Monday, December 26, 2011

Shorter Tablet Weaving Tested

I've made a couple shorter tablet woven bands without too much difficulty on my loom.  The trick of only having a couple of turns works.  I can get a band 2 yards and 2 feet long in thick cotton by going around the outside of my loom.

Since I was testing the technique, I decided to keep the pattern simple and just made arrows.  I still managed to  mess it up a bit at first and had to rewarp a couple of threads.

It's a really simple pattern.  4 cards.  sszz (or zzss, it's been awhile since I wove this, sorry.  It's pretty easy to switch if the sszz is wrong.  Just weave a row or two and see if it looks right)  The outer cards get the accent color in hole A.  The middle two get it in B or D.  The cards move continuously forward.  The weft is a different accent color.

The backside looks like this:

so if that's what you get, it's not wrong, it's just upside down.  If it really bugs you, I think weaving continuously backwards will switch which side you see as you weave.

I used the smaller keychain rings mentioned in an earlier post.  They didn't spin freely on their own but it was easy to rotate them by hand.  I do not think it added any time overall to the band.  The time it took to detension was made  up for by each row being longer than on plain weave bands.

This site is where I got the hardware for my guitar straps.  They have cast nickel rings.  I'm thinking next time I order from them I'll throw some of those in too.  Then I'll be able to try wider tablet bands.  I think they'll spin better than the split rings.  They're definitely cheaper.

I don't think 2 yards is really long enough to make trim so I won't bother anymore unless someone asks me too.  I made a band from some wool, nylon blend meant for knitting socks and an unknown, possibly wool, yarn.  When it was done it just seemed to want to be bracelets.  That got me into making bracelets.  I've made a couple bands I think will look really nice as cuffs or bracelets.  There are a couple in my shop now.  More will be added after New Years.

These are more time consuming than I'd expected but fairly simple to make.  I sew a button on a bit less than an inch from one end.  Then I fold that inch over and sew it in place to cover the stitching from the button and to secure that end from unraveling.  Then the other end is folded over to prevent fraying.  I make a braid from the same yarn that was used to make the band.  A small piece of this braid is sewn on in a loop that will fit over the button to hold it on.

So that's mostly what I've been up to lately.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

2-Horse Origins

I had a person ask me once if my shop name was Native American in origin.  I was rather surprised by the question and then thought about it and guess it could be seen that way.  Without any background it is sort of an odd name.  Well, like every good American I do have some small percentage of Native American in me.  I've also got a good mix of pretty much all of Europe, east, west and north.  My Indian heritage consists of basically one Delaware lady who hooked up with a guy from one of the Mayflowers' sister ships.

So, no, my name isn't Native American inspired.  It's from a silly cartoon I came up with in pre-calc in highschool. I was doodling and created a cartoon horse out of the number two.  The two has to be drawn with a loop and that becomes the horses' muzzle. The rest of the 2 is most of the outline for the right eye.  Not being very creative with names I called it 2-horse.  Why he has such spiky hair I have no idea.  He's also apparently in a state of constant bewilderment.  This is likely due to him being born in pre-calc.  Actual calculus is easier.  I never did understand those stupid matrices.  bah

Here's a picture of the cartoon:
A few years back I got into printmaking briefly.  I had taken a couple classes and rather enjoyed it.  It feels kinda like cheating drawing wise.  I can take my mediocre drawing skills and make rather decent prints.  It was fun when my wife taught me a few photoshop tricks and I would edit photos to be fantasy art, reduce the colors and then make plates for each color and print them.  I didn't have or want to make a silkscreen so I just used freezer paper, cut the holes with an x-acto knife and used a sponge brush to apply the paint.  It's something I'd like to get back into but haven't lately.  

I showed some of my art at the art shows of some science fiction conventions.  Only sold a few so it wasn't that great financially for me but it was still fun.  I think a large part of why I stopped is I absolutely hate cutting matboard.  Cut hundreds of tiny holes precisely in freezer paper?  no problem.  Cut a couple straight lines in matboard?  Drove me crazy.  It'd make me so mad trying to get it even and with nice straight lines and no overcutting.  That stuff is expensive too.  Anyway, the point is, to show my work I decided I needed a name.  Everyone remotely serious was a studio of some sort.  Lacking creativity in the naming department I pondered a bit and then said meh, whatever, I'll just be 2-Horse Studios.  

Here's one of my more complicated prints.  I wish I had a file of the bat kitty but apparently I didn't save it.

Pixie sized winged horses are something I've been drawing since I was little.  They just make more sense to me.  I like the distinctly horse shape while being more flight capable.  I'm particularly fond of the vestigial front legs.

Recently Etsy let people change there shop name which I took advantage of.  I switched to 2-Horse Weaving so people could have a clearer idea of what I sell.  Studios sounds better for photography.  I'll continue the theme if I ever get to make more comfrey balm by creating another Etsy shop 2-Horse Apothecary.  I just have to figure out how to grow such a large plant in the house without it being in the way or the cats getting to it.  The plant has huge leaves and likes moisture and full shade.  Sticking it outside in Texas does not seem like a good idea.

So that's my names origin.  I'm too lazy to come up with a new one and it's unique so why not.  I finally got around to drawing a more realistic cartoon as my logo for my Facebook page and my shop icon.  Of course every site wants a different size.  I'm still working on a banner for the store but I'm pretty happy with the one I made as my FB profile picture.

So, if you've ever wondered what a horse weaving looks like, here you go:
If you're wondering about the loom, check out my website to see what the loom I use looks like.

I kept his green hair which I'm sure will confuse people.  Other's will probably ask why there's only one horse when the name is 2 horse.  Guess they'll just have to wonder.  Or read this post.

I'll try to post again next week before I leave town for a couple weeks.  I've been working on a a few new things that I want to blog about.  But so frequently I'll noodle around on FB or something, then feel guilty that I've already been on the computer too long.  Now I'm off to weave a Christmas present I've delayed too long on.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Bodice Ribbons

It seems I'm not content to keep doing the same type of project for very long.  I seem to always have a half dozen things I want to weave and yet I go and start new, really long projects.  My latest insanity is to weave with thread.  Not yarn, not crochet thread, but sewing thread.  I had more reason than the ever present curiosity of wondering what a fiber looks like woven.

I decided it would be fun for ladies to be able to add patterns where before there could only be solid colors.  Those shiny ribbons everyone is so familiar with whose ever laced a bodice come in every color of the rainbow.  But they only come in solid colors.  And the shiny isn't always a desired look.  So I started weaving ribbons for lacing.  They could be used on gloves, bodices, boots, anywhere in a costume people throw on a bit of lacing.

Though I haven't strength tested them yet, I think they are at least as durable as anything bought in a store.  The edges won't fray from rubbing because it's thread, not yarn.  I'm still trying to figure out how to prove in a picture they are strong.  But my wife no longer fits her bodice (in a good way :) and I'm not going to wear it, so I have to find something else.

This is what I have for now:

While time consuming, these were not nearly as difficult to weave as I'd imagined.  Being so skinny, they also didn't take overly long to warp either.  The first on, the blue, varies in width a lot more than I'd like.  I know the trick of switching sheds before pulling the last bit of weft through but that adds so much time to each row.  I just wasn't getting it to go smoothly.  It also didn't seem to help that much.

The thing that helped the most is to pull the weft tight at the same angle every time.  I've noticed with all my weavings that the right side is always very straight and the other side is where I have issues.  This seemed odd to me since it means it's my left hand pulling so you'd think I have less control (I'm right handed)  I don't know if it's the way I sit or what, but I realized it's because I always pull toward the same point with that hand.  The other hand, sometimes I pull straight across, sometimes almost directly toward myself.  So I'm trying now to always pull both sides at a 45 degree angle to the warp (with zero being toward myself)

The third ribbon I've done I don't have pictures of yet but the width consistency was much better.

I'm hoping more people will start weaving these.  I have no idea how to market them because I can't find that they exist anywhere else.  There are so few people that weave.  I wonder if the few that do are intimidated by the thought of it or if they just don't think there's a need.  Personally I want to design outfits for my wife just for her to be able to use these.  I think they're great and I'd like to see more exist then just the ones I make.

Did I say they took forever?  Well, longer than other projects sure.  But the 8 yard blue ribbon took between one and two weeks and the pink about a week.  It was no worse than the celtic knot pick up in cotton.  So ya, it's lengthy but it's doable.

Anyway, here's some more pictures to hopefully inspire you into weaving your own.  With the exception of six threads, they are 100% polyester because I've read cotton can fade more readily in the sun and rayon is a pain to care for.  Polyester has a further advantage of being both strong and cheap.

The difference in row widths, visible in both bands, is due to tension differences.  When the warp was tighter, the weft packed more tightly.  I decided it actually looked fun and only tried to make it flow smoothly.  I didn't try to get rid of it.  Careful tension control should eliminate this if you don't like it.  But since this thread doesn't stretch and there's a lot of shrinkage, you have to be pretty fussy to keep the tension just so.

Here you can see the red.  I thought being so shiny the red would show up better but don't bother.  At this detail level they both look pink from any further back.

This detail; however, I like even though you have to be close to see it.  That orange dot is just one thread.  And the middle is dark green while the outside is navy.  I think it gives a soft feel and is at least somewhat discernible at a distance of a couple feet.

Both of these ribbons are about 60 warps wide.  That means only around 30 heddles.  It's actually faster to warp than the wide cotton bands I've done.  The only tricky part is tying the threads together when switching colors.  For the pink I cheated a little and put on all the heddle warps first, then slipped the free warps inbetween.  For my third one I cheated even more and just did vertical lines.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

1,2,3 Quick and Easy

Some day I'll buy a wool I can weave with, but they're too hard to find at garage sales so it'll have to wait until I can afford retail.  Until then I am in love with wool-ease.  In my last acquisition I purchased a skein of Thick and Quick wool-ease.  I was concerned with the bulky weight of the yarn but I'm really happy with the results.

I managed to get three projects out of the one skein so even at $5 each skein, it's actually not too pricey.  They're $9.50 on the Lion Brand website where I assume you can get all available colors.  I've seen several other sites listing them around $5 but nothing really lower than that.

The color I had is either Butterscotch or Pumpkin (sorry, don't feel like digging through labels right now).  The other wool-ease colors I had, in worsted weight were a dark forest green and a maroon.  I wanted to come up with patterns that would test how the Thick and Quick performed but I knew given it's bulk it would easily overwhelm the other yarns.  I also didn't want equal weights of red and green because that would seem too Christmassy and they weren't good shades for a Christmas pattern.

The first band I made dots, a vertical line and a horizontal line of the Thick and Quick.

For this band I went mostly green because I had 2 skeins of it.  I only ended up adding little touches of the red as the orange was already threatening to overpower the green.  As it is I feel the colors came out nicely.  (In case you're wondering if it's just you, there is a slight variation in the green.  I'm pretty sure it's intentional but it's very subtle and not what I'd call a variegation. )

Here's the pattern:

 G G G G O G G G G G G O G G G R  R  G G G O G G G G G G O G G G G
weft = G

G = worsted weight green
R= worsted weight red
o or O = Thick and Quick orange
Written a different way (the order of warps you would put on, up and down sheds not specified):
2G 1R 6G 1o 12G 2o 6G 1o 1R 1o 1R 1o 6G 2o 12G 1o 6G 1R 2G

This second method is how I tend to think of the patterns and typically how I plan them out.

I actually like this band enough I've decided to keep it.  It is a good length for a scarf and the wool-ease has a nice texture.  I've made other bands I like before of course.  But this one fits my personal color preferences better and I actually have a use for it.  There's a bit of purple and pink sparkly trim in my shop I'm really happy with as well but somehow I don't see using it personally.

After I was so happy with this band I decided to see what the Thick and Quick did when it was more dominant in the band.  I made the first one using the thick yarn as weft.  The second uses the worsted weight again.  For the red and orange, the red is in a pattern of one, then two, then three wefts of the same shed in a row.  The 2 warp wide dash is staggered from the 1 and 3.  For the green and orange, it's the orange that's warped in a pattern of 1, then 2, then 3.  I think both patterns set up a nice waffle/checkered pattern.  There's a comforting regularity to it but it has enough variation to be interesting.  I think both will make great belts for ren faire costumes.

Pattern for Red and Orange:
(I'm switching to E for orange because the O is too big in this font and it's throwing off the alignment)

 R E E R R E E E E R R E E R                           weft = orange

Pattern for Green and Orange:

 E G G E E G G G G E E G G E                         weft = green

Both of these bands are wonderfully plush.  The thick right next to the thin makes for a fun texture.  And all the wool-ease has a soft surface texture.  I've noticed that the yarn itself doesn't feel all that different from a medium quality acrylic but when woven somehow it seems to become softer.

I also really like how the twist in the Thick and Quick is visible in the finished product.

I noticed there wasn't a lot of difference in texture or tightness of packing when using the Thick and Quick or the worsted weight as a weft.  I'd save the thick for showing up in the pattern and use thinner yarn as the weft.  That being said, even just the little bits of thick that were in the first pattern (the scarf) were enough to make the rows fatter.  All of these bands wove fairly quickly.  I tend to pack fairly tightly but this yarn resisted staying squished.  You can see pretty clearly in all the bands that the thick yarn seems to overlap from one row to the next.  I think it gives a unique and fun look but it's defiantly something to keep in mind when designing a pattern.

Until next time, here's Tess in the ivy... again

Sunday, October 30, 2011

All Twisted Up

I tried my hand at tablet weaving again.  I'm determined to make this as easy as inkle weaving.  Right now I'm running into two main obstacles.  The first is my ability to start the pattern out.  The second is how to deal with the twist build up on cards that always move in the same direction.

For the first problem, I seem to be getting faster anyway.  I still have no idea what I'm doing wrong that I can't just set up the cards and go.  I've tried having the A corner be in the top back corner and the bottom back corner (front being toward where I sit, back toward where in an inkle there would be heddles.  Top above the plain of the weaving, bottom/below)  It doesn't seem to matter what I do.  If I have a pattern that is four forward, then four back if I just start in four forward it's wrong.  If I go three forward, four back for the start, it's wrong.  five forward...  four backward...  etc.

I've given up trying to figure out how my warping doesn't result in a pattern that starts out correctly but can eventually be made correct.  Instead, at this point I just sacrifice part of the band to muck and blunder through until the pattern turns out correct.  The next two pictures show the mess I made this last tablet weaving.

I got the middle correct first
and then fixed each side.  I think for this band I did have to switch the white to a different hole on one side.  This was because I had the s z the wrong way for that card.

This pattern was pretty nice once I got it sorted out.  It changes turn direction when the white appears.  White dot on one side means switch from forward to back.  Other white dot means back to forward.  If you try to switch any other time the squiggle in the middle will break.

Here's a picture of the correct pattern:

Yes, it's in German but they list the patterns in a clear, standardized way.  

The pattern I used was the middle of the one linked above.  
The way the pattern was listed, cards 1-3 and 8-10 would move 2 forward, 4 back, 2 forward
cards 4-7 would move 4 forward, 4 back.
I realized this was just slightly off from being all 4 forward, 4 back.  So I rotated the side cards 2 back at the beginning.  Of course, since I hadn't started in the correct spot for any of them, this just added to the mess.  But the idea was good and eventually that's what I ended up with.

The other major problem is the border cards, no matter the pattern, always need to move in one direction only.  It's just rather ugly if they switch directions.  This means you get twist build up.  I'm still trying to figure out how to solve this on an inkle loom.  For this band I attempted to border the card weaving with inkle woven borders.

I guess I was too frustrated to get pictures.  It didn't work.  But I'm tempted to try again anyway.  My problem was that I could not pull the weft tight enough to get the inkle portions to be flush with the tablet portions.  When I pulled harder the edges of the piece would bunch up but there was still a gap next to the cards.

I think one problem was the two types of weaving were not quite at the same angle.  Another possible problem was I was aiming for a wide band so the inkle portions were rather wide.  Perhaps with a much smaller border I could have pulled tighter.

Here's a picture of the band I made out of the inkle portions:

This was originally split in half down the black, with one half to either side of the band shown above.  When I gave up on that idea I pushed the tablet weaving warps to one side of the loom and these to the other side and wove them separately.  It was a little crowded but thankfully my loom is wide enough to handle it.

For now the only way I have to deal with twist is using rings.  So far I like small keyrings the best.  Large ones do not move freely enough.  I worry if I had to use too many of them they'd interfere with each other though.

Here's a few pictures showing the set-up:
The idea is one end of the warp is tied to a ring.  The other end is tied to a second ring after first passing through the first ring.  The second ring cannot pass through the first ring because they are the same size.  They can rotate freely however.  As the twist is pushed to the rings, they spin and the twist goes away.

The problem is getting the twist to the rings.  Each turn is a stopping point and the twist has to be pushed past the peg.  I've decided four turns isn't so bad so I can make bands as large as the outer dimensions of my loom.  Any more than four starts to be a tangled mess.  Still, this was much better than constantly untying and untwisting each cards wefts.  

I may just have to give in and build a tablet loom.  It looks incredibly simple.  I just don't know if I want a long board anywhere in my house.  And it bothers me that I don't see tablet weavings longer than 3 to 4 yards.  For trim it I like to weave at least 6 and regularly go 8.  Am I just not seeing them or is this weaving style impractical at such lengths?  There has to be a way.  

So, I'm back to simpler projects but the tablets lurk and will someday tempt me into another attempt.  

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Kitty says...

Tess is interrupting the photo shoot to inform you there will be new Etsy listings and a new blog posted soon.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Yarn Source

I know there's a lot of hesitation when it comes to Craigslist but for yarn buying it can really be your friend.  It's very hit or miss but when it's a hit you'll be glad you made the effort.

This morning I got a kitchen sized bag full of yarn for $29.  Maybe a shopping bags worth as well because I already shoved the crochet thread in it's tote.  The kitchen bag is everything else I got.  I think about half of it is pure cotton skeins.  The rest is novelty yarns, wool blends, a couple pure wool and some cotton blends.  I got only one pure acrylic and that's because it's the mohair look by Jiffy and I've been wanting to try that.  Not that I'm prejudice against acrylic, but it seems my customers are.

Previously on CL I've gotten yarn for 25 cents per skein and once I got a kitchen bag full for free.  Admittedly things don't always work out so great.  I've paid $2 for a couple acrylic skeins because I felt awkward driving all the way out there and not buying anything.  Other times the person said they had loads of yarn at their garage sale only to have it be a shopping bag sized pile of half used acrylic skeins.

I check CL several times a week using the search keyword 'yarn'.  The search will return all sorts of things like carpet and marimba mallets.  There'll also be tons of hats, scarves, etc people have made and are trying to sell. I'm pretty sure you're not supposed to use CL for this sort of thing so I ignore them all.  If you want homemade goods, shop Etsy.

After sorting out these you'll come across some for people destashing or cleaning out their storage unit or garage sales.  I only bother looking at ones that have a picture.  Then you can decide from there what's worth driving to look at.  Sometimes you get people that are dreaming of getting their money back.  I really don't bother with anything more than $1 for a new skein.  I know there are deals that are better than retail but that's not my goal.  With patience you come across the fire sale type deals.

Now if you live out in the middle of nowhere this probably won't work for you.  But I imagine those folks aren't reading anymore.  If you're near any sort of decent sized city, just be patient and keep checking.  Eventually someone will move and not want to take all their yarn.  Or a relative will inherit a pile of yarn they have no idea what to do with.  If you check regularly it won't take as long because you'll recognize all the ads you've already rejected by title.

So now I've got tons of new project ideas forming and dozens of skeins to ball so I'm off.
Good luck and happy hunting!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Random Tip

This is just a short post sharing a random tip I've picked up along the way.  I've seen a few weavers in person using this technique and read about it online.  So, in case you hadn't heard of it, or just need a bit more endorsement before giving it a try, here you go.

When starting a new weaving you should do the first two or three passes with some sort of card stock.  My current ones are actually thin plastic, kind of like Tupperware.  The ones pictured are scrap bits of mat board used for framing pictures.  They finally wore out which is why I now use the plastic.  For one really wide project I used the cardboard backing from some packaging.  Anything stiff but easily cut will do.

You cut them to be about an inch longer than your bands width and about 1/4 to 1/2 inch wide.  They can be way longer than the width of your band but you might find it annoying.  I have a couple different sizes for different bands.

The use of these cards is to allow you to set the beginning of your weaving without wasting any material.  It's pretty much impossible to pull the weaving in to it's proper width straight off.  Before I started using these cards it took me about an inch or so to pull in the warps.  With these cards you put them in, then you can push the warps together and they'll stay there.  Then when you start weaving the width is very quickly set.

It gives a much nicer, more professional look.  This is fairly important if you want to make belts or sashes that have fringe left on.  There's no option for cutting off the mis-woven beginning so it needs to look good straight off.

Here's a couple pictures of what I'm talking about:

 This one is the start of the band.

This second one is as the band is coming up the back of the loom.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

'That' Celtic Pattern - Part 2

This post is just a short blurb to say I very much recommend weaving pick-ups by watching the pattern in your band rather than a line by line following of the pattern on paper.  What do I mean by that?  Well, here's how I used to do this pick-up pattern:

I started by making a copy of the pattern in a format that was easy to read and could be taped onto my loom for easy viewing.  For this pattern:
I made a card that looked like this:
 (If you're confused by the size difference, look closely at the original pattern.  It is only six lines of pattern that have been repeated three times so it is more visually understandable.  I just did one time through when making my card.)

It seems a little counter intuitive but I used dots for up rather than dashes or x's.  I had made one that was dashes for raised or picked-up and dots for pushed-down but it was too cluttered.

Now, when weaving along you might occasionally look up or wander off to do something else and when you look at your weaving you think, oh crud, what row was I on?  For this I made an abacus type set of markers.  On my old loom, I taped the ends of the string over the top part of my loom and used beads.  For this loom, I could just tie the yarn on and used cards with holes punched in them because I gave away all my beads before moving.

You can use any string and anything that slides across easily but will stay in place.

As you can guess, you simply move a marker as you weave that row of pattern.  Whether you move it before or after a row is up to you, so long as you keep it consistent.

I think the above method is pretty similar to what I see tons of tutorials online suggesting to do.  Often people will have the pattern beside them and cover the rows they've done.  They move the paper up as they weave each row.

Well, as I mentioned in the last post, I stopped doing this pattern for almost a year.  (since I've only been weaving about 2 years, that's a long time)  In the interim, I wove several patterns that were variations of diagonals.  They were so simple that it never occurred to me to try doing the above system.  I simply pushed everything over one for diagonals.  For V's, both sides moved in one.  I'm probably not stating it well here, but if you think about it, the pattern is very predictable.  You want certain threads to be up so that the pattern continues vertically along the band.  There is only one possible choice for each thread in each row.  Once you see it, you'll wonder how you didn't before.  The pattern just _is_.

When I decided to do this pattern again, without even thinking I set up my old system.  And I started weaving that way.  And it was slow.  Then, on the third day of working on it, I noticed the thing you hope you never notice. I had woven almost a foot of it incorrectly.  Over an hour of work was going to take over an hour to undo.  If you've never had to unweave a pick-up, hope that you don't because it takes almost that same length of time as weaving it.  This problem happened because at some point I missed a line of the pattern.  Every row after that was done in order.  Meaning I wove dozens of rows correctly, diligently following the pattern, but they were all wrong because of that one mistake.  A mistake that happened because I wasn't watching the pattern forming in the band.

Frustrated, with yards of band still on my loom equaling days of work on a project I wasn't sure why I was doing anyway, it dawned on me.  Well, first I just tried to memorize the pattern rather than using the beads.  But then I looked at it and realized I could just follow the pattern in the band.  Just the same as I had with the diagonals patterns

Each row as you move across the pattern threads, just ask yourself, do I want a line here or not?

I do want to point out that even with diagonals, I always follow the pattern on paper for the first five to ten rows, just to get things started.  This gives a visual base to follow.  After that you should be able to set the paper aside and let the woven band tell you what the next row should look like.

I hope this makes sense to someone.  I think this method is faster than following a paper pattern.  Once I started seeing it this way, pick-up stopped being anything of a challenge accept in trying to weave it faster.
Good luck and happy weaving :)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

'That' Celtic Knot Pattern - Part 1

So if you've poked around at finding weaving patterns at all, I would guess you've come across this pick-up pattern for a simple Celtic knot.  

I wove this pattern once, as my second project ever.  Then I was bored with it.  I find it simply doesn't have much to offer.  

I tried again with some rag rug yarn several projects later.  The project went super fast and I enjoyed the colors but once it was done, I still felt rather meh about the whole thing.

So it sat there.  Tempting with it's potential awesome but mocking because I knew it would never live up to it.  

I saw other peoples play on it.  They stop and start the pattern, which is pretty cool and I've been tempted to try.  And they play with various colors and variegates.  Which is fun but I've been having more fun with my mottled color patterns.

Well, I've tried again.  In the month since I last blogged I have been working on one project.  I decided the one thing I haven't seen others try is to put this pattern in a skinny crochet thread.  Perhaps that's because noone bothers to put Any pickup in crochet thread but I've done it once before and knew what I was getting into.  (I still _really_ want it off my loom already, but I'm in the homestretch now.)

I went skinnier because I finally figured out what bothered me about this pattern.  It's a trim pattern.  Ya, it makes an okay belt but I really think it's best as trim.  But it's bound to it's 13+26+border wide dimensions.  Unlike the diagonals I've been playing with, there's no adjusting the width.  Except by changing the yarn.

It might not really be worth it, since you can buy this as trim for around $2 a yard in nice bright metallic colors.  And it takes a long time to weave.  But I'm fairly happy with the results.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Plain weave patterns

The new semester has started so I won't be working 50 hours a week anymore. I should be able to post a little more often. and weave more as well :)

I've wondered if anyone finds my plain weave patterns useful. People rarely seem to post them. They'll say what they're working on but not how it's done. I realize without having the exact colors I have your project would end up different.

I'm going to keep posting them anyway. There are just so many patterns to try. I think it's nice to wonder if something will look a certain way, and be able to see where someone else had a similar idea and this is the result. Without their patterns, I have no way of comparing my ideas to interesting bands I see others make. So I'll just throw mine up in hopes that others will follow and we will all have a useful database of patterns to draw from.

That being said, here's a couple trim pieces I worked on this summer:

Blue Trim with Orange Dots
Darker Blue - D
Baby Blue - B
Turquoise - T
Orange - O
Light Blue - L
Light Mint Green - G

All yarns acrylic (probably RedHeart) except Orange is thick rag rug yarn.

Width = 1 inch

.L D B O O B D L

Weft = D

Pink Mottled Trim
Fuzzy Pink - F
Red - R
Bright Yellow - Y
Pastels Variegate - V (white, pastel yellow, blue, pink, and green. short segments)
Pink - P

All yarns acrylic except fuzzy pink was a novelty yarn. It had fuzzy pink strands and a variegated core. The core was blue, green, pink, and yellow. The color segments were very short.

Width = 1 inch

.F F V Y Y V F F

Weft = P

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


I've been busy with non-weaving related things lately. Things like working overtime. I have been weaving when I can as well but the blog is falling behind. Just posting to let you know I am still here. Are any of you here? lol.

Anyway, here's a widgit I just discovered Etsy made. It lets you preview some of the items available in my shop. Enjoy :)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

3 Matching Bands

I have an idea for an outfit that requires three bands. The halter top would have a wide band around the bottom and a skinny trim around the neck. A matching belt would pull in whatever skirt or shorts are worn. This outfit would be for my wife of course. I got some nicer yarn out of my stash and set about attempting to make three matching bands. I wanted them to feel like they were the same band but obviously couldn't use the exact same pattern given the drastic width differences.

I'm rather happy with my end result though somehow the teal ate the green and the resulting piece is rather blue. My wife is a fire sign and her favorite color is green. These pieces remind me of the bits of flowers and shells mermaids stick in their hair. I guess that's what mermaids do, akin to how unicorns spend all there time standing in sunbeams. Anyway, they feel very water, which is not fire or green so she probably won't ever wear them.

I actually tried the belt twice. This is my first attempt. I wasn't happy with how much the brown stood out in the middle of the belt. The wide band and the trim had a mottled feel and this belt was just too regular. Not sure I'm explaining myself but below is my next attempt.

In this one I feel the brown was re-weighted back to being a secondary color and the entire band was more green and randomly patterned. I'm wondering if I should have had brown in the trim but don't really feel like revisiting this particular pattern again even though I really like it.

The belt I've rejected will find it's way onto Etsy sometime soon. The other three may show up there as well unless my wife decides she'll wear them after all.

I'm going to try this concept of matching bands again. It's a fun challenge. I'm also apparently going into a phase of making more mottled patterns.

Here's patterns for the four bands shown above:

R = Wool-ease Oxford Grey
H = Wool-ease Heather Green
E = Cashsoft DK Merino/Cashmere Blend Orange
B = DK Brown
G = DK Light Green
T = Teal (wool? single ply)
L = Patons Evita - Nylon Ladder style yarn, bulky, variegated green, grey and orange
color change every two inches

Wide band, weft G

.T R R T H H H B B R L L H H H H H H L L R B B H H H T R R T

Trim, weft R

.E T H L L H T E

Belt attempt one - brown center, weft G

.R R L H L G B B G L H L R R

Belt attempt two, weft G

.H B L R L E H H E L R L B H

The wide band is 2 1/2 inches wide. The trim is 15/16 of an inch. The belts are 1 3/8 inches wide. All of these yarns, except the teal, are a bit skinnier than acrylic but much fatter than crochet thread. The teal looked fat but being single ply it squished in a lot.

And just for fun, here's a picture of what I get to deal with when weaving or photographing. I guess the freshly laid out paper in front of the bird watching window was too much of a temptation. So long as they don't eat my yarn I consider it a victory.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Triangle Diagonals

I have a couple things I could blog on but I'm too tired to take pictures right now. Instead, here's another pick-up pattern.

This can be made as wide or thin as you'd like. Just expand the pattern out one side or the other. What is shown here is 13 pattern threads wide. In cotton crochet thread it made a band 5/8 inches wide.

The warping pattern is very simple.
G = Green
W = White

.W W W G W W G W W G W W G W W G W W G W W W

This pattern took me a little longer to get into the flow of but it's not too bad once you get into it. I will warn this seemed to take forever to do in cotton. Only set this up if you don't mind seeing it on your loom for awhile. You shouldn't feel intimidated by the length of the pattern though. The idea of the pattern is simple, it just takes awhile before it repeats because of the reverse in direction.


I love the way if you let your eyes unfocus you can almost see the pattern in the x's and o's. Maybe I'm just too sleepy.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Trying Chenille Yarn

I purchased a stash of yarn that included a large amount of grey and blue chenille. I thought it might be fun to try out. It wasn't.

My first snag came in trying to use it as both warp and weft. There was too much friction with all the loose fibers. I simply couldn't beat it down. So I switched to a crotchet thread weft.

The cotton weft allowed me to start weaving which quickly revealed a second problem. The grey yarn has a flat profile and the blue a round one. They did not pull in equal amounts. So despite an equal number of warps for each (plus one grey for the selvages to both be heddle) the grey came out a lot wider.

Overall what made me so unhappy was the waffle pattern of the surface. Maybe that's just how this yarn looks? I can't imagine people really like that though. It got a little less ugly on a section I rubbed against a corner to try and release the fibers from under the weft. However it also lost a lot of fibers so I didn't want to continue.

I tried to sell the yarn but didn't get any takers so now I'll just set it aside to try on the tapestry loom later. I've seen pictures of pillows that were made on a floor loom so this material is weaveable. I just need to figure out how.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Purple Tapestry

My tapestries tend to progress rather slowly. This picture was taken a couple months ago. I've finally finally finished the purple section.

I got several bags of short pieces of alpaca wool at a studio garage sale. I have no idea how the person was card weaving with this because I would keep my tension too high but apparently they did. They saved all the loom waste and that was what I bought. The yarn was sorted by color scheme.

I decided to make a free flowing (meaning not rigidly planned) tapestry. My intention is to make a tote bag from it. I'm more or less happy with how the main piece has turned out. Now I've woven in some plastic bag filler and will weave a shorter section that will be cut in half and used as the sides. When that's done I'll inkle weave some straps and that's probably when you'll hear about this project again.

I found it interesting that the sides wanted to bow outward rather than inward. Normally on a tapestry you have to watch the edges don't get pulled in too tight. If you keep pulling each row just a bit too snug then your weaving will start to deform. It's rather the same as trying to maintain an even width on an inkle loom.

For this piece, since I was dealing with 4 to 8 inch scraps, I decided to let the ends hang out of each row. I'm planning on making this a fringe on the top of the bag. Because of this, the end warps started being pushed out after about six inches of weaving. It was a simple fix though. When your edges pull in all you can do is unweave and redo it. Not so here. I just took a couple of the loose ends and tied the warp back to straight. I did this every couple inches and it's worked out fine.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Purple Arrows

While I will admit to messing up every now and again, I've never found pick-up weaving to be that difficult. Rather than thinking in terms of sheds, I separate the warps mentally into the pattern threads and the background threads. Following this thinking, I started playing with changing the colors under the pattern to add complexity.

On this band the yellow in the border is echoed behind the arrow pattern. I'm really happy with the color balance in this piece. The number of views it's gotten on Etsy seems to indicate others agree.

I will warn you, when done in acrylic as shown this piece comes out very wide. It is three inches wide which is more than most applications call for. Hopefully I, or someone else, will think of something to do with this band because I think this pattern is weighted so well, I wouldn't change anything about it. If done in cotton crotchet thread it should be about an inch which would be more useful.

Color Key:
B = Black
W = White
P = Purple
Y = Yellow

Weft is White

Warping Pattern:

.B B Y P Y B W W Y P W W P W W P W W P W W P W W P Y W W B Y P Y B B

Pick-up Pattern:


Here's another band I did playing with changing the background separately from changing the pattern. The background goes in rainbow order one direction, while the diagonal stripes pattern goes in reverse rainbow order. It was a little confusing where the yellows overlapped but I think it came out okay. I'm only disappointed in the orange because what I had was more peach colored. It didn't seem to bad on it's own but I don't like how it turned out with the red.

Old Blog

So apparently I messed things up on my old blog and all the posts are no longer available for copying. I could probably reset the code but I'm pretty sure I don't feel like it. I'll rewrite the ones that had patterns and the rest can remain eaten by the internet.

In other news, I've decided to start a Facebook page because everyone seems to have one. There's nothing on it right now but I'll link to it from here anyway.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

First Good Tablet Weaving

This is the first cardweaving project I have gotten to come out correctly. I tried a couple times before with patterns that required flipping cards to get anything besides horizontal stripes but I couldn't get a handle on when to flip and when, if ever, to switch the direction of rotation. Also my old inkle loom couldn't handle the increase in tension. Cardweaving bands shrink in length more than plain weave.

This pattern, found at , is a built in pattern (meaning you never have to flip cards over) It was still frustrating to get started. I wove and unwove the first ten or so passes several times trying to figure out when to make the first reversal in direction.

One of my problems is I have yet to find anyone define which way is up and which is down. So many patterns say start weaving in the up direction and then rotate down but on a more or less horizontal weaving, which way is up? I sort of guessed but with a threaded in pattern it was difficult to know where in the pattern I was at the beginning.

It was good to learn that I can do tablet/card weaving on this inkle loom. I tied the warps from each card in bundles in a knot that could be easily undone. This came in handy because everything I've seen shows the outermost cards need to always move in one direction. Any change in direction causes an ugly uneven edge to the band. Moving always in the same direction builds up tension so every now and again I untied the bundle, untwisted the yarn and retied.

This was a little time consuming but it did make for a pretty edge. I also have to be careful and plan when to release tension because I needed to be able to reach the knots. If they were too far into the middle of the loom it was rather annoying and difficult to tie properly.

(This post has been copied from my web site. When the transfer is complete, all new posts will be here and the web site blog page will link here.)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Pink Arrows over Stripes

I made this band about two weeks ago. I was having a bit of fun with color and also expanding the arrows pickup pattern to the edge of the piece rather than having a border.

The arrows pickup pattern is almost as easy as the stripes and gives a nice flow to the piece. Contrasting the arrows against vertical stripes can create a striking pattern.

The bright primary colors give this piece a nice medieval feel.

The black is a nice cotton. It is thicker than crotchet thread but not as thick as acrylic.
The yellow is Bernat Baby Soft. The blue is unknown material about as thick as the yellow.
The pink is also unknown though I am fairly certain it is wool. It is scratchy and sheds fibers. It may have been hand spun since it seems to be only one ply and was not consistent thickness.

If you're wondering how I could not know what my yarn is, no my stash isn't that disorganized. The stash I got to pull stuff out of for free was. It was a bit of a mess sorting through her random bags and bins and I had to detangle everything even though I took only the best looking items. It was worth it though. Everything she had was natural fibers and a lot was home spun. Her stash and a couple others are why I love using Craigslist for finding yarn. Things don't come up often but when they do they're worth it.

Anyway, enough rambling. Here are the patterns for this band:


. K N K B N B B N K K N Y Y N K K N K K N K K N K K N Y Y N K K N B B N B K N K

K = Black
N = Pink
B = Blue
Y = Yellow

Weft is Black