Friday, February 12, 2010

Table Runner Finished

Check it out, I did a twisted fringe!

note: this table runner came from Rep Weave and Beyond, by Joanne Tallarovic

Sunday, February 7, 2010


After receiving a few questions about where my patterns come from, I've decided that I really should have been citing the books that inspire me. So here is a list of the weaving books in my library. I also plan to go back and add book credits to my old posts where they are due.

Mastering Weave Structures: Transforming Ideas into Great Cloth, by Sharon Alderman
This is a great book, especially for beginners. I don't usually take patterns from it, because it isn't really a pattern book. But it does provide a lot of really great information about the kinds of weave structures out there. Each chapter focuses on a different weave stucture: Plain weave, twills, satin, waffle weaves, and on and on. And I really like the chapter on inventing your own weave structures.

A Weaver's Book of 8-Shaft Patterns from the Friends of Handwoven, edited by Carol Strickler
This is the book I go to most often when I am looking for ideas. I do pull many patterns directly from the pages of this one. I can open to any page and think "man, I want to try that!" I do have to admit that there are entire chapters that I don't understand and that sometimes the patterns call for a level of complexity that even my Mighty Wolf loom can't achieve. If I ever take another weaving class, I think I'll bring this book with me and just start pointing to things and asking questions.

The Handweaver's Pattern Directory: Over 600 Weaves for Four-Shaft Looms, by Anne Dixon
Again, a great pattern book. This one is in full color. It is extremely easy to understand and is spiral bound, which can be very helpful when your trying to work and understand something at the same time. Personally, I think every weaver should own this book or one like it. Sometimes, when I am browsing through it, I am astonished at how much you can do with just four shafts. It's a wonder that I ever use all 8 that I have.

Rep Weave and Beyond, by Joanne Tallarovic
The two rep weave projects that I have done came from this book, although I altered them both a bit. While rep weave is covered in all of the other books I've mentioned, I was never able to make sense of it until I bought this book. The two things that I don't really like about this one are that 1. she weaves all of her rep weaves with fabric wefts, and I don't really like that look. I always substitute a really thick cotton. And 2. she spaces her ends per inch too wide for my taste, so I always bring it in to make a denser warp. But this could be a function of the fact that she uses a fabric weft which looks nice with a wider epi. If you are interested in learning rep weave, I do recommend this one.

And finally, a tiny little book from 1958:
Designing and Drafting for Handweavers, by Berta Frey
I wish that I could say that I've read all of this book and done all the exercises. But I have not. I really want to get better at designing my own weave structures, but there is a wall of complexity that I hit every time I try. And I find the computer software endlessly confusing. So I bought this book, which feels like a text book: you need to read it carefully and then do all the exercises. But, because it is hard work to get through, I have not completed very much of it.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Ran Out of Warp!

I'm finally finishing up that table runner I started in December. It was a fast pattern to weave but it went slowly because I'm busy with school and I was somewhat frustrated by the project, which means I just didn't ever want to sit down at the loom.
At first I was conflicted about the colors. And then I started to notice this icky problem:
Every time the treadling pattern called for the third and fourth shaft right next to one another, that weird "scrunching" happened. I hated it! I went back to the book that I took the pattern from, checked everything, and still couldn't figure out what went wrong.
I finally ran out of energy and decided that because the third and fourth shaft don't happen in succession that often, I would just finish the darn thing and see what it looked like after wet finishing.

Now, usually with a frustrating project that has gone on to long, it is a huge relief to see this sight: the end of the warp!
But I wasn't ready for it yet! I wasn't finished with the pattern. So I wove closer to the reed than I ever have before, using every last nanometer of the warp.
I didn't realize it until I stopped weaving, but the back warp bar was pulled right up against the eigth shaft. Yikes! I rushed to loosen the tension, which was hard because that required pulling it just the tiniest bit farther forward to release the lock, and, as you can see, it could not go farther forward.
All that, and I still didn't finish the pattern! Here you can see my cheat sheet clipped to the loom castle. The post-it marks where I left off. So close!
Now I have to figure out how I'm going to hem stitch it when I can't pull it tight.
More on that to come, I'm sure.