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A Long Wait for a Large Loom Part 3

A Long Wait for a Large Loom Part 3

In part 1 we saw the history of the guilds’ old 90 and 100 inch loom. In part 2 we chatted about the arrival and unpacking of the new 100 inch loom. Now lets take a peek at the reference binders related to the old looms and consider continuing that tradion.

My hope is that today’s guild members, as they chose a topic, whether it’s a coverlet or blanket or something else to try out the new loom, they look back to the weavers from earlier in the guild’s history. Like these earlier weavers they record their projects and designs, take photos of their weaving so we can get a glimpse of them as well as what they are creating.

In the past the guild weavers have sporadically documented their projects both with the 90 inch and 100-inch loom. I (in my capacity as one of the guild librarians) would like to see a new binder documenting the projects which our modern weaving teams will make with this new loom.

94  The 90” loom Samples 1 May 1973 to 1 May 1974

95 – 101 sample pages from the 90” loom sample binder

  102 OVWSG 100” Loom Samples Aug 1982 to Oct 1983

103- 110 sample pages from the 100” loom sample binder

111 OVWSG 100” loom Samples  1987 to 1992 (while the loom was in Donna G’s Basement. Donna also taught the beginner and intermediate weaving at that time with table looms)

112-121 sample pages from the 100” loom sample binder

We have some sample binders in the reference section of the library, including guild projects, workshops and individual members weaving careers.  It would be nice to have sample binders from Spinners, Basket makers, Dyers and Felters too. Keeping records in a sample binder is a way to keep track of your work and experimentation. Your collected projects will give inspiration to yourself or others.  Try to make your sample binder in a way that will keep your samples safe from damage. (Use acid-free materials if you can get your hands on them, sew in your samples if possible rather than tape or staples) and always take lots of photos as you work to include to show the process you went through to make it!

Weavers have the advantage of pre-made sheets (available from guilds or online) that save the draft or pattern of the weaving as well as noting yarns, yardage calculations and notes. i would like to see a similar collection of information for the other fiber arts. Spinners can keeps notes of what fibers were used, where they were obtained, what spinning techniques were used and what the end use for the yarn will be. For Felters, what fibers and their sources, weight of the fibers used,  techniques used, amount of shrinkage when fiber was sampled, note on how the project was made. Photos would be useful to document your project (felt sculptures don’t fit in binders).

Figure out the information that would be useful to have for each project you create. You may want to include not only the date started and finished, but keep track of the hours worked on each project. Or you may be more interested in what fibers are used or what mix of fibers were used and in what amounts. If you have demo-ed you may recall getting asked common questions, how long did that take, where did you get the idea, where did you get the fibers, how heavy is it, how did you make it do that? theses questions mite help direct you in what to include in your binder.

If you make a binder documenting your work it will both keep a record of your artistic career, showing your progress, and looking back through it may inspire new work.   I hope you will consider sharing it with other fiber artists too. If you show them yours, they may show you theirs!

122 Part of the Reference Section of the Guild Library

I hope the saga of the large loom has inspired you even if you do not go out and get one yourself!  If you are suddenly yearning to weave a coverlet or a lovely warm blanket check with your local guild and see if they have a 100” loom you could use.

 

 

A Long Wait for a Large Loom  Part 2

A Long Wait for a Large Loom  Part 2

(A long wait for a large loom  Part 1 https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2020/10/25/a-long-wait-for-a-large-loom/)

The guild both Ann and I belong to had an old 100″  loom at the end of its life. With the greatly appreciated grant assist, we were able to order a new loom that will be much easier for our ageing membership to use. We had our grant request approved so put in our order with Leclerc Looms. We dispersed parts of the old loom, put in a new floor in the classroom and awaited the new looms arrival…..

Unbeknownst to us, other guilds seem to have had the same grant idea! So, the loom that should have been ready for us in a few months, was suddenly delayed, then delayed again. There was a backlog of orders at Leclerc looms for 100-inch looms!  Then Covid 19 hit and there seemed to also be a shortage of wood (looking at the packing crates I can believe that!) so 18 months since we placed our order and a couple of grant extensions, our new loom arrived.

Long heavy wooden crates arrived and had to be carried up the stairs (there is a turn in the stairs too) since the 100” loom crates would not fit in the elevator.  All the crates and boxes were transported up to the classroom (which is down a long hall from the stairs with a couple more corners just to make it a bit more challenging). That was enough of an accomplishment for the day and a different unboxing date was decided on.

  41 – 42 A long way to carry all the heavy boxes up from downstairs

The evening they selected coincided with the day I would be doing the library book exchange, Oct 7th.  The guild library during covid has been doing book requests and drive by pick up /drop offs at the side door  for our members. It’s a bit more work for the librarians, but it is allowing the members to use the library again.  I was finishing with the library and started packing up, as the team of unboxers arrived.

43-45 yes there is candy involved in the library book exchanged!

   46- 47 I locked up the library, took the camera and headed for the classroom.

Upstairs in the Classroom, unboxing was already underway! Since we could not all be there to experience the extreme excitement of seeing the 100” loom unboxing I took photos and posted them on our guild face book group page.

48- 51  The Unboxing had begun!

I tried to capture some of the wonder of what is this? Where will this go? Is that a tensioning device for the bobbin rack? OOOH, a counter!!!! What are those extra beams for, are they just deflectors? OOOH, sectional bits and extenders!!!!

52-57 OOH!!

That is one big loom!!! In pieces it looks a lot bigger than 100 inches worth!!!

58 – 62 BIG!!!

63 There was ergonomic unboxing while sitting on a chair.

The last long wooden box was the one with the reeds, leash sticks and rods.

64-68 the last wooden crate

You can see the unboxing of the treadles and here is a close up of the treadles.

  69-73 that box was the treadles!

You can see the bobbin rack also still wrapped up. This will be a useful addition to the 100 inch since with a sectional beam you will not need as big a team to warp this large loom! I spotted the tension box, a counter and I think a tensioner for the bobbin rack too (COOL! My 60 inch sectional didn’t have one of those!).

74-75 Bobbin rack!!

The loom parts were well packed! The packing crates look like long window boxes!

76-77 well packed

The assembly of this loom will be like a giant 3d jigsaw puzzle! I hope photos will be added as this part is started. This next step might take a number of sessions more to complete. I will check next time I’m in to work on the library to see the progress.

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After seeing pictures of the 100-inch loom and the fun that the next assembly project will be, I bet you are glad that felting is just vast quantities of wool, soap, pool noodles, bubble wrap, needles, wire and odd bits of equipment that were not originally intended for felting. (ok, that can take up the same space as the big loom but the wool is lighter to move!!)

 

 

Next trip into the guild library to do a book check, pull a couple of magazines and get photos of a couple of reference books, I also went up to see if the 3d puzzle was underway. Yes! It was almost complete!

It looks so shiny and new with its bubble wrap still on the beams! (those extra pieces I wasn’t sure how they would fit turned out to be a rotating breast and cloth beams.) I look forward to seeing if the rotational aspect will improve take up of the cloth or warping the loom.

 

79-81 the 3D “Kebec II Loom Counter-balance with Pulleys”

The extenders and the sectional parts still need to be added to the back beam but that isn’t too big a job. The bobbin rack is still to be assembled too. But the new loom is almost ready for its first weavers!

82-84 Sectional pices yet to be attached.

85-91Loom close ups

92 – 93 the New loom even makes the Guild’s Grate Wheel look smaller!

Since the new loom is now here, it’s time to start thinking about what exciting things it will be making; Blankets, coverlets, catalogue, curtains, Icelandic blankets?

My hope is that today’s guild members, as they chose a topic, whether it’s a coverlet or blanket or something else to try out the new loom, they look back to the weavers from earlier in the guild’s history. Like these earlier weavers they record their projects and designs, take photos of their weaving so we can get a glimpse of them as well as what they are creating.

Weavers have kept samples binders of there projects with notes on drafts, samples of warp and weft yarn and a sample of the woven cloth. Sometimes there are notes about the designing the project or inspiration that they used. Some have photos of the weaving in progress, finishing, equipment and weavers involved in the project. Sample binders can be a history of a weavers life or inspire other weavers.

We have a few sample binders of previous 90 and 100 inch loom projects in the guild Library.  I will show you a few next week.  Since these binders are very helpful to weavers; the Spinners, Dyers, Basket makers and Felters may want to make there own versions of sample binders!  Have fun and keep felting!

94  The 90” loom Samples 1 May 1973 to 1 May 1974

 

 

A Long Wait for a Large Loom

A Long Wait for a Large Loom

There are many advantages to a guild such as the support and comradery of like-minded people who share an interest or passion in something. Sharing knowledge; whether in a library or through the members sharing their ideas or teaching. The pooling of resources to acquire equipment to be shared amongst the group that individual members either can’t afford or do not have space for.

Ann and I belong to the same guild here in Ottawa, Canada. It’s old as far as Canadian guilds go; having started as a group run through the Ottawa Civil Service Recreation Association from 1943 to 1946. In 1949 a few of their members went to a weaving conference.  When they returned home they decided to  start their own guild and became the Ottawa Valley Weavers guild. They eventually added “and Spinners” to their name. I joined in 1987 or 1988, becoming their new Librarian at my first meeting. (I did clearly warn them about the severe dyslexia but they didn’t think that would at all be a problem). So I started my guild career in  a closet, under the stairs, with the library. The guild was meeting down the hall in an old gymnasium at Devonshire Public School.  Ann joined a bit later.  By then I and the library were living in a different closet. She kindly decided to join me to help with the library. The library team eventually grew to Ann, Mary and I, but still in a closet with the books.

 1 Devonshire Public School (we were in the lower level with the closet under the stairs and the old gymnasium.)

For many years, the guild did not have a space to house equipment but always yearned to do so. We kept the shared equipment we did have in various members basements including a borrowed 90 inch loom (before my time), then a purchased, second hand 100-inch loom. The Library has sample binders from projects made on both of these.

Our 100-inch loom was second hand when we acquired it. It had moved multiple times, coming to rest for many years in one member’s basement.  It was used for many projects, mostly blankets and coverlets. If you have not seen one they are big looms.  It takes 2 people to weave on it.  This one was becoming more and more temperamental in its old age it took a large team to get the warp on. Warps were long to accommodate multiple blankets on the same threading. The treadling and colours would change between coverlets depending on what the weaver wanted.  Occasionally, between one coverlet and the next the loom would require readjusting of the tension. At this point the loom was functional but just a bit grumpy occasionally.

In 2003 the guild received a grant that allowed us to move into a space in Heartwood House (an umbrella group for many charity’s and the OVWSG) to set up our long dreamed of studio and house the library. The 100-inch loom as well as other floor and table looms left members basements and arrived in our new space.

2 Heartwood house.

 3 Our new home in the basement of Heartwood house, with the 100-inch loom warped and ready to go! The loom was often in use since it was much easier to get into the guild studio and use it.

4-7 Weavers work in pairs and weave 2 blankets. It takes two weavers weaving at once to make each blanket so they weave one for each of them. 2002

We moved to various rooms in the basement,  taking the looms with us.  In 2009 we made another move, this time going upstairs to one of the large classrooms which had large windows. We had to pick up and move all our guild stuff; the wheels, the library and the all the looms including the 100-inch up the stairs to the new space. All that moving was worth it since we now had a wall of windows and lots of bright light!

8-12 Upstairs in the light warping team in February 2009

After 10 years the building Heartwood house was renting was sold out from under them.  All the charity’s and us were on the move again. It took quite a bit of looking but finally a new location was found. We all moved to a building that once was a Giant Tiger Store with a small attached mall. Ann S., another member, headed up the design team that designed a purpose built studio space with a kitchenette, the library, and all the looms (wheels were moved to a storage closet down the hall.)

13 Moving Out of old Heartwood House! 2013

14-15 Moving into new Heartwood house (a lot of those boxes are the library!) 2013

 16-22 Weaving in the Studio 2014

After being in the space for a while, it was found to be a bit tight, so a classroom space was rented upstairs and the 100-inch loom moved yet again.

 23-24 Moved to the Classroom Nov-Dec 2014

The classroom originally was divided,  having a second smaller room where the loom was put, but we had the partition wall removed to create one big space. The space had carpet originally but we eventually upgraded to laminate in hopes we could have felting workshops upstairs and for easier clean up under the loom.

 25-27 This is the weaving draft for the coverlets. Here you can see tying on a new warp to the old. This is used to keep from rethreading the heddles or to save an expensive warp from being loom waste.  It is the second use as a dummy warp this time. 06-29-2015

28 Special guest in the studio (gratuitous lamb photo) Ann has the best living room decor!! Everyone enjoys when she shares and brings one of her bottle lambs to the studio.

  29-31 Our loom is getting more finicky to put the warp on the loom. 06 2016

32 They are adjusting heddles and leveling harnesses before threading the next warp. 7-4-16 (you can see the wall is gone so its easier to warp the loom. (Well relatively easier))

 33-34 You can see the treadle patter and more of the classroom. Aug 2016.

 35-36 Overshot is a weave structure with a distinctive 45-degree angle to the pattern. It is starting to show that the tension is not even and there are problems with the loom.

 37-38 The weavers are having to argue with the loom to stay square and get the correct angle. Weaving has become slower. 2018

By this point in its life, it was not keeping tension well and I think there were problems with the brake. A grant request was put in to acquire a more functional user friendly new 100 inch loom from Leclerc (an old Canadian company that has made looms since the beginning of the 1900’s). We wanted a 100-inch loom that was easier to warp, kept tension and did not have brake slippage. Therefore, we put in our grant request and were thrilled when it was accepted. <Weavers Celebrating!!>

The next project the executive undertook was what to do with the old loom. It had been repaired as much as was possible but really was now well beyond its working life so sending it off to another guild to fight with was not an option. They reached out to other provincial guilds and found a few had the same model of loom and could use parts of our old one to refurbish theirs. So the loom was mostly dispersed to upgrade other old looms.

 29-40 The new floor is put in as we prepare for the new loom. July 2019

We cleared the area for the new loom at the end of the classroom. With great excitement we awaited the arrival of the wonderful new loom! And we waited,  and waited, and waited…..

And now I will be horrible and make you wait till next week so you too will find out if it was worth the wait!

in the mean time keep felting! (i am still busy with data analysis of the guild library survey, which is actually lots of fun but keeping me from felting at the moment. i hope to have my part handed off to Ann soon so i can rejoin you in fiber fun!)

Spinning for a Purpose: workshop 1

Spinning for a Purpose: workshop 1

Spinning for a Purpose: workshop 1

One of the advantages of being in a local Guild is definitely the people. We are very lucky to have quite a few who have taken the Ontario Handweavers and Spinners (OHS) Master Weaver or Master Spinner programs. It’s a multi-year, very challenging course. If you’re curious, an overview of the spinning program can be found here: https://ohs.on.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/SPINNING_CERTIFICATE_PROGRAM_OVERVIEW_1.pdf .  The master weavers description is outlined here https://ohs.on.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/2018-03-29-Weaving_Certificate_Course_Outline-1-1.pdf

Cindy O’Gorman is one of the guild members that has made it through the master spinners program and is an amazing teacher. She has been very busy at work and has not been teaching too often the last few years but was talked into doing a series of evening practical spinning workshops this year. The concept is to take a type of fleece, add a particular processing technique and spinning technique to form a yarn appropriate to a specific end use.

1 1 Cindy O’Gorman our teacher

Before the Guild shut down due to the virus I was able to attend her first workshop in this series and wanted to share the fun I had taking her evening fibre prep/spinning workshop.

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For the first in this series, she chose a fine wool with an amazing crimp (that’s the springy kinkiness you see in the fibre) it was a Rambouillet / Merino cross. She used small mesh bags to wash some of the fleece (which kept the lock structure intact) and had washed some in a clump which did not clean the tips as well. The small baggies show the colour the fleece was before washing.

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For the OHS program, she had made a chart of various different ways to classify wool and sample of some of the many types. She also had a yarn size and twist angle gauge. This would be useful shortly as we tried to match the yarn she had used as warp on the rigid heddle loom she had brought for us to sample with.

Next was how to process the wool to prepare it for spinning. We used small fine combs. I had brought my 2 pitch Alvin Ramer Combs, single pitch Viking combs (from Indigo Hound), a few of my Bee combs (Decapping Combs) and a wooden handled dog comb.

88 My combing options.

99 Alvin Ramer 2 pitch combs. I use the blue clamps with them since the original C-clamps stayed with one of the previous owners.

101110-11  Viking single pitch combs (with diz on the green gardening wire). They were a Christmas present from Glenn quite a few years ago.

1212 Bee Decapping combs (Bee combs) these were from Princess Auto but you can find them online. The handle angle is not the best for using as a pair the way normal combs work but can be used singly to tease open a lock.

1313 Dog comb. Again, this was ok to tease locks open but didn’t work as a comb.

Unfortunately, my selection was not fine enough so we used the Roger Hawkins combs.

14         14

I went looking for a good picture of them online and stumbled across this really nice shot.  Then I thought it looked rather familiar. Yes, that is my picture of a bunch of Roger Hawkins combs! It’s odd to see your own photos show up in an online photo search.

1515

Cindy had two pair of Hawkins combs and had the guilds’ pair of the Louet Mini Combs. Unfortunately, the Louet combs have not stood up well to guild use. The tines have become loose. (watch for the picture of dizing from the comb)

 

1616

She had us load the combs with the butt end in the tines and the tips exposed to the tines of the second comb. Stressing that it was important to only comb enough to make the fibres parallel and get rid of neps and vegetable matter. We did this by transferring the fibre from one comb to the other and back again.  One comb was held tines up and the other with tines horizontal. Working from the outer tips slowly transferring fibres until we had as much fibre as possible migrate. (Don’t throw away your combing waste that remains on the comb!! Keep it for core felting something later!)

We spun off the last comb, remembering to space the fibre up the comb so it would draft more easily.

1718192017-20

She had us try both short forward and backward drafting directly from the comb.

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21-22

We had quite the selection of wheels; an Ashford Traditional, the Matchless, a Louet and a Rook by Lendrum.

Next was on to Dizzing!  What a cool word Diz, to Diz, we Diz, we are Dizzing and we have Dizzed. It may just be the sound of the word or maybe having a plethora of z opportunities is what makes it a great word? Anyways, on to the dizzing. Using a button, shell, or a piece of curved plastic will work as a diz. The size of the hole will change the amount of fibre that is pulled through to make the sliver. A small crochet hook or loop of fishing line will help start the fibre through the hole. For best results, it is important to get the concave curve towards the fibre. (Like this;  spinner —-(===== fibre source)  You can diz from a drum carder too if you were curious.

23242523-25

Again reposition the fibres upwards in the tines if the drafting feels resistant.

2627282930

26-30

3131 I need a button with a slightly smaller hole and I should pick up a tiny crochet hook!

All this work is worth it.  Look at the lovely fluffy clouds waiting to be spun!

3232

Spinning from the slivers was much easier than from the comb (which was actually a lot of fun). We quickly spun up singles with which we could then try weaving.  We wound off the spinning bobbin and directly onto a weaving bobbin using a bobbin winder. A single, being an energized yarn, I put my wheel back away from the bobbin winder to give the twist a bit more space to even out before winding on to the weaving bobbin.

Cindy gave us a quick rundown on how to use the rigid heddle loom (where to find the up, down and neutral position sheds). You can also see the small peg looms to the right on the table. The warp on the loom is Polwarth from Shirley Browsky’s sheep. We had been given a sample of the two-ply and were spinning to match the diameter but in a one ply.

3334353637

33-37

We were getting close to the end of the workshop and were going to take turns weaving off our samples at the next social (which was cancelled due to the virus). So we will have singles that have sat on a bobbin for a bit and that will make them a bit more cooperative (less energized).

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Cindy showed us a different way to wind over your hand to make a double-ended ball to spin from. She was winding pretty quickly so I’m afraid the pictures are a bit more “Action shot” than I had anticipated.

42434439-44

I used to snitch Glenn’s paperbacks (usually the one he was reading) to wind a double ended ball. He eventually made me a metal winding tool with his blacksmithing skills so he could keep his books.

I am looking forward to eventually getting back to the guild socials and taking more of Cindy’s workshop series. This first one was called  Spinning in a New Direction – Fine Wool from Comb to Woven Scarf.

The next ones are Spinning in a New Direction – Medium/Fine Wool from Comb to Crochet Vest (Novice), Spinning in a New Direction – Medium/Strong Wool in Two Colours from Comb to Marled Coil Basket (Novice), Spinning in a New Direction – Strong Wool from Comb to Worsted 3 Ply for Rug Hooking (Beginner), Spinning in a New Direction – Angora Blend from Drum Carder to Woolen Style for Knitted Mittens (Novice).

She will also be teaching a fibre prep workshop; From the Beginning Starting with a Fleece.

Since this workshop, I am now watching for 2 more sets of combs, the Viking 2 pitch fine combs and a set of the Roger Hawkins combs. I have 2 fleeces that could use their attention! Oh, the Humanity! My poor fleeces will have to wait until I have the right equipment to really show off their loveliness! I wonder if the Wool Growers Co-Op in Carlton Place has any new fleeces yet? I wonder if anyone other than I would consider wool an essential item to daily life?

Take care, stay healthy, keep your hands in warm soapy water as much as possible!! (I am not implying you should do any dishwashing)

Teaching an Inkle weaving Workshop

Teaching an Inkle weaving Workshop

I am a multi-craftual person.  That’s a nice way of saying I get easily distracted by many things.

One of the things I do when I am not felting is weaving. While my back hates me I have downsized to just weaving on my inkle loom and Kumihimo braiding, but am hopeful that I will again be able to weave on my floor looms, table looms and warp waited loom. I am patent and have hope that my back will forgive me.

I enjoy Inkle weaving for its comparative portability, ease of set up, and the simplicity of weaving. You have only two choices of sheds, the up or the down, so pattern is created by the order you put on the colours of yarn. You can also use variegated yarn to make the weaving even more interesting but with less colour changes.

11 – Looms, yarn, notes, suplys coming in to the guild studio for the workshop

Glenn did all the heavy lifting. I had selected two warp options for the students, the first #10 crochet cotton (excellent because of its high twist and smoothness but would take about 37 to 40 heddles, so very slow to set up.) Or a much larger but not as tightly twisted cotton (this option only took 19-20 heddles, so much faster to set up and weave)

22 – The options for Warp yarn #10 Crochet cotton or the thicker softer cotton

33 – setting up for the workshop, and found one of the two missing looms.

We got there early so I could set up and also track down the missing guild Inkle looms. I found the floor Inkle but not the second table Inkle. It may have been out as a rental loom. Luckily, I had brought two of mine, a table Inkle and my favorite a homemade floor Inkle with a silk band in progress.

44 – Lesson breakdown and count of warp threads both yarn sizes (the glass doors on the Ikea cabinets make a grate white board)

The workshop was an introduction to Inkle weaving and tot how to set up the loom, start and stop weaving and how to make a slit or in this case two slits within the woven band.  The project, to make use of all this new knowledge, was a scissor pocket necklace (complete with Chinese snips!). There were extensive notes (like a small book) in case the students forgot anything, a measuring tape, a pack of pencil crayons with sharpener and of course a box of smarties (you have to take the class to find out why that is important!). We also used a fringe twister to make the cord to hold the scissors in the pocket.

 

565-6 –the notes and the important smarties

We had a class of five, a couple of which had never woven and a couple who had.  This time everyone went for the larger cotton that was faster to weave and required less heddles.  I showed them the double loop heddle method since it’s much easier to fix problems and I got to demonstrate this with one of the warps.

I had brought samples, most were mine but I had been gifted with bands from other weavers too. the blue band and the green band near the front shows what happens if you use a variegated weft (the thread that hides under the warp threads and only shows at the edges) in this kind of weaving.

77 – Samples of inkle and other 2 harness woven bands

I showed them how to figure out the length for their heddle loops and the paths the warps threads traveled. I then suggested the students to pick at least one solid and one variegated to make there warp. By lunch all looms were warped and after a brake for lunch and to let some of the new information sink in we were on to weaving.

 

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8-14 – Inkle bands in class

By the end of the workshop we had new weavers!! I hope they will find Inkle weaving as fun as I do. We got to see two of the scissor pockets at show and tell two days later at the guild meeting.

 

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15 – a completed scissor pocket necklace and a new weaver!!!

 

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16 – This is my sample in #10 Crochet cotton with beads as decoration on the fringe

Now why would a felter want to know about Inkle bands? Well they make wonderful straps and can be woven as a tube for a more comfortable shoulder strap. Or even better, woven as a flat attachment to a felt bag then switch to weaving as a tube then back to flat again. You can try weaving with wire and make a hatband too.

Plaited felt vessel

Plaited felt vessel

This is a guest post by Kim Winter of Flextiles.

In September I started a two-year part -time basketry course at City Lit, which is an adult education institute in London. Although it’s only one day a week in college, there’s at least another day’s worth of homework, so it’s quite intense. But I am enjoying it immensely.

Plaited paper vessel

In the first half of the term we focused on plaiting, mainly with strips of watercolour paper. In the second half of the term we moved on to willow, which was much harder on the hands! You can read more about either of these subjects on my blog if you’re interested.

Stiff paper or card is ideal for plaiting, as you can get nice sharp edges and the structure retains its shape. But I like messing about with different materials, so I wondered what would happen if I plaited strips of prefelt and then felted them afterwards. How would shrinkage affect the overall shape and pattern?

If you don’t know how to make a bias weave plaited basket, there are some good instructions here. I don’t usually twine around the base as shown here – I just use pegs! – but otherwise the method is the same.

I used commercial prefelt for this experiment, in two colours. The white prefelt was merino wool, while the grey prefelt was Gotland. Gotland has a sturdier finish than the merino, but in my experience they have slightly different shrinkage rates, so that was another thing to throw into the mix! 🙂

I cut six strips of each colour and then wove them together to make a squarish 6 x 6 base. I pinned them together as I went along, and when all 12 strips were in place I then stitched horizontally and vertically. I did a couple of back stitches at the beginning and end to secure the threads but left the ends long so I could use them to continue stitching up the sides.

Prefelt strips woven and pinned together
Prefelt strips stitched together

(Apologies for the quality of some of these photos, but they were taken in artificial light, as the days are so short at this time of year!)

Once the base was stitched, I started weaving the sides by overlapping the central two strips on each side and then continuing to weave under and over the adjacent strips. I pinned and stitched as I went along.

Weaving and stitching the sides

This is what the piece looked like after I had woven the sides and cut off the excess felt.

Normally with plaited baskets you have to make a border by tucking the ends in or stitching a band around the edge. The advantage of felt, of course, is that it is self-sealing as the fibres mesh together, so I planned to finish just by trimming the edge after felting.

Once the weaving was complete, the felting could begin. I wetted the piece down, rubbed with soap, and started gently rubbing it all over, turning it inside out to make sure that both sides were felted.

I had to keep opening it up and turning it around during the rubbing phase to make sure the sides didn’t stick together (I could have used a plastic resist but didn’t bother, as I never rubbed for too long in one position).

The prefelt strips felted together fairly quickly, but despite the care I took when rubbing, holes started to appear at some of the intersections. So when the piece was partially felted I did some more stitching to ensure that there were no holes. I’m afraid I didn’t take any photos of this as it was quite dark by this stage!

This is what the piece looked like after felting and fulling.

I was tempted to leave the felted ends on, as they gave quite an organic feel, but in the end I trimmed them off, and rolled the piece some more to seal the cuts.

I also initially thought I might leave the stitching in, as I liked the marks and texture it added. But when I took out the stitching on one side for comparison, I felt that it distracted from the subtlety of the pattern, so I ended up taking it all out!

The inside and the outside have different patterns due to the weaving, but during felting some of the fibres have migrated through, so you can get an idea of what colour is on the other side.

Scaled up and turned upside down, I also thought this could make a good flowerpot hat – I can see Audrey Hepburn wearing something like this, can’t you? 🙂

So it is possible to plait with felt, though it is rather fiddly and time consuming. The forms are softer and more rounded, and you get a subtle idea of the pattern on the other side.

Thank you for reading, and I wish you all a very happy and creative 2020!

October Workshop Peg Doll Looms

October Workshop Peg Doll Looms

October Workshop Peg Doll Looms

How did I ever manage to get anything done when I was working?

I have been working on importing and exporting File maker databases for the 2020 workshop and the guild library. I did 2 options for the workshop flyer for Elizabeth, our workshop coordinator, to choose from and will restart the workshop 2020 catalogue in the requested sort order after I have written my blog post. There was much fussing but with a bit of help I got the files exported in a format for the guild website and handed that part of the job off to the rest of the workshop team. <deep breath> I need to celebrate! Isn’t there a workshop coming up I really wanted to take when we were working on the catalogue last year? Yes! It was #1949 Peg Doll Loom Weaving with Mariann Hegedus as the instructor. Oh no! It’s about to run and we don’t have enough students! Quick, bug Elizabeth and Kelly and post it on the Facebook page! Yes, we now have enough students!

 

On Saturday I arrived early like usual and discovered a line of people blocking the door to go into the building! Oh, there is a huge fabric sale happening and they have leather hides and scraps!  Oh well, maybe I can make a quick run in at lunch. (i was able to get a bag of scraps of leather before the sale closed). now on to what i was actually there for.

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Mariann had brought the little Peg Doll looms in for show and tell and their cute shape piqued my interest. She had brought them back from a visit to Hungary. She said they were used to weave sleeves and had examples of dolls and puppets she had woven on them.

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She had a book with good pictures but unfortunately it’s in Hungarian. I did an online search to find more info but I mostly found Peg looms which are not like the peg doll looms. I did find 3 books; two of which might be the same (I don’t read Hungarian and I suspect  that one is the hardcover and one the paperback version?)  The book with the green cover is the one she showed us. Even not being able to read the language it was still educational to look at. There were a lot of more advanced techniques to try with this loom.

  6-8 szövés kereten szádfán karmantyúfán

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The concept we were working with was not too taxing in one way; how can you screw up under then over then under than over….(plain weave).  Let me tell you we found a lot of ways to mess that up! But the light bulb eventually went on for all of us.

This loom allows for plain weave, weft face or tapestry and all the two harness finger manipulations. I started to think about Butinay!!! Maybe the next work will have some!

If you sew the bottom (or top) end together you get a pouch. If you add a circular base of fabric or leather you get a cylinder that would be good to put a spindle or other small equipment in.

Warping is not too difficult. Keeping the tension snug and even is important. You wind your warp around the pegs up and down until you have gone around twice. (You can change colours as you go.) Each peg has 2 loops on it so that would be pairs of threads. The exception is the first peg, which needs to have 3 threads in one group.  This gives an odd number so you can create a continuous plan woven cloth as you weave.

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Now wind a butterfly and starting at the bottom weave every second thread.

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(This is a very old needle felted sheep I made years ago standing with the new loom and second weaving.)

I suspect I may have not interpreted the instructions as spoken.  When I took the weaving off I stated to loosen my first row of weaving! ( I thought about this and decided to modify the instructions for my second attempt. – third row I used a crochet hook between the loops and created a loop which I went through capturing the first and second row before going on to the next bit of weaving. Let that try to unravel!!)

 

I was admiring the bands of what looked like inkle banding in one of her samples. So I tried it. It looks complicated but it was achieved by alternating a gray row with a blue row, then compacting the weft to make it weft faced.

 

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One of my classmates finished her bag during the workshop I decided to purchase the loom (she had a couple more of the smaller ones available for sale) so I could make my bag taller in hopes of having it fit a spindle. As you can see, the top comes off the loom.

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Here is the second one that was completed. I gave a piece of the leather scraps I had purchased at the fabric sale (yes, I made it in time to buy a bag of leather scraps)

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I kept going, adding a fringe and switching to a long needle that is either an upholstery needle or a dollmaking needle (I’m not sure which) but now it is a peg doll loom needle. So I have plain weave and various stiffnesses of compacted weft face weaving. I also added a fringe. When I took off the weaving, the bottom (which suddenly became the top) started to unravel. I fixed that inappropriate behavior by a quick overhand blanket stich and then tightened up the plain weave so I could put a lacing cord through and use a edging stitch to stabilize the lower side of the lacing spaces. I think the purple cord will work better or I may make a blue and grey kumohimo band to use as a tie. I have decided on the grey leather to make a circular base .

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I had enough fun that I bought the loom and started a second project immediately. There has been a bit of chatting amongst a few of the guild members who are curious with this cute little loom and we have a few ideas on modifications to allow taller bags to be woven. I will let you know if anything develops from this curiosity.

Now I have to get back to the Guild catalogue and I accidentally seemed to have driven to Carleton Place winding up at the wool growers Co-op after visiting a Friend in Kempville. It was a wonderful visit and now I have a car that smells of wool and 4 more fleeces to wash before the snow flies, and more bulbs to plant and the guild Sale Ann is running to help with. Maybe it’s time for bed.  I have so much to do tomorrow!

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 The two coarse fleeces I took which are actually nice and soft.

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Some of the fleece that is coming in to be sorted

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Some of the fine grey and dark brown I didn’t buy but I did buy a light and medium grey!

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This is the rest of the Not-White fine bin. I will tell you more about this wonderful source of fiber another day right now it’s time to sleep.

 

Update needed on my Name tag Part 2 (a 3-part process).

Update needed on my Name tag Part 2 (a 3-part process).

Part 2 the Lanyard

For this falls’ guild sale and exhibition hands-on area, one of my suggestions was a cardstock marudai. Since then I have been sampling colours, and varying thicknesses of cotton yarn.

9-2.jpgPrototype marudai with garden Rabbit holder.

I started with the “embroidery” cotton from the local Dollerama. Since you can’t pull it apart it’s not really embroidery thread but it is cotton! The cotton comes in packs of dark solid colours, pastels and variegated colours. I have a fondness for blue so I pulled those colours for my lanyard. I had a mid-tone and light blue as well as variegated.

10“100% Cotton, each skein is 7.3m/23.9ft.”

The marudai should be printed out on a heavy cardstock. I made a template in publisher then saved it in PDF and Jpeg.

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the 4 version of the English edition

You will also require;

  • 8 slots,
  • a hole in the center and
  • 7 strands of yarn.

Good options are

  • tiny elastics and a
  • mid-side Bulldog clip

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Tiny hair elastics and Bull dog clips were available at the Dollar Tree and Dollarama

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With help from the guild I made a French side. Originally it was to be on opposite sides from the English one but my printer would not pull the paper in consistently so I was getting miss-registration I couldn’t correct, So it looks like there will be French and English versions separately. (Sorry!!)

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Set up:

Depending on how you set up the colours and position them you will get different patterns. (I have not yet tried all the variables) gather all the 7 strands together and Tie a knot (leave extra length after the knot if you want to have a fringe). Ether push the knot through the hole in the centre to the back side or from the back side, thread the yarn through leaving the knot. I add the bulldog clip to the knot so it won’t slide through the centre hole. Skipping one slot, space your strands into the 7 other slots. Wind your strands up so they’re about 4 inches loose; the rest wound up in a butterfly. Use the knot for marudai bobbins or elastic to keep if from slipping when you don’t want it to. (See the picture above)

How to weave:

This is really important. I’m sure you have heard how complicated weaving can be! without trepidation keep reading!

Step 1) From the empty slot count clockwise to the third strand.

Step 2) Pull it out of its’ slot and move it to the empty spot.

Step 3) rotate the marudai so that the empty slot is towards you again.

Repeat from step 1 until you run out of yarn to weave.

When the cordage you are making gets too long curl it up and clip it with the bulldog clip.

Keep the marudai surface flat and the strands will not tangle as much. Also keeping them not too long will help keep them in order.

So that wasn’t too bad for instructions. Even if you have the type of dyslexia that gets left and right confused and thinking clock wise and anticlockwise dose not help, it will still work as long as you keep going the same direction for the length of the band. I look forward to seeing what you do with your cordage. Trim for hats or ties to keep the hats on, lanyards for scissor cases?

Some of the patterns I have tried so far;

I tried 1 colour /6 of another colour

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I tried 2 of one colour / 5 of a second colour

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I tried 3 of one colour / 4 of a second colour

I tried 1 colour / 2 of one colour / 4 of a second colour

I also tried a pattern called Fenestrations (it’s a fancy way to say windows) but I did it backwards (it’s probably the dyslexia) Fenestration requires multiple threads or using a thread of a larger diameter for most of the yarn and the last one being significantly smaller (3 or 4 threads to 1 worked well for me with the embroidery cotton) It is supposed to look like windows if it’s done right. Mine was inverted so the window stuck out instead of in!

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You can see how the dark blue is multi strand (3 or 4 strands) while the light blue is only one strand.

One of the weavers (Janet Whittam) brought in a bag of scraps and thrums (the leftovers from a woven warp which are lengths or bits or yarn) thrums can be cut up and carded into fiber to make interesting pops of colour. Or you can do as I did and take a long time untangling the mess it had become and use them for further experimentation with the cardstock moridis. (I’m sorry I didn’t take a before sorting picture it really was a mess)

24 the mostly untangled thrums

I have 5 colour samples on the go plus a few others I have been puttering on in various baskets around the house. I have found they are easy to keep in an extra-large Sandwich Ziploc bag so you can easily bring them with you. I don’t find I get as many people asking what I am doing they may be miss identifying what I’m up to as corking instead of Japanese braiding.

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This is a fast portable way to make cordage. This particular pattern, 7 strands in an 8 slot marudai, makes a number of variations depending on colour and strand placement. It is easy to pick up and put down and not lose your place. So interruptions won’t destroy your progress! i have defiantly found the equivalent to a drop spindle for weaving!

Cordage can be used as pull tabs for zippers, fobs for key rings, trim on garments or accessories, and ties and laces. It is highly portable. ( I keep mine in individual extra-large sandwich Ziploc bags. I used it last night chatting with Glenn at Al’s Diner before dinner arrived. ) they are also extremely cheap to make so you can have more than one! (OK i do have a lot more than one spinning wheel or one loom and a lot more than one felting project on the go!)

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Check back, Part 3 will be the needle felting of the picture and the name. Now what will I do? I suppose I should stick with Jan since I can mostly spell that correctly!

Updated needed on my Name tag Part 1 (a 3-part process).

Updated needed on my Name tag Part 1 (a 3-part process).

Part 1:  Old and New, Part 2: the Lanyard and the card stock marudai and Part 3: needle felting of the picture and the name

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Many Years ago, Ann did a program at the OVWSG (local guild) on making your own felted name tag. She had taken a couple old blankets and fulled them (as you already know shrinking of woven or knit stuff is fulling, the term felting refers to coalescing fibres into a non-woven structure like fabric.)  She cut paper of about the same size to work out our design (our name and something with it; flower, spindle, shuttle, etc.) She had felting needles to use with yarn to write our names and draw our picture.  I hope we do this program again.  it was quite a while ago and we have a lot of new members now.

My name tag is certainly showing its age. It’s usually in the bottom of one of my spinning baskets that I take to demos. It is now looking worn and it’s about time for it to be replaced.

Part 1 Old and New -the preparing of the tag

 

The original name tag was about 2 x 3 inches and used a pin to attach it to whatever I was wearing. Pins are not always appreciated by fabric so I wanted to upgrade my new one to a lanyard so I could just loop it over my head.

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about 3 inches by 2 inches 2-3

I needed something sturdy and with enough stiffness not to bend when it was suspended. I picked a small, left-over cutting from my part of the unfortunately felted wool duvet that had been donated to the guild for dispersal amongst the felters who wanted it. ( I think I told you about that already). we carefully removed the outer cover to salvage the felted wool within.

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-Carsonby Hall Felt in 2018 4-5

It was reasonably firm but not the colour I wanted as a base so I added a nice Prussian blue to even out the surface and fix the colour. I will cut it down to make it a bit more rectangular when I finalize the design.

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I used  the evil Metal Multi-tool that I got from the Woolery (Wow! That’s fast for laying in background!) if you are doing anything flat that you want to work quickly this may be the tool for you. I made fast work of the base for Sheep ears in a workshop with Wendo at Almonte Fiberfest.

8“Felt Craft’s Ten-Needle Tool”  I found mine at the Woolery

Base done I went on to the lanyard

Check back, Part 2 the Lanyard

 

Inflicting Fibre arts on unsuspecting relatives.

Inflicting Fibre arts on unsuspecting relatives.

Last month Glenn and I took a trip down to Oakville to visit his parents and one of his brothers and part of their family who had also come for a visit. It was going to be crowded at the house so we stayed at a hotel with a pool (I got to go swimming and do pool exercises each morning). I had been hoping to see both of my nieces but Fiona could not escape from her work so I was only able to enjoy the company of Jennifer and her Mom Marg (I did not inflict fibre on Grant!) (Really I will get to the fibre stuff)

 

When the nieces had been very young, both our families had all lived in Ottawa. I had bought them excessive numbers of Barbies (because there dog kept trying to keep the population down by eating them) and had taught them how to weave Barbie blankets on a plastic loom.

 

Two years ago they visited in Oakville at xmas. while I was desperately finishing Alex’s Xmas Polar bear, I got both girls doing sculptural needle felting.  It went quite well and Fiona seemed to really like it.

 

This visit I was determined I would further their Fibre arts indoctrination. I brought supplies for pictorial needle felting, spinning (Wheel and spindle) and Japanese cord making (Kumihimo).

 

There was a lot of running around town and family visiting happening but in preparation for the landscape I took pictures of my Mother-in-laws amazing garden. I also caught shots of some of the wild life you see in their back yard. I was not sitting outside when the Raccoon and rabbit went by. (More about inspirational images in another post)

 

We  finally had a quiet day (the day before they left) and started on the drop spindle. I used the same make-it-yourself Turkish drop spindle I had used at the Gaming convention to Spin the Golden fleece.

 

For those that missed it the DIY spindle requires;

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  • 4 six inch (short) meat skewers
  • 1 longer meet skewer with the wide end cut down. (my cheap garden sheers cut them nicely)
  • (optional nail file to clean up the cut on the skewer)
  • 6 small elastics
  • 2 bulldog clips (I have medium ones but if you want less weight and momentum use smaller ones. If you want more weight and thus greater momentum use larger ones)
  • One leader cord (piece of string) about 3 feet long tied in a loop.

We assembled the spindles and I showed them the “Park and Draft” method of spinning.  You build up the twist then park the spindle between your knees. Next focus on the fibre, draft out what you want the twist to deal with and let the twist slide up to the top of that section. Add a bit more twist if necessary then wind onto the spindle. After a bit of this they put it all together and did the drafting and adding twist together.