Working hard

Well, I’ve been quiet lately, working hard. For various reasons the weaving class is now very small – just 3 of us. Liz and the guild have been generous to keep us going, but something has to give. So we’ll be joining the Wednesday night second year class and for a few weeks at least also meeting on our normal Tuesday night, trying to cover the bare essentials of the last half of first year and first half of second year. So that’s two looms working – double weave for Tuesday and threading up an 8 shaft twill sampler for Wednesday. Plus I’ve warped up the big loom for Geoff’s scarf and done a sample of various wefts.

My biggest, hardest lesson the last couple of weeks – no matter how keen I am, no matter how much I want to finish the next little bit, no matter how careful I think I’m being, I need to STOP when tired. Then after a break I need to DOUBLE-CHECK that I am restarting in exactly the right place. This is so, so frustrating. I started threading the twill sampler tonight, I have to wait up until my son phones to collect him from a party, and I must not touch the loom. It’s sitting on the table, calling to me… but there is no point when I’d just have to fix all the mistakes in the morning (that’s if I find them all).





Brooks bouquet

Brooks bouquet

To stay productive while not creating a huge headache of a mess on the threading I have been sorting out photos of the last class sampler – a mix of lace and embroidery and finger-manipulated weaves. (apologies for rotten colour).

Leno involves using a pickup stick to create crossed over warp ends. The weft holds the twist in place. This lets you create a gauzy effect while still being reasonably stable. Practice should definitely help build some speed. It felt like every row took 5 minutes – and a moment’s clumsiness meant starting over. Still, some of the results were really nice and in the right place would make a very pretty detail.

I didn’t do much Brooks bouquet. This is a wrapping technique, a bit like backstitch, pulling the warp together in little bundles. I kept with the main colour, but it can look good using a contrast weft too.

Danish Medallion

Danish Medallion

Danish medallion

Danish medallion

Danish medallion

Danish medallion

Like all the other techniques we tried, we only scratched the surface of what can be done with danish medallions. This involves using a contrast yarn to weave one pick of weft. A little later in the weaving you use the contrast again, this time working with a crochet hook to pull a loop of yarn up. You can snug the loop up a bit to encourage the medallion shape.





We tried a few different things with inlay. This is basically some extra weft that you insert to create pattern. I particularly like the meandering line (at the bottom on the photo) and the wavy line (at the top). The meander you get by taking a contrast yarn for a wander with a row of the ground weft between each row of contrast. For the wavy line, do two rows of the contrast without anything between. I found that the yarn you use for the inlay makes a huge difference. Also if you need something thicker you get better coverage by using a number of strands of thin yarn rather than one strand of thicker yarn. The three experiments in the middle look like messy satin stitch embroidery, but are actually firmly anchored in the weave in the back.

I enjoyed the dukagang, which is a particular type of inlay. I was using borg sn2 wool which sat and covered very nicely (the base warp and weft is cottolin). The contrast yarn floats over 3 ends then is tied down by the fourth. I think it would wear very well as a sturdy bag.

[Parent taxi service update… Geoff has gone to collect the party-goer, so I may be able to finish this post tonight].

Spanish lace

Spanish lace

Spanish lace was rather tricky. You need just the right yarn to get good movement. I haven’t shown a couple of examples that were a bit of a non-event. The one here is at the other extreme – I was determined to get it to show, so used a thick, shiny, non-compressible and very red cord. It’s also a bit unstable.

You basically do some plain weave in sections of the warp. Some movement could be seen even when it was on the loom, and a lot more appeared when I did the wet finishing. I think there’s room for a lot more experimentation, but it’s not one of my favourite effects.

Ghiordes knot

Ghiordes knot

Ghiordes knot is also called rya and turkish knot and uses a larks head knot. I tried two variations. First I outlined a shape using knots of pre-cut yarn. It felt very awkward, but I’m sure that as usual practice would make a big difference. The second experiment was a continuous loop, using some dowel to keep the loops a consistent size. I really like the neat little zigzag at the top where the loops are anchored. Of course you could do both types much more densely, moving towards a rug effect, but I think the highlight effect could also be useful.

[The boys just arrived safely – fortunately I’m at the last photos].

Mixed bag

Mixed bag



The strong line (it’s actually a triangle and a line) is soumak, in more bright red. Then we have some red loops (aka bouttone), formed over knitting needle and placed in varying density. The mix of red and orange is spanish loops – the same idea, but using two different contrast wefts in combination. There’s also some clasped weft visible, but you’ll get much better information on that from Kaz.

Good night!!!

15 Responses to “Working hard”

  1. 1 Trapunto August 24, 2008 at 2:10 am

    This is wonderful to hear about. I’ve had a weaver-manipulated sampler like this percolating in the back of my mind, and your pictures are very encouraging about the attractiveness of the results. I have never seen Danish medalion look anything but ugly in a book, and the ones you’ve done here are lovely. Thanks!

  2. 2 fibresofbeing August 24, 2008 at 8:43 am

    Thanks Trapunto

    One of the really good things about having access to weaving class is the collection of samples Liz brings. This time she also brought in her laptop with a slideshow of past student work. It’s much more than a book would be able to show and gives us a headstart on thinking about the possibilities. It’s a huge area to explore and the same base technique looks very different depending on yarn colour and texture choices.

  3. 3 Taueret August 24, 2008 at 5:56 pm

    I love the idea of Spanish Lace and have all kinds of visions for it dancing in my head but have never gotten it to work properly before. Interesting to see that the heavy cord over the finer ground works.

  4. 4 fibresofbeing August 24, 2008 at 6:56 pm

    Possibly the stiffness of the cord is part of the key. I don’t think it drew in at all during finishing – it loops out at the selvedges just like the “internal selvedges” of each section. I think it limits the applications of this particular combination.

  5. 5 Peg in South Carolina August 25, 2008 at 7:40 am

    Stop when tired is for me a really good rule also.

  6. 6 ladyoftheloom August 26, 2008 at 10:40 pm

    I have learned the same lesson on tiredness more than once.

    Your sampler idea is a great idea! I am a beginner and have never done the manipulated weaves.

  7. 7 fibresofbeing August 26, 2008 at 11:09 pm

    I’m really lucky to have access to such a good teacher. Liz is very experienced, and particularly good at giving us solid theory and information supported by great examples of work, then encouraging us to explore for ourselves.

  8. 8 Susan August 29, 2008 at 2:30 am

    The finger manipulated weaves are simply lovely! I have to do a series of these myself as part of a weaving test program in the coming months and feel very inspired now!

    For some time I left a clock out of my studio as I didn’t want to be bound by time when working there. But I have come to realize that pushing myself beyond a certain point isn’t good either and so now there’s a clock and I watch the time and quit when I have so many hours in as after that, what I weave when tired can be unwoven the first half of my next session!

  9. 9 fibresofbeing August 29, 2008 at 9:30 am

    I like the clock idea. I’d forgotten that when I started earlier this year I followed Liz’s (tutor) suggestion and had a timer set for 20 minutes each weaving session (so unused muscles wouldn’t seize up).

  10. 10 Andrew Kieran August 30, 2008 at 10:24 am

    Spanish lace looks really interesting, i;ve never heard of this technique before. As for stopping when tired, i completely agree, i have worked as a climbing tree surgeon before and in that case working when tired can get you killed and almost has for me several times. as for weaving, working when tired just creates mistakes that take time to repair in the morning, and i guess that’s another reason i do simple weaves, along with that i want to learn all the various ways of walking before i start to run. i’m still working on plain weaves and pointed twills after almost 2 years of loom weaving and only beginning brocade and double-face pattern weave after almost 3 years in tablet weave.

    i like to be thourough though. enjoy your class, sounds fun 🙂


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