Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Ah, Spring, every year you tease me! [Scarf 30]

You can take a girl out of the Pacific Northwest and transplant her to the Great White North but you can't take away her hope each year that maybe, just this once, Spring will come early. This year it really seemed like it might happen, too. This was our walk in the park on Sunday:

Chickadees and buds on the trees...

squirrels and bird feeders and green plants in the background...

and snow receding into pleasant memory.

That was Sunday. This was today:

I just have to face facts: Spring in Cape Breton is the third week of June. Sigh.

Oh well, it may not be Spring outside but it certainly is inside! Last Friday I finally wound that blue/green/brown warp I've been alluding to for some time now and today it went on the loom. This is a colour combo I came up with last fall:

I've woven this with brown, blue, tan, yellow and even a bright chartreuse but this time I wanted something that said "Spring" so after considering a few other options I went with a soft, light green (the top spool):

This warp is all 4/8 cotton rather than the 8/8 I've been using so much lately. I've been itching to do something besides the standard scarf of the past few weeks, so I'm trying a new experiment: I've got this sleyed at the same 12 EPI that I generally use for 4/8 but I left big gaps in the reed, which account for the extra texture that you see in the cloth. I'm not sure yet whether they're going to work as they are, so I may cut this scarf off and wet finish it before weaving the next and then fiddle the gaps or the threading around if need be.

The hope is that the finished scarf will be open and airy and that, even though it's wide (15" in the reed), it will have enough drape to be comfortable gathered up round your neck and worn as a scarf. The fear is that it'll just be sleazey. I can't get too anxious about it though since, if that does turn out to be the case, it'll just mean I get a new scarf for myself rather than the shop! It's a win-win. :)

I tried to weave this without a temple but the draw in was just too much for the weft to pack in well at the selvedges without it, so I added it after about 15". This made the weaving slower than usual but was well worth the extra trouble.

I finished it up while chatting on the phone with my dear ol' Mum, which gave me a crick in the neck from clamping the phone to my shoulder but was also well worth the extra trouble. Big news from out her way: two of the pieces she's got in an upcoming show have already sold, and the show doesn't even open until Friday. Huzzah! Huge congrats, Ma!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Resisting winter, welcoming spring [MFM]

Wow, is it really the end of Month Two already? It seems only fitting to end the month with an update on those lovely scarves from Guest Scarf #1. Remember them? My mother, Sue Willingham, had woven them out of warps that another weaver, Terri Fletcher, had wound years before and Terri was then going to take those scarves and overdye them.

Well, that's happened now and Terri, bless 'er, sent along some pictures of the finished products -- and what a surprise they turned out to be! Mom no doubt said "resist dyeing" but I persisted in hearing "space dyeing" even so - we Tauruses are stubborn like that.1 So here's me imagining all over colour with perhaps some gradations or swooshy blending... when what they actually are bold geometrics!

Like zigzags:

Winter Resist, by Sue Willingham and Terri Fletcher, 2009

and circles:

Spring Resist, by Sue Willingham and Terri Fletcher, 2009

and squares:

Fall Resist, by Sue Willingham and Terri Fletcher, 2009

Wow! I love the geometrics and the way that Terri used colour to conjure the seasons. I'm curious if the shapes also signify the seasons somehow. Mom, do you know?

I can't get over the changes in colour from the original scarf shots. Take Fall Resist, for instance. Unless my eyes deceive me, it used to look like this before its transformation:

(Mom, can you confirm?) And now it's all oranges and rusts and the resisted areas actually look more like discharge dyeing than the reverse. Wowza wowza! I soooo wish I had time enough for all the stuff I'd like to try, 'cause dyeing is just The. Business.

Here's a glimpse into how Terri worked her magic (also shown above):

Those must be the same discs she used in Spring Resist but that looks like another scarf in the hopper to me. Boy oh boy, I sure do wish I could see these babies in the flesh. All you Seattle and Vashon weavers, I envy you! If any of you catch a peek at the illusive Summer Resist, let me know!

I must say, it's lovely to have some Spring in my inbox, if not out my window. Yesterday was all sunshine and blue skies and walkies in the park, so today's heavy snowfall warning seems a bit of a cruel joke. 15-25 cm of snow? C'mon, really? I love snow, I really do, but I am SO ready for the budding trees and chickadees we saw yesterday rather than the whiteout I see outside right now...

Oh well, not to worry - I've got those bright springy blues and greens and browns I kept mentioning a while back all wound for tomorrow's scarfawarp!

1. Yep, I'm a Taurus. AND I was born in the Year of the Ox, so I've got stubborn and willful coming and going. ;) My mother and husband deserve your respect and sympathy! I don't usually put much stock in astrological stuff but an awful lot of this actually sounds pretty accurate. I never knew that Taurus is evidently the "Sign of the Producer or Builder." I quite like that!

Friday, March 27, 2009

It's a Scarf Bonanza! [Guest Scarf 4]

When I first got the idea to do these guest scarves I wasn't sure that anyone was going to be into it. I hit up my Mom for the first one (moms are so reliable that way) and was thrilled when first Margaret and then Beth offered up their current scarfy projects for our consumption. And then, a couple of weeks ago, the greatest thing started happening: pictures of scarves started appearing at random in my inbox! First Linda sent me some pics of her scarf projects, then Christopher, then another Linda and then Dave... there was a lull for a bit but then just this morning I got mail from Patsy.

This. Is. So. Great! Thank you, thank you, everyone who's sending me pics and the scarfastories that go with. I love to see what everyone's up to, and they're all so varied and FAB! I will keep posting them in the order I get them so please keep them coming!

Now, when I say that Linda "sent me some pics," I'm not kidding. This woman isn't messing around - she just learned to weave a year ago and she sent me pics of nineteen (19!!) scarves! There wasn't a whole lot of details to go with them apart from what she said in her letter and filenames of her pics, so I've turned those file names into captions. If you want further details, you'll have to ask her yourself in the comments. :)

FYI: I considered creating a collage or contact sheet or something of all her pictures so this post wouldn't be forever long but then all the pics would have been itty bitty and you want to see these babies up close and personal, so I've gone with a slideshow. Hope that works okay for everyone out there - if you have trouble viewing the slideshows, please to let me know, okay?

So here you are - a veritable smorgasbord of scarves, all woven by new but obviously very talented weaver, Linda Gettman:

"I'm a new weaver, taught by Syne [Mitchell] at last year's Madrona Fiber Arts Festival in Tacoma (2-08) and bought the rigid heddle Flip loom and brought it home that day. We made a scarf from some of her hand dyed wool yarns that day in the class and I've been going crazy ever since. I've also taken her pick up stick patterns class at the Seattle Weaving Works shop. Made some samplers, played around, made some placemats, talk about making a table runner, and have actually made a BUNCH of scarves -- so here are some of my pic's. I am an avid knitter, so I have and am always on the lookout for interesting yarns to use and find the novelty yarns and soft alpacas catch my eye for scarf wefts.

This year at Madrona I bought some interesting yarn from a gal (Chris Conrad in Everson, WA) that dyes it using a Japanese technique, kakishibui (www.kakishibui.com), it's the juice from persimmons! Anyway, I bought some of her bamboo for the warp which was stiff and hasn't softened up much in a couple washings, and used the cotton/linen blend as weft, it's nice and soft. I like to experiment with different fibers, and I love NORO yarn, so I've made some scarves using that as weft to get the wonderful color gradiations."

Aren't they lovely!? My fave is her first scarf, the one in blue wool with what looks like a space dyed or possibly ikat warp that must be the one from Syne's class at Madrona. I must say, though, I'm quite enchanted by the title of the "Noro niji beigey scarf" - I just like the way that rolls off the tongue. ;) I love the look of both the Noro scarves as well, of course. Really, what's not to love about Noro?

I'm curious about the interesting detail near the ends of the "multi-brights with black" and the "sari with black suede yarn" scarves - how did you do those, Linda? Is it the same technique in both places? And that black suede yarn, what's that about? Is it really strips of suede? What was it like to weave with? Inquiring minds want to know!

I've never really been that attracted to the idea of weaving on a rigid heddle since it seems so slow and I've always been more of an instant gratification weaver. Lately, though, I keep hearing more and more good things about them and seeing more and more projects woven on them that I love, like Linda's scarves, plus I'm really trying to slow down and savour the process of weaving more than I have in the past. PLUS I'm minding that I can't just take my weaving around to my fibre friday gatherings (which I missed again today - gaaah!) or my spining group the way I can pick up my knitting or my spinning wheel... so maybe it's time. I dunno. Definitely food for thought.

Anyhoo, I tried to find some associated links for you guys, and ran across this review of Chris Conrad's Kakishibui book on Syne Mitchell's WeaveZine site - how's that for a meeting of minds? There are actually loads of links about both women; you need only to pop their names into Google to see how prolific they both are.

And there you have it! Please, if you're out there reading and you've got a scarf project on the go, take some pics and send them along! I love getting random photos of scarves in my email - really makes my day every time one arrives. :)

Next week I'll be posting a scarf that Christopher Netter and his wife made together. Wait 'til you see the beeeooootiful dye job on this one! MmmMMmMmmMMMM.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Deja vu all over again

No, you're not imagining things. Yes, that's Scarf 29 again. Talk about the same only different: it's the same scarf but now it's twice as long.

Let me explain: I wove yesterday's scarf short like the one before it: 48" this time as I found the 40" one was much too long for once-around-my-neck and yet just a bit too short for twice-around. And I hemstitched it. And I wound the warp forward and got all set to put the lease sticks in so I could cut and rethread again. And, as I wound it forward, the last piece of paper fell off the beam and dropped to the floor. Clearly, had I cut and tied and woven another piece, it would have been the shortest scarflette known to man. I might have gotten about 20" out of it. Maybe. Probably not.

On the other hand, I reasoned, if I didn't cut and tie, if instead I picked out the hemstitching from the end of #29 and kept going, I could probably add another 30" to the scarf I already had. 20" is a silly length for a scarflette, but 78" is a lovely length for a scarf. And so that is what I did.

I had help again today as I worked. Normally Brownie is very shy and suspicious of us - it is a rare thing and cause for celebration when she actually deigns to sit next to one of us on the couch (quiet and internal celebration, as making sound or even acknowledging her presence is likely to make her run). Occasionally, though, she'll actually demand attention while I'm weaving and will even jump right up next to me on the loom bench and squeak her ridiculous, tiny squeaks. Usually, like yesterday, she keeps right on moving meaning I only get a rear view (literally) but today she hung around long enough for me to take some pictures from a more appropriate angle.

She is so cute and sweet and timid, I can deny her nothing...

Not even walking on the warp, even though it's sooooo naughty. :P I know I ought to shoo her away when she does this since it only leads to even worse goings on, but she's such a phantom and so thoroughly convinced that we're out to get her that I hate to confirm her suspicions.

So that's my scarfa post for today. Short and sweet, like my scarf no longer is. :)

However, I do have some other things to catch up on: coffee bombing and blog awards.

You may recall I mentioned long ago that I'd engaged in my first act of virtual coffee bombing. I did this because Beverly had posted to the Weaving List that she'd been enjoying Scarf A Day but was envious of the freedom I had to go out with my friends for coffee in the middle of the day.1 "Hmm," thought I, "who says that the only way to enjoy a cuppa with someone is while sitting at the same table? It sounds like Beverly needs a coffee bomb of her own!" So I stopped by Tim Horton's and then showed up on Shari's doorstep unannounced. Shari did take a look at the extra coffee in my hands and peer over my shoulder to see who was with me but I guess she's used to me 'cause she just let me in and, apart from slightly raised eyebrows and a bemused smile...

I'm hoping that, since I'm only putting half a picture of her on the blog, she'll only half kill me...

...she didn't say a word as I sat Beverly's stunt double at the table and passed out the coffee and sweets. And then we proceeded to have a lovely cuppa and a lively chat and a merry old time indeed. Yes, even Beverly, though she didn't have quite as much to say or eat much of her danish:

As you can see, it's Roll up the Rim to Win season at Tim Horton's.2

In case you're wondering, that's my Dammit Doll playing the role of Beverly for the day. This seemed appropriate since the real Beverly was no doubt at work right then, possibly even in a meeting. My Dammit Doll is a prized possession, given to me by my grandmother. It usually lives in the chair beside my loom - you can spot it in one of the pics in my post about sectional warping on HFD. You cannot tell from this picture, but it has Very Very Skinny Legs, metal button eyes, and a little poem around its neck:

When you want to throw the phone
And kick the desk and shout
Here's a little "Dammit" Doll
You cannot do without.

Just grasp it firmly by the legs
And find a place to slam it,
And as you whack the stuffing out,
Yell, "Dammit, dammit, dammit!"

This is actually the second Dammit Doll I have owned. The first one had plastic button eyes which shattered into a zillion pieces one day when these instructions were followed to a T. Dear ol' Gramma figured she'd best get me another one right quick, and made sure the new one was more indestructable. ;)

So, Beverly, if you're reading, I hope you enjoyed your coffee (and Ron says thank you for the danish). :D

Now for the Blog Awards. A week or so ago, Sue of Life Looms Large and Peg of Talking About Weaving each gifted me with blog awards, which made me feel GRATE. :D Sometimes I wonder if anyone out there is really interested in all my blathering on and all your comments, emails and now blog awards reassure me that I'm not too boring or wasting my time and yours here. :) And so, even though blog awards seem suspiciously similar to email chain letters (which I delete with extreme prejudice), I was really tickled and flattered to get these and want to pass them on. For one of them I'm supposed to list five of my addictions and then five of my favourite blogs; for the other no addictions are required but it's eight blogs I'm supposed to list. I'm going to combine the two, list five addictions and eight favourite blogs.

My addictions: chocolate, chocolate, chocolate, chocolate, and chocolate. Is that cheating? Okay then:

  1. Chocolate - in all its forms. Except maybe white. I'll eat white, but I'm not addicted to it. These days my faves are Ghirardelli mints, Toblerone and cocoa. Mmm, cocoa!
  2. A toss up between colour and fibre. Best of all: colourful fibre! Spinning it, weaving it, knitting it, just petting it.
  3. Blogs (and social networking in general) - I'm subscribed to 42 blogs and counting!
  4. Computer games (and social networking in general!) - this is, after all, how I met my husband...
  5. CATS. My cats in particular (we're down to only four now, but four's a good number) but also cats in general.

My favourite blogs were hard to choose since I'm subscribed to so many and adding more every day. My top eight list looks like this (in no particular order):

  1. U*Handblog - the first blog I ever started reading. I love Lisa's wit and sense of humour. Her bags are also FAB.
  2. Angry Chicken - the first blog I ever subscribed to. I love Amy's approach to life, play, motherhood and all things craft.
  3. Weaving A Life - I want to be Laura Fry when I grow up, plain and simple. Stalkerish, much?
  4. Ninja Knowledge - Jenn is my go-to guru for blog gadgets, intel, know-how and all things blogarific.
  5. Craft Stylish - a craft portal, not an single blog, but So. Many. Great. Projects. I post my scarfas here sometimes. :) Also, I find links to fab new blogs here.
  6. Fibermania - a feast for the eyes, and for anyone addicted to colour and fibre, heavy on the colour. Makes me want to take up quilting.
  7. Needled - a fascinating glimpse into the life and mind of a talented Scottish fibre artist; also some really amazing knitting patterns.
  8. Life Looms Large - I just love Sue's enthusiasm for everything from weaving to photography to.. well, everything!

So there you are. Please don't lynch me for only including two weaving blogs!

Phew. I *think* I'm all caught up now! On the docket for tomorrow: guest scarves from Linda Gettman. MANY guest scarves from Linda Gettman, in fact!

1. Owing to my complete lack of gainful employment, which has its drawbacks, I assure you. Although, you know, I have trouble thinking of any...

2. Which is to say: it's Lent. Gotta hand it to the sneaky little devils, makin' sure no one gives up their Tim's for 40 days.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The same only different [Scarf 29]

Yesterday I mentioned that I planned to cut off each of these scarves as I weave them and then rethread with a different stripe pattern. Sue asked me how I do this and when I started to answer I realized it'd be a lot easier just to show her.

First, I put lease sticks in the cross behind the shafts and secure them to the back beam:

To do that, I tromp first on one plain weave treadle and insert a stick behind the shafts and then tromp on the other plain weave treadle and do it again. Then I put the handy dandy rings wot my dear ol' Mum gave me for Christmas into the ends of the sticks to keep them together (but not too close together!) and dangle the works from the back beam.

Next I whack the old scarf off:

Normally when you're cutting and tying you want to be very sure to completely release the tension on your warp, else you run the risk of having the ends sproing right out of the reed and maybe even the heddles. In this case, though, they're coming out of the heddles anyway so it doesn't matter so much. I still did let most of the tension off, mind you. I'm just sayin'.

After chopping off the old scarf and untying it from the loom, I pull the threads out of the reed and the heddles and leave them dangling from the lease sticks at the back...

...while I organize my fancy schmancy hang-the-shafts-off-the-castle-from-just-the-right-height-for-threading set up. This is a finely tuned system involving highly engineered parts, namely: little girls' hairbobs, dpns and some cheap shower curtain rings, all of which were obtained at the dollar store. Best three bucks I ever spent!

Let me just say right now: I love hairbobs. They're like tiny little bungy cords, and I use them ALL the time. Occasionally I even put them in my hair.

The dpns hold the shafts up at a comfortable height for threading. They also hold up the hairbobs, which are hooked under the dpn and held in place because the big plastic balls on the end are too fat to squeeze back through the space they're allowed. Over time one of my hairbobs has stretched alarmingly (it's not the only thing!) so I just wrap it around its dpn a few extra time to take up the extra length. The hairbobs are attached to the shower curtain rings at the other end so that they've got easy to open and close hooks just ready and waiting.

Once all that's in place, I take the lease sticks off the back beam and hang them from the castle...

...and I'm all set to thread again!

Now, that's all well and good, but I'm guessing Sue's question was actually more along the lines of "how do you rearrange the order of the threads?" At this point I haven't done - they're all waiting in the lease sticks in the same order they were when I cut off the last scarf.

Here, for instance, are the first five ends which are presenting themselves for threading in the same order they were used previously:

That's not the order I want to use them in this time, though, so I simply thread them out of sequence. You may just be able to tell in this pic that the threads are not threaded in the same order as they appear in the cross:

This may sound a bit alarming since we're all taught to guard our threading cross so carefully and not let anything happen to get the threads out of order. The fact of the matter is, however, that once those lease sticks are pulled out, the threads have no idea what order they were in and couldn't care less.

Well, all right. That's a bit flippant and it's not really quite that straightforward. There is some fine print here, which reads like this: these threads were wound five-at-a-time, and I am always careful to make sure that a thread from one group of five doesn't wander over and get mixed up with its neighbouring groups - they move about within their group but not beyond it. Taking a thread out of its group of five and threading it even an inch or two away can play havoc with your tension and produce tangles. Also, I do this with smooth, easy to manage threads, not hairy stuff nor fragile stuff.

Rethreading like this is easy as pie, but it still helps to have a little assistance (my apologies for the viewing angle here - the only time she stood still long enough to get a pic was when she realized there was nowhere to go up ahead. Besides, while this isn't her best angle, it's still pretty cute. I just love the fluffy little pantaloons she's always wearing):

Once I'm rethreaded, I sley as usual...

... and then I pull out those lease sticks you can still see hanging behind the shafts. I always do so before tying on, since the little bit of criss-crossing the threads are doing in the sticks will play silly buggers with the tension if I don't. I also drop the shafts back down before tying on for much the same reason.

All tied on, now with new stripes!

Here's a comparison of yesterday's stripes with today's:

Makes a difference, huh?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Picture's so bright, I gotta wear shades [Scarf 28]

Okay, so the scarf's bright too. Might want to don some shades yourself! Still, that's not what I'm talking about...

As I mentioned a while ago, Lulu's LCD started dying on me few weeks back and it finally got so bad that I stopped using her altogether and switched back to our old Dell desktop. It hurt to do it, but not as much as it hurt to squint at her nearly black screen or listen to her making that terrible dying-flourescent-lightbulb whine. You'll have to take my word on the whine, but you can see the screen for yourself:

See the text on the right side? Yeah, neither could I.

Then last week I bit the bullet and ordered a new screen. After a few days of waiting anxiously, the screen arrived yesterday so I dashed right out to drop it and Lulu off at the doc's, which was a bit of a wrench as it's the first time I've been separated from her overnight. Still, her surgery went really well and she's home now, safe and sound and so bright it's almost painful to look at her. This is The. Best. News. EVAR since, of all the screens on all the computers in the house, Lu's is by far the best. The screen is sharp, the colours are accurate and the picture is bright, at least when it's not dark. It's like having a brand new computer, only she's my old computer so all my stuff is right where I left it. And it cost only under $300 for the screen, expedited shipping and installation, which was a far sight better than replacing a $1700 laptop!

So enough about the computer already. Let's talk scarves! I'm still in the midst of Warp #8, which is the brightly coloured warp inspired by Melody's quilt. Having spent so much time taking pictures of my process for warping F2B, I decided I may as well gild the lily and take pictures of many different ways to create stripes with the warp. Since I did the first two scarves with the colours arranged randomly, today I cut the warp, chose a new colour progression and rethreaded in my usual reflected regular stripe:

I wove the scarf with the same weft I used in Scarf #27. Tomorrow I'll cut the warp, rethread in a different stripe pattern, and use the same weft again. By the end of the warp I should have a collection of scarves that demonstrate a little of the variety you can get when winding more than one colour at a time. :)

Incidentally, this warp is SO bright that I decided to intentionally weave this as a scarflette rather than a full length scarf - a little will definitely go a long way here! Plus, that'll let me yield even more stripe variety since I'll use up less warp in each scarf AND it'll give me a number of scarflettes to try various construction ideas out on. Really looking forward to it. :)

And if it also just happens to mean I can get my scarf blogged before going out for wings with Da Crowd(tm)... well that's just serendipity!

P.S. I have added a new search field to the right sidebar. If you've been wondering where you saw that post about e.g. coffee bombing1, now you can find it again!

P.P.S. I have joined the WeaveRing blog ring, and created a brand new Cape Breton Artisans blog ring; you will also find new links to these in the sidebar. :) I am glad to be in such lovely company but I have to say I am not enamoured of Ringsurf's website, so I also created a new Cape Breton Artisans blog reader as a sort of one stop shopping locale for local artisans' blogs. You should check it out!

1. Holy cow! I forgot all about my virtual coffee bombing! Tomorrow - I'll post about that tomorrow.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Looking for a few good necks [MFM]

I've got this Artfire shop, or at least I've paid for one and hope to open it soon. What's been holding me up is getting some good product shots: I've been pretty happy with the close up pics I've taken of each scarf but I want to show off them off in such a way that folks can see how long they are, get an idea of what they'd look like worn, that sort of thing.

I've been perusing sites like Artfire, Etsy, and Flickr to get some idea of what makes a great product shot and have come to the conclusion that scarves almost always look better worn than they do flat or hanging on some kind of fixture ('tho I have to say, this hanger is Pretty Cute). For some examples of what I mean, check out this, and this, and this entire photo set by larimeloom, which is chock full of stunning scarves that are beautifully photographed. It turns out the whole thing is pictures of products available in their etsy shop as well, which is definitely worth a look.

Sadly, it is nigh on impossible to take a picture of your own neck, nor is my neck (or either of my chins) really photo-worthy, which means I need a model. On the other hand, most of my fave photos don't show much of the model's face and one rather effective photo didn't even show the model's chin, just a high turtleneck.

"Oh ho!" thought I, when I realized this, "I can use Lola!" Lola, you see, is my mannequin. She hasn't got a head, so no chin - a bit of a drawback. Technically she hasn't got a neck either but I thought a turtleneck top might solve that. I set Lola up down in the yarn room, draped the background to hide all the yarn, and started flinging scarves around her neck. It worked... in theory. Not so much in practice. The background was awkward 'cause it never quite covered the whole frame from the angle I wanted to shoot. Also the lighting was a big problem - I could balance the white no prob, but the scarves either weren't well illuminated, or were lit from strange angles. Also, the black was okay for the first scarves I tried but wasn't going to cut it for other colours. Clearly some revisions were called for but the idea was a sound one, I thought.

So Thursday night I dragged Ron off off to Le Valu and bought Lola and me some tops. Then on Friday luck was with me weather-wise. It was a perfect day for shooting pics outside: overcast but bright, so great light with no harsh shadows. Sadly, there was no heat either - it was -5 C out there which was Pretty Dang Miserable, letmetellyou. Lola stood there with nothing on her head or arms ('cause, you know: no head. no arms.) and never complained once, but I was bundled up as much as I could manage and still work the camera, yet I fear the wailing and chattering of teeth could still be heard by the neighbours.

Me freezing out on the deck, in spite of wearing considerably more than Lola had on.

I didn't last that long out there, but I did get a handful of pictures, wot I have cleverly turned into a slideshow for you. I would dearly love some feedback on them - the good, the bad... well, maybe not the ugly. But the good and the bad for sure!

I'm... moderately happy with them. I do not love them, but I think they are... meh, alright. Acceptable. I might even go ahead and use them until I can come up with something better. I think they'd be much improved with a real neck and, yes, even a bit of chin. I think they'd be better with a lower neckline rather than a turtleneck. Which means I'm back to finding a live model (and, I suspect, a warmer location).

And so the hunt for a nice neck continues. I've been asking around for volunteers; I'm even considering offering Scarfabucks - model some scarves, earn yourself a free one! I was even so shameless as to ask one of my students, who called today to ask if I would loan her a fringe twister and show her how to use it, if I could borrow her daughter's neck. I didn't say, "I'll loan you my twister if you loan me your daughter's neck!" but it may have been implied.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Random tencel - Yum! [Guest Scarf 3]

Isn't that gorgeous!? It's just one of the beeeeooootiful tencel scarves that Beth Mullins, winner of my scarf kit giveaway, wove on the warp she's going to share with us today. Absolutely stunning. As you'll see, Beth uses a method very much like the one I use for multi-coloured warps, but she's doing it in fine tencel threads and a really pretty twill rather than chunky cotton and nearly plain weave like lazy ol' me. Not to mention the lovely twisted fringe - clearly, some extra effort really pays off! And don't you just love the sheen that tencel has? Mmm, Mmm, Mmm!

I must say, I'm also really impressed with her finished product photography! I've been pretty happy with my close up macro shots of my fabric lately but I'm still really struggling with how to get pics of an entire scarf (never mind blankets - ooph!) that look decent. Needless to say, I'll be picking apart Beth's photos for some ideas on that score as well.

I asked Beth to send me a bit of a bio to include with her post - not only did she do that, she also included a pic of herself at the loom! :) I'm going to try something clever here and get the text to wind up beside the picture... on my [wide]screen it looks okay - hopefully it won't be all weird on everyone else's.

"Being creative is my passion. It all started when I learned to sew clothes for my dolls at age 6 in my family home on Frederick Avenue, and has snowballed ever since. I enjoy keeping my hands and mind moving, challenging myself with new ideas. I was introduced to weaving in 1978 as a freshman attending Ferrum College. It was love at first try. After my sophomore year, I transferred to James Madison University where I continued my love of fiber taking as many weaving classes as I could squeeze into my schedule. Now I weave whenever I can. I have a true obsession with yarn. I am constantly trying new things, learning from every project. Seeing my works come to life brings me excitement. Sharing my pieces with others brings satisfaction."

There she is! It's so great to have a face to put to the name and "voice" I've gotten to know through our correspondence about these scarves, the scarf kit, and these days even a little bit of long distance tour guiding around Cape Breton. :) 'Course, now I want to know what that green warp is all about, too...

And now, without further ado, Beth's guest scarf post:

Beth writes:

"I decided that I wanted to try my hand with tencel for the first time. I've worked with rayon in the past and since other weavers had told me that they were similar, I decided to take the plunge. At first I worked up a sample of the 8/2 tencel using a sett of 24 epi. It looked a bit loosely woven on the loom so I contacted another weaver. She suggested I try 28 epi and boy, what a difference 4 little epi can make! After that issue was solved I dove right on in. Using a "method" I had tried in the past using Jaggerspun Zephyr and rayon yarns, mixing lots of colors and being pleased with the outcome, I decided to do the same with the tencel.

I grabbed 6 colors of 8/2 tencel that blended, still with nice contrast, from my stash. I warped all 6 ends together. This picture shows the warp chain placed within the lease sticks, ready to be threaded through the reed. I warp front to back. The back of my Macomber drops to the floor making FTB threading a cinch. Oh, I made the warp long enough for two scarves 72" long after washing. Width in the reed was 8".

All threaded through the reed. No problems....

No problems until I started winding on the warp. Seems that winding off all 6 colors together on the warping frame then pulling them through the reed has created some twisting. Nothing that a little TLC, finger combing, and tugging didn't cure.

All tied on and ready to roll. I did hemstitch at the beginning but forgot to take a picture.

Here's the first scarf well under way. I used black for the weft in this one. It really makes the colors POP!

Hemstitching the end of scarf #1.

Finished product using black for the weft.

Scarf #2 all done. A straw color was used for the weft on this one. Both scarves were finished with twisted fringe. I neglected to take pictures while weaving this one 'cause I was weaving so furiously, trying to get it done in time to include in the opening of a show. Phew, I made it!

This was a great project. I love the random striping and use of so many colors. No wonder I'm attracted to Janet's works!


Beth (Roanoke, VA, USA)"

Incidentally, these two selfsame scarves can be found on Beth's etsy shop at www.fredrickavenue.etsy.com along with lots of other lovely scarves, tea towels and more. They can also be found at the show Beth mentioned, which features the work of 14 local artists and runs until April 23 at Center in the Square in Roanoke, VA.

In related news, Beth also sent me this pic after I lamented about excess loom waste in my post about dressing the loom front to back, to show me how she ties onto the back rod without nearly as much waste:

I think it may even be from this same scarf warp. :) If I'm deciphering the picture right, it looks like she first ties an overhand knot near the end of each bout (which she says is one threading repeat) and then ties the whole bout around the rod in another overhand knot, so that when the rod knot tightens up, the bout knot forms a stopper that keeps it from pulling out when tension is applied. Pretty clever, eh wot?

And there you have it. Now I'm all inspired to use finer threads and a twill threading. Hope you are too!

See you Monday! :)