End of Round Robin

131126 TreesI finished my last towel in our twill round robin class.  It seems appropriate that it’s the holiday design.  This was a plain weave with twill trees.  It’s quite cute.  I thought I would be really bored with the plain weave but found the challenge to be keeping an even beat.  I’m curious to see how it looks once it’s washed.

That’s the project for the long weekend – hem and wash most of the towels that I’ve woven over the past few months.  I picked up another 6 of them at class last night, there are still a few more to come off of the looms.

This was a wonderful opportunity for all of the weavers in Pam’s class.  It’s one thing to look at a draft and envision what your weaving might look like but to be able to weave something different every week has been wonderful.  I photographed each project as I did it and now have a reference for 11 drafts and a vision for future projects.

Initially in class we talked about having 11 towels to give away for Christmas but as I looked (and felt) them last night I was thinking I wasn’t ready to let them go.


Weaving Wednesday – Coming to the End

131119 Dornick Twill (2)Last night I wove a Dornick Twill in 8/2 unmercerized cotton.  This went very fast – 27 inches in less than two hours.  It was mindless and beautiful.  Mindless is quite often just what I need.  The act of weaving itself being totally meditative for me (and the counting, oh how I love the counting).  Yeah, OCD is me.

I finished this towel and moved onto my last one.  I’ll post about that one next week because my phone died before I could take its picture.

Yardage is coming off of the looms each week now and I came home with three of my towels ready for finishing last night.  I’m looking forward to seeing them washed.  I see hemming in my future.

131119  Dornick twill (1)Isn’t it amazing what threading and treddling can do?  How beautiful.



Weaving Wednesday 14

130910 Blue and White warpI went to the studio last night to thread the warp on one of the towels we are doing for our round robin.  This warp is cotton in alternating colors – 4 threads blue, 4 threads white.  Pam had wound the warp and beamed it (she did on all 11 looms, crazy woman).  The threading, slaying and tie off was up to each student participating.  She asked me to do this one.

The  warp was wound with the blue and white threads together so when I was threading I has to separate it into groups of 4 as I went along.  I posted a pic to FB as I was doing it because the beginning seemed like a tangled mess to me and it was difficult for me to get a rhythm going that would carry me through.

Just as an FYI this is the sort of thing that makes me just a little crazy.  I love order and symmetry and this seemed anything but.  The threads would tangle together – blue and white as I threaded them through the heddles.  I threaded them in groups of eight.  When the blues were threaded the whites were tangled but once I finished the whites it seemed to straighten out.  For a person with an OCD in order and symmetry this was pretty stressful.

It gets better.  Being the novice that I am I counted the heddles on the first shaft to make sure there were enough before I started – I figured I was good to go.  You guessed it – I was short on two shafts at the end.  DAMN IT!  I had to move heddles from one side of the harness to the other which was a struggle (that, my friends, is a wild understatement).

I had been looking forward to a quiet evening meditation with fiber.  I got a hot, frustrating 3 hours.

There are lessons learned here.  The most obvious to me is count your heddles – all of them, don’t assume anything.  The next is that I can fix my mistakes for the most part.  The most important one for me is learning to work through that OCD.  Yeah, yeah, it made me short of breath with an extreme headache but once it was done I relaxed and thought “that wasn’t THAT bad”.

Years ago, in my quilting days, I had a lot of trouble letting go of control of my projects.  The colors had to be just so, set in the right spots, the seams perfect, the points exact.  I met a woman whose work I greatly admired.  I worked with her on the CT Quilt Search Project for over 3 years where I saw scrap quilts that were stunning.  I couldn’t figure out how they decided what went where to have these textiles of scraps come together with such beauty.  We talked about it at one point and she said “Put all of your light pieces in one bag and your darks in another – as you’re sewing them together just pick random ones alternating from one bag to another”.  That was way, way out of my comfort zone.  I had no control but I forced myself to do it.

I ended up with a beautiful top, exactly what I was looking for made in probably half of the time because I forced myself to let go.   I need to remember those lessons every time I do something that I’m frantically trying to maintain control of – you just have to let it go.


And Now for Something Completely Different

130824 Warp


Last week my weaving instructor put out an APB to her students that she needed help winding warps for the upcoming session.  Up until now most of the students were at different points in their weaving journey.  Each of us would work on samplers or projects that would teach us something in particular about weave structure and be something we wanted to make.  This session we are doing a round-robin of twills.  I can’t tell you how excited I am about this.

There will be eleven of us participating.  Pam is in the process of beaming the warps on eleven looms, some 4 shafts, some 8.  Each one of us has to go into the studio before the beginning of the fall session and thread and tie off one loom in the pattern that has been set up for that particular loom.  Once the session starts each we will be weaving a different twill pattern on a different loom each week.  By the end we will each have eleven different dish towels.  How fun is that?

I picked up a cone of 8/2 cotton at the studio and brought in home to wind.  I was a few yards short so I just brought my board to Brimfield to finish it.  Pam was beaming the warps when I got there.  She wanted the tension to be the same on all of the looms.  What a project (for her).  I will be going over sometime before the 17th of September to thread and will be waiting anxiously to get started.

Meanwhile I have four weaving days to finish that scarf for the Big E.  I’m almost there but am at a point where I’m wondering what was I thinking?

Weaving Wednesday 7

130514 Weaving (1)

Pam, our instructor, lashing a warp for a Navajo rug.

I left early yesterday thinking that with an extra hour I would be able to finish threading it and possibly sley the reed.  Ahhhh, the best laid plans.  Last week when I started threading my warp I was on fire.  Everything went in order, no mistakes, perfection.  I only had time to thread the first half so with the extra time I figured this should be easy.  I threaded, rethreaded and threaded again the last half of that warp.  Three hours into it I had 25 to 30 threads left over at the end.  Count, count, count, rethread, count, count count, thread again, still wrong, ugh.  Sometimes your head is in the game, sometimes it’s not, last night it definitely was not.  I got there at 5:00 and by 8:30 I had the reed on ready to start that but really didn’t have enough time so it will be waiting for me next week.  Bummer.

When I first arrived at the studio I went around and took a few photographs of the other weaving projects going on.  It’s all fascinating to me and there is just so much you can do (although the just gives me weaving ADD).  Since my loom looks almost exactly the way it did last week I’ll share some of the other weaving – without description since I’m not sure of the proper terminology.

130514 Weaving (4)

I have my class on Tuesday evenings so there are only a couple of other women that I actually weave with.

130514 Weaving (3)

We do have weaving “theory” classes once a month where all of Pam’s students get together to learn about drafting, structure and color. Now I can put the names and projects with the faces.

130514 Weaving (2)

It has been an amazing experience playing with these women who are all at different places in their weaving education.

130514 Weaving (5)

All of the weavers that I have met are very generous people.  They are open, honest and giving.  It’s like going to therapy every week.  We are all around the same age with wildly diverse backgrounds but we come together to create beautiful things.  You see everyone’s tastes are so different in their color choices or even their projects.  Pam steers people in the direction of their capabilities and gives direction when needed.  She encourages each of us to work on our own so when we leave we can go home, warp our own looms and weave without her assistance. It’s nice to know that she’s only a phone call away though, I’m not all grown up yet.

130514 Weaving (6) The photo above is of a double weave rug (I know this much).  It is one of the most stunning things I have ever seen.  Makes me think a rug is in my future.