel with a bit of trepidation.  I hadn't woven with it before, so I wasn't sure what to expect.  After a little research and discussion with other weavers, I sett the warp at 36 epi.  I chose a fuchsia yarn for the warp and blue for the weft.  These yarns are all variegated, so there is lots of variation in the yarn colors.  The warp was threaded in a fancy point twill and the tie-up was a 2-2-1-1-1-1 twill (as all of these scarves use)

I found that the scarf almost wove itself - so effortlessly.  I was amazed.    

Fuchsia Blue

Fuchsia Blue - detail


I was so happy with the results of the previous scarf and how easily it wove, I decided to weave another one.  The second scarf used a green variegated warp and a rust var. weft.  It was threaded as an extended point twill.   


Green-Orange - detail


Things were moving so smoothly, I kept weaving scarves.  The next one was a different green variegated warp with a fuchsia variegated weft.  

Green Fuchsia

Green Fuchsia - detail

I kept going - it was May and I located the blue 10/2 tencel yarn I had.  This scarf had both a blue warp and weft of slightly different colorways.  It was threaded as a point twill.  


Blues - detail
It was getting to be summer and a friend asked me if I ever wove scarves without fringe.  No, I hadn't because it was harder to get a good edge.  but this did get me thinking about doubleweave hems - a good way to have a nice clean edge without the extra bulk of a folded over hem.  For me details about that adventure, check out a previous blog post: .


I wove two scarves with doubleweave hems.  This second attempt had twill hem as well as a twill design for the scarf itself.  For this scarf, I used the leftover yarn from the previous scarves as the warp.  I alternated two colors until I ran out of one or the other and added a new color when that left off.  Since there were similar colors in all of the yarns, they all went together.  The threading was a straight draw on eight shafts and the tie-up was a 2-2-1-1-1-1 twill.  Although it only needed eight shafts, in order to create the twill doubleweave hem, I needed 16 treadles, so I wove this on my dobby loom.  

Blue-Fuchsia w/ Doubleweave hem 

Blue-Fuchsia  - detail


Having gotten really comfortable with 10/2 tencel, I decided it was time to weave a scarf with silk.  I chose a pink variegated 20/2 silk for the warp and purple 20/2 from Redfish Dye Works for the weft.  I used an advancing point twill on eight shafts for the threading and a different one for the treadling.  After consulting sources and weaving friends, I sett the warp at 30 epi. 


Pink Silk Drawdown

Pink Silk - Detail
Pink Silk

The next scarf was in tencel.  I chose an orange-green variegated for the warp and green-blue for the weft.  The threading and treadling was the same as the silk scarf above.  


Green-Orange - detail


The last scarf came off the loom this past week.  It was woven with two color ways of blue 10/2 tencel.  The threading was an extended point twill and the treadling an advancing point twill.


Blue-Maroon - detail


I've enjoyed delving into the use of tencel and a little exploration with silk.  I am sure there will be more scarves like these in the future.  I had been weaving scarves exclusively with wool and wool blends.  Here are a few examples of wool scarves. The orange is a blend of sock yarns.  It was threaded as an extended point twill with the 2-2-1-1-1-1 tie-up.  In addition to teh twisted fringe, I added some beads.

Fire 1

Fire 1 - detail

These two scarves were woven using yarn that was dyed by Vice Yarn while it was in a knitting blank.  The yarn is then unknitted and wound in a cake skein.  The yarn is crimped from the process which gives the finished scarf an interesting texture.  These two scarves were threaded as undulating twills.  


I'm sure we will be in self-isolation for many more months, so I'm looking forward to more exploration and more scarves.