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Time is flying, and so were my fingers! How did it get to be time for the Weavers’ Guild Holiday Sale already?!?!

Weavers' Guild Holiday Sale poster

It really snuck up on me. It’s always the first weekend in November, but that often is later in the month than this year. And since Thanksgiving is so late this year, that made the Sale seem doubly early.

So I wove and finished and wove and finished and wove and finished.

First I wove 2 mobis in red stripes, all rayon chenille, using up ends of colors in the warp. I can never get reds really right with my camera and computer, but did the best I could. For the first one I used a solid red weft. I LOVE it!

Handwoven rayon chenille wrap in reds

I didn’t have enough solid red for weft for the second, so used some handpainted rayon chenille. (I didn’t paint it; I’ve had it for a while.) I always prefer hand painted skeins in warp, but since I didn’t have enough reds to do another warp, I chose to use it for weft. It’s okay. (I did get rid of that rolling edge at the front of the scarf.)

Handwoven rayon chenille wrap in reds

Then I immediately put on another rayon chenille warp, this time using a bunch of handpainted skeins (again, not my dye job) in the warp, going from dark purple through shale to silver.

Handwoven rayon chenille wrap in purple & silver

I wove half the length with silver weft and half with shale. I thought they’d meet in the middle where the twist is. Hah! Apparently the middle of the length isn’t where the twist is. I guess I’ll have to figure that out for another time.

Anyway, I wove the rest of that warp with a dark purple weft. It looks great, and will be turned into a long vest, I think. Or maybe an open front cardigan. Whatever it will be, at the moment it’s just a length of fabric, as I ran out of time.

I ran out of time because I decided I HAD to weave more towels for the sale! So I put on a warp for 8 towels and went to town, weaving off the 9+ yards of fabric in one day. My middle back was sore by the end of that day, and I treated myself to an adult beverage. And an ibuprophen. 🙂

I used a threading and treadling from the Strickler book of weaving designs for 8 shafts. I’d seen others use it beautifully, and although it’s definitely not my usual look, I just had to try it. First, here’s a close up so you can appreciate the colors and weave pattern.

Dreams of India towel, closeup

I’m calling this series Dreams of India. Seems appropriate to me. I wove two towels with a black weft. Makes those colors pop.

Handwoven striped towels, Dreams of India, black

After the first towel I had a treadle hook pop off. And when I put it back on, I put it on the wrong shaft! So I wove 20″ that produced a far-too-long float on the back before I noticed it. Grrr! I think I’ll be able to use it for a pillow or a bag or something. Some day.

After black I went with a pinkish red weft. I really liked this, one, too, so made 2 of these as well. I finished them with a different side up on each. Both sides are good.

Handwoven striped towels, Dreams of India, red

Then I thought I’d try a light weft. Wow! Very different look, and also very appealing. Here you see light blue on the left and lilac on the right.

Handwoven striped towels, Dreams of India, light blue & lilac

I only had enough warp for 2 more towels. I chose a light and a dark, melon the left and royal blue on the right.

Handwoven striped towels, Dreams of India, melon & royal blue

Because I’d messed up those 20″ with the wrong tie up, I had to really eke out the last towel. MUCH closer than I like to be, or than is easy to weave.

VERY close to the end of the warp on the loom

Whew! Then of course, they had to be washed, dried, pressed, and hemmed. Then these plus everything else I was bringing to the Holiday Sale had to be tagged with both my labels and WGR Holiday Sale labels. That always takes WAY longer than I think it will.

This morning I got 50 items – shibori-dyed socks, towels from my last 3 batches plus a few older ones, 3 recent mobi wraps, plus some scarves and cowls – to the Sale for screening. All passed, so they’ll be available for sale this weekend. If you’re in the area, do stop by! In addition to my work, weaving, dyeing, knitting, spinning, felting, and more by 54 more WGR members will also be there. Something for everyone on your list!

Whew – FINALLY!

It’s been about forever since I posted. Why? I much prefer to post finished pieces. It’s okay to do some process photos, but only if there are some finished ones as well. And it has taken me FOREVER to finally finish those polka dot towels.

Again, why? First of all, in addition to the threading error I noticed on the first towel that had to be repaired when they were off the loom, there were no fewer than 6 places where the weft inadvertently skipped over a warp thread as I wove. Always on the bottom of the piece, so I didn’t notice them until later. Sigh. As noted in earlier posts, I HATE to needle weave, so kept putting off the task. Finally I could procrastinate no longer. So here we go.

These 2 towels have the same burgundy-ish weft. This photo demonstrates why I like the colored circles better than the white circles, at least as a general rule. So much more dramatic.

handwoven polka dot towels, red weft

This one has a bright cherry-red weft.

handwoven polka dot towel, cherry weft

And these 2 have an orange weft (2 different oranges). The one with the white circles showing was SOOOO orange it screamed at me, so I finished with the white circles as the good side.

handwoven polka dot towels, orange wefts

The top towel has sort of a peach weft, and the bottom one a bright yellow weft. If I’d had more yellow cotton I would have woven another of those.

handwoven polka dot towels with peach and yellow wefts

And this last one has a dusty rose weft.

handwoven polka dot towels, dusty rose weft

Since I was postponing doing the hand work on those towels, I quickly got another warp on the loom. This time all rayon chenille in shawl width. In the must-use-stash vein, I used up several bits of colors. I really like the intensity of these yarns. (Nope, nothing finished here yet, although it is off the loom and another warp is on.)

handwoven red striped rayon chenille wrap, on the loom

I had my 8-year-old grandson for a day when school was closed. We went to a presentation at the planetarium, went out to lunch, and I had 3 different potential craft activities for us, assuming we wouldn’t get more than 2 done.

Well. The first, a gargoyle kit, had to be returned to the store. The molding medium had completely dried out and couldn’t be used. The second, these pumpkin luminaries made by gluing tissue paper on a jar, was not as easy as it looked, and the boy HATED it. His is on the right. He couldn’t take it home with him as it was too wet…had to dry/cure a few days first. (Sorry for such a crappy photo-out of focus and the tissue paper is very orange, not pale yellow-orange as it looks here.)

jar pumpkin luminaries

The final one, ghosts made from milk jugs, was also, ummmm, a challenge. First of all, it is NOT easy to remove the labels from either milk or water jugs. Especially when you just picked them out of people’s recycle bins that very morning so didn’t have time to work on them before you had to go get the lad. Then my several sharpies were mostly dried out. Granted, I’d had them for years, and should have checked earlier, but I didn’t. So although he drew a face on one, I couldn’t let him take it home till I got new sharpies and blackened it in. I then drew all these.

milk jug ghosts

I like the concept, but those milk jugs had to be weighted or the ever-present wind at my house would have blown them away. I gathered some rocks at the bay for that purpose, and obviously wasn’t as careful as I should have been at putting them in, because now half the string of lights is dead and only 4 ghosts are lighted. C’est la vie. I plan to get a new string of white lights before Halloween. I want to put the ghosts along the otherwise impossible-to-see-in-the-dark steps up to the top of my lawn, where I’ll be with the goodies.

Working on towels

I know that I can sell a bunch of towels at the Weavers’ Guild Holiday Sale, so decided that’s what I’d work on next. I warped up the loom with that handpainted cotton shown in my last post and set about weaving. I was hoping that my dye planning worked so that each towel would have all of the colors, ideally only once.

Jack decided to photobomb my first pics, these of the two towels with dark wefts – purple on the left and marine on the right.

2 striped towels with Jack photobombing

Here they are without Jack so you can better see the colors. The warp colors worked out well on these two.

handwoven striped towels with dark  wefts

I wove two towels with blue-ish wefts in two different shades; actually teal on the left and baby blue on the right. Again the handpainting worked out pretty well.

handwoven towels with handpainted stripes, blue wefts

I wove another two towels with different yellows for wefts. Again the painting worked fine.

handwoven towels with handpainted stripes, yellow wefts

And I wove two towels with natural wefts, one with the 5/2 I’d used for warp, the other with 8/2. These 2, which would have been my favorites, didn’t have the handpainting land quite as well.

handwoven towels with handpainted stripes, natural weft

Still, I like the overall look of the stripes blending from one color to the next and am likely to do this again in the future.

But not right now. I went for another run of polka dots. Here’s the first towel on the loom. You can see a threading error in the 5th red circle from the right. This wasn’t the only threading error that I had, and when I found this one about 8″ in, I fixed it and then decided it was time to walk away for the day. You can also see that the use of the yellows, especially the light yellow, wasn’t a great choice. C’est la vie.

red orange and yellow polka dot towels

Parting shot – my kousa dogwood displaying its lovely red fruits for the fall. In the spring I was wishing I’d chosen a Florida dogwood, but now I’m glad I didn’t; they don’t fruit like this.

fruiting kousa dogwood

Finished, changed, and started

Shortly after my last post I finished the two mobius wraps. Here’s the one with the purple weft.

handwoven handpainted mobius wrap, purple weft

I was surprised that I preferred the one with the black weft.

handwoven handpainted mobius wrap, black weft

Then I quickly converted two rayon chenille shawls, which hadn’t attracted lots of attention at my shows, into mobis. I wove these shawls 12-18 months ago, so it was time to do the conversion. Here’s I’ve Got The Blues.

handwoven mobius wrap in blue gemtones

And then I did Caribbean.

handwoven mobius wrap in blue to green colors

You can see that I didn’t spend much time getting the wraps to lay correctly on Dolly. I have to get outside at the right time to have any shade in my yard and bright sun is way too bright. Then I have to deal with the the uneven-ness of my lawn and the breeze/wind, so I just snapped rather quickly. Since I’m not putting any of these up for sale on the web, it’s all okay with me.

I packaged up these two rayon chenille wraps, the purple Brilliant Gemtones, an open front cardigan, four cowls, and a scarf and mailed them off to the Copper Shop on the Roycroft Campus. The Campus attracts a lot of visitors between now and the end of the year and my work has sold reasonably well there. Plus my inventory there was low and I won’t have any other solo shows till next summer, so this made lots of sense.

Meanwhile, I know that towels sell well at the Weavers’ Guild Holiday Sale, so last month I hand painted some cotton in preparation. I started with some nondescript pinky-taupey yarn that’s been hanging around unused for a few years, and was happy with the way it turned out. Although there are several colors, they’re all somehow subdued, almost earthy, and I like them.

handpainted cotton yarn with starting cone

My plan was to hand paint in approximately 6″ sections of color so that each towel would have one length each color. We’ll see how well that works out.

I decided on a braided twill. I didn’t have any natural or white cotton in 8/2, so I used what I had on hand – 5/2. I sett the 8/2 hand painted cotton at 24 EPI and the natural 5/2 cotton at 16 EPI. It’s working out okay. Here’s the first towel on the loom, showing the progression of the colors.

handwoven towels with handpainted yarn on the loom

I’m now on towel #5, each with a different weft color, and so far the dyeing is working out pretty well. Here’s a close up of the weave structure. This one has a baby blue weft.

handwoven handpainted towel, braided twill

Enough time spent in front of my computer for now – back to the loom!

From start to not-quite-done

After the Elmwood show, at which I had a great time and swell sales, I went on a dyeing jag. I had intended to show you the process from dyeing to completion, but time’s passing by, so I decided to show you what I’ve accomplished so far. With just the first yarn I dyed. (I dyed yarn for 2 additional projects as well.)

The first thing I dyed was some 8/2 tencel. I wound warp lengths for 3 handpainted bouts of 132 ends each, then I wound skeins for 2 more similar-sized bouts, planning to return to my warp vs. skein concept. Here’s what the finished warp chains and skeins looked like. I’m definitely happy with the dyeing, even though they weren’t the colors I had initially envisioned.

8-2 tencel hand dyed in gemtones

Then I measured out those skeins and beamed the yarn, with some black tencel to divide the sections.

beaming brilliant gemtones

Once beamed I sat down at my computer to determine what weave structure and pattern I wanted to use for these two lengths, both planned to be mobi shawls. I decided on an extended Ms and Ws threading and treadling, and used black tencel as weft for the first piece.

weaving brilliant gemtones with black weft

I wanted to change it up a bit for the second length, and after trying a few blues for weft, settled on a royal purple. I only had 20/2 in this color, so doubled it for the weft.

weaving brilliant gemtones with purple weft

At this point I really like both the black and the purple. We’ll see if I have a favorite when they are all done.

I may have some time tomorrow to sew the straight lines to secure the edges before wet finishing these two pieces. I doubt I’ll get much further than that in the process.

Oh yeah, I also made some yummy pear jam with some free pears, thanks to a generous person in my neighborhood. Never made pear jam before, and it is DELICIOUS! I brought a little half-pint jar to the person with the pear trees.

homemade pear jam

And I gave Jack a haircut with a pair of scissors. Some trimming/cleaning up has happened since this photo, but it’s still definitely done with scissors, not a hair trimmer thingy.

Jack's scissor cut