Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Celebrating Something New

Cardinals tend to stay with us through the winters and these two are a pair of at least 7 that live in our neighborhood. Their red is a welcome splash of color among all the bare branches of the trees. What's new is with the warmer weather the Carolina Wrens are starting to show up also. I've also started recently putting out seed - so that may be why the wrens have started to come by. ;-)

Last Friday, we were invited by my company to a dinner to celebrate the accomplishments of those who had filed for patents and those who had received patents in 2008. I was granted my first US patent last year and I was glad to be a part of this. It's the only celebration the company will be holding this year with the US recession. They felt this one was important and I agree.

Lastly, I have been able to get the leashes onto the new "big sis" loom. The wedge weave class starts Sunday, so we're getting close to the wire. I want to recheck the needs list tonight to make sure there's nothing I've forgotten! I'd love to get more done, but somehow I just can't quit the job. It seems I'm addicted to eating - I can't live without it! It makes me look forward all the more to a whole week dedicated to just weaving. Ahhh, what a luxury!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Big Sis

I finally registered for my class next month at John C Campbell Folkschool in wedge weaving. I received the needs list this week and it included 2-3 pounds of weft. I promptly put my order for a number of shades of green, but just one tangerine skein for a line that pops occasionally. I had seen another weaving with blues and a hint of yellow that got me thinking on those lines. (Thanks, K) I'm excited about the combination. I have no plans and hope it's just a generally random thing, but we'll see what the instructor has in store for us!

The second "homework" assignment I had was building a larger loom. This is not a beginner's class and it required knowing how to warp a floor loom. I've never done that (yet!), but talked with the instructor about using a tapestry loom. She was game. So this weekend for Valentine's Day my husband and I built another loom that's 28" x 33". It's amazing how big it is once we brought it in. I'm calling it the "big sis" to the other loom!

It's a basically one of Archie Brennan's student pipe looms, but I added the leashing unit to the smaller pipe loom. I did make one change. I knew I would need to warp this for a continuous warp and wasn't sure that I liked the loom sitting on the warp and eventually the weaving, so I used tees (instead of elbows) and 2" of pipe at the bottom to create feet for the loom. It actually made warping the loom easier because the spool could pass under the bottom pipe without lifting the loom. I've warped it for 16" wide and thinking there is about 40-44 inches available in length. Now I've still got to put on the leashes, foundation and header, but I'm relieved this much is finished!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Playing in Textures

I've been looking at yarn colors to put into the tapestry woven aprons for the back porch and found there were too many to choose from. It then occured to me it may be better to only have one color - which meant some means of creating a texture to show the grout lines of the tile pattern. So I started playing and produced the following. At first I was working hard to produce a single line. I didn't find anything prominent enough until I tried a single line soumak from Kirsten Glasbrook's Tapestry Weaving book. That was great for horzontal, but was a fight in the vertical direction. I tried Steve Bremner's wirework, except I tried nylon fishing line. I still struggled with the vertical direction being as prominent as the horizontal.

Then it struck me to try a different texture for each block and elminate the grout lines. I found in Kathe Todd-Hooker's Tapestry 101 a number of variations on soumak. I tried those and think I've found 4 textures that will work. Enough so that I picked out one yarn color and ordered them from Norsk Fjord Fiber. (Can I put in anymore plugs???) With all the colors of the slate, I decided on a nice neutral gray! You'd be amazed how much of it ends up in my house! It only took a day and the yarn is here!

Before I plunge into those, I think I will do one more sampler with those 4 textures in part of the slate patterns just to make sure I put them together well. Any suggestions on generating texture are most welcome!