Sunday, January 31, 2010

Part 2 - Tapestry Class for the New Year

As for yarn, the warp used in this tapestry class is a mercerized cotton, about sport weight. While the weft used is a single ply wool knitting worsted weight. I found that Lamb’s Pride by Brown Sheep duplicated the colors of Glasbrook’s very closely, so I’m using that for the beginning class.

The weft yarns are wound into butterflies to be used in the weaving, but tapestry needles or bobbins could also be used to weave the weft. Personally, I really don’t like weaving with butterflies and would rather work with a weaving needle or a bobbin. A weaving needle is a bit longer than a tapestry needle and still has a blunt point and a large eye.

My secret wish is to make my own wooden bobbins. I’ve tried using a dowel in a vise and shaving it to get the shape that I want. But it’s really labor intensive and a small lathe would really do the job much faster and better. I can picture a small lathe in my wood working shop of the future, but then I can picture a lot of things in my head. Whether it will really happen is another thing. A friend of mine once accused me of weaving only so that I would have an excuse to work with wood. Hmm, might be true.

Other tools that are handy for tapestry weaving are pick up sticks, a batten and a weaving fork or beater. This photo shows some really nice examples of items that I’ve picked up at weaving conferences and shops, and some of my own woodworking attempts. I’m sure you can tell which is which easily enough. One item in the lower front is a letter opener from World Bazaar that I cut teeth into the lower edge with a scroll saw to create a weaving fork.

As with my rigid heddle class the tapestry goes for an hour and a half for six sessions. We cover different weaving techniques such as hatching, shading, diagonals, stripes, outlining, and finishing. Like most introductory classes it’s just the beginning, there’s so much more to learn.

Next, what’s coming off the knitting needles…

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Tapestry Class for the New Year

The introductory level tapestry class that I teach through Wooly Wonders in Las Vegas has only one student this session. Not only is it almost like private lessons, but since the student lives relatively close to where I live, I’m teaching the class in her home.

This one of the few classes that I teach that uses a textbook. I like to use Kristen Glasbrook’s Tapestry Weaving (2004) published by Search Press, as it’s a good beginning book for tapestry weaving. It’s not a very creative teaching method, rather “cookbook” teaching, but the book covers the basic techniques in a very clear and concise manner with colorful photos and easy to follow instructions.

Another good beginning tapestry book is Tapestry 101 by Kathe Todd-Hooker (2007) self published by Fine Fiber Press, which features directions for a copper pipe loom, and large diagrams of weaving techniques. The spiral binding is also very convenient.

For further instruction and information on tapestry weaving I’d recommend Nancy Harvey’s Tapestry Weaving (1991) published by Interweave Press. I think it may be out of print now but copies are still available at weaving websites. The book has lots of tapestry examples and illustrated techniques, but I like the book for someone with a bit of tapestry background rather than no experience at all.

For my tapestry class I provide a frame loom very similar to the one used in Kristen Glasbrook’s book. For this class I made the loom out of 6 ft. piece of popular wood ½ inch by 1 ½ inch. I cut the piece into two 20 inch and two 15 inch lengths for the loom frame. Where the corners of the loom would overlap, the wood was cut to half of its original thickness. The corners were then glued in an overlapped position and nailed.

The top and bottom edges of the loom were notched with 4 notches per inch using a table saw. The notches will hold the warp threads in position more securely, keeping them spaced.

Next Tapestry class part 2…

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Rigid Heddle Weaving Class at Wooly Wonders

Last week to start the new year off I started two weaving classes, both beginning level classes, one in rigid heddle and the other in tapestry. Each class has only one student so it is like private lessons, but rather enjoyable.

For the rigid heddle class I lean heavily on the direct warping method that is covered in Rowena Hart's book, The Ashford Book of Rigid Heddle Weaving. There now is a second edition out that is an expanded version of the original book, with more projects and yarns. The Ashford books are very colorful and upbeat, with clear diagrams of the basic weaving techniques.

But for deeper and more complete information on rigid heddle weaving I rely on Betty Davenport’s book Hands on Rigid Heddle Weaving by Interweave Press. The book’s been out since the late 80’s but it’s still a very valuable source for the rigid heddle loom.

With the resurgence in rigid heddle weaving, Betty Davenport has recently revised her 1980 booklet Textures and Patterns for the Rigid Heddle Loom. The revised spiral edition with the addition of some color pictures and additional projects makes it a “must buy” the advanced rigid heddle weaver. The book is now distributed by Fine Fiber Press.

Over the six weeks of the rigid heddle class besides direct warping, we will cover loom controlled weaves (such as weaving vertical and horizontal stripes), weaver controlled weaves (such as lace weaves, tapestry stitches, and rya), and finishing techniques (such as knots, braids, wrapped warps and hem stitch). The hour and a half classes easily go over the time limit, and we do cover a lot of ground. But I think the students get a good foundation in the basics.

Next the tapestry class...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The New Year at Wooly Wonders

Inventory has come and gone and the store is neat and tidy again. Some of the changes around the store are a newly repainted door with the adjusted store hours. Open Knitting on both Tuesday and Thursday evenings has become as popular as Open Knitting on all day Saturdays.

The shelves are fully stocked; and it’s hard to work without thinking of what I’d like to do with this or that new yarn. One of my favorite new yarns is Ella Rae’s lace merino. I’m trying to design a sweater and or a hat pattern using this Italian space dyed yarn. It’s an extra fine merino with a 100 gram skein running 460 yards—just gorgeous.

While putting some knitting needles away yesterday I found this set of bird nest Serendipity needles that I just couldn’t resist. The birch wood needles have polymer clay decorative ends in all sort of cute designs. I originally bought a pair to take on a cruise since there were so different and cut looking. But once I started using them I really like the sharp points for knitting, so I was hooked.
Next, the new year of weaving classes…

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Second Christmas in Salt Lake City

The day after Christmas Bob and I drove up to SLC with the Mac, our Heinz 57 family dog, and a car load of Christmas presents from Southern NV. We by passed Cedar City for a comfort stop and pushed on to Beaver, Utah, the unofficial halfway point to SLC. Since the stop was brief we arrived in SLC earlier than usual so that I could buy a gift card for Carlee at a local quilt shop, an easy Christmas present.

We were lucky the weather was pretty mild and the roads were clear, although the weather was much colder than we were used to. It was relaxing to see the kids and grandkids again and unwrap more presents.

Six year old Jack received a Marble (Oops, should be Marvel) comic book action figure shirt from his Uncle Dustin that matches Dustin’s. Both Dustin and Jack love to draw.

Santa brought Jack a set of drums; I wonder whose idea that was? The drum set did end up in the play room in the basement after Christmas but got a workout before that from everyone including Katie Jane.

Grandma B. gave KJ a couple of Fancy Nancy books along with a scarf/boa to dress up with, which she seemed to enjoy. We had an enjoyable visit, but did have to leave a day early because of a snow storm moving through the state. We had to drive through a light snow fall all the way south of Beaver, and ended up staying over night at our house in Cedar City.

Next back to our old routines…

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Last Peek In The House in Cedar House

I hope you all aren’t too bored with hearing and seeing the new house in Cedar City, Utah. I promise this will this be the last posting until the outside landscaping happens.

The kitchen was interesting to work with, and I wished I had thought more thoroughtly about the design of the cabinets “internals”. The actual cabinet space was limited so we added a buffet built-in to one wall in the great room. The advantage was more cupboard space – the disadvantage was less wall space for art work.

We enjoyed working with the local granite contractors who gave us some good ideas and were helpful with their suggestions. We ended up with granite window sills, which I’m really happy about since the window wells are about 10-12 inches deep because of the type of construction. The kitchen island is another favorite with the rough cut edge, which you can see in the photo.

Bob’s bookroom has alder bookshelfs and desk. For Christmas I gave him a Tiffany style desk lamp that picks up the warm tones of the wood. The books shelves that he finished for our LV home wouldn’t fit in the new bookroom, which was a shame. But the new ones are pretty, kind of empty right now though.

That completes the tour for right now. The Murphy bed is still in pieces downstairs and we have to decide how to furnish the other guest bedroom. But we have plenty of time for that.

Next we will revisit second Christmas in Salt Lake City with Carlee & Tom’s family.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Second Peek Inside the House in Cedar City

Now that the house is completed in Cedar City we have been slowly decluttering the house in Las Vegas and moving the clutter to Cedar City. It seems only fair to me to share the clutter.

My Schacht floor loom is temporarily sitting in the family room in the basement. As you saw in my last post there is no room for looms in the workroom. The electric fireplace is in one corner surrounded by “cultured” river rock.

Upstairs in the Great Room the gas fireplace stone and the cultured stone wall in the sunroom match each other. The wicker furniture is in the sunroom for right now, and looks pretty good there. But they will probably end up in the family room in the basement. Bob has gotten in the habit of eating breakfast in the sunroom and reading the newspaper on the weekends. The present patio table is too big so will probably have to be replaced by a smaller bistro table and chairs. For the present time the patio set serves as a dining set. It is a bit of a problem to furnish two houses with furniture from one house. Both houses echo a bit.

We now have shades on the windows facing south, and most of the windows facing west and north we will have shutters for more privacy and warmth. You can see the shutters on the window facing the street in the closet just beyond the bathroom. We haven’t figured out the arrangement for the closet yet, not looking forward to that job.

More about the rest of the house later…

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Peek at My Workroom...Caution: Under Construction

Monday I drove up to Cedar City and took along some more books and a couple of bar stools for the kitchen counter. It was a beautiful, sunny day, with noticeably less snow on the ground. The north sides of the mountains were still pretty, covered with a more complete layer of snow.

Susan W. asked when she was going to see a picture of my weaving room. It’s true that I’ll have looms in the room, but I’ll also do some sewing, and machine embroidery there so I think I’m going to call it my workroom, “Studio” sounds too professional for what I do, while “messing around room” is closer to reality I think I’ll go for stretching the truth with “workroom”. As you can see from the two views of my workroom it’s a work in progress.

I’m waiting for a Formica table to be built to put the plastic cubes on, which will go in the corner nitch beside the closet. Then the piles of things on the floor will find a more organized home. I thought the 18 ft by 12 ft room was pretty big, larger than the room I use now, but it sure filled up quickly with “stuff”.

Here is a picture of finished Durango Blues shawl on the mannequin that I fell in love with in Wisconsin last spring. The silver thread represents rivers meandering through Colorado. I did put it in the non-juried show at the Intermountain Weaving Conference last July. I felt a sense of accomplishment that I took the project from idea on paper to finished product, something that doesn’t occur too regularly.

More pictures of the inside of the house in the near future, and second Christmas in Salt Lake City.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I'm Finally Back, Did You Know I Was Gone?

As Susan W. said "Your guilt is gone!" Well, I don't know if it is really all gone, but it is somewhat dinimished. Melted enough that I can announce that the new house in Cedar City is finally finished, and print a photo of the house as it appear Dec. 14, 2009.

I've made several trips to Cedar City with the car jammed full of "stuff", mostly things from my workroom--books, and yarn. Now the the good dishes and the nick-nacks from Bob's bookroom are up there too. Over Thanksgiving we rented a U-Haul and took the Murphy bed, some livingroom chairs, patio set, wicker chairs and my big floor loom up to Cedar City. We stayed over night for the first time sleeping on mattress on the floor in the basement. Bob calls it camping out since we don't have TV service and therefore no ESPN. So we missed the Packer-Lion game on Thanksgiving Day.

The house is really pretty snug and I enjoy driving up and messing around with this and that for a few hours. The shades were put in this past week and the shutters will be finished up this weekend. The bar stools came in today so I will probably haul them up next Monday.

I'll finish off with some nice pictures of Carlee's family that were taken in October when Dustin, Erin and Paige visited, just before Jack's 6th birthday. Only Paige is pictured though. Dustin and Erin are expecting the 4th member of the family to arrive March 17th, a younger sister for Paige. Hopefully my next blog will before that.