Poncho (or should I call it a Shrug?)

DSCN0106

DSCN0105

When I describe my latest creation, people have a pretty good idea of what a poncho is. I, however, think it should be called a “shrug” because it is more like a shawl that gives you a hug.  It’s comfortable to wear and you can tuck your hands into the fold to keep them warm or leave them free to do things without the garment falling off.  I love to wear this when I’m travelling.  It’s great for a night out or on a cruise.  Or, how about shopping?  Remember, your hands are free to do whatever you want.  I make these in lots of different color and yarn combinations.  I always use cotton in the warp (lengthwise threads) and novelty yarns to make the subtle stripes using Fibonacci numbers. The weft (crosswise threads) vary between cotton, rayon and rayon chenille.  Check out Handweaving by Nikki on Facebook for the latest version or to learn where you can find me at a show or when my studio is open. 

Advertisements

Mobius Shawl

Some refer to this as an “Infinity Circle” but it’s also called a “Mobius”. (Google that one) An old friend used to wear one of these and I always wanted to try making one. One day I discovered a mistake in a shawl that I had woven…I accidentally changed weft yarns when winding new bobbins. Two-thirds of the shawl was a slightly different color than the other third. What to do? Being one who won’t let all of that work go to waste, I put on my thinking cap and figured out how long a piece I needed to make a mobius. I cut that part off and sewed the ends together in a French seam and there it was!  The other piece is now a throw pillow on my couch.

Mobius

Shifted Warp Fibonacci Shawl

Wrap warp in a circle on the board

Warp in a circle

There’s a way to make variegated yarn look like there is more going on just by making the sections of color line up and then by shifting them slightly.  Yarn wound on a warping board in the usual fashion makes the colors fall in random order. But if the same yarn is wound in a circle, you can manipulate those colors to fall together.

I like to use the Fibonacci number sequence whenever I set up stripes in a project. So these stripes are 2, 21 or 34 threads wide.colored yarn in Fibonacci stripes

In order to give a little more movement and interest to the piece, the multi-colored stripes are shifted by 5 inches.  The weft is two different yarns.  One is a rayon chenille and the other a 5/2 perle cotton of the same color. The yarns alternate in plain weave using two shuttles. These two yarns together give the shawl a “hand” that is soft and luxurious (the feel of rayon chenille) and still lets the colors of the warp show through.

Lots of color excitement on the loom.

Lots of color excitement on the loom.

Shawl with colors in stripesThe end result is a shawl with a lot of movement in the color.  Nothing boring here.

 

Save

Save

Posted in Cotton, Dyeing cotton, Fibonacci, Instructional, weaving, Yarns. Tags: , , , , , , . Comments Off on Shifted Warp Fibonacci Shawl

Shredding Blue Jeans

Why shred your blue jeans??  So you can weave them into a placemat, of course!

Loom in garage (1)This is my loom in the garage.  Blue jean strips give off a lot of lint/dust when you weave them and it’s hard to vacuum out of carpet.  Therefore it’s easier to weave them in the garage.  Notice the mask hanging on the loom?  I wear that when I’m weaving the mats.

Weaving in the garage is not all bad.  Below is the view I have while I’m sitting at the loom in the garage.

Loom in garage (5)

Just past the lawn is the South Fork of the Kaweah River.  It makes a lovely sound.  Sometimes I’m treated to a passing neighbor.  There’s a bobcat who cruises through occasionally and one day she was followed by her kitten!  Just 2 days ago, a cute little fox trotted by with a dead gopher dangling from her mouth. Yay!

Rich cutting blue jeans (2)

This is my “lovely assistant” (hey, if  a magician can have a “lovely assistant”, why can’t I?)  My husband, Rich is using a rag cutter to make quarter-inch strips which I will use as weft in the placemats and sometimes in mug rugs as well. By the way, he’s the one who built my beautiful studio…a good guy to have around!

Sharon Alderman Workshop

Log CabinI’m ready for the Color & Weave Effects workshop with Sharon Alderman this weekend.  We will be exploring Shadow Weave in the form of Log Cabin.  It was a challenge to thread 4 different patterns using 2 colors but I think I’ve got it now.  Can you see the 4 different patterns?  This way of threading alternating colors makes the end result look much more complicated than it is.  For you weavers: it’s just plain weave.  In our workshop, we will learn how to work designs out on paper from the draft to the cloth diagram and weave several of the designs.  Should be fun!

Warp after workshop

Here’s how it looked after the workshop.  We repeated the color order of the weft to match the color order in the warp.  My favorite is the zig zag in the pattern second from the left.

 

Warp after Sharon Alderman workshop (1)

 

 

Here’s another view.  We wove 3 inches of each variation of the color order.

Now I just have to figure out how I want to use this information in an actual project.  Stay tuned.

Placemats Upon Request

On two different occasions I’ve been asked to weave placemats using beige, olive green and mauve as the main colors. Do you know how many shades of those three colors there are?!  Darn…as hard as I try, I can’t look inside someone’s head to see the colors they envision.  So, in both cases, I insisted on something tangible from the customer as a sample of what they meant by beige, olive green and mauve.

Fabric strips cut & ready to weave. Fabric in same colors as pillow.

Assembling the fabrics to match the sample pillow

Here’s what is involved in making the placemats: I start by gathering fabrics that contain the colors I am looking for. Then I cut the fabric into 1 ” strips on the bias.  Next, I look through my yarn stash to find yarns (5/2 Perle cotton) to coordinate with the fabrics I have chosen.

Placemats on loom with pillow as sample colors

Placemats on loom with pillow as sample colors

I like to use the Fibonacci numbers to set up the stripes in the warp (lengthwise threads on the loom).  Then, using what is commonly known as the “rag weaving technique”, I weave the fabric strips (the weft) into the warp.  The beginning and end of each mat is finished by hand with a hem stitch while still on the loom.  These “rag mats” are great for insulating your plate from the cold table, especially if you eat at a granite or quartz counter.

Finished mats with customer's pillow

Finished mats with customer’s pillow

Below are pictures of the more recent example of a consignment using beige, olive green and mauve (with the addition of navy blue) to make placemats.  See how different they turned out?

Finished mats

Finished mats

Placemat with fabric supplied by customer as color sample

Placemat with fabric supplied by customer as color sample

In both cases my customer was pleased with the results. If the customer is happy, I’m happy!

Silk Wedding Shawl

We recently had a special wedding in our family and I wanted to make a special shawl for the bride. I had some sumptuous off-white 16/2 spun silk yarn that I knew would provide a lovely sheen and luxurious drape.

Beautiful Lisa in her wedding shawl

I used a mixture of 5/2 perle cotton, and 2 textured cotton/rayon blends as the warp. I wanted it to be sheer so I wove it in plain weave. Plain weave, however, does not let the beautiful sheen of the silk show to its best advantage. So, I randomly wove sections of twill which allowed that silk to float over the warp threads allowing them to shine.

 The end result was a lovely bride in a shawl that prepared her for any chill the evening might bring.