Irish Shamrock I -2016

I wanted a piece that would be green and have a Celtic feel. What better to convey this than a Shamrock?

The background is filled with leaves.

The design is a marriage of motifs, large leaves and the darker outer border of leaves.

This piece took more than 10 hours to weave and I was very pleased with the design as it was forming on the loom. It looks like a fine lace from a distance.

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It was woven on a drawloom, threaded with 30/2 cotton with a sett of 48 ends per inch.

There are only four of these images available for sale in the shop: Click here to purchase yours:http://historicweaving.com/wordpress/products-page/handwoven-art/irish-shamrock/

 

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Welcome

Let us begin our travel through time together.

I have a passion for weaving, and the history that surrounds the art form. Yes, I did call it art, because for me that is what I am making, Fine Art.

This website is designed primarily to share information that I have gathered about weaving in my weaving career.  It is intended to be a compendium of information about equipment, design, structures, projects as well as lessons I have learned along the way.

My passion involves studying weaving as it was done between 1600 – 1865 in both Europe and the United States.  I will admit I am not a purist, everything that I produce is not an attempt to produce a museum quality reproduction of a fabric that I studied. I like to work like most modern musicians, study the classics, and then develop my own design using materials available to me.

The loom you see here is Queen Esmeralda, she sits in my living room, and I began weaving pictures on her in 2016.  She is the size of a 150 Ford pickup truck, and may be the most complex loom that you will find in the state of Montana. As you look her over you will discover there are no computers or power cords. She is a hand loom in the truest sense of the word.

How I hope you will use this site:

In the Design tab I will discuss how I design my weaving projects.

In the History tab will be information and links to stories about looms, weaver and their histories.

The Looms tab, you will find information about looms both new and old.

Open the Techniques tab, and you will see how a design evolves and what processes are used to move it forward.

The Resources tab contains a searchable database with links to textbooks, articles and projects that you can use. What make this database special is that it will show you where to acquire the materials, either through purchase or a local library. This is where most of my research will be made available for others to use. You can use words to describe the structure, the loom or the weaver and search for materials that contain that reference.

From the Weaving Ideas tab you will learn where do weave get their ideas? How do they change from first glimpse to final project?

Weaving Instruction tab is where to find the teachers and classes that will help you to be a better weaver.

In the Drafts tab, is a visual library of weaving drafts arranged by number of shafts needed to weave them.

The About Me tab is where you will find my artist statement and contact information.

Current Projects:

100 Loom Tour – click on link to find out more.

Disclaimers (the fine print):

When I discuss equipment, and how it can be used I am not attempting to be the ultimate historical resource, there are many in the academic community that are better at this pursuit than I am. My intent to give the viewer an idea of the type of equipment and its basic construction. I may make use of images in the public domain in an effort to place images in a context that the viewer can relate to.

Regarding copyright, it is not my intent to reproduce any printed or digital copyrighted material other than to explain to a viewer how best to acquire these materials. I will use links where possible to digital works to give credit to their proper

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The Three Heart Tree for 2016

Three Heart TreeA new design for the 2016 holiday season.

What made this project special is that I wanted to include my signature 3 heart logo in this tree.

I also used this as one of my first efforts at polychrome Opphamta weaving. I used small cardboard pieces as bobbins.

This piece took more than 8 hours to weave, while it is small 3″ x 3″; there was a lot of a hand work to be done to complete the image. At one point there were 21 bobbins in play.

It was woven on a drawloom, threaded with 30/2 cotton with a sett of 48 ends per inch.

Image of drawloom that is used to weave three heart Tree

Image of the drawloom while the piece three heart tree is being woven

As you a see from the draft image, I have made special adaptions to my drawloom to make it easier for me to weave complicated designs.

This design requires 31 draw shafts to weave.

There are only four of these images available for sale in the shop: Click here to purchase yours:  http://historicweaving.com/wordpress/products-page/handwoven-art/3-heart-tree-2016/

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Update to the Replacement Dish Towel Project

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After a long time, almost a year. I finally had the time to get to this project. As I did, I discovered that I had set up my loom incorrectly and was not able to weave until I fixed the installation of the friction brake, and the clutch for the cloth advance. Thank you to wonderful people on the Weaver’s Tech list.

During this process I did decide on an initial draft of the first towels. It is based on two different Jacob Angstadt designs, both are 12 shaft pointed twills blocks. I wanted to get a checkerboard effect without needing to use two shuttles. This was made possible by reversing the tie-up blocks.  Now to the real work, weaving!

The Replacement Dish Towel Project

The replacement dish towel project began when I discovered that my old towels had become stained, and a bit dingy as the result of a man being around the house. He seemed to forget they were handwoven and used them to mop stains on the floor, clean up snow mixed with granite gravel and asphalt, and of course, wiping the stove top off after cooking a spaghetti dinner. Like all men, he just wants to be forgiven, and like all women I just want my pretty dish towels back.

My first steps were to look around the kitchen and discover the colors I wanted to use. I happened to have purchased some beautiful denim blue 16/2 cotton, and have some yellow and white cones of thread. My first thoughts were to make the towels mostly blue in an effort to hide future dirt. I  began wrapping thread on to cardboard strips to see what stripes I was most interested in. I found the wrapping task to be a bit tedious. Of course, I made the mistake of letting someone else in on the project, only to discover that they are not so interested in the blue background. They really like the yellow which matches the kitchen walls.

I then scurry around on the internet and search for blue and yellow striped towels to get some ideas. In the process I discovered a few great design tools. A Stripe Generator, a Tartan Designer and a Color Picker. All are awesome diversions – yet none of them output to weaving software and thus none directly suited my needs. Back to the old fashioned way of doing things for now.

I then made some sketches of the stripes that I found  on the Internet for my purposes, I found my stripes by Googling for blue and yellow striped towels and selected the entry that displayed images, it looks a lot like Pinterest and I could just flip through the pictures looking for my favorites. I eventually decided that there were so many I wanted to try to make, that I should make my design using an all white warp so that I can change stripes whenever I like.

Me being me, I can not weave in a plain weave when I have a loom that has 24 shafts! So I selected to use a 16 shaft point twill as a base structure. I learned during my stay in Italy, that I am happiest with twill and damask weaving and it seems to come naturally to me. I will use as my inspiration for the structure, Angstadt 16 shaft twill profiles.

So far I have determined that I will be using white 10/2 perle cotton in the warp, 8/2 unmercerized cotton in the weft, and various colors and widths for the colored stripes.

I have selected a beginning sett of 20 epi based on my previous experiences with this structure. I have chosen to weave this on my AVL loom using the compu-dobby to help me pick the pattern and I will have to concentrate on the weft color changes manually.

I have decided that I will be weaving 18 towels in all and therefore will be winding a warp 15 yards long on the sectional beam.

Update to the Ribbon Loom Project

It has a been a few days, and I can finally take a breather from weaving  and file a report on my progress. My current  configuration is successful. I can handle up to 100 threads, I wove a test length of 5 1/2 yards with no tension difficulties. No broken threads, no frustration and no errors. IMG_3369IMG_3356

I modified my loom design to include a creel arrangement rather than use the bobbins to create a “sectional” beam. The sectional beam  idea had developed tension problems the longer that Ribbon LoomI wove on the loom. Using the creel option, I accomplished a few important things. The length the the material to be woven is controlled by the amount of thread on the bobbin – bobbins can be changed out as needed. The creel tensioning arrangement I designed permits fast assembly and easy rearrangement without tools. I used one creel box for unheddled threads and another for the heddled threads.  Each creel box has a capacity of 30 threads. I also had the ability to adjust tension of each thread individually if necessary.  The creel design simplified the loom design considerably.

The loom is now principally a structure on which the creel threads are dressed for weaving there are no warp beams needed.  I used the same coroplast structure as before and left the wooden dowels and the existing “cloth beam” in place.IMG_3359

The blue tape, was  used to cover the slots I had made in the loom in order to insert and remove the sectional beams during my earlier design tests. I used painter’s tape to ensure that the fine threads would not stray into the open slots while threading.

I also picked up a couple of tricks that made using this loom design even more inviting. Simplicity has a product called the SideWinder – a portable bobbin winder.  I made use of this tool to wind my bobbins for this project.  I also picked up a inexpensive yardage counter by Boye that made it convenient  for me to measure the thread as it wound on to the bobbins.  I placed the spools of thread on a spindle in the creel, threaded the thread through the yardage counter that was held to the work surface by suction cups, and continued the thread through the bobbin winder as specified in its instructions. Thirty nine bobbins with just the right amount of thread in less than 15 minutes. Awesome.

Threading the loom was a breeze. I lined up the bobbins matching the inkle draft, drew the thread through the holes on the sides of the creel next to the bobbin.  I then threaded the top creel through the heddles and alternated it with a thread from the bottom creel. I was ready to weave in less than an hour.

The creel was made using a package of foam hair rollers cut into “washers” , 12″ pieces of all thread, and sewing machine bobbins. The case for the creel was picked up at a local dollar store. Its primary feature is that its perforations held the all thread rods and the length would support 15 bobbins.    Please use the comment box  and let me know if you are interested in obtaining plans for this loom.

 

Designing an Inkle style ribbon loom

I have been preoccupied with loom design in the past couple of days. There are things about a traditional inkle loom that just bug me. Remember, I am fine thread weaver by nature! To me regular tapestry looks like burlap.  My problem has been that inkle looms are so much overkill  (too much wood, too bulky) if you want to weave pretty little hair ribbons. I also hated the fact that you had to thread everything on the loom before you got started (one thread out of place and you had to start all over) and the fact that so much of the design was warp dependent (too much commitment.)

I have been playing what if: I want to weave lengths of ribbon that could be longer than a traditional inkle loom permits (enough to trim a dress), what if I wanted to change colors midstream? Can I handle supplemental warp(s) in such a way that I do not have tension problems over time. What if I wanted to handle 100 threads not 36? What are the cheapest materials I can find that do not require the services of a woodworker. (I don’t have my own private carpenter).IMG_3310 Can I use recycled materials? Will this loom be portable? Can the loom be taken apart for shipping or storage?

I have found that I can create a creditable ribbon loom that meets my needs out of some pretty humble stuff I found at my local HOME DEPOT.

  • A Blank Coroplast Sign
  • #8-32 Threaded Rod 12″
  • #8-32 Wing nuts
  • #8-32 Nuts
  • #8-32 Washers
  • 3/16″ Wooden Dowels – 12″ long
  • drawer knobs – that fit the #8-32 threaded rod.

Other things I had at home:

  • sewing machine bobbins – old straight ones are fine I used some of the metal ones.
  • Empty sewing thread spools.

Tools usedTools I used:

  • Scissors (the little Fiskars type) to enlarge holes in coroplast
  • Exacto knife and blade (to cut coroplast)
  • An inexpensive small hacksaw (to cut threaded rod and dowel) I picked up the $8 one in the store. It had a handle and a blade  – no fancy stuff.
  • A sharpie – to mark cutting lines
  • A 3″ wood screw — used as an awl to start the holes in the coroplast. Requires little hand pressure. Finished heavy work with the scissor.
  • A French Curve to get pleasing curves on the sides of the loom.

IMG_3313IMG_3306   IMG_3317IMG_3287  I’m still tinkering with the design so I am not quite ready for print out final measurements. It is my intention to share this from this post when I am sure that it will work for most people.
The yardage counter was used when I wound thread from spools to bobbins. It does work nicely. My bobbins also fit on this dowel nicely for transfer to the “sectional” bobbin on the loom. It would be great to have a baby tension box someday for winding these packages.

IMG_3304So far, I am pleased  with the weight, size, and the fact I can adjust the tension individually on each bobbin. The weaving area is about 8″ long. I have a great shed. It took only a few minutes to thread and get started.

I am modifying the design to make it easier to change the bobbins on the fly. I have found you can use existing inkle patterns or make use of standard weaving drafts. I will be exploring more pick-up work and additional shaft control options shortly. My goal is to be able to make beautiful silk ribbon by hand.