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

oooxxxoxxxooo
ooxxxoooxxxoo
oxxxoooooxxxo
xxxoooxoooxxx
xxoooxxxoooxx
xoooxxxxxooox




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 http://housebarra.com/EP/ep04/22tablet.html , 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:

oooxxxoooxxxoxxxoooxxxooo
ooxxxoooxxxoooxxxoooxxxoo
oxxxoooxxxoooooxxxoooxxxo
xxxoooxxxoooxoooxxxoooxxx
xxoooxxxoooxxxoooxxxoooxx
xoooxxxoooxxxxxoooxxxooox


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