Black and white and more

I’ve completed four pieces so far this month: three scarves and a shawl.

You saw the beginning of the new-to-me-Tara-Oftenorth weaving draft here. I wove off all three scarves, fringed, and wet finished them.

My favorite is still the first one, with the marine silk weft.

silk pansy & marine scarf

Although it works fine in closeup, I’m still not sure how well it will look when the whole piece is photographed at once, as is required for jury images.

For the second scarf I used sax, which is a pale silvery blue color. I like it better off the loom than I did on, but I the contrast of the colors doesn’t move me.

pansy and sax silk scarf

Because I really liked how close the marine and pansy were, and wasn’t excited by the sax and pansy, I decided to use a color that was closer for the third. I didn’t have what I wanted in silk, so chose a periwinkle tencel. It’s a tint of the pansy – the same color but with some white added; at least to my eye it is. The tencel is a bit thicker than the silk so the weave pattern is slightly elongated, but that’s okay with me.

pansy silk and periwinkle tencel scarf

Meanwhile I was working on the black and white shawl I’d started in the last post. I wove off the first one, cut it off the loom, fringed and wet finished it so I could decide if I needed to re-sley the reed closer for this undulating twill structure.

study in black & white shawl

I like the hand of the piece and believe it to be stable, so I won’t be setting the warp closer for the next two shawls.

I am fine with the way the black dye ‘broke’ – separated into some of its component colors, with red coming out in some places and blue in others. It doesn’t detract to me.

More black & white

When I painted that black & white warp for scarves that I wove in December, I also painted a warp for shawls. Here it is going on the back beam, with 4 narrow bouts of solid black in between the 5 bouts of handpainted.

black & white shawl on back beam

No matter the colors, I always respond well to this shot. It’s just a look that does it for me. Gives me a peek at the finished piece.

I spent this morning threading 660 ends. Whew!

660 ends threaded

Although I check each bout as I tie it, I will be very happily surprised if there are no threading errors. Only time will tell.

A good beginning

Although all of my looms (2 floor looms, 1 table loom, 1 rigid heddle loom, 1 inkle loom) were naked on New Year’s Day, I’m off to a good start on my weaving goal for 2018. The afternoon of 1/1 I measured out a warp of Pansy 20/2 silk for that great draft I showed in my last post (thanks again to Tara Oftenorth).

I started by auditioning several weft possibilities I could immediately identify.

auditioning wefts

From the bottom, they are pale silvery blue (sax), chartreuse-y green (felt green), marine, black, yellow, golden, and magenta. I was surprised by what I did and didn’t like.

For a really classy look, I started with that marine. I love the draft, the look, and this shot.

silk scarf, pansy and marine

I’ll choose a weft with much more contrast for the 2nd scarf, as I need to make a few pieces for this year’s jurying. Much as I love the look with that marine, I’m not sure it will photograph well, even with the great professional photographer I use. Best to give him a few options. (In case you’re wondering why it might not photograph well, jury photos can’t be a closeup of a section of a piece, they must show the entire piece. Not sure how this one would work.)

On the sewing front, I cut out and began sewing another tunic, from the first pattern, using some 100% cotton ‘quilters cotton’ I’d purchased at Joann Fabrics. It was very problemmatic in ways I can’t even explain. After getting everything but the sleeves done I tried it on and hated it. It was clear it wasn’t going to drape, and the print, which I’d liked on the bolt and while cutting and sewing, just made me look like a weird, fat, old lady. “Walk away,” I said. Then I went online and sought out what made something a quilters flannel versus one made for clothing. I quickly got to a place with lots of users saying what a problem Joann’s quilters flannel was, including how quickly it pilled. That did it for me. I will most definitely NOT finish that top, AND will find somewhere else to buy fabric for clothes.

Yesterday I went to a small, privately-owned store fabric store nearby. I got an absolutely gorgeous 100% cotton corduroy with some stretch and a great drape. Never even seen such a thing before. It’s been through the washer and dryer, and I’m looking forward to working with it.

But I’ve gotta get some weaving done today. Plus, I’ve decided that for my jury photos, I really need to have a handpainted piece, whether it’s a shawl (preferably) or a scarf, to reflect what I’m currently doing. Which means I need to think about color and do some more dyeing. There’s no end to things to be done. Thankfully I enjoy them all!

What the heck???

Yesterday I took Jack out for his regular afternoon walk. It’s been very cold, so he usually chooses to walk only as long as absolutely necessary to accomplish his mission. The afternoon walk was once around the block, which was what this walk often is any time of the year. Fine.

We got back home and I sat down to do some computer work. Jack was sitting near me in the room, just like always. He was, I thought, chewing on his bone. Swell.

When I was done on the computer, about an hour, I stood up and saw this.

hole in rug

WHAT THE HECK?!?! Jack hadn’t been chewing on his bone, but pulling things out of the rug!

rug parts

In 2 years he has pulled out a total of maybe 2 dozen, and I always thought they were done in error when he was grabbing for a toy. But this?!?! This is BAD!

To make it as bad as possible, this spot is dead center in the middle of the rug. It’s not like I can put a chair over it or something. I have no clue if I can put those parts back into the rug; I will try, but I’m betting it will either be near impossible or will look like hell when I’m done, and that I’ll be looking for a new rug. I’ve thought about weaving one, but wasn’t really ready to do that. Especially since this rug is a 5′ x 8′. Quite a large rug for handwoven indeed. Your suggestions will be appreciated.

In another what-the-heck is a new problem with my Adobe Photoshop Elements Editor. I have used this program for years, ever since I’ve had a blog, for sure. It’s how I edit my photos and size them for the web. When I got my new laptop, I’m thinking about 18 months ago, I had to change the version of the software and get used to it, but it works very similarly, so fine.

Except starting a few days ago, not fine. I open an image. Crop and adjust as needed. Go to Save for Web and resize. Hit Save. I consistently get an error message: “Could not complete this operation. The specified volume could not be found.” It matters not what file location I choose.

I’ve figured out a work around, but come on – what the heck happened?!?! My work around is more steps: Go to Image Resize. In a few clicks I’ve gotten it to the size I want. Then go to Save as and rename the file so I now it’s the modified one. Then click Save, and it easily goes to exactly the same location as it couldn’t find a minute ago. Again – what the heck? I can’t find anything in Preferences that would seem to have any impact. Again, your suggestions will be welcomed.

Ok, so here we are on December 31. A few days ago I had a minor freak out when I realized that I had only 4 days left in the month and had completed NOT A SINGLE THING for my inventory. YIKES!

So I put the black and white 8/2 tencel scarf warp on my counterbalance loom. I figured I could weave it off relatively quickly. And I did. I’m not in love with the huck weave structure I chose, but it’s okay.

This was an experiment, to see what I might like best for weft for the shawl warp I’d painted at the same time. First I did a gradient weft: 16.5″ of a solid color, my standard 64-thread gradient to the next solid color, repeat. I had 4 solids I used: black, dark gray, silver gray, and white. It’s okay, but not my favorite. I do like those spots of black on one end of the fringe – reminds me of porcupine quills.

black & white gradient scarf

Next I used solid white for the weft. I like this one better. You can see that one of the fringes in the middle of the white end sort of came undone in the wet finishing. No idea why, but I’ll have to fix that.

black & white scarf

I had enough warp left for one more scarf. What color would I choose? As I thought about it, I had a light bulb moment. My cowls have been selling pretty well, so instead of making one more long, fringed scarf, I’d weave two short cowls – it’ll be summer time and people like short cowls in the summer.

So I wove one with the dark gray weft and one with the silver weft. This got me 4 finished pieces instead of 3. 🙂

black & white dark gray cowl

black & white silver cowl

I don’t think either of these photos show the cowls to their best advantage, but frankly didn’t want to go through the challenge of the Adobe process again with the other shots I’d taken.

Then I realized I’d finished weaving another scarf on my rigid heddle loom a few weeks ago but never did the finishing. This is the counterpart to the one shown here, this time with a dark purple chenille weft.

rayon boucle and chenille scarf

This rayon boucle warp doesn’t look good when double twisted, so I tried to put some beads on it to dress up an otherwise plain fringe. Geez, it was one problem after another, until I finally gave up, cut the fringe short-ish and called it good. So I ended December with 5 pieces. But absolutely nothing is on the loom now to start January. I saw a scarf woven from this to-die-for draft on Facebook and grabbed the draft from – this is why I stay a member!

Tara Oftenorth weaving draft

Thank you to Tara Oftenorth for creating this modification. I think I’ll warp my Macomber for this next.

Jack had dental surgery last month – 14 teeth removed! Yikes! I suddenly realized that since his mouth has healed he has been doing a lot of chewing, much more than previously. Those teeth must have hurt, poor baby. So yesterday I went to Petco and bought 3 different kinds of chew toys. He loves them all. Hopefully this will protect future problems.

I googled the problem with Photoshop Elements, and was far from the only person with this issue. I followed directions for fixing it, and it worked like a charm.

Another pattern, another tunic

On the 23rd I had all my presents made and decided to make the muslin for that other tunic pattern. Although it was a raglan sleeve, not set-in sleeve like the first one, I thought about the modifications I had to make for that first pattern and applied them to this sleeve. The muslin fit fine, and the pattern was a Butterick Very Easy (B6135), so I decided to go ahead and make it.

dyed tunic front

I mentioned in my last post that I’d purchased the fabric for this pattern when I bought the pattern. What I didn’t mention was that the color of the fabric didn’t thrill me. So I decided to immersion dye it. I used a 5-gallon bucket to dye it blue, then rinsed, washed, and dried it. The dyeing was blotchy. Sigh.

So I decided to overdye it in purple. I made certain to stir it plenty, and even transferred the fabric to another vat and back a few times, making sure to keep the fabric from bunching each time. Again, rinsed, washed, and dried it. Again it was blotchy. Again I sighed.

As a result I wasn’t sure how the fabric would look made up into the pattern. The blotchiness could be fine or awful.

It took just a few hours to cut and sew the pattern. My overall response? The dye job was okay – not great, but okay. I really like the cut and fit of the pattern. And when I was wearing it the next day when my daughter stopped by, without a word from me she asked me if I’d made the top, and said that both the pattern and the dye job were very flattering. Since she almost never comments on my clothes, this was significant.

But I don’t know if I’ll use it again.

dyed tunic back

Why? The pattern says everywhere that it is designed for moderate stretch fabrics only. And I’m not a big fan of stretch fabrics, especially if I can’t find them without a significant portion of polyester, which is all I could find at Joann’s. Also, while my simple machine will sew on stretch fabrics, I don’t like what it does to the machine hemmed edges, and there are LOTS of them on this pattern…way more than I’d want to hem by hand. I don’t know if patterns designed for stretches can be made from fabrics without stretch. I try to do some research on that question.