Monday, March 31, 2008

A Typical Picean Dilemma

The symbol for Pisces is 2 fish swimming in opposite directions.

I'm back in Seattle full of images and stories from my trip to Santa Fe, and at the same time I have so much to do in the studio.Do I write about my first experience in the Southwest chasing tumbleweed down an empty road?
Or do I get in gear and get my 2 empty looms warped?

For the first 24 hours back in town I was so torn, I did nothing at all. Then I couldn't stand having my looms empty, so I opted to wind and warp looms, moving forward.

Rather than decide in which direction to go, I will attempt to move forward and backward at the same time. As I weave forward, I will relate back to events of the trip. I believe this trip, although not a teaching trip, will prove to be life-changing and was certainly full of self-discovery.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Big Commission Takes a Holiday

It seems like a million years ago I started collecting cashmere sweaters to un-knit and use the yarn as weft to make a blanket. After I had collected 4 or 5 sweaters and took them apart, I put the skeins of yarn in my cedar chest and continued on my weaving journey. A couple years ago I was telling a friend about this great idea to make a blanket out of recycled cashmere, and she agreed and commissioned me to weave a blanket 90" x 100" that had the unknitted cashmere as the weft. These were the only parameters.

Slowly I began testing various warps to combine with the cashmere and finally settled on Bambu 12 doubled and sett at 24 epi. I ikat dyed a bunch of the bamboo and wove a 20" panel to see.

I wish I had time right now to re-cap or at least to give you the link to my older posts that chronicle the project panel by panel, but the airport shuttle will be here in less than 6 hours and I haven't finished packing and still have a couple more feet to weave before I can cut the piece off the loom (and I really want to take it with me).

I will attempt to fix the links whenever I get near a computer in the next couple of weeks. But the picture above shows some progress. I joined two of the panels together. I love the way it looks so much I decided to wear it as a shawl on my trip. It looks and feels quite divine. I am taking the other 3 completed panels with me and will join them all together in my spare time.

The delivery date of the completed blanket is August, and I have 4 more panels to weave. It is time to get busy.

I am sure you have noticed the narrow horizontal panel is longer than the ikat panel. Well, I fixed that right after I saw the picture (grin)

More Inspired By Bonnie

My Wonderful Turned Weft Ikat Adventure with Bonnie

by Linda LaMay

After meeting Bonnie at our Weaving Guild Meeting, and having seen so many of the beautiful Ikat treasures she brought to share, I eagerly signed up for a three day workshop. But as the day approached I worried that being a new weaver, and having never dyed any fiber, perhaps this class was going to be way beyond me. Was I ever wrong!

From the first hour of our workshop on Friday to the last on Sunday, Bonnie guided and encouraged us and freely shared her amazing wealth of knowledge. I learned how to wrap fiber with plastic as a resist technique, and to actually dye, dry and wind the fiber into balls to facilitate easy warping.

The most amazing step for me was learning how to arrange these lovely stands of color and pattern into a design of my own creation. Bonnie taught us to work in “phrases” or small groupings of yarn, to create groupings of 1 ½ to 3 inches of warp. By concentrating on a small section at a time, it was easy to get beautiful design elements which could easily be arranged and re-arrange until the perfect pattern emerged!

As I watched my towels grow on the loom, I was absolutely amazed at how much I had learned and how beautiful my towels turned out. I can’t wait to try this technique again.

I sometimes wonder whether its inspired by Bonnie, or its Bonnie's fault. :-) Bev Ryan

In your blog last month you said:

"One of the problems I face when traveling to teach a workshop is I go home and never know if the students ever finish their projects, what challenges they faced in the process, or how the weaving came out."

So here it is. I've taken 2 seminars or workshops with you at the So Calif Handweaver's conference. At Visalia last year I took Bonnie's the easy ikat and I did finish my scarf. It goes great with a denim jacket so that's how I photographed it.

A few years earlier I took one of your color workshops, find the colors within maybe? We did the cut up magazine collages and I still have my little collages. But what I really came away with was the realization that I had been consistently too quiet with my colors. So I decided I had to use black, red and purple. I did 2 smallish tapestries, one became part of a large unwieldy knitted bag.

And I think your workshops are great fun, by the way.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Gamping With Bonnie

Discover the pure fun and adventure to be found in plain weave—especially if you begin with your own Color Horoscope warp to create—

A Gamp for All Seasons”--color theory in action!

Websters Dictionary says, “gamp” n, a humorous British term for an umbrella.

Harriet Tidball's definition of a gamp.
"A gamp is a systematic arrangement of warp threadings or warp color sequences in sections of equal size, each section being a minimum of two inches and not more than six, and woven as drawn in."

Bonnie Tarses’ definition of the verb “to gamp”
“At frequent intervals while weaving, you keep wondering how this or that color might look and then giving every color a try.”

I have taught Color Horoscope Weaving workshops for over a decade. In these workshops, students would translate their horoscope into a winding draft, and then wind the warp. Students would set up their loom at home and weave whenever. I never got to see the finished weaving. In fact, I never knew if people actually did the weaving. The weaving is the most fun part! It is the only reason to go through such an intense winding process.

Recently I developed a winding draft and complete instructions (A Gamp For All Seasons Kit) that allow students to wind and warp their personal warp at home where they can go at their own pace with none of the distractions and discomforts of a classroom setting. Once their looms are warped, students bring them to the workshop ready to weave. (unless there is a studio set up with floor looms). Now everyone (including me) gets the benefit of seeing all the warp variety and color variations. We weave together in community, learn from each other and have a joyous colorful weaving party, a regular indoor gamping trip. S,mores welcome.

I am trying out a new format and redesigning my Color Horoscope Weaving workshop. This is how it is on my website now .

I am about to have my website moderately overhauled. I'll be upping my fee, changing the workshops around, redesigning the gallery, updating the calendar and adding a selling page.

Let's hope I can get this all done before I leave for Santa Fe on Friday.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

More Tests

It has been a busy couple of days, what with becoming another year older and all. I only had time to run a couple more colors through. For me it ends up being like smelling different perfumes---after 3, I can't tell the difference.

In the bottom right corner of the picture below, we have China Red in Bambu 7. The next stripe up is China Red in Bambu 12. The 3rd is Wine in Bambu 12, and the 4th Mandarin in Bambu 12.

As it stands now, I am favoring the Wine in Bambu 12 with the China Red in Bambu 7 a close second. It is very interesting to me just how different the Bambu 7 and Bambu 12 weave up. Next I will weave double strands of Bambu 12. I have often found that double (or even triple) strands of fine yarn wound together as weft produces a more supple cloth that wrinkles less.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Progress Report

I just cut this horoscope scarf/shawl off the loom and was so excited I had to post it. Warp is Bambu 12 doubled and sett at 24 epi and the weft is Bambu 12 single thread.

So then I just jumped onto the other loom, Bambu 7, sett 20 epi. I put an extra yard on because I wanted to sample some different colored wefts. The first band is Bambu 7, Sunflower. I think it washes out the color too much. The second band is Bambu 7, China Red. I am liking that one better. I think I am going to try using a Bambu 12 weft and see how that goes.

Here's a nice little detail.

Opinions welcome! I'm going to eat some lunch, and let the threads discuss what will happen next.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Out of the Closet

I wasn't going to confess to this weaving blasphemy, but I came across a picture taken by Mike Urban for an article in the paper a few years ago. Truth be told, I touch the edge at every pick, lightly, but I always have. Once I discovered I was not weavingly correct, I had already been weaving for 30 years. I know there are others out there hiding. This is for you

Coming down the home stretch. I will cut this scarf/shawl off the loom this evening (night actually)

This may not be the very next warp to go on the loom, but it is a Bambu 12 Color Horoscope Weaving chain I wound while I was taking breaks during the weaving of the above. Now that I have already confessed to one weaving deviation, here is another. I don't actually make a chain. I make slip knots instead.

As Syne Mitchell is wont to say in her wonderful Weavecast , "You have to be warped to weave."