Archive for the 'P2P2' Category

Weaving content!!!

None of it my work – it’s been a happy week of weaving vicariously.

Amanda's Project Report

First a lovely surprise in the mail – Amanda sent me a copy of her P2P2 Project Report, including a sample of the actual fabric. You can read all about her work on her blog here. I really enjoy the blog, but it was amazing to see in person. For a start I’m impressed by the page itself and the detailed, valuable information Amanda has recorded. What an incredible resource to create! Plus I fully support her comments on the feel of the fabric – beautifully soft, and beautifully woven. Thank you so much Amanda – I’m glad you enjoyed the photos.

Susan's runner

Also this week was a get-together of Liz Calnan’s weaving group at the Guild. We’ve all studied with Liz in the past, and while formal lessons are finished it’s always great to get together, hear about what everyone’s been doing, learn a bit more from Liz and generally have a good, weaverly time. I managed to get a few photos between chatting. Susan brough in the table runner she made for the recent Guild Open Day Challenge. The photo doesn’t give an idea of the scale, but the floats are long but very stable due to the careful level of fulling/felting she got in wet finishing. The runner is a really happy mix of colours, and I like the short-cut bobbly non-fringe – again good and stable due to the finishing.

Liz's silk scarves

Liz showed us some of her recent work. Liz is a very skillful dyer as well as weaver, and her multi-coloured warps are always gorgeous. She is able to manage warp colour variations, weft colour and drafts to create a lot of variety.

Liz's mixed yarn shawl

Liz has a Serious Stash of yarn – lots of silk and wools, and also lots of novelty yarns. She has a gift in combining them – thick, thin, textured, multiple colours – all together in one warp. Somehow she puts it all together into a single, cohesive whole that drapes beautifully and is full of visual interest. Liz has explained her process and makes it sound easy (well, not incredibly hard) – but I think the key is her skill and eye for colour.
Liz also brought some of her double weave, another of her specialities, but unfortunately my photos were particularly ordinary so I won’t include them.
No weaving for me at the moment – I’m having somewhat unexpected fun, stitching. A subject for another post.

P2P2 reveal (late)

First, my apologies to Meg and all the participants in P2P2  for being late – poor management of time and energy yesterday. I’m really sorry.

This is my finished project together with the calendar reproduction of a John Bellany painting. Read here about the story I based on the picture and the idea of a scarf that blended in with the colours of the sea. There’s gruesome detail about the weaving structure here.

After sampling a series of wefts, and totally ignoring my previous statement that wool and mohair were too fluffy and warm for this project, I chose Fine Kid Veloute from anny blatt, 51% wool, 49% mohair, in a lightish blue-grey. The colour was perfect, the grip gave some needed stability to the structure, and the fuzz reminded me of a light mist over the water in the morning. The combination of the viscose/cotton warp, wool/mohair weft and leno structure has produced a light, softly draping scarf that feels lovely to wear and, I think, fits the watery theme.

This photo shows the status of the second P2P2 project I hoped to finish, plus part of the reason for the delay. In the background (how appropriate!) is the warp beamed but not threaded. In the foreground is a folding table I’ve put up to hold some of the overflow of tools and materials for my OCA course. On my main worktable (definitely not shown!) are more tools and A Space (many exclamation marks) for using them. I’m having a blast working on the course, but naturally time, as well as space, is at a premium.

So this is what I planned (and still intend) to do. I’ve previously blogged about this sample here and here, and my reactions to the inspiration photo here.

The draft is on the right and will require rather a lot of imagination.

First, ignore the bottom part with the squares of floats. That’s from Sandra Rude’s article “fulled merino scarves” in The best of Weaver’s: Fabrics That Go Bump. I’ve wanted to make it in this yarn for ages, so figured a threading and wound a warp to suit both. The top part shows a plain weave base in white cashmere/merino. The yellow stripes, evenly spaced and regimented, are a supplementary warp in shiny gold that will weave plain weave along with the base. You can see a hint of such a stripe near the right edge in the sample photo. The pink threads in the draft are a supplementary warp using Filatura di Crosa Luce yarn, a 40% rayon, 30% cotton, 15% kid mohair, 10% polyamide, 5% acylic blend that can be seen the third wriggle from the left in the sample. It’s threaded in groups of 3 – 2 – 1 – 1 (right to left), so regularity of a sort, sometimes aligning with a gold stripe sometimes not, but bobbling around all over the place.

I don’t know how it will look in practice – I think there’s a strong possibility that it’s lots of ideas that don’t work together as a design. The ideas are – free spirited, feathery spots of colour and texture, fiercely and exultantly individual (the multicoloured supplementary warp and the trombone guy). The base cloth is plain weave, very sensible and stable in a quality, even luxury, yarn, with regular stripes (clock-like regularity??) of gold (stashed in a bank account??) – being various aspects or caricatures of swiss people, products and facilities. The individual is experiencing freedom, but is actually one of a group (the band in the parade), working within a structure and constraints (swiss society and caught in plain weave even if it floats above). It seems very ponderous when I type it out.

Many thanks to Cally for a great set of photos and to Meg for making it all happen. I’ve really enjoyed being part of P2P2.

Getting distracted

Last week I had a sample based on one of Cally’s photos and was making plans for a scarf. But I’ve allowed myself to be distracted.

East Neuk by John Bellany. This image was one that really attracted me from the beginning. I could imagine standing looking down at such a harbour, cheeks glowing from the walk up the hill, hair a bit sticky from salt spray, a slightly chilly breeze buffeting me. I’d play with the image in my mind at odd moments, trying to figure a weaverly response.

Perhaps a scarf to wear against that chill, not too heavy, blending into the sea colours. Leno could be a good structure – the twisting of the warp ends (threads) provides stability and allows lighter, more open weaving. The threads move back and forward, possibly reminiscent of waves. The image from a post in February gives an idea of the effect – although then I used wool and mohair, too fluffy and warm for the current idea.

It took a while to find a yarn that I thought might work, but I had a big surprise when I got home and compared my colours with the picture – nothing like!! It’s not just a matter of colours not matching in different lights. More that there simply is no dark blue in the image, just for starters. I’ve been remembering times I’ve stood on hills, looking at harbours and sea, and my memories definitely tinted my purchasing!

At this point I’ve decided that the idea is to use the image as a starting point for a design, and if I’ve continued on to somewhere a bit different then that’s fine.

Yesterday I wound a warp with lots of room for both sample and a finished scarf. The photo shows a section that was a third of the width on the loom – 4 inches. I really enjoy using the warping wheel to mix colours in the warp (and be nice to my back), however I really need to improve my methods of getting such warps onto my table loom (which I often prefer for samples and experiments).  It didn’t get nasty or tangled, just very slow, painstaking and inefficient.

Today I finished dressing the loom and have started sampling. The warp is Patons’ Sorrento – 62% viscose, 28% cotton, current sampling at 10 ends per inch average, although obviously not evenly spread. I really wanted a yarn with some shine and some slubs (ruffled waters). This might be a bit tender and catchy for weaving leno, but seems to be standing up OK at the moment. I’m trying out bead leno and gently easing the shed with a pickup stick every pick. Fiddley but rather pleasantly absorbing. I’ve tried a few wefts so far – cottolin, Xie bamboo and 20/2 silk. I need to do a bit more then will see how it behaves off the loom and in the finishing.

Meg asked me about where I was going with my sample last week. I guess my approach has been to take some of my impressions of the photo and mix that up with ideas that occur to me as I think about it. For that sample the idea that the photo was taken in Switzerland became important, and self expression in a structured society, in addition to some colour and texture cues from the photo. Some of my weaving is focused on building skills, adding techniques. P2P2 feels quite exposed in a way – starting from the other side I’m trying to express at least a little bit a mix of thoughts and emotions, looking for the right mix of yarn and structure to do that. I really have no idea what I’m doing, but I’m enjoying it 🙂

P2P2 Round 2 sample

The sample on the loom here is now cut off and finished (vigourous handwashing using olive oil soap and very hot then very cold water to promote fulling/felting/shrinkage). The photo shows before and after finishing.

The resulting fabric is quite soft, reasonable drape, and would be fine as a scarf. Both the novelty supplementary warps are reasonably attached to the base cloth – not enough for hard wear, but shouldn’t catch/snag too much as a scarf. I tried some fine gold foil type thread in both warp and as a weft inlay (plain weave, no floats). It didn’t felt in at all (as I expected – too smooth, wouldn’t absorb water). The warp looks generally OK, just a few slightly loopy spots (given it didn’t shrink at all). The weft inlay has larger loops at each turnaround point – not attractive. The long weft floats of the base cloth, which catch in and give wriggle room for the supplementary warps) are almost all OK in the sense of attaching in enough – just a couple of long ones in the central area aren’t great. However I do find the horizontal lines (vertical in the photo!) visually distracting.

In term of the wriggly lines I was looking for it’s definitely a success.

The process of weaving went quite pleasantly.  (A tactful silence on selvedges!). As mentioned previously my improvised threading was way off, but using pickup to create the floats gave a lot of additional flexibility, was only every 10-ish more or less picks so didn’t slow things down too much (I used the Ashford table loom) and I rather enjoyed playing with it.

As for the draft, I was very interested to see Jessica-of-Sharing-the-Fiber-Fever’s cannelé post here. It looked very similar to the “spider weave” from Sharon Alderman’s book that I used as a starting point. (I turned her draft then hacked it badly). I tracked down an old article about cannelé on handweaving.net – Master Weaver No 12 1953. There are a few variations with Fig 5 looking closest to Sharon’s. The big difference that I could see is in the warps that float over the fancy weft (remember my samples are turned). In Sharon’s draft the warps weave in with the plain weave cloth when not required for floating. The Master Weaver has them floating on the back. Yet another structure that seems similar but different is a “novelty weave” from Doramay Keasbey (draft b on page 270, discussed page 271). It has something slightly different in a corner of the plain weave base – just a couple of interlacements, but in weaving that could be significant. Don’t know.

The major question for now – could one or more elements of the sample be used to make an attractive scarf?

The Luce yarn is probably out (just half of one warp in the sample). Something about the chunkiness and the quick colour change makes it less graphic and interesting to me. Although it might be closer in feel to the original photo. Gold in the weft is definitely out. I think some staggering and being mindful of float length will reduce the visual distraction of the weft floats.

Hmm. Any thoughts?

2 questions + P2P2 round 2 update

First a couple of questions.

Do you know anything about the Open College of the Arts BA Textiles degree? A friend has been researching textile courses for a while and we’ve both got excited about this one. I’ve looked through OCA website, plus found quite a few “learning log” blogs of current students – http://ocacreativeartsjourney.wordpress.com/ is a good place to start since she has links to other students in addition to her own work. I’d love to learn more about the course and peoples’ experiences with OCA, so please leave a comment.

The second question was left in a comment from Isa Vogle: “Please, I am wondering if you or anyone else knows how to put short z-spun singles on a sectional loom not using a tension box. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Isa” I don’t know the background of the various constraints Isa is facing (other equipment available, width of warp etc) and have never tried anything like this, but it sounds like a potential world of pain to me. I think you’d need a nice long leader to attach to, or maybe tie onto a ghost warp? Plus there could be challenges relating to the amount of twist/energy in the singles, avoiding tangles and/or the yarn simply falling apart. Any other ideas for Isa?

Finally a brief update on P2P2. I’ve started a sample using some of the ideas from here. I came up with a threading on 8 shafts which I thought would give me the plain weave background and some options in the positioning of the floats that allow movement. It was immediately obvious that I had no idea what I was doing and the threading was rubbish (well, the plain weave base worked)! Fortunately my good friend the pickup stick has helped enormously and I think I have the hang of it, with the bonus of lots of flexibility. The proof will be in the wet finishing.

P2P2 Round 2

Post edited to add a warning! This is a rambling post with poor grammar and (I suspect) a poorer grasp of what is weaveable / worth weaving. The Del key has been hovered over, but I thought this may be of passing interest in the context of the P2P2 challenge. Besides, I like to post on a Sunday evening as a weekly review and I haven’t got anything else!

Off and on over the past couple of weeks my thoughts turned to Cally’s photo taken “the day the Bern bear mascot goes into hibernation. There was a very Swiss atmosphere of deliberate and dutiful jollity.” (see the rest of her comment here and more photos here). I already found the photo fascinating, and strangely enough I too have had an encounter with a crowd in Bern, back in ’82 when Geoff and I were freshly married and exploring the world together. The town centre was full of football fanatics, packing the trams and roaming the streets, chanting (Geoff, who has a phenomenal memory, supplies “Basel ist besser” and “Allez Sion”). A few followed us down the street, heckling – which only got worse when I made the mistake of speaking in english. Then last weekend a friend happened to talk about making parades and making costumes when she was living in Switzerland – and again there was a bit of an edge to her stories.

Using the above, my first impressions of the photo and general stereotypes of the Swiss, I have: pops of colour; exuberance; texture; dissonance; good quality; methodical.

First idea: inlay of blocks of colour. base of solid quality – linen in neutrals/undyed? rosepath inlay (since I like it). Which reminds me of Susan at Avalanche Looms – say here. Very close. Too close.

Next idea: go shopping. A yarn store near work had a sale and I just happened to pop in – you know how it goes. Either of these could provide nice pops of colour and texture. I’m thinking wriggly lines of supplementary warp, with something grey/plain/regular as base. Maybe bits of glitz warp (thin metallic) describing boundaries for the wriggle – freedom within limits.

A vague something in my head, I started leafing through books. Honeycomb? thick outline weft. But I don’t want solid bands, and I need to use the yarn in the warp to take advantage of colour changes. I could turn the draft?

After going round in circles for a while (inlay honeycomb in blocks, with blocks of glitz overlay, sometimes overlapping, with basketweave in places to assist tension … ouch!) I’ll spare you the gory details – no need for everyone to get a headache or unsettled stomach 🙂

Final (coherent?) thought is spider weave (my reference is Sharon Alderman Mastering Weave Structures, pages 118 – 122). I got out all my old class samples while wondering about the base cloth. Current fav 20/2 silk might be a bit light to carry the supplementary warps. Bendigo 2 ply wool is much heftier and would give a nice contrast of wool base to the sheen of the Noro (Silk Garden Lite – 45% silk, 45% mohair, 10% wool). Ixchel cashmerino – the strong shrinkage might emphasise the supplementary squiggle. Has the solid quality effect.

At this point I quite liked the idea, so the next step would be to put on a sample warp.

Which hasn’t happened.

Because I have a couple of things in progress that are  progressing and I want to finish but aren’t finished and won’t be finished if I get too sidetracked. They’re also not bloggable because they are so nearly finished and would be much more interesting to read about and see photos of if they were finished.

Which they’re not.

 

P2P2 round 1

This week I chose one image to explore a bit more. I played around with it using gimp, my preferred image manipulation software. Click on any of the images for a closer look.

smooth palette

Colour and line were the things that struck me in the photo. I used Colors/Info/Smooth Palette to get a first impression of stripe possibilities.

Desaturated

Next a few different views to highlight structure – first desaturated (ie grey scale), then a series of operations (blur, edge detect, colour level…) to get an outline effect.

outlines

alien map

Then some general play. Colors/Map/Alien Map gave an interesting alternative set of colours! I find it makes it easier to pick up the nesting shapes.

Seamless

Filter/Map/Make Seamless created a jumble. It was the most helpful of the many distortions I tried.

Finally I’ve taken a modified palette, with the light values removed, and layered it with the outline.

At this stage I’m thinking of diversified plain weave. That’s given the strongest, large scale geometrics in my weaving to date. I’ve dragged out my old class notes, plus Weaver’s Book of 8-Shaft Patterns edited by Carol Strickler which has a chapter on diversified plain weave and The Best of Weaver’s Thick’n Thin edited by Madelyn van der Hoogt which has lots including a modified draft which gives more blocks from the same number of shafts and simplified treadling (although the look is slightly different and the structure is so different I’m struggling with using the same name!).

Current thoughts are green and red thick warp threads, and the thin weft a neutral of similar value. The geometric patterning would be given by a light thick weft thread. The pattern would be big zig-zags and triangles, ignoring stripe boundaries. The sample/scarf I wove previously was in bendigo 2 ply, with 4 threads bundled together for the thick. This time round I could experiment with 20/2 silk, also bundled for the thick. This gives lots of colour play potential. If I sample this, I’d like to try quickly spinning the threads in the bundle together (maybe even a 2 x 2 cable, which would give 4 threads but no additional twist) – extra steps and time, but maybe it would give a more stable result than just warping the threads side by side. Another possibility is the silk chenille I used in my woven shibori experiment.

On a totally different track, possibly more weaverly and less literal than overall patterning, would be one or more stripes of geometric something set in a plain background. I’m thinking of the lace and twill scarves by Coreen Hartig on the cover of the latest Handwoven, or this striped rayon scarf by Margaret (Peg) Cherre. Peg has some interesting results with colour mixing, which could be useful when trying to manage the orange and green without generating mud.

Where does all this rambling leave me? If I want to go any of these directions, next step would be some concrete designing in Fiberworks and putting on a sample warp. Very tempting, but I think I should probably take a look at some of the other images first.


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