Posts Tagged ‘weaving’

Celebration – Overshot Runner draft by Ute Bargmann

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014
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This month’s special 40th Anniversary Draft, the Celebration Overshot Runner, was designed by Ute Bargmann and is worked in our 10/2 Valley Cotton and our 5/2 Valley Cotton.

Celebration draft promo

About designing the draft Ute says, “I’ve known Barbara Elkins as a weaving wonder since the 1980’s. I wanted to create a design that reflected my respect while celebrating this wonderful 40th anniversary. This runner is an overshot name draft derived from the phrase: WEBS – 40 Great Years for Weavers. I hope it conveys my best wishes for the next 40 years!”

Celebration FB size promo2

 

She also suggests, “Wind a 2-yard warp of 368 ends. This includes 1 floating selvedge, Use the last warp end on the left as your left floating selvedge (do not thread through heddle, but sley in its own dent). And you will have enough warp to weave a sample to practice your beat and familiarize yourself with the treadling. I suggest this!”

 

Shuttle Shenanigans

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014
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Beginning to weave is an exciting adventure that opens the door to so much – creativity, color, texture, pattern and more. It is also overwhelming at times to learn the new language (sley? heddle? tromp as writ?!) not to mention the huge variety of tools.

One of the most basic tools is the shuttle, which holds and carries the yarn to weave the cloth. Sounds simple enough, right? Then why are there so many different ones and how am I supposed to know which one to use?! It’s enough to make you cry, but that will stain the wood, so let me break it down for you. We’ll start with the major types of shuttles.

boat shuttlesBoat Shuttles

Boat shuttles are longish, narrow wooden shuttles that are open in the center with a long metal shaft that holds the bobbin of yarn. Boats can be open underneath the bobbin or closed (solid wood) underneath. The profile of a shuttle refers to its height; a slim shuttle will be shorter and fit into a narrower shed (the opening between the threads that the shuttle passes through). Double boat shuttles can hold two bobbins of yarn. The yarn in a boat shuttle feeds off the bobbin and through a slot or hole in the side of the shuttle.

Stick Shuttles

stick shuttlesStick shuttles are thin flat pieces of wood that have notches at both ends. They also come in a variety of lengths, anywhere from 6” up to 30”. It is much easier to work with a shuttle that is slightly longer than the width of your project. If it is too long, you will end up whacking the walls and doing a bit of flailing; too short and you will have to reach into the shed  to grab the shuttle. A Belt shuttle is a short stick shuttle that has one beveled edge so that it can be used to beat the yarn in. Belt shuttles are often used with inkle, card and backstrap weaving.

Rag, Rug & Ski Shuttles

rag, rug & ski shuttlesRag shuttles look like two thin tapered pieces of wood with columns in between. This is so you can wind a lot of strips of cut or torn rags, which are rather bulky, onto the shuttle.

A rug shuttle is used as its name suggests – to weave rugs. It is a solid, square-ish piece of wood with groves along the sides and notches at the end to hold the yarn (I think of it as a stick shuttle on steroids); it needs the extra heft to carry the heavier rug yarns. As with stick shuttles, choose a rug shuttle based on the width of your project.

A ski shuttle has a wooden base with upturned ends (like a ski!) and an upright center to wrap the yarn around. It can be used for yarns that are too bulky for a boat shuttle, but it slides along the warp which is an advantage over a stick shuttle.

How to Choose a Shuttle

First you have to choose the type that is suitable for your loom and project. Boat shuttles feed yarn more evenly and quickly because of the bobbin and are generally the shuttle of choice for multi-harness looms. Rigid heddle weavers will sometimes use boats, though in my  personal experience I limit them to narrower warps as they can nose dive to the floor on wider warps. Stick shuttles work well for rigid heddles and other smaller looms, as well as for some hand-manipulated weaves on larger looms. Rug and rag shuttles – self-explanatory.

Photo by Lindsey TophamBoat shuttles have a number of variables to further influence your choice. Open or closed bottom? Closed bottom will glide more smoothly, open bottom allows you to use your fingers as a brake on the bobbin and are lighter in weight. Weight is an important factor in choosing a shuttle. In general, you want to pick the lightest shuttle that serves your weaving needs, to lessen the strain on your hands, though on occasion you may need something heavier to throw across a wider warp.

If you have the chance to try shuttles in person, take advantage of it. Hold it in your hand and mimic your throwing motion. Evaluate how it fits in your hand, how easy it is to grasp. As with many fine tools, it often comes down to personal preference so listen to your body and don’t be afraid to experiment with different shuttle types. You will probably also find that different projects require different shuttles (which is how we end up with a variety on the shelf next to the loom!).

WEBS 40th Anniversary Shuttle

 

 

Weaving Contest Gallery Show

Sunday, October 12th, 2014
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Our yearlong celebration of WEBS 40th Anniversary has included a wide variety of fiber-related events, special yarns, drafts and patterns. One of my favorite parts has been the 40th Anniversary Weaving Contest, which focused on WEBS’ beginnings as a weaving store.

cones tencelThe concept of a contest sounded great to us – show us the beauty you can create with our yarn. However, we had no idea what kind of a response we’d get and as the months passed by with only a few responses, we felt like the kid wondering where the party guests were and had everyone forgotten? And then the floodgates opened and we were overwhelmed with the huge outpouring of ideas that had been developing on the looms of our weaving friends. We ended up with more than 140 entries from 30 different states across the country!

Aside from the sheer volume of entries, we were amazed and impressed by the skill of the weavers and beauty and workmanship of their pieces. Although we specified four categories for entries, the works spanned everything from scarves, shawls and clothing, to towels, table linens and curtains, to decorative and artistic wall hangings, rugs and bowls.

 

 

beautiful woven jacketWhat I found equally fascinating were the stories that came with the pieces. I grew up surrounded by classical music so I was delighted when I read that Deborah Lewis-Idema designed the cloth she wove for her beautiful jacket using the first four measures of Beethoven’s Pathetique Sonata. Another design, from Cindie Kitchin, came out of a weaving guild challenge. They each pulled the name of a country out of a hat and designed something inspired by that. The result is her lovely Iranian Tiles Scarf.

 

beautiful woven tencel scarf

 

 

The 40th Anniversary Weaving Gallery Show will present all of the weavings that were selected as finalists in the contest. Free and open to the public, the show will take place at WEBS retail store at 75 Service Center Rd, Northampton, MA. The show will kick off with an opening reception from 6 – 7:30 pm on October 16th and then be open from 10 am – 5 pm on October 17 & 18. Please join us to see the exquisite beauty and to celebrate 40 years of WEBS and weaving.

 

woven runner

 

Ready, Set, Knit! 374: Kathy talks with Leslie Ann Bestor

Saturday, October 4th, 2014
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This week Kathy talks with WEBS Weaving Manager Leslie Ann Bestor about the upcoming Spinning and Weaving Week, Monday Oct 6 – Saturday Oct 11.

Spinning and Weaving Week events at yarn.com

Be sure to stop into the store for lots of activities during the week, LA did a great post that details all the demonstrations and mini-workshops here, and if you’re on a Spinzilla Team get ready to start spinning! More details on the Spinzilla event can be found here.

Later this month you can check out the WEBS 40th Anniversary Weaving Contest Gallery Show. We have an opening reception on Thursday Oct 16th 5:30 – 7:30, and the exhibit will be open to the public October 17 and 18th 10-5pm.

Steve’s Yarn Picks :

Upcoming Events:

It’s time for our 11th annual Knit & Crochet for the Cure! Join us TOMORROW from 1-4pm.

8th Annual Bus Trip to Rhinebeck – Saturday Oct 18th. the buses are almost full, get your ticket now!

We have an amazing line-up of guest teachers this year!
Susan B Anderson will be here Columbus Day WeekendDora Ohrensten is doing a weekend of crochet classes in November! And be sure to check out all of our upcoming Events here.

Don’t forget that we’re collecting Hot Chocolate Run Polar Bears for Safe Passage, you can read all the details here.

Right click or CTRL+click and Save As to download the MP3 of this Podcast Subscribe to Ready, Set, Knit! in iTunes Subscribe to the Ready, Set, Knit! Podcast RSS Feed

Spinning and Weaving Week

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014
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We have transitioned from the warmth and busyness of summer to the fall routines of school and harvest. I am enjoying the crisp mornings and the orange and red palette spreading through the trees. And, of course, I am looking forward to October, the month of fiber revelry! So many events and opportunities to connect with fiber and fiber fanatics!

HGA WS wk imageAt WEBS, we kick off the month with a weeklong celebration. International Spinning and Weaving Week is October 6 – 12 and in our little corner of the world that means an abundance of ways to experience fiber and textiles from fleece to finished handwovens.

Central to the week are daily demonstrations and workshops covering a wide range of techniques. Demonstrations are free and open to all who come in to the store. They take place from 11 am – 1 pm and will feature spinners using wheels and spindles to create yarn from fleece and roving. Weavers will also be showcasing their skills on a wide variety of looms. It’s a great opportunity to watch the process up close and talk with the artisans about how they create. It’s not just children who are fascinated by the rhythm (although they are welcome to check it out as well)!weaving demo1

 

Mini-workshops will also be offered daily from 2 – 4 pm. These workshops offer a taste of a new technique, a chance to learn a different way to do things or maybe expose yourself to something new. The mini workshops cost $5 each and you can register online, over the phone or in the store.

temple

 

 

Mini Workshop Schedule:

Monday, October 6

Plying Workshop with Ashley Flagg

 Using a Warping Mill to Wind Warps with Scott Norris

Tuesday, October 7:

Temple Temptations – Create Beautiful Selvages with Chris Hammel

Wednesday, October 8

Creating Texture on the Rigid Heddle Loom with Marthe Young

Fiber Blending for Spinning Unique Yarns with Pamela Darrow

Thursday, October 9

Log Cabin Weaving with Paula Veleta

Friday, October 10

Variable Dent Reed with Paula Veleta

Two special demonstrations during the week will highlight the huge range of possible styles of weaving. On Tuesday from 12 – 1 pm, Weaving Manager Leslie Ann Bestor will demonstrate weaving on a computer-assisted loom. And on Friday we will showcase Saori weaving with Mihoko Wakabayashi from 11 am – 1 pm.

And a WEBS celebration would not be complete without some great deals and discounts! Weavers can look forward to 15% off reeds, warping mills, and Schacht Flip rigid heddle looms; 20% off all weaving DVDs and new additions to the Great Cone Sale. spinningFor spinners we will have 20% off all fiber, Howard hand cards, and spinning DVDs; 15% off spinning wheels and 30% off 8 ounce bags of Louet Dyed Corriedale Top.

Join us to celebrate, learn and be inspired!

Heirloom Diamonds: twill towels draft by Sharon Alderman

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014
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The newest weaving draft celebrating our 40th Anniversary is the Heirloom Diamonds twill towels by Sharon Alderman woven in Valley Yarns 40/2 Linen on 16 shafts.

Heirloom Diamonds: twill towels draft by Sharon Alderman woven in Valley Yarns 40/2 Linen on 16-shafts - available exclusively at yarn.com

Valley Yarns 40/2 linen is perfect for fine linen towels as it is capable of rapidly absorbing liquids and allowing that moisture to evaporate just as quickly. Linen cloth can absorb as much as 20% of its dry weight in liquid before even feeling damp! This 16-shaft draft will produce two heirloom quality towels for you to keep or give as cherished gifts.

Heirloom Diamonds: twill towels draft by Sharon Alderman woven in Valley Yarns 40/2 Linen on 16-shafts - available exclusively at yarn.com

You’ll notice that there is a border not just at the selveges or at each end, but all the way around, framing each towel. The threading creates this border. The towels are woven so that the same borders happen along each selvege and at both ends. The treadling for the first end border is shown on the draft, the border at the other end is woven by treadling in the opposite direction.

 

Hidden Treasures for Weavers

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014
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You know how you can walk by the same thing time after time without really noticing it? Or you get so focused on looking for the new that the regular scenery just fades? I love those moments when I rediscover something wonderful that’s been there all along. Here are some of the hidden treasures I fell in love with again as a weaver:

great weaving drafts and technical informationWeaver’s Craft magazines are a gold mine of information and drafts. Jean Scorgie, a former editor of Handwoven magazine, publishes these little gems and we carry nearly 20 different issues. Each issue features a topic (laces, overshoot, baby blankets, etc.) with information, illustrations, ideas and projects. I recommend these all the time to newer weavers because she really explains the concepts and then provides easy drafts to put the techniques into practice. I am steadily building my collection of these as part of my weaving reference library.

Two of my favorite issues illustrate just how much is packed into a small space. April/May 2000 focuses on twills and includes a discussion of twills, plus sections on floating selvedges, smiling selvedges and how to fix them, gamps, and threading heddles. And it has drafts for 5 different dish towels! The Spring 2001 edition is all about weaving overshot and has articles about drawdowns, tromp as writ, designing name drafts and more, plus drafts for placemats, table runners and a drawstring bag. And all of these can be woven on a 4-shaft loom!

gorgeous weaving projectsAnother overlooked booklet on the magazine rack is Kismet, published by Hill Country Weavers. This is gorgeous, glossy eye candy for weavers loaded with inspiration for thinking (and weaving) outside the box. The projects are woven on rigid heddle looms with knitting yarns and incorporate knit and crochet details. I find the designs to be refreshing and creative and more about new ways of envisioning woven wearables than the specific type of loom used to weave the cloth. Fifteen designs are presented in full detail, ranging from scarves and shawls to blankets, skirts, and fingerless mitts. There is also a wealth of technical information including hemstitching, fringes, seaming, picking up for knit or crochet, reading a draft and a step by step pictorial guide to direct warping a rigid heddle loom.

And, speaking of hidden treasures, did you know we have our own series of weaving drafts designed specifically for the Valley Yarns line of yarns? This year we are showcasing designs created especially for our 40th anniversary in addition to dozens more that have been drafted by WEBS founder Barbara Elkins and other talented weavers over the years. Visitors to the store have the good fortune of not only being able to see them, but also to touch and investigate the drape and details of the pattern Online shoppers can find drafts on our website in a few ways. If you are looking for something to weave with a specific yarn, you will find a tab on that yarn page called “Related Patterns”. Click on it and you will be shown all the drafts/patterns we have created for that yarn. You can also find drafts on the drop down menu for Weaving and Spinning on the home page. You can narrow your search by number of shafts or just ogle the many possibilities while suffering from loom envy.

beautiful colorful woven twill towelsAvailable drafts span the full spectrum of projects, from wearables, like scarves and shawls, to blankets, bags, table runners, placemats and the ever-popular dishtowels. And, yes, dish towels are the number one drafts we sell, with the hands down favorite being Carol Birtwistle’s 40th Anniversary Ribbon Towels. There’s something for everyone from rigid heddle weavers – Draft #55 Charlemont Lace Scarf – to 4-, 8- and 16-shaft designs.

Have you discovered any hidden treasures in your wanderings? Let us know!

 

Weaving with knitting yarn?!

Thursday, September 4th, 2014
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Surely you jest!

As a weaver I sometimes get stuck walking the same path through the store and web pages, looking at the coned yarns because that’s what weavers use, right? But wait, there’s a lot of fun textures and colors over in the knitting yarns that would be great for weaving! And there’s even some yarns I’m used to seeing on cones that are packaged in skeins (knitter’s camouflage?). Here are a few of my  favorite crossover yarns:

luscious heathery colors and softnessJaggerspun Heathers is a wonderful 2/8 wool that arrived recently and I am delighted to see it in 100g skeins. The great benefit of this is that you can buy an array of colors and not be limited by having to commit to one pound or half pound cones and end up with leftovers (not that I object to building stash, mind you). I love to weave blankets and the 2/8 weight is perfect for something warm and cozy. The range of colors includes both natural and richly heathered shades. This is truly a weaver’s staple.

Woven scarves are great as gifts and a perfect canvas  for playing with new textures and fibers. Some basics in my scarf stash are Valley Yarns Leyden, a variegated fingering weight and Valley Yarns Charlemont, a lusciously soft merino-silk blend in solids, kettle dyed and hand dyed colors. Both these yarns have beautiful drape and sheen. And with a sett of 12 -16 epi, these are quick to weave!

Sweet Georgia CashSilkLaceI have a soft spot  for hand-dyed yarns and often take a circuitous route through the lace section of the store, drawn by the luminous colors and luxurious fibers. The lace weight yarns generally have great yardage in each skein, and a single skein can be used as weft to create a special, one-of-a-kind piece. Sweet Georgia makes some stunning yarns, including both CashSilk Lace (pictured here) and Merino Silk Lace. I’d like to take a nap in a cozy nest of these yarns, but will have to settle for a handwoven scarf draped around my neck.

Prism Delicato Layers woven scarfAnother hidden gem is Prism Yarns Delicato Layers. This is a tonally dyed tencel, equivalent to a 6/2 weight, and the colors are spectacular. I wove this scarf using Delicato in Deep Sea for my warp and Valley Yarns 5/2 Bamboo in Hummingbird for my weft. The Delicato adds such depth and movement to the scarf and it has the drape and softness of silk.

I would be remiss if I let myself (and you) get totally distracted by the siren song of luxury yarns. There are many yarns with fun textures and color patterns that are great to weave with. One afternoon this summer we had a scavenger hunt, looking for unusual and offbeat yarns in the store and then wove them into the sampler below. We used Juniper Moon Farm Zooey as the warp, sett at 10 epi (you could also use Valley Yarns 3/2 Cotton) and then wove sections of (from left to right)  Tahki Tandem, Trendsetter Cin Cin, and Lang Ella. These would make lively and unique placemats and table runners. One thing to keep in mind is that if the yarn is self-striping, with long sections of each color, it may pool or look blocky as weft and work better as warp where the color runs stretch out.

rigid heddle weaving knitting yarns

 

So play around with knitting yarns and have fun weaving!

Just don’t call me Shirley.

WEBS is forty tapestry by Micala Sidore

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014
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Our newest 40th Anniversary draft is a fun freebie! The WEBS is forty draft from Micala Sidore is a great primer for branching out with your own tapestry explorations and with 40 colors of Valley Yarns Northampton to choose from you’ll have almost endless color combinations to choose from.

WEBS is Forty tapestry draft - FREE DRAFT - available exclusively at yarn.com

Micala says, “Using words as design elements in your tapestry gives you freedom to express yourself in many ways. The look of the tapestry, the words chosen, the “font” created, and the colors can all lend meaning to your work. To celebrate WEBS’ 40th anniversary, I chose to weave the word “forty”, but tapestry can be any word or number or symbol that is meaningful to you.

You also need to consider positive and negative space as you create your design. Remember that you will be weaving a background as you weave your word or number, and you have to think about how the background can enhance or overwhelm your main image. Everything happens in relationship to everything else, so don’t forget to give equal thought to all the elements of your design. I suggest you begin by working with three colors: a ground color, a color for the letters, and a third highlight or accent color. I have used red in the “o” of forty as a surprise accent. Consider the dots of “i”s, the interiors of letters like o, b, d, etc. as opportunities for accent.”

Santa Fe Summer towels by Chris Hammel

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014
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We’re smack-dab in the middle of Summer here at WEBS and thought that would be the perfect time to bring you The Santa Fe Summer dish towels from Chris Hammel as the 7th in our year-long series of special guest designer weaving drafts.

Sante Fe Summer Towels draft designed by Chris Hammel - available exclusively at yarn.com

Chris says, “Valley Yarns 8/2 unmercerized cotton is perfect for thirsty, washable, kitchen towels, and what could be better than a bright, cheery towel in lively colors that evoke a Santa Fe summer. This 4-shaft draft is easy to thread and weave and will result in an ample kitchen towel. If you would like to increase the length of your warp, you could try different treadling variations for each subsequent towel and create a set for yourself or gifts for family and friends.”

Sante Fe Summer Towels draft designed by Chris Hammel - available exclusively at yarn.com

Using sewing thread to weave 1″ of plain weave as the the under-hem for each end of the towel gives your hems a much less visible profile. Bonus: If you use a sewing thread like Gutermann you can pop the thread right onto your shuttle without needing to wind a separate bobbin!