Friday, March 6, 2009

Guest Scarfa #1

Oh, boy, this is it! My very first guest scarfa! I cannot tell you how excited I am about this whole guest scarfer business - it's going to be soooo cool to see scarves done by lots of different people in lots of different styles. I really hope that anyone out there who's weaving scarves will consider taking some pictures and sharing his or her project with us!

This isn't your run of the mill guest scarfing, either - my first guest scarfer is Sue Willingham of Vashon Island in Washington State, who's going to tell us about a fabulous scarf project she's working on with another weaver and fiber artist from the island. She wove eleven different scarves as part of the project, so she sent me a ton of pics!

Sue teaches weaving and sells her lovely wovens through her studio, The Willingham Weavery, during the island's Art Studio Tour and through The Heron's Nest gift shop in Vashon. She also sells absolutely lucious alpaca yarns and fibre for spinning from animals raised by her neighbours and business partners. Sue is a member of the Seattle Weavers' Guild and a founding member of Vashon Island's Fiber Net. These days Sue is working on projects for Fiber Net's upcoming show at the Blue Heron Gallery on Vashon, which will open in April. Fiber Net's show doesn't have its own write up on the Vashon Allied Arts website yet, but I promise to post a link when it does. In the meantime, you can have a look at all the other fabulous things going on there. What an amazing place!

Most importantly, at least to me, Sue is also my Dear Ol' Mum! (And those alpaca raising neighbours? My niece and nephew's grandparents. ;) She's the first person I talked to about having guest scarfers on the blog and, being the lovely and supportive mum that she is, she agreed to be Guest Scarfer #1 and get the ball rolling. Yay for Mums!

So, without further ado, here is what Mom-Sue has to say:

"These scarves were a treat for me to weave. The warps were wound several years ago by Terri Fletcher, a friend here on Vashon Island (Washington), but she has moved on to other fiber work so her beautiful multi-fiber warps sat chained and waiting. More recently she has become an expert in various dyeing techniques and likes to work her magic on handwoven scarves.

So! We decided that I’d weave her warps into scarves and afterward she would do her thing. The goal is to have at least some of them ready for a group show at our island art gallery, the Blue Heron, in April. Her warps have become eleven scarves, none yet wet finished. Terri will handle that part.

The warps weren’t labeled as to length or number of ends. All but one was six ends of different yarns wound together; one was five ends. She also had some potential weft yarns in the package. But the sett and the weft were up to me. Doesn’t that sound like fun? It did to me! I used setts of from 12 to 16. Each was an experiment!

After neglecting to figure out the length of the first warp, I ended up with one scarf of “normal” length and a really short one. The first I wove in a modified basket weave and the second in 3/1 twill. I also didn’t think about securing the fringe to protect it during the overdyeing process; these two are hem stitched with loose fringes. After that I was smarter and wove headers for protection; they will be unwoven after Terri’s dyeing. The second warp had a lot of rayon chenille in it as well as weft; I twisted those fringes.

The third warp was 10 yards long, so I wove four scarves 58 inches and the last one turned out to be 78 inches. Each has a different weft: 8/2 acrylic, rayon boucle, cotton chenille and one of Terri’s. I don’t know the content of some of Terri’s fibers, so can’t tell you what they are. Here are a couple of them finished:

The fourth warp was a one-scarfer, in blues with ribbon and shiny ends mixed into the six ends. Very fun!

I usually warp back to front using a raddle in the beater. I use an AVL end feed shuttle. The threading was straight draw, with colors at random except for the brown scarf. Here are several shots of the brown scarf, the fifth warp, in process. I wove a six-inch header using the weft I thought I’d like in order to see what it looked like, then hemstitched, then wove the scarf, hemstitched and wove another wide header. This scarf – and several others – was a good lesson in beating lightly. The drape is lovely and will no doubt be better after wet finishing.

I got really fast at putting these on my loom. They ranged from 96 ends to 128 ends, so threaded quickly. It was such a treat to have gorgeous warps all ready to go using yarns I would never have thought to put together. I’ll try to send Janet pictures of the scarves after Terri has finished them!"

So there you have it! I really hope that we do get to see finished pics of some of these scarves after Terri has overdyed them. I'm also secretly hoping that Terri will take some pictures of the dyeing process itself and share those with us, but even just the after shots would be so great to see.

Thank you so much, Ma, for sharing this project with us!

Next week's guest scarfer will be Margaret Thorson of Waldron Island, also in Washington State. Cape Breton Island, Vashon Island, Waldron Island... apparently we've got a whole island-weaver thing going here! Any land-locked weavers out there want to break the mold and share a scarf woven nowhere near water?


Sue said...

Thank you, honey. As usual, you post things beautifully! I didn't mean to make Terri a mystery. She is Terri Fletcher, a well-known fiber artist on Vashon Island -- and a winder of lovely warps!


Janet said...

Ah ha! Mystery Terri revealed! I edited the post to include her surname so that she won't be mysterious even to people who don't read the comments. Be sure to tell her thank you for me as well!

I sure do wish I was going to see the scarves in the flesh. Can't wait to see the before-and-after dyeing pics.

Life Looms Large said...

Beautiful scarves!!!! This guest scarfer will be a tough act to follow!


jackie said...

Very nice indeed! I haven't yet had the pleasure of warping someone elses warps, but I know that some are headed my way.

Janet said...

Hey, wouldn't it be fun to arrange a warp swap? If anyone's interested, drop me a line at jandawson[at]gmail[dot]com and I'll try to organize one! :D