Monday, February 15, 2016

Busy, busy!

I know it's been a very long time since I last posted, but I've been very busy with life and textiles!

Last weekend was a big SCA event in Kalamazoo called Val Day. As part of Artisan's Row, I brought items I had made from my handwoven fabric: two medieval dresses, several hoods, and a purse in progress (small rows of red hearts)

I enjoyed my busy work! I had a band for the purse straps which needed to be sewn together, then sew near each edge to flatten the strap (which had wanted to be a tube).

This is the bright blue hood on the table, a type associated with Scandinavian from about the 11th century, but found in a few manuscript illuminations as late as the 14th century. Right now, this is my favorite hood because it gives the warmth of a cloak without the bulk.

 And here are a couple of Christmas ornament exchange items I made: fun!

I have knitting and other weaving projects to add, but that's for later!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Midwest Weavers Convention

A week after MLH convention, I drove 10 and a half hours to St. Paul for the Midwest Weavers Convention, held on the campus of the University of St. Thomas.  Happily, I had arranged in advance to stay with others from my local weaving guild, so the four single rooms in our suite (2 bathrooms, living room, kitchen) were shared with people I knew. (I like meeting new people, but I really liked getting to know members of my guild better--not that we had a lot of time in the suite.)

My first class was an afternoon survey of Norwegian weaving, taught by Robbie LaFleur, and it was a real delight. I was most interested in medieval tapestries, but throughly enjoyed slides and books shared with us.

This is a friend of Robbie, wearing the bunad or traditional clothing Robbie had made for her mother. Incredibly beautiful embroidery!

Saturday I was lucky enough to be in Carol James's all-day class in Sprang.  What is that? Sprang is not weaving but manipulated warp, and has quite an ancient history--more than 2,000 known years.

This is Carol James, wearing a reproduction she made of a 1,000 year old tunic found in Arizona. Yes, 1,000 years old!

Stockings researched and made by Carol.

This is a loom Carol is using to make a sprang scarf with beads. Our class looms were the same but with 24 inch side bars. To make the tall one, all we have to do is go to a hardware store and buy two 6 foot tall dowels.

Here is Carol showing another tunic she made.

And this is the most amazing reproduction of the silk Burgoyne sash the general gave young George Washington before Burgoyne's death. Officers in the 18th century wore these sprang sashes as a sign of their rank, and they could also be carried in them if they became wounded. Check out Carol James's YouTube videos for all kinds of information on sprang.

After several wonderful but exhausting days, I drove home another 10 and a half hours, listening to a fascinating Mary Russell mystery by Laurie R. King.

Since my trip, I've researched a lot more about medieval Scandinavian tapestries and started a sprang project--but those are for another post.

Happy textile working!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Michigan League of Handweavers Convention

Earlier in the spring, I saw that Rebecca Mezoff was going to teach tapestry classes in Holland, Michigan, at the Michigan League of Handweavers Convention. I signed up within the first hour of registration and was able to be in her introductory class Saturday the 6th of June and a three-day workshop June 8-10!  I've admired her tapestries for several years, but it just hadn't worked out for me to take her classes before.

Friday was the opening of exhibits and vendor sales, followed by a fashion show with everything to traditional to avant garde to just plain fun clothing and accessories. The reception afterward included the most flavorful fruit and the most wonderful specialty cupcakes, and plenty of time to get to meet and greet other weavers. About 144 were registered: some leaving Sunday, the rest on Wednesday. Here is a snappy red dragon from the display.

Saturday's class was a thorough introduction to tapestry from the medieval period to the most modern times and designs. In the afternoon, students used either their own looms or ones provided by Rebecca, whose favorite traveling loom is a Mirrix.

Sunday I finished weaving my "Indiana Spring" tapestry (not quite complete here) and then rewarped the loom for the workshop. This 7 X 10" tapestry is my view of some of the greens and fields with sprouting plants in the Spring.

On Monday, the color theory class was the first of three full days of slides, explanations, and both paper and weaving exercises. Here are tables packed with Harrisville yarns: undyed singles and doubles which she had dyed for her tapestry colors, especially gradations; and ones regularly sold by Harrisville. Our yarn and papers for exercises were part of our class fees, so all we had needed to do was warp our looms before class.

Our first exercise was a reminder that we each "read" colors differently. Rebecca had us pick a square which we thought was the same as a can of Coke, then compared our choice with an actual can to show some of us remember one shade and others another. Plus, our individual abilities to perceive colors varies tremendously. 

Through all classes, Rebecca was as funny and helpful as you might expect from her many Youtube videos. Check them out! Don't miss her time-lapse video of a winter greetings tapestry.

This is three days steady weaving. The two narrow bands are value exercises with the lightest at the top and the darkest at the bottom in graduation shading. Checking this is easy with black and white, but not so easy with colors. Happily, my phone had a tonal setting which turned all these into black and white images showing the gradations. Someone also suggested an app called Blendoku, which is far too much fun--and also educational.

The stepped design has two parts: the first half is for the warm shades, and the reversing one for the cool ones. Interestingly the blue-green in the top half next to the light blue read "cool" to me and to others, but later I say the camera showed it as warm in black and white.

Out of 12 students, 9 had Mirrix looms! The shedding device makes a huge difference in the speed with which we can work. (I used to be opposed to them, because I love wood, but when I was at a Weaving Indiana meeting during which people brought various looms, I moved the shedding device back and forth and then bought a Mirrix Big Sister in December.)

One member of Weaving Indiana was in the three-day class, but I had plenty of time to meet and talk with other weavers and teachers, especially during meals in the cafeteria and at evening presentations and receptions. If possible, check out next year's classes when they are on the MLH website and join in the fun and learning.

I'm home, and I still have about six more exercises I can weave up for more explorations of colors and their interplay. (I could have even more from the handouts and the reference books Rebecca discussed, but I want to apply what I have learned.)

And after that, another tapestry! Right now I have five planned, so I'll stay a busy bee this summer.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Winter's Work

Although I haven't posted in a long time, I've certainly been busy!

Here is the linen gown with the tabletweaving from last fall. The trim is also on the cuffs.

Here is a wool heart pattern (8 harness) which I need to sew up. The white is exactly the same treadling but the hearts can only be seen when the light catches them. 

My newest wool gown in another 8 harness pattern. The purse is one of my knitted silk ones (in an early entry).

Here is the first half of a bad snowfall, which encouraged me in my textiles this winter!

Here is another 8 harness wool design needing to be sewn up.

And one of my current projects is wildly modern: a free Ravelry pattern called Zick Zack.

As of this morning, the first bulbs are trying to open!
Happy spring, all, and I hope you are enjoying your fiber and literal gardens!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Historic tablet weaving

I have really enjoyed being a member of Facebook's Historic Tablet Weaving list and being inspired by the weaving of so many other people!

I wove almost three yards of 16/2 linen, which I am going to sew to a medieval dress.

This first one shows the wooden cards I use in different colors. They all have a strong grain, so I can tell where I should be without the ABCD labeling of modern cards.
And this has more of the repeat. The background is one of the natural cotton towels I showed in another post. The pattern is from Applesies and Fox Noses: Finnish Tabletwoven Bands by Maikki Karisto and Mervi Pasanan--a fabulous book with medieval designs and ones inspired by them.

Medieval Hood

Some years back, I had woven red and black Maine Line Jaegerspun 2/8 into 8-harness herringbone and broken diamond twill (same threading, different treadling). However, cutting into the fabric was another issue! I finally cut and hand sewed a medieval style hood in time for the Indiana State Fair, where it won a second.

First, a side view.

Next, here are views of the hood as I was wearing it wearing it at a recent SCA event. I definitely enjoyed wearing the hood, which was amazingly cozy.

Next, more cutting and sewing!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tabletweaving Frenzy

In the Society for Creative Anachronism (an international group with areas divided into SCA kingdoms and smaller groups), the King of the Midrealm promised the King of Atlantia a fine set of clothes to be given at Pennsic War (a little camping event in western Pennsylvania with 12,000-13,000 medieval through Renaissance reenactors). I found a tabletweaving pattern which reflects the wavy blue and white section of Atlantia's heraldic device, selected Bockens 16/2 linen in dark blue and white, and worked with all speed, finishing it today so I can give it to the woman sewing the medieval Scandinavian caftan and hat. Someone else is sewing a tunic with another person's different tw pattern, and a third person is sewing the pants. Whew! I'm looking forward to seeing it being worn!