Saturday, January 25, 2014

adventures in mock damask

Since I first bought my loom, I have been planning how I can possibly incorporate basic pictorial images into my weaving.  Nothing fancy, just some bats and skulls ;)  There's not much on the internet about techniques like this, I assume this is because most people are more interested in weaving patterns rather than pictures ... but I have been researching what I can do with my 8 shaft loom.  I know pictures can be achieved using doubleweave, but I wanted this for a flowing cotton infinity scarf, and doubleweave would be too bulky.

I came across Mock Satin Damask in a Handmade magazine - these articles are all written by Alison Irwin, who has come up with a brilliant technique which she teaches all over the US.  I warped up my loom with cottolin at 24 epi in a basic 1-2-3-4 threading, and knuckled down to learning this technique.  The magazine gave a simple zig zag pattern to get started on ... I failed miserably, and just couldn't figure out where I was going wrong!  Here's my mess of a sampler, with no zig zags in sight!

There's a slight zig zag in the middle, but it's not right at all ...

Bella Head (aka The Weaving Goddess) to the rescue!  Last time I saw her, she mentioned an article in the latest Complex Weavers journal about weaving pictures using only 3 shafts.  I emailed her and asked for a copy of the article (I became a member, but it must have been a bit late to receive the journal).  This is when I realised something ... all these instructions for weaving mock damask were for a floor loom - I have been trying on a table loom.  When the instructions say to lift shaft 1 for instance, all the threads on shaft 1 on my table loom are LOWERED.  On a floor loom they are raised.  What would happen if I reversed the instructions?

I re-threaded my loom in a 1-2-3 configuration to try Three-Shaft Damask (article by Marjolyn Van der Wel).  For my 1/2 twill, instead of raising shaft 1 and weaving, I raised shafts 2 and 3 and wove.

I followed the instructions using a cartoon under the warp, and straight away the pattern started forming!!  You can see in the picture below that shafts 2 and 3 are raised when the instructions say to raise shaft 1.

And here is a leaf!

Please excuse my dodgy warping error on the left hand side and terrible selvedges ... but this *is* a sampler after all!!

Of course I had to try a bat ... wonky shape aside, I'm pretty pleased with it ;)

And here's the back:

So all in all, a successful experiment!  I will definitely be putting this technique into practice soon with some mercerised cotton at a looser epi to give a nicer drape.

It's times like this that I realise how little I know about weaving, and the disadvantages of being self-taught from books ... so many weaving instructions make assumptions about the weaver.  My little epiphany may be common knowledge to most weavers - but I'm pretty chuffed with myself!!!

OK, back to a 'normal' warp now to get some more infinity scarfs done.  (This is why I need another loom, heh :P)

Sunday, January 19, 2014

sewing and peacock hair

Yes, that's what the last few days have been about!  I decided that having the two colours was too much maintenance (both colours fade at different rates, which is a pain), and also didn't suit my new style as my hair is growing out. 

So I decided to replace the pink and green with Peacock Blue (Crazy Colour), which I originally bought to go with my peacock dreads back in October 2012 ;)  Man, I miss my dreads - can't wait for my 'tail' to grow so I can have some length again!   Here's me at the hairdresser getting the bleach done first - the only time you'll see me with blonde hair!!  (and that's my hairdresser Sarah - she's awesome :P)

When I got home, it was very hard to take a picture, because the colour is quite multi-faceted - it also makes my eyes look scary-blue :)

And after 1 wash, it looked like this (unstyled, to show more of the colours) - it's more green-blue at the roots:

It will be interesting to see how long it lasts ... last time I could get away with dying every 2 weeks instead of 1 - but it really depends on the condition of the hair at the time.

And today's job:  sewing all 8 of these infinity scarves, photographing them and putting them up in the shop ... I love weaving, but I don't love sewing so much ;)  Plus, Adelaide had a week-long heatwave, which meant that my studio was a no-go zone as it was so HOT!  Cool(ish) day today, which means I'm catching up.

Sunday, January 5, 2014


Yes, that's a 2014 'resolution' ... well, more of an idea of how I can keep fit this year.

I have been loving the weekly Body Synergy classes that I have been doing for the last couple of years - it's a combination of 1/2 hour cardio/weight training/whole body vibration and 1/2 hour floor pilates.  It's fab, and our trainer Lesa is amazing.  Classes are maximum of 4, which means that the trainer can keep a close eye on everyone.  Lately, our classes have stopped due to problems with the building, and to cut a long story short, Lesa won't be teaching for much longer anyway since she will be moving to full time study.  So I've been wracking my brains as to what I will do in its place.  There are Pilates classes nearby, but they're expensive and the time slots get full very quickly.

While internet browsing, I came across this YouTube channel - Yoga With Adriene.  I've never been into yoga, it's a bit slow for my fast-moving brain (which is probably why I *should* be doing it :P).  But after trying a few workouts on this channel, I think it's something I'd like to start doing.  My only issue is motivation ... at least going to a class forces you to go, whereas finding time at home requires will-power - after all, I'd rather be weaving!!

I started with this one:

After that, I decided to go through the Foundations playlist to get the basics down. 

Stay tuned, we'll see how I go!   And let me know if you decide to join in ;)