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Give me your input on color

I have some wonderful yarn from Finger Lakes Yarn I’ll be dyeing very soon. I think I’ll attempt to dye in the colorway of one of the attached images. Wanna give me your input?

Susan Pogue dyed these, and took the great photo. Thanks, Susan!

Molly McLaughlin workshop

As planned, last week I took a 2-1/2 day workshop with Molly McLaughlin. Titled Painting with Fiber, this is obviously an area in which Molly is a total master. Again, here’s an image of one of her gallery pieces.

Molly McLaughlin's woven piece

In my earlier post about this workshop, you saw my Missouri loom set up with the handpainted warp Molly had sent. After a lecture and explanation of both process and color values, Molly sent us to our looms to weave some simple shapes using Theo Moorman inlay techniques.

Well. My squares were pretty good, and my triangles weren’t too bad. The circle? Um, NOT.

Molly McLaughlin workshop shapes

The warp is 20/2 cotton. The ground weft was 20/2 cotton throughout all pieces. The more solid shapes were inlaid with 5/2 cotton, the others with 20/2 cotton.

After the Thursday morning lecture, per Molly’s directions, I advanced my warp to the next section of painted primary colors. We were to inlay both the positive and negative spaces. I tried to inlay an oval, but instead got a…flying saucer? Then I was playing with a variegated 20/2 cotton and a ‘not woven’ section.

Molly McLaughlin workshop, more shapes

We had homework for Thursday night…to plan out a 6″x6″ design that would be mounted on a black ‘canvas’ frame Molly provided. We had to consider everything: use of positive and negative space, focal points, movement of the eye, and both color hue and value. I arrived Friday morning with my design, which I liked.

MM-6x6 plan #1

But I couldn’t plan out the colors until I had again advanced my warp, this time to the section of secondary colors. Plus I had to see what color thread was available to use.

Once I’d made those decisions, I began weaving. I’m a relatively fast weaver, but I couldn’t finish the piece before the day ended. I finished weaving at home on Saturday.

MM finished piece #1

While I was weaving that piece I decided I would do one more piece, this time with thicker yarn. I have very few colors of 5/2 cotton, so settled on using carpet warp since I had a variety of colors. I planned to use the same design and see how much my skill had improved, and I was pretty sure I’d like the thicker yarn much better.

As it turned out, I wasn’t thrilled with that design, so Saturday night I decided I’d modify that. Here’s the design for piece #2, complete with approximations of the colors I’d use for the inlays.

MM 6x6 plan 2

I spent a VERY long day on Sunday weaving this off. I inadvertently switched the colors of the light orange and lavender arcs and wish I hadn’t. I also lost the tip of the orange triangle. C’est la vie. FYI I don’t have black carpet warp, so the black is 8/2 cotton, doubled.

Have I mentioned yet that I don’t anticipate using this technique in the future? I don’t. Still, I’m glad I took the workshop.

This morning I secured the edges of the weaving with my sewing machine and then mounted the second piece on the provided canvas. Woven with carpet warp, the end result is tapestry-like. I’m about as happy as I can be with it – which means I think it’s marginally okay, given the newness of the technique to me and the amount of time I was willing to devote to it. Then I spent a while putting everything away and getting the Missouri loom back to the attic, where it will likely live for a few more years.

MM finished piece #2

Other overall info: Molly is an EXCELLENT teacher. Her work is OUTSTANDING. She put in TONS of time and effort, and provided LOTS of materials for us for this workshop. She generally uses 240/2 silk for her pieces, with a minimum sett of 180 ends/inch, twice that when she does doubleweave. Twice that. Get it? 360 ENDS PER INCH!!!! If you have a chance to study with her, for a day, a week, or more, jump on it, even if, like me, you will probably never use the technique.

Simple pictures are best

Simple Pictures book

About a million years ago when I taught preschool, I remember reading this book to the kids. I was surprised to see that I’d used this same photo back in 2012, and that I’d commented then that I often forget this lesson. Well, I forgot it once again.

Back in August I hand painted a silk warp that has sat there ever since, waiting for me to get to it. It’s another skein vs. warp dye job, this time reverting to the coral & turquoise I’ve done before, although a bit more muted than on the tencel I’ve done. I decided now is the time to weave this piece. I’m loving it going on the back beam.

beaming coral & turquoise silk

I had a draft planned on my computer.

lace dots weave draft

I was prepared to start threading, and then I realized that because of the width of my warp and the design of this draft, I’d have to move 120+ heddles on my loom. Not a fun job. So I came back to the computer and tried my colors and width in one draft after another. Spent over an hour doing this. Ended up rejecting them all.

“Simple pictures are best,” I said to myself. But how would I deal with all those heddles?

I spent a bit of time looking more carefully at the draft. Wait a minute! Shafts 5 & 6 don’t weave lace, so clearly I can modify the draft to spread the tabby heddles over 4 shafts instead of just 2.

I had a few false starts on this, and spent probably 90 minutes getting the draft fully designed. Much better; I’ll only need to move a few heddles to accomplish this. Whew!

lace dots 2 weave draft

I wonder how many more times I’ll have to re-learn this same lesson about simple pictures. I’m guessing many.

I’m going to start threading now.

Autumn work & show report

Two years ago I found a recipe online for making apple butter in a crockpot. Apple butter was a favorite of my mom’s and therefore holds some nice childhood memories for me, but I was never willing to put in hours and hours over an open fire or constant attention in the oven. So crockpot apple butter? I had to try it. Turned out well, and SO easy.

2 batches of apple butter

Finished off my stash this summer, so when the farm stand put out their 1/2 peck baskets of drops this year, I knew I had to do it again. I ended up making 2 batches again this year (that’s what I’d made in 2017, too). For the first batch, on the left, I ran out of cinnamon, not having as much as I’d thought. I bought more for the second batch. The first batch tastes more like spicy applesauce, and the second may be spicier than some people like it, but it’s all good with me.

I’ve been picking tomatoes and raspberries off my vines until earlier this week. But they’re saying I might have up to a foot of snow tonight/tomorrow, so today was the day to pull those plants, regardless of the fact that both had plenty of unripe fruit on them. No, I didn’t pick and wrap green tomatoes, nor did I make fried green tomatoes or green tomato pickles. I just tossed them. I wish I could have a compost bin here, as the plants and fruits would have gone there, but I got pinged by the Town for my bin a few years ago after a neighbor complained and I had to get rid of it. 🙁

I did great at the Weavers’ Guild Holiday Sale. I sold 14 of my 18 pairs of socks, 17 of my 23 towels, 2 of 5 scarves/cowls, and 2 of 4 mobis/wraps. Pretty amazing, I think, especially considering there were 50+ Guild members submitting items this year. I’m looking forward to seeing the aggregated statistics when they come out in a few weeks, although I’ve heard that we had more visitors than ever and higher total $$ sales than ever, so a good sale for lots of people, I trust.

I’m not a person who takes many weaving classes – most things I see offered near me just don’t float my boat. But I jumped at the chance to take a class next week that the Guild is putting on. Molly McLaughlin is teaching 2.5 days of Painting with Fiber. Look at one of this woman’s pieces – CRAZY beautiful! Looks like amoeba under a microscope to me.

Molly McLaughlin's woven piece

Also crazy, Molly prepared warps for each of the 17 people in the workshops. We each got 3 handpainted warps, each with 120 ends of 20/2 cotton. WOW – that’s a lot of prep work for the teacher! Here’s my warp, beamed and threaded on my Missouri loom, ready for the workshop.

Missouri loom prepared for workshop

I’m really looking forward to learning from Molly, and in learning how to do that technique that will provide such lovely curves and painterly finished product.

Flying by

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!