Archive for June, 2009

Shimmering surfaces

Today I took a class – a “textile taster” with ATASDA. A Taster is a one day workshop, technique rather than project focused. You add some skills to your “toolbox”, maybe a refresh, a change of mental gears… plus have a fun play day with like-minded people.

Our tutor was Claire Brach, an expert embroiderer with an adventurous mind-set. You can see some of her work here, showing experiments incorporating metal in her textile pieces.

Claire had prepared packs of materials for us, including various weights of copper and brass shim, copper mesh, a fine woven copper cloth, sequin waste and that great source of aluminum – beer cans (VB, and already washed and cut into a sheet). We cut, coloured by heating with a blow torch, embossed, twisted, crumpled, pounded, stitched, punched and lots more verbs. For light relief we made crunchy beads with cellophane, synthetic organza and a heat gun, and coiled beads with wire and “wibers” (wire and threads twisted together).

How am I going to incorporate any of this into weaving? I don’t know – yet!

There has been weaving, in fact a lot more weaving than blogging and I have some catching up to do given this is meant to be a complete record of my learning.  A checklist:

  • diversified plain weave blogged here
  • some “freeform” weaving (somewhat saori-like) blogged here
  • a series of experiments in different rates of shrinkage leading to a nearly finished scarf in silk and wool/cashmere blogged here
  • currently on the loom, silk bookmarks in advancing twill. blogged here

I think that’s all.  Oops, no –

  • making a little treasure bag on a cardboard loom – tomorrow my family is gathering for our traditional solstice lunch, and I’m hoping to give my nieces and nephews their first taste of weaving. blogged here

Bellringing towels

20090606_summer_winter_5As yet unblogged, I finished these towels  in summer and winter – could it be 3 months ago? Very similar to these , with some minor improvements.

20090606_summer_winter_1This was the longest warp I have ever put onto the loom – a whole 4 metres! The tension at the edges got a little loose by the end, easily controlled by putting in a stick at the back.

I wove pretty much as far as possible. The draft uses 11 shafts, so there was enough space to get an adequate separation of the warp even with the apron bar grazing the heddles on the back shaft.

20090606_summer_winter_2My original plan was for 3 towels, but I was able to squeak out 4 – the last one I changed up the design to make it a bit shorter. The ringing methods depicted are Bristol, Yorkshire and Belfast Major (all rung on 8 bells) with the extra of Cambridge Minor (6 bells, which is what gave the shorter pattern). You may be able to see in the photo that the closest pattern doesn’t go as close to the edges, since it has two less bell positions.

Also visible in the photo at the back right are the reels of cottolin sitting on my lazy kate. I love using all the equipment I’ve acquired in my textile pursuits, and the lazy kate makes it very easy to wind off bobbins.

20090606_summer_winter_320090606_summer_winter_4In this project, based on feedback to the blog previously,  I used 8/2 cotton for the weft in the hem area (cottolin elsewhere). I didn’t use a temple in the plain weave area and also added start and end pattern sequences in white on white. The plain weave sections between towels were much improved, with none of the widening I had in the earlier project. The hems were easy to sew, with nice crisp right angles. I also changed proportions, widening the towels.

Altogether a very enjoyable project and I’m pleased with the results – especially the idea that with experience I can learn and introduce little refinements.

If you’ve had enough of bellringing, stop here. If curious, you can see us ringing at St Andrew’s Cathedral on youtube here.

Also, I just checked my diary – the towels were finished mid-March, just before we hosted other Sydney bellringers at a “striking competition”. In a frantic rush I finished the towels (2 are now in the St Andrews ringing chamber) and (slight textile connection) organised matching shirts for us – seen here in this classic bellringers shot.200903_striking_comp


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