More Learning! And…Dyeing?

So it seems like I’ve had every problem I can (and can’t) imagine go wrong. What’s currently on my loom isn’t what I wanted it to be…Originally I had planned on it being straps for the bags I’m going to make out of the yardage I wove. Well, in a nutshell, it’s ugly and I don’t like it. *lol* I think the weft is too thick for the warp and it makes it far too stiff and I think it would be uncomfortable slung over the shoulder. It would become that bag that you don’t like to use because the strap scratches your neck.
I want to use the warp because I love it. So here’s the plan: I’m just going to weave it up into skinny scarves. There’s a pattern for a skinny scarf on the Interweave site and mine is of similar size. I think I might have to buy a skein of yarn or something. I’m not sure yet. Since I’ve changed my mind about what I’m making, I’m going to sample a little bit at the beginning. I’ve tried several different colors that I have in my stash and I don’t like anything yet. I”m going to try a tan 10/2 cotton and see if that works better with the colors. The white was FAR too bright.

Hmm…Another option that just popped into my head is dyeing a ball of yarn for this project. That could work nicely…I just saw this way of dyeing a ball of yarn on…Goodness can’t think of her name…Bellwether was in the name of the blog. Anyway, the technique was to wind a ball of yarn loosely, soak it in warm, soapy water first and then dip it into the dye. (You put a string through the middle of the ball) This seems simple enough. I would think you would batch it and then rinse it and then wait for it to dry? I can’t think of a way of getting it dry…If I had a dryer tray that would work, but I don’t. 😦
Anyway mom has these pigment dyes from Dharma Trading Co. and she’s dyed several silk scarves with them. I’m wondering if I could use those. It’s definitely worth a try!! And perhaps I can do that next week since I have a week off from work. I might buy a skein of white yarn or I could wind a ball using some white 10/2 cotton I have. Ooooohhh! The prospect of dyeing something makes me so excited!! I miss working in the dye studio. My favorite thing to do is the low water immersion technique because you basically just throw it in there with some dye and out comes a gorgeous piece of fabric. I miss having yards of white fabric and extra time waiting on something else and deciding to just throw it in there and see what happens. I love the spontaneity. I definitely know that I’m going to do something crafty this week. Perhaps I could use the pigment dyes to overdye some yarn for the canvas weave shawl I want to weave. I could just put blue on some of the yarn to give it a sort of variegated look. That way it would be two different shades of blue. Gah! The possibilities!

I wish I could take an independent study and just do that all day. I definitely shall do it when I have my own studio. I love the simplicity and beauty that comes from it. And you can also layer techniques on top of that to create different effects. *sigh* if only I had the money to buy my own dyes. Oh well. At least I can dream about it. I shall go for now and continue to dream about dyeing and weaving. These are a few of my favorite things!



Yesterday I was presented with a wonderful opportunity: Teaching 3 girls how to weave. I’ve known each of these 12 year old girls pretty much since birth so I’m very comfortable with the WHO part of teaching.
Okay…While this is extremely exciting, I’m also terrified.
I’m very excited about this because I love weaving so much and I want others to share my love of weaving. BUT! I’m scared of the actual teaching part. I don’t know that much about weaving!! I’ve only been weaving for about 2 years and have probably only woven about…20 things all together. I’ve made plenty of mistakes which is good because I can learn from them. I’m just concerned that I’m at the stage where I have quite a bit of knowledge, but don’t know yet how to teach it.

I’m pretty sure I can teach plain weave with a comfortable amount of confidence. And honestly, since I don’t know that any of these girls are going to want to carry this further, I think starting with plain weave would be excellent.
I’m definitely not going to start them with a sample. Or if I do, I’ll make it so that they can turn it in to something. And NOT have to cut the entire thing into tiny 2 inch strips that are all neatly labeled and can be used for reference later. My first sample was so badly woven it wasn’t really practical as a reference guide. So I don’t think it really makes sense to do that.

I think, if I do this, I’d want to start them with either scarves or enough yardage to sew a purse/messenger bag.

Here’s another issue I’m facing: I don’t have enough space at my apartment to teach, but my loom doesn’t move. I’m sure I could use mom’s little Dorset loom (I’m gonna just start calling it Dory) and mom also has two rigid heddle looms that I’m sure she’d let me use. Okay. I’m familiar with Dory. I’ve woven on her, I know her quirks, not a problem…I have no idea how to use the two RH looms. I wove on one of them when I was between 8 and 10 years old, but I have no idea how to weave on them now…I’m not afraid of learning though! I really want this to happen. I really want to teach these girls. I know that my sister-in-law (one of the girls) will eventually learn weaving anyways since I’ll be teaching her when my husband and I move to our shared farm where his family lives. But I really want to teach the other girls too because I love them both as well and I’m excited that they’ve expressed interest in weaving! GAH! I really want this to happen. Seriously…I just need to pray that God will show me if He wants me to do this and if He does, that He would show me HOW this is going to happen.
I just have to try really hard not to romanticize it in my mind. I have the worst habit of seeing things going perfectly and freaking out when they don’t. I’m really going to try not to let that happen.

It looks like canvas weave has it

I started the calculations today for a canvas weave shawl. So I guess that will be my next project. I think I’m going to weave it with rayon. ( I think it’s like 5/2 rayon…but at Webs they call it 6-ply rayon…so that’s not really helpful in telling what size it is.) I’ve used this yarn before when weaving on my mom’s little 22″ Dorset loom and it did well sett at 20 epi. I think this will be a good sett for canvas weave. It’s loose enough to show off the weave effect and the yarn is large enough to make it not too loose. I should probably do a sample, but the problem is that I really only have a pound of the yarn I plan on using and the shawl will take pretty much the entire pound because the width at the reed will be 24″. Goodness. I need a 10 dent reed!! Perhaps someday soon. I think the next time I start thinking about buying yarn I’ll have to buy a reed instead.

Alrighty. I also “have” this lovely 8/2 yarn that I might use for another shawl later. (I say “have” because it’s over at my mom’s house right now.) I was thinking I might use it for towels, but mom wound off a sample ball of yarn for me on her new ball winder and it’s much softer than I thought it would be. I think it’s because the two plies of yarn aren’t twisted as tightly as the other 8/2 yarn I have. Anyway, there’s a lot of that yarn so it would be excellent for weaving a larger project like this. Also, 8/2 yarn might work better than 5/2 yarn…again, the dents in my reed are too close. 😦

It’s just nice to think that someday Ben and I will have our studios set up and there won’t be as much need of equipment. I’m quite certain there will always be a WANT of equipment, but I’ll at least have more than one reed someday and it will make things much easier.

I’m hoping to wash some of the pieces that I’ve cut off the loom tonight so I can start sewing them into things. Won’t that be nice? Since I’m going to have a week off of work the week after next, it would really be ideal for me to get things washed and ready to be cut and sewn together during that week. I still have to weave the straps for them. But hopefully I can do that next week. Since the straps will only be about 3 or 4 inches wide on the loom, it shouldn’t take long to dress or weave them up. I had thought about trying to weave two sets of straps at once, but now I’m thinking I shouldn’t complicate things.
I’m also planning on sewing the two different straps together so that they are different colors on each side. An added design feature. Also, I think the straps will be too thin and flimsy to withstand the kind of abuse that a bag strap takes if they are used alone. Just some more thoughts, updates and info.

It's done! …On to the next.

I cut my fabric for the messenger bags off the loom last night. It’s so pretty!! I was on Weavezine yesterday and read Ruth Temple’s “Best Weaving Tip” she said to fall in love with the project from the very beginning of designing it.

Before this project, I’m not sure I’ve ever done that. Definitely not since I’ve been weaving at home. I enjoyed designing the scarf project for school but I don’t think it was so much because I LOVED the project. It was more the excitement of ordering yarns, learning about weaving software and the fact that it was my final. Don’t get me wrong, I love each one of the four scarves I wove and I’m so glad that I was able to give them as gifts but again, I don’t think I LOVED that project.

Alright, let’s be fair. Before this I LOVED my painted warp in Intro to Fibers. 🙂 I didn’t so much love weaving at the time, but I loved the colors, the idea that it was based on the beautiful colors of Creation. But other than that!! Ha ha ha.

Anyway, I do truly love this project with all my heart. Normally when I get towards the end of weaving up something I get anxious and in a hurry to cut it off because I just want to be done. But this project I wanted to get as much fabric as I possibly could out of it. I’ve zig-zag stitched it and it’s all ready to be washed, ironed, cut apart and sewn into lovely bags. I’m still not sure what type of bag I want to make. I keep looking at books and patterns and so on but I can’t seem to find anything that seems good enough for this lovely fabric.
Why oh WHY don’t I have a camera so I can take pictures of it?! 😦 I need to invest in a digital camera besides my phone. Even if it’s just a little point and shoot! That will work for now. Ugh…I have a not-so-good one, but I don’t know where the cord for it is so I can’t plug it into the computer. That pretty much makes it worthless. 😥

Anyway, enough depressing thoughts of poverty and longing. I’m thinking about weaving “Dune” scarves for my next project. *lol* What a perfect combination of nerdiness. Sci-Fi and weaving. Beautiful. If you don’t know, Dune is a wonderful Sci-Fi novel that is extremely phisophical and thoughtful. The book takes place on a desert planet where a certain spice is mined. Exposure to the spice eventually turns one’s eyes completely blue with no whites. This is all to say that I plan on taking the two colors, a lovely sand color (called Scarab. Very fitting) and a navy blue (although the eyes, in my imagination, are more of a royal blue). I plan on attempting a Log Cabin weave for the first time. Shouldn’t be too bad. It’s a very simple color-and-weave effect.

I’ve also decided that I want to start weaving 3 of things at a time. It seems like a good number. Especially with Fall Fun Fest coming up. This way, I can keep one of whatever it is for myself and then have two to sell. Seems fair. I don’t want to just weave things to sell! How boring! I love handwoven things far too much to just let other people have the fun of wearing it!

I also want to attempt a canvas weave shawl. Canvas weave….Ohhhhhh….The last time I wove canvas weave was last fall, and it was the absolute worst experience I’ve had in weaving. It was worse than even the beginning where nothing makes sense and all your yarn is getting tangled and looks awful.
We wove the sampler and scarf with linen and it was terrible the entire time. Winding off the warp, dressing the loom, weaving the whole thing. Part of the weaving was the linen itself and the other part was canvas. I simply could not wrap my brain around block theory. And also, I don’t think my teacher actually used the term block…If she did, it was one of the moments where I phased out and didn’t hear it. It makes MUCH more sense now and I love the way it looks but I haven’t been brave enough to try it again. I’m not sure I’ll ever really want to weave with linen again…I didn’t like it. You have to be SO careful with it. Don’t stretch it, loose tension, and it flakes everywhere. Ick. No love for it. Perhaps as weft for towels. But that’s about it… Anyway, I shall begin planning my next project. And you can be sure it will use two shuttles. 🙂


Two boat shuttles = Heaven

I had forgotten that I really love weaving with two shuttles. It makes getting clean selvedges a lot easier for me. It’s almost like you tie them in a knot when you have to wrap them around the previous weft shot. I think it makes them look cleaner and it makes it easier for me to be consistent. It took me a little while to remember how to weave with two shuttles but it’s like riding a bike. You remember once you get going with it. I guess it’s slower to weave with two shuttles, but I don’t mind. 🙂

I’m also discovering that I don’t enjoy weaving like a speedster. I prefer a middle ground between super fast and pretty slow. I’m also trying to remind myself that it’s okay to go slow. I’m not a production weaver and I’m not doing this to make money. I’m doing it because I love it and I’m drawn to it. I love yarn and color and texture. I love the beautiful shape of boat shuttles and weaving with them is like a dream. My teacher started us all off using stick shuttles to make sure we went slow. Coming from that makes me LOVE boat shuttles. 🙂

Yet another thing I remembered while weaving my current project is how much I love cotton. It doesn’t have the same wonderful drape as other yarns but it’s SO STRONG!! You can pull and tug all you want but it’s very difficult to break. I did break one warp yarn while winding on, but it got caught in a knot with one next to it and I didn’t notice it until after it broke. It’s a quick easy fix though.

It’s been a happy day. I’m about halfway done with the fabric for the first bag. I’m thinkin’ I may switch up the colors on the other two. Yay! What fun. I’m excited to get to experiment and play around.

Just keep weaving, just keep weaving

It’s always encouraging to hear from another weaver that has more experience than me that eventually you do get better.
I was on my weaving forum today and one of the ladies’ said that she has been weaving for 4 years and has woven about 100 items and that her selvedges look nice now. That’s encouraging. Here I am trying my hardest to make my selvedges look nice and I keep forgetting that I really haven’t woven that much. I mean in weaving 1 we really only wove 4 projects…And only two in intro to fibers. Since then I really haven’t done much. Two scarves, a small runner, a sampler, yardage, another scarf and that’s about it. That’s only 11 things. Who’s perfect after that?! Just gotta remind myself to “Just keep weaving!!” 🙂

Continuing on with Courage

I’m almost done winding warp for my next project. I’m extremely excited about it. The colors are WONDERFUL! 🙂 I’m weaving yardage for either messenger bags like the one I made in my intro to fibers class or some other purse/bag variant. The colors I’m using are a lovely deep red (not maroon!) daffodil yellow, a bright pink (Basically hot pink) and a deep pumpkin orange. I shall be striping it like so: red, yellow, pink, orange, yellow pink and each stripe is one end. It should blend together to make a lovely color. I’m very excited. These are not my typical colors. I’m a big fan of cool colors. Greens, blues, browns etc. I love red, orange and yellow and I hate pink. But the color combination speaks to my soul so I’m goin’ with it.

The inspiration for this was sort of odd. I was winding off orange warp for another project and my guide string was a lovely dark pink/fuchsia (The only pink I can almost tolerate). As I was winding off the warp I started thinking about how much I liked the pink guide string next to the orange warp.
I have recently discovered that I like color schemes that have more than two colors. Four color schemes make my heart sing. *lol* yes, I’m a nerd. But at least I’m a happy nerd. 🙂 I suppose this is actually going to be a five color scheme because I’m using a different shade of pink for the weft. I shall try to take pictures of it when I’m done and post them on here. I really need a camera… 😦