What's weavin'

My latest project du jour is a hybrid fabric – part traditional yarns, part recycled neckties. I started off the bolt with a custom portion. I really love the challenge of custom work! “Here are 12 of my husband’s ties – create something!” It’s like a puzzle! What common colors run through each tie or will pull it all together? 

In this case, I decided on a red/blue mix for the warp yarns (yarns running through the loom). They will provide a very cheerful platform for the unique variety of ties – hopefully without looking too patriotic! 

Then once I clear the number of inches needed for the custom bit, I’m off and running with my own portion! I’ve become a bit of a spontaneous weaver, which surprises no one more than me! I’ve gotten in the habit of carefully planning the beginning of a project and when it comes time to weave, letting the wind blow me wherever it pleases! And so far, it has served me really well! 

For my portion of the fabric, I’ve been working with black & gray ties, keeping the colors simple. Then little by little, I am tweaking the weft yarns (yarns in the shuttle) underneath them. I gotta say, it’s coming together well up to this point! There’s still a lot of inches to go and there’s no telling how it will play out! But, I’m happy to share my progress to date! 

Handwoven
Handwoven
Handwoven
Handwoven
Handwoven

(I’m having technical issues with my captions, but the top 3 are the custom portion & the bottom ones are my portion. The string is what I used to measure the correct number of inches and the shuttle image is a reminder of what not to do – that is, overstuff the shuttle!) 

What are you working on this week? 

Blue is the answer…

“I’m stuck in the middle of a project!” Haven’t we all said that at some point? Well, that’s been my mantra this week.  And truth be told, I’ve been stalled for a few weeks now but have been politely ignoring it. I don’t know about you, but I have a series of steps I go through whenever a project doesn’t follow my master plan! 

Step 1 – There’s usually pouting like a 6 year old when things originally go off the rails. 

Step 2 – While still pouting & being generally ornery, there is a period of reviewing where I went wrong in the project. This is the shoulda-woulda-coulda stage. 

Step 3 – Pretending it’s not there (which takes skill, since there’s a 36″ floor loom in the way every time I enter the basement)! 

Step 4 – Actually looking at it again with fresh eyes, thinking outside the box, asking “what if”?

Step 5 – Working on a solution – any solution! Giving it my best answer at the time to finish it up. 

Now in the past, it has taken me anywhere from 4 hours to 6 months to get from original pissiness to completed fabric. In this instance, I used the holidays as my excuse to let it all stew. 

But this is the week to wrap it up! Here are a few details so you get the picture. I have a necktie project on the loom where I have simple cotton for the warp yarns (running through the loom) and strips of recycled neckties as the weft (going the other direction). Kind of a rag rug technique, if you will. It takes awhile to prep the ties & I prepped a TON! The project is all oranges & yellows – beautiful! 

Until I get to the end of my plan & I still have probably an entire yard of warp left on the loom! And to make matters worse, I’ve ended with a peachy color! This may not sound like a big deal to you. And in the universe of real problems, it isn’t. But, I don’t have other peach-colored ties to continue with. AND, I kind of seriously dislike the color – just adding insult to injury! 

So here I am. Staring at a project I have to finish before I can do new, fun things. Deciding how to gracefully move from peach (ugh!) to yellow (because those are the color ties I have left). Then, an idea started to form – blue! Blue will be the bridge. 

Now, finally, I have a plan of attack. Weave blue ties intermittently with the peach I have left, gradually work in blue & yellow ties, then only yellow. Whew! It was a close one! It may not be a perfect solution, but it’s good enough to finish it! And most days, that’ll work! 

Thank you for commiserating with me! How do you get yourself out of these situations? I’m always up for suggestions! 

Zen weaving…

Over the years, I’ve had a number of folks watch me weave and comment on how meditative it must be. My response is usually, “Yes, it’s very zen… until I mess up!” That’s sort of how life is, right? It’s going along swimmingly, until it isn’t. And that’s your weaving philosophy for the day!

Here we are, in a sea of cream!
Here we are, in a sea of cream!
Moving right along!
Moving right along!

We are coming down the final stretch for the project, which is great news! I’ve found over the years that sometimes shorter projects are better. So, I have it spaced such that about the time I’m ready for something new, the knots come around the bend! It’s wonderful when things work out that way!

Let's dust in a little brown...
Let’s dust in a little brown…
See the necktie making an appearance?
See the necktie making an appearance?

I love some of the warm, caramel colors in this section of the fabric! Reminds me of baked chocolate cookies – homemade, of course! (Mind you, not baked by me, but by my brilliant sister and Ma – who can completely rock some homemade cookies!)

In a caramel haze!
In a caramel haze!

And what do we have here? The knots have stealthily worked their way up to the mid-section of the loom! I have no more space for weaving – meaning it’s time to pull out the scissors!

We're at the knots! Woohoo!
We’re at the knots! Woohoo!
Start snippin'!
Start snippin’!

I like to start in the middle of the project, cutting close to the knots in the back. Then, I shorten up the tails once I’ve made a knot at the fabric. Snip, knot and repeat until the fabric is free of the loom!

Working my way out from the middle.
Working my way out from the middle.
Release the fabric!
Release the fabric!

Ahhhh… the fabric is almost completely off the loom! Next up, I’ll release the knots from the front and lay it out to see what we have! (I always forget how the project started by the time it’s done. So, it’ll be fun to check it out!) Talk to you soon…

Run 14 Weaving 76

 

It's not easy, being green…

(How many of you are currently imagining Kermit singing with his banjo? Yeah, me too!) Hello! The project is progressing beautifully! I never know exactly how things will come together. So, I’m always surprised! It’s part of the fun!

Rag shuttle to the rescue!
Rag shuttle to the rescue!
A tunnel for the shuttle!
A tunnel for the shuttle!

I started with really dark greens and now I am firmly in the apple green colors! There are very few greens that I don’t enjoy. Some of the really yellowish versions aren’t my favorite. But, they still trump peach most days!

Coming around the bend!
Coming around the bend!
Mixing in a little necktie action!
Mixing in a little necktie action!

All throughout the fabric, I am mixing in strips of neckties to add a little color, texture and recycled-ness! (Hmmm… not so graceful for a made-up word. But, it might catch on!)

Easing out of green, into the neutrals.
Easing out of green, into the neutrals.
The tie provides a little splash of color!
The tie provides a little splash of color!

With the strips of ties, instead of sewing or knotting the ends together, I simply layer the ends. I don’t want to add any additional bulk to the fabric. And, once the ties are trapped in the yarns, it will be very challenging to remove them!

Overhead view!
Overhead view!
It's coming together!
It’s coming together!

For this particular fabric, I am laying in the necktie strips over the yarn – which I’ve found makes it a little bulky in some instances. Next time, I may try something a little different to avoid that. I have to give it a little thought… weaving is a lot of problem solving, let me tell you!

Making fabric!
Making fabric!

And the weaving continues! There is still a bit more to do before the fabric comes off the loom. But, I’m getting there! Have a good one and I’ll talk to you soon…

Run 14 Weaving 51

Visual candy here!

Hello, friends! It’s been a big week and I’m all tuckered out. So, I propose a visual walk through the blog this time around! I’ll be back to my usual glib self next week. Enjoy!

No one's surprised I'm using green here...
No one’s surprised I’m using green here…
The rule of weaving - some are up, some are down!
The rule of weaving – some are up, some are down!
Putting the rag shuttle to good use!
Putting the rag shuttle to good use!
The end of a necktie trying to escape...
The end of a necktie trying to escape…
Love seeing the cones in the background!
Love seeing the cones in the background!
Ah, progress!
Ah, progress!
The woven landscape...
The woven landscape…
This is going to make gorgeous handbags!
This is going to make gorgeous handbags!
Time to forward the project!
Time to forward the project!

Next up, there will be more weaving – yay!!! Probably a little less green, but definitely more weaving! Talk to you soon…

Run 14 Weaving 26