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.