Today is December 6, and my last post was written on October 5, which is far too long to be out of touch on a blog. A lot of good work, good ideas, and great camaraderie with my fellow weavers have taken place over the past two months, along with feeling that I cannot dance fast enough to accomplish the things that are my highest priority. Are you feeling this way too?
Two months ago I was at a friend’s house with other weavers to spend the day in her beautiful setting mixing and using natural dyes. It was the perfect October day, with the autumn color just beginning to light up the landscape. On the way home I had to stop the car to take a photo of sunlight coming through newly turned golden leaves.
I only brought tiny, 30 yard skeins of 30/2 cotton to dye for use in bobbin lace.
I used indigo and onion skins to make the greens. There is an interesting brown that I now don’t remember. Maybe a mushroom dye? I know it was not black walnut. The red violets are cochineal.
My friend Cindy’s bucolic setting always makes me feel like I’ve entered a fairy tale. She has a huge vegetable garden, and as you can see in the background, a large supply of wood to heat her house. Off in the distance, just to the left of center, is a chicken coop, which supplies her with eggs for a good part of the year. I’m sure it’s hard work to live so simply. I enjoy being in her environment.
I finished the linen bread bags I’ve shown in previous posts, and made a braided cord for one of them. I have a partially made cord for the next bag–each braid will be different. I am happy with the bags. It was an easy project that almost seemed to weave itself.
Since I finished these bags before the linen class was half through, I put on a new warp for napkins based on a design by Lisa Hill that she calls “Metaweave.” They are Brassard 16/2 cottolin set at 24 epi, and the pattern weft is 8/2 cottolin, also from Brassard.
I prefer the underside of this pattern to the front.
I put on enough warp to make 6 napkins, plus sampling. The sampling turned out well on the first try, so I expect I will get a 7th napkin. There will be two each: blue, red, green, and one yellow. The weaving is easy and so enjoyable!
I am ready to start napkin #5, which is the first green. The green I’m using is a great color–sort of kiwi meets avocado. Maybe I can get started on that napkin today.
At last month’s local guild meeting (Area 4, CT state guild) one of our members showed a rag woven holiday table runner that made me want to go straight home and put it on a loom. The problem is that I now only have two looms for weaving fabric and both have projects on them. That led to another member offering me a small 8S table loom–not to borrow, to have! It’s quite a little gem that may need its own post to fully describe and admire. When I picked up the loom I found it already had a warp on it for a small rag woven project. Wasn’t that serendipitous? I wove off that warp with fabric strips that were included, and that gave me a good sense of how the loom works. I now have three small runners, one to use on Pandora and two to give as gifts.
Here is the fabric and yarn I plan to use for the holiday runner. Time is so short now that I doubt I will be able to warp this until I return in the spring. I have high hopes for the fabric strips looking somewhat like the sakiori weaving I did in Japan–little dots of color on a cream/beige background.
The off white yarn is 8/2 unmercerized cotton; the darker spool is a cotton tape. I will either use the 8/2 as warp and the tape yarn as weft, or I’ll blend the two in the warp and use the 8/2 for tabby weft. I have to figure out how to estimate the yardage for the fabric strips, and I’m hoping the runners I made on the previous warp will help me do that. I’ll cut the strips 1/2″ wide, as the strips were that came with the loom. I can then use the woven sett of the rags to determine the sett I’ll weave for this project, adjusted for the width of my project. The fabric was an interesting find. I found about 1/2 yard of it at a fabric remnant shop called Swanson in Turner Falls, Massachusetts. It looks like they will soon have online shopping. I knew I needed more fabric so I googled “Winter Berries” by Susan Winget and found more fabric on Etsy. It’s a win! Now if only I had time to weave it!
This evening I will present a program about Archie Brennan to the Michigan League of Handweavers. I love talking about Archie, and I hope my presentation will spark some weavers to try their hand at tapestry. I’ll be giving a tapestry workshop in Michigan next spring for their annual conference in June. It will be my first time to teach outside New England and the tri-state area–a big deal for me!
As we all get swept full force into the holiday season I hope every one of us can make time to weave, time to reflect on what brings us fulfillment and what projects will best do that, and time to share with others without having our hair on fire. It’s a tall order. Good luck. I’m heading downstairs to start that first green napkin.