Being a creative entrepreneur is a very weird and wonderful job!
I’m still here! Weaving away! You know how sometimes you plan a project and think, “I’ll just whip this up in no time!” Well, this wasn’t quite one of those. But, it’s still taking more time than I had originally expected. And you, as my captive audience get to enjoy every moment with me. I’ll try to hurry it along a little…. Keep your fingers crossed…
I have officially eased the color palette into some fabulous reds! Of all the neckties I collected, the blue/red combo is one of the most common. Something about a red tie, right?
I decided to go with a vivid blue cotton yarn as the go-between. I want this batch of handbags to be bright and fun!
Take a look at the photo above – do you see the sort of orange fuzzies sticking out? That is what the inside of that particular tie looks like! I’ve discovered that ties are made in all sorts of ways – woven, printed, dyed, etc. So, cracking them open is sort of like the assorted box of chocolates at Valentine’s Day. You never know what you’ll find inside! (There’s a Forrest Gump reference in there somewhere…)
Because I love my close-ups, I have to remember to pull back on occasion to give you a sense of perspective. The image above gives you an idea of where I’m sitting. My feet are on the pedals and the weaving surface is about desk height.
I mentioned earlier that I use a rag shuttle for the strips of ties, which is true! But, sometimes it’s easier to hand-wiggle it through the yarn when the strip is sort of short. So, for these types of projects, I dip my fingers into the warp yarns quite a bit!
After the red section, I’m going to pull out some bright blues! Because, why not?
The hits will keep on coming – promise! I’ll talk to you soon…
We are in the middle of some serious weaving fun, let me tell you! “Barrel-of-monkeys” kind of fun! (Does that complete give away my age?)
I am using lots and lots of cut up neckties instead of just yarn. I love the reuse, reduce, recycle idea! (Sadly, I’m not as vigilant in all aspects of my life. But, this is my little contribution!) What I’ve discovered is the world doesn’t really wear neckties anymore. Translation – lots of inexpensive materials for me to choose from!
I like to use the big rag shuttle to move the ties across the warp yarns and then, alternate with the cotton yarn in the boat shuttle. So, I typically have 2 shuttles jockeying for position at any given time!
Folks have asked if I sew the ends of the ties together. If you knew me better, you’d chuckle at that visual – maybe even belly laugh! I tend to get violent when forced to get near a sewing machine. It’s REALLY unattractive…
I like to overlap the ends and call it a day! As tightly as I weave, you would have to go to a lot of trouble to pull those out! Believe me when I say that if I had to sew, this lovely little project wouldn’t be happening! (A huge round of applause to all the seamstresses out there! You are amazing and I would be lost without you!)
There are always little bits and snippets that don’t get caught in the weaving. They simply get trimmed when the fabric rolls off the loom.
I started with grayish-blue ties and am now morphing into ties with a bit of brown! The earthy colors make me all tingly!
I chose a darker blue cotton for the browns, instead of sticking with the light blue. Just personal taste, really. Kind of like cooking – it needed a dash of something else!
We have a philosophy in our family that where 1 picture is good, 20 are better! So, when you glance at the next two photos taken from underneath the weaving surface, you should appreciate the fact that I didn’t subject you to 18 others! (Even though I love them!)
For this project, I have specific sized handbags I am designing for. So, I’m keeping close track of how many inches I’ve woven. Little safety pins are my friends…
There will be lots more happiness to come! Talk to you soon…
It’s time to sley the reed – my favorite! The warp yarns took a few laps around the warping board and are now ready to find their place in the world (into the reed, in this case!).
I measured my warp yarns in 3 groups, as you can see in the photo above. They will all be integrated together soon enough! First up, I am threading the lease sticks through the yarn. Why, you ask? Well, the cross I so carefully established on the warping board needs to remain in some format here. So, by tying a knot where the cross is, I can see how the yarn needs to be separated and where the lease sticks slide in. Ultimately, it’s about keeping everything in order!
By the way, the lease sticks are merely 2 sticks with holes in each end so they can be tied together. Not rocket science…On the other hand, someone more brilliant than me thought of it! So, kudos to you, lease-stick-inventor-guy!
Once the lease sticks are in place, I unknot the knots to be sure the yarns can all reach where they are supposed to go.
A weaving reed is a metal, rectangular frame with slots running it’s entire length. It will sit in the loom and help maintain the desired width of the project.
I’m using an 8-dent reed for this project. “8-dent” refers to how many slots are in an inch. So, the yarns are spread out a little more than my usual. The reason is that I’ll be working with bulkier materials and I don’t want the fabric to buckle. Part of the charm of weaving is the million different variables you can control. The spacing of your project is just one of the many decisions you make in determining how it looks in the end!
Just to keep me honest, I try to knot each inch in an effort to double check my math. Ah, math… love it or hate it, it is everywhere in a weaving project!
So from here, I will gingerly transport the reed, lease sticks and lovely twists of yarn to the loom to lock it all in place! The hits just keep on coming! I’ll see you soon!!!
Time for something new and this time it’s blue!!! (What is better than a little rhyme to kick off a new project?!) Thankfully, I had a wonderful year and the handbags are slowly taking off! So, I need to backfill some inventory – it’s a great problem to have! First up, I’ll be weaving more necktie fabric to be cut into clutches. And this time around, I want to focus on one color – blue!
The party begins at the warping board! The warping board is used to measure the yarn so everything is the same length. It also acts as a way to keep the yarns in order – very important! I’ve decided to warp 3 different groups of yarns – light blues, medium blues and dark blues. So, you’ll see the different shades in the photos.
Mostly, working at the warping board is a nice, relaxing experience. But, every so often, my lovely friends who spin the yarn decide to leave a knot in the middle of the cone. When this happens… well first, there’s typically cursing… but after that, I move the yarn so the knot falls at the top or bottom peg of the warping board. That way, I can cut it once the project is off the loom and not worry about knots in the middle of my yarn!
Once the entire group of yarn has been measured onto the warping board, I give it a series of twists to keep it in place while it is carefully moved off the board. The end result looks vaguely like a braid, but comes apart much easier!
(The light in my room isn’t ideal for accurately portraying the colors. So, forgive me if the photos look a little gray!)
So, there are no rules as to which pegs you can and can’t use. There needs to be a top peg, bottom peg and a cross in the middle. That’s it! The rest is up to the weaver to determine the most efficient path for your yarn. So, each project looks different on the warping board because the warps are all different sizes. Some projects will go across the board 4 times while other will go across 7 or 8! It all varies.
When warping a project, it’s important to keep your yarns in order. Weavers use a “cross” on the warping board to do that! You pick 2 pegs to act as your cross – usually at the top of the board. If you are moving down the board, the yarn goes over the left peg and under the right peg. Coming back up, it’s just the opposite. (Check out the photo below.) Seems like a simple addition to the process, but it only takes forgetting it once to realize how critical the step is! So, yay for the cross!
So, before I started pulling yarn off the cone, I had to determine the total length needed for the project. Then, I picked a contrasting-colored yarn to act as the guide string. This is a yarn that goes onto the warping board first so you can see the path the rest of the yarns will take. I usually use whatever scraps I have around for the guide string, or pick a yarn in a less desirable color so I won’t miss it. (The lavender yarn you see in the photo above was chosen with Grandma in mind who always told me it wasn’t a “real” color! Love you, Thelma!)
The warp is ready! Next up, they will slide into slots in the reed! Stay tuned – you wouldn’t want to miss the sleying…