Posts Tagged ‘weaving’

What to do with Weftovers

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015
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Weftovers - projects for your leftover weaving yardage on the WEBS blog - blog.yarn.com

I don’t know about you, but I hate to waste anything. This leads to cones with less than 10 yards (could be an accent thread), chokes ties straightened and rehung on the warping board to use on the next warp and piles of cloth scraps trimmed from the ends of woven yardage. I compound the ‘problem’ of scraps by my typical sampling method – I usually add an extra yard or two to my warp so that I can test different weft colors, treadlings and even setts. It’s a great way to test out ideas and provides me with a record of what I’ve tried.

Weftovers - projects for your leftover weaving yardage on the WEBS blog - blog.yarn.comAnd it leads to these piles, just begging to become something more. Usually these pieces are on the smaller side, which means petite projects. I’ve been inspired by other weavers and have to show you some of the great things they’ve come up with. Of course, you can start with the easy-to-sew rectangular pouches – cases for eyeglasses, phones and other devices. But let’s add a little more pizzazz!

My friend Amy took the beginning weaving class a few years ago and before the 7 weeks were done she showed up with these wonderful zippered bags. She lined them with commercially made fabric, inserted the zipper and created one-of-a-kind bags that can be used to hold everything from knitting/weaving tools & projects to travel accessories. These are fun and can be made in any size, can traverse weft color changes, etc.

Another co-worker, Marthe, took it one step (several steps, actually) further and created this fancy clasp purse. She backed her handwoven cloth with fusible interfacing and a silk lining, added a metal purse frame and embellished it with beads. Another example of a creative person who just can’t stop!

Although I do have a profusion of weftovers in my weaving studio, many of them are pretty small. I just can’t toss them, so I have delved into the world of functional small objects. I started with lavender sachets, sewn from the 60/2 silk scarf I mentioned in my last post. The cloth is delicate and fine and seems perfect to nestle in a drawer of clean linens.

The next set of tiny squares I stuffed firmly with fiberfil and they became miniature pincushions, perfect for the high castle of my loom or in the drawer where I keep my hand sewing supplies. I chose cloth with a tighter weave and sturdier structure for these. The red one is an overshot done in 40/2 linen with 20/2 linen for the pattern weft, and it’s so tiny that you wouldn’t even know there’s a treadling error if I didn’t tell you (now you’re going to look, right?). The pincushion in blues was a sampler of weft colors for a huck lace scarf in tencel. Although I stuffed my pincushion with fiberfil, I have heard of folks using emery (the gritty stuff I remember that sharpened the needles in my mom’s pincushion) and ground walnut hulls (which are sold as bedding material in pet shops).

And, speaking of pets, I know how much my sister’s cats (Pip and Squeak) love to chase small things. So I hunted down a pattern for a mouse and made a catnip toy for them. The pattern is incredibly simple – cut out a heart-shaped piece, fold it in half and sew along the open edges, leaving an opening to add the catnip. After the catnip is stuffed inside, hand stitch the opening closed. I have to admit my ‘mouse’ looks a little angular, but that’s mostly due to my clumsy sewing and a too-small seam allowance. Next time I will start with a larger heart. I’m pretty sure that cats will not be picky about the odd shape and will have fun batting it around the house.

What do you do with your weftovers?

Bouquet of Hearts Baby Blanket draft designed by Leslie Ann Bestor

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014
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We began our 40th anniversary series of drafts with a beautiful 16-shaft twill design from Barbara Elkins and end the year with a lovely baby blanket woven on a rigid heddle loom and designed by Leslie Ann Bestor, the new Weaving Manager for WEBS. It is a set of bookends that describes the weaving community in so many ways, touching on the breadth of experience, fibers and looms available.

Draft 12

The Bouquet of Hearts Baby Blanket, woven with Valley Yarns Longmeadow, showcases both the simple beauty of plain weave and the ability to add intricate details that rigid heddle looms do so well. Brook’s Bouquet is a technique of wrapping small bundles of threads to create lace-like windows in the cloth. In the blanket, the motif is a heart, but you can graph out and add your own motif – anything from the baby’s initials to other shapes.

Another key piece of the design, says Bestor, was to encourage weavers to work beyond the width of their looms and weave panels that can be seamed together. The seam can be done by hand or machine, invisibly or as a decorative accent. However it’s done, putting woven panels together expands the width – and the possibilities – of your loom.

New Year – New Weaving

Wednesday, December 24th, 2014
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Greetings from the Weaving Room! As 2014 winds down and we wrap up our 40th Anniversary celebrations, I am looking forward to the new year and the new beginnings that it will bring. I am not much of one for making resolutions, but I do believe in setting goals. I am easily distracted so having goals helps me to stay focused and to move forward. And, of course, there is such a great sense of accomplishment when I achieve them – another chance to celebrate!

Tablet Weaving Made Easy DVD with John Mullarkey - available at yarn.comIn the next year I am looking to stretch myself as a weaver – try new weave structures, looms, fibers. One thing that has been grabbing my interest lately is card weaving, also called tablet weaving. I am fascinated and mystified by how it works. I love the beautiful bands you can weave, and can see many ways to incorporate them into projects. We have a great DVD from John Mullarkey – Tablet Weaving Made Easy – that’s filled with instruction and inspiration. Schacht recently started making cards for tablet weaving that look perfect for beginners – the edges are color coded to help you keep track of which way to turn them. If I really get into it I may even try the six-hole cards from Unicorn.

 

One of the things I love about working at WEBS is the easy access to a great line up of classes and instructors. For those who live in our ‘neighborhood’ (which seems to include most of the Northeast, judging from the folks who have taken classes with me), our weaving classes offer the ideal setting to learn new techniques with hands on instruction. I am excited to take the Rug Weaving class with Jason Collingwood. His designs are beautiful and I look forward to learning from such an acclaimed teacher.

Valley Yarns #37 Finnish Pattern #1 Draft PDF - available for download at yarn.comAnother perk of WEBS is the daily inspiration of my colleagues and our customers. Several years ago a few of us decided to do a weaving challenge and we all chose the same draft and then individually picked our yarns. I took the word ‘challenge’ very seriously and decided to use 60/2 silk (and even chose colors that I never use). It was both terrifying and exhilarating and though I loved the end result, I have stayed away  from fine threads since then. Until now. In the spirit of new (or re-newed?) beginnings, I am going to weave with 60/2 silk again. We have a 4-shaft variation on that snowflake twill I made before and I am going to weave some new scarves.

Many years ago, on the “Cast On” podcast by Brenda Dayne, I heard the phrase “Begin as you mean to go on” and I think of it every time the new year cycles around. I am beginning my weaving year with a warp on the loom and new things to learn. How about you – what will you begin with your weaving in 2015?

 

Optical Twill Rug – new draft from Jason Collingwood

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014
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Weaving a rug is one of the great satisfactions of a weaving life and we are happy to feature the striking Optical Twill  Rug from Jason Collingwood in our series of drafts celebrating WEBS 40th Anniversary. Jason is known internationally as a teacher and weaver, and continues the family legacy of rug design and weaving.

Optical Twill Rug draft designed by Jason Collingwood, woven with 8/5 Wetspun Linen Warp and Valley Yarns Collingwood Rug Yarn - draft and fibers available exclusively at yarn.com

What I love about this rug is that Jason has set it up as a simple 2/2 twill and then shows how to add motifs that reverse the direction of the twill. His version has a central motif with two smaller ones at each end, but the instructions show how you can vary the size and placement of the motifs to create a unique rug.

The rug features Collingwood Rug Wool, an exclusive line offered by WEBS, with 36 beautiful colors. The broad color range allows you to match the decor of any room. And the wool is spun specifically for rugs so it will hold up to any tap dancing hordes that inhabit your home.

Optical Twill Rug draft designed by Jason Collingwood, woven with 8/5 Wetspun Linen Warp and Valley Yarns Collingwood Rug Yarn - draft and fibers available exclusively at yarn.com

The other feature of this rug that I find so beautiful is the edge finish. Jason uses a half-Damascus edge which creates a braided look along the edge that matches the braided fringe. The result is a professionally finished edge that looks beautiful and will wear well.

One of my goals as a weaver is to ‘clothe’ my house with handwovens. I’ve made the piles of dishtowels, some lovely table runners and blankets and I’m working on the design for lace curtains. This rug would look great in my front entry and I may have to wander past the rug yarn today and contemplate colors. What have you woven for your home?

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.