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Archive for January, 2012

These are a few of my favorite things – #4: A primer for adding knitted and crocheted trims to handwoven cloth

James Joyce has been quoted as saying Mistakes are the portals of discovery.  Sometimes I think the older I get, the more I agree with this . . . or perhaps it’s merely my way of justifying some of my mistakes . . . but, in this case, a small mistake was a darn good thing.

For a while now, I’ve been working on some new trim techniques.  One evening last year, while searching for a particular reference with the word knot in the title, I made a typographical error and typed knit instead.  This produced results that included a title for a reference  . . . A primer for adding knitted and crocheted trim to handwoven cloth.  My first thought was COOL!.  After all, stumbling on to a reference for anything having to do with handwoven fabric is surprising.  What was even more surprising was that the reference was available for download from Handwoven‘s website Weaving Today . . . AND . . . it was free!   Which lead to my second thought REALLY COOL!  (Please bear with me . . . I become less articulate as I become more excited.)

I was extremely curious and logged into Weaving Today so I could download this reference . . . and what a gem it is!  After a brief glance at it I wondered how I was unaware of this wonderful resource.  When I came across it, it had been quietly available for nearly a year-and-a-half.  Since there is a possibility that I’m not the only one unfamiliar with this reference, I thought I should point it out to others as one of my favorite things.

A primer for adding knitted and crocheted trim to handwoven cloth was authored by Heather Winslow . . . a marvelous weaver and teacher.  It’s nine pages long and covers 23 different knitted and crocheted trims.

It also briefly covers steps before attaching knitted or crocheted trims.

At first, I thought this might exceed either my skill or patience in knitting.  I’m fairly proficient with the basics of knitting, but I find my patience tried if I attempt a knitted project.  First, I’m a hard core weaver.  Second, I’m a rather pokey knitter . . . especially when I think I can weave an entire row in the same amount of time that I can knit a few stitches.  But, this primer has provided me with some options for creating trim and utilize those day-to-day moments that maybe too limited to accomplish much (e.g., standing in line).

To get started, I recently tackled one of the 23 trims . . . a simple 9-stitch stockinette stitch.  Nine stitches???!!!  I can keep track of that!  If I get interrupted or distracted, I can easily put it down and pick up where I left off.   Plus, the stockinette stitch creates a curl to the edges, which is perfect for binding the edge of a garment.

I’ve had fun keeping my hands busy while watching the  second season of Downton Abbey . . . and even though I’m not a very fast knitter, I’ve already knit up over four feet of black merino wool trim that I plan use as edging in a garment.  At the rate I’m going, I should have quite a bit done when the current season of Downton Abbey wraps up.  Then I’ll try another trim when PBS broadcasts the third season.

If you know a little about knitting and/or crochet and have ever been interested in trim, I highly recommend you check this out by clicking on the following link http://www.weavingtoday.com/media/p/64.aspx.  

These are a few of my favorite things – Designing a Tartan

I love tartans!  As a weaver, I love textiles in general . . . but, tartans fascinate me and I believe my love of tartans may have to do with the British components of my DNA . . . after all, like thousands and thousands of people around the world; I’m a distant relation to many in Great Britain . . . including Queen Elizabeth II (my 12th cousin) and King Henry VIII (my 16th cousin).  But, rest assured, I don’t condone beheading . . . although, an invitation to the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge last year would have been nice.  Anyway, since I doubt my heritage is of interest to many people, let’s get back to tartans.

Tartan fabrics have a long history and many have fascinating stories.  Information about tartans can be found at http://www.scotshistoryonline.co.uk/tartan-history.html.  Plus, in my opinion, a kilt can be one of the sexiest garments a man can where.    If your family has a tartan, it can make you feel a connection to generations long ago.  But, even if you don’t have a family tartan, designing one can provide the following:

  • A fun way to pass some time when you are in need of a diversion
  • Easy experimentation with the interlacement of different color combinations . . . such as a color palette from Colourlovers.com (the first of my favorite things on this blog)
  • A great way to observe how proportion of colors influence the overall appearance of a fabric
  • A method to understand Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s 200 year-old theory of color intensity and how a little addition of an intense color goes a long way.  (You can learn more about von Goethe’s theory at http://www.framedreality.com/color-in-photography-color-theory . . . you just need to scroll down about 2/3rds of the way down the page ).

At first designing a tartan may seem rather ominous . . . from choosing the colors . . . deciding the order of the colors . . . whether certain colors will be repeated . . . how much of each color to include . . . and whether the tartan pattern will be symmetrical or asymmetrical.  Fortunately, there are on-line tartan design tools that are just a click away and below are three to choose from.

House of Tartanhttp://houseoftartan.co.uk/interactive/weaver/index.html

The on-line tartan design tool at House of Tartan takes you through several screens . . . starting with selecting your colors and then moving on to placing them in order and finishing with the number of ends for each color.

Tartan Makerhttp://www.tartanmaker.com/

Tartan Maker makes it easy to design a tartan on a single screen.  It may not be the most robust tartan-design tool, but it’s simple to use.

Tartan Designer at Tartan Generatorhttp://www.tartangenerator.com/tartan/

Tartan Designer provides a digital shelf of yarns above the tool.  Select what you like, adjust the number of threads, and see what you come up.

Now, what if you design a unique and distinctive tartan?  Did you know you can register it?  To learn more about registering a tartan, check out The Scottish Register of Tartans at http://www.tartanregister.gov.uk/.  Someday I would love to design a tartan for my husband and register it.  His mother’s family were Scottish descendants, but I’ve never located a tartan for them.  Until then, I can still entertain myself with designing tartans to see the limitless possibilities.

These are a few of my favorite things – The Weaver’s Journal

Did you know The Weaver’s Journal is available on-line?  No, not Weaver’s magazine . . . I’m referring to a weaving publication published in the 70’s and 80’s.  It lasted a decade from 1976 to it’s final issue in the summer of 1986 and the first 16 issues are available in their entirety on-line on the On-Line Digital Archive of Documents on Weaving and Related Topics that was established by Ralph Griswold.

First, a few words about Ralph Griswold  – Dr. Griswold was a computer scientist known for his research into high-level programming languages and symbolic computation.  His language credits include the string processing language SNOBOL and ICON.  After working for Bell Labs in the 60’s, he was hired by the University of Arizona as its first professor of computer science.

After his retirement in 1995, Dr. Griswold turned his interests to the mathematical aspects of weaving and ended up establishing the On-Line Digital Archive of Documents on Weaving and Related Topics . . . a glorious treasure trove of resources available to those with an Internet connection . . . where some of my favorite things are available.  The resources available have been made accessible because the copyright has expired or permission was obtained to reproduce documents.  It’s my understanding that Dr. Griswold did not weave, but his interest has left us with so many things just a click away.  Unfortunately, he passed away in 2006 . . . but, his legacy lives on and weavers around the world can benefit from his work.

Which brings me to The Weaver’s Journal . . . one of my favorite things.  The Weaver’s Journal was first published in July 1976 and was edited and published by Clotilde Barrett .  In its pages are articles on weaving, spinning, dyeing, and more!  I love Ms. Barrett’s opening line for the first issue . . .

There is no substitute for a good weaving teacher . . .

I whole heartily agree with this statement . . . but, sometimes a good weaving teacher is not available.  That’s why I embrace weaving-related publications.  

A few high points for me have been . . .

  • In the first issue, there’s an article about spinning dog hair and basic sewing techniques for handwoven fabric
  • A four-part series on Shadow Weave presented in the first four issues
  • Bound woven rugs in Vol II, Issue 1
  • Hints on Weaving and Finishing Rugs in Vol II, No 2
  • Space dented warps by Laura Fry in Vol IV, No 3
  • Vol III, No 3 is dedicated to silk (Which makes me think Woohoo!)

There are articles on block weaves, lace weaves, weaver-manipulated techniques, and much much more.  Enough to keep a weaver occupied for a very long time.  I will admit these first 16 issues reflect what publishing journals (and handwoven fashions) looked like over 30 years ago, but look beyond the black-and-white images and bog jackets and study the content and you will be surprised what you will find . . . Plus, you may develop a new appreciation for the publications, like Handwoven, currently in print.  Color is a pretty sexy thing!

You can find the first 16 issues of The Weaver’s Journal at http://www.cs.arizona.edu/patterns/weaving/wj.html . . . If your connection to the Internet is modest, you may be able to download these issues at your local library and put them on CD for your reading pleasure and convenience.

Enjoy!  Even if you get a small percentage of the value I’ve received out of these issues, you will have learned a lot!

(Correction . . . all 46 issues are available at the above link . . . for some reason my computer has only seen the first 16, until day!  Cool! More to read)

The cover of the very first issue of The Weaver's Journal

Learn more about weaving with two-ties - Vol III, No.4

A not-to-miss issue if you have an interest in weft-faced weaves!

These are a few of my favorite things – Colourlovers.com

With the wealth of information readily available (especially on the Internet), it can be really exciting . . . but, a little overwhelming.  Over the years I have found great resources at my local library, on the Internet, and more that have inspired me . . . and I’ve decided to use this blog to share these with you one week at a time . . . or rather, that’s the plan . . . so if I miss a week here and there, forgive me.

One of my favorite resources is the website Colourlovers.com http://www.colourlovers.com/.  I love searching color palettes for new inspiration of color combinations or play with making my own color palette when handed a challenging color . . . such as Tangerine Tango, Pantone’s 2012 Color of the Year.  http://www.pantone.com/

What the color palettes on Colourlovers.com really demonstrate is the importance of proportion.   As bold and powerful as Tangergine Tango is, I find using it as a primary color could be too intense (at least for me) . . . but, using it as an accent could really liven up a the colors I may use in a future weaving project.  I can also find incredible color palettes developed by others that use colors that remind me of some of the cones of yarns on my shelves that just seem to sit there looking sad and flat and show me how to breathe new life into them.   As of this morning, there were over 1.9 million different color palettes . . . and yes, you read that correctly . . . 1.9 MILLION!

You can see the comments left by others while you look through the color palettes (by the way . . . there are also patterns, colors, shapes, etc. . . . It’s not just color palettes) . . . plus, by creating an account (which is free), you can create your own color palettes and get feedback on them.

Some of the most intriguing color palettes I have found are below.  Why am I intrigued by them?  The individual colors don’t do anything for me . . . but, when put together in different proportions . . . I find a new appreciation.  It’s amazing what a little pink can do to punch things up (and I’m not a pink person).

You can even take a color palette and choose Create Pattern (below and to the right of the color palette) and it defaults to a tartan-like interlacement.  There are also pattern categories that you can browse through and see the color palette used in different ways, which may be inspirational . . . especially if you have a loom with lots of shafts.

Another inspiring thing you can do at Colourlovers.com is load a photograph and have it extract the color palette using their Photocopa tool.  http://www.colourlovers.com/photocopa.  Below is a photograph of my husband’s parrot, Pepper, that I loaded.  The colors to the right of the image are the colors the Photocopa extracted and underneath are the five colors (the limit for a palette) I chose that I thought best captured the photograph.  I haven’t played with proportion yet . . . but, that’s the next step.

I’m still learning about the multitude of things I can do at Colourlovers,com . . . I find so many things that inspire me at I have to be careful to limit my time.  The first time I ventured into the website, I ended up experiencing a time distortion . . . it only took 15 minutes for three hours to pass me by!

I hope you enjoy Colourlovers!


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