Thursday, October 30, 2008

Cottolin Warp

A new 15 yard cottolin warp went on the countermarche loom tonight, to be woven into towels and and a table runner or two. I had decided to use up some old cottolin I had on hand and decided to use unbleached and bleached.

While making the warp, the three tubes of Borgs unbleached had numerous knots, and as I do not like knots going into a warp and onto the loom, there was a lot of stopping, backing up the warping mill to go back to the "front" end of my warp, and starting again, more than a little frustrating. The bleached I had on hand was Berga, and in those three tubes, I only found three or four knots, and the cottolin was much smoother and nicer.

I have plenty of the bleached cottolin, also two or three shades of blue, but may have to quickly order a few tubes of the unbleached. I also have some two or three cones of a white cotton slub yarn I can use in some towels, too.

Later tomorrow, after working outside on windows during the last of our nice fall weather (we've already had three inches of snow), I'll start threading the heddles.

Two sock orders are ready to be mailed tomorrow, as well. It is good to be getting things done.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Northwoods Art Tour 2009

In late September, I had expressed my interest, to a couple artist friends, in applying for the 2009 Northwoods Art Tour. I was encouraged to send in an application, due at that point in two weeks. Amy Higgason, Pigeon Road Pottery, emailed an application to me, I filled it out, chose photos of my work, studio, and home, and mailed it off. I was aware there was only room for so many artists on the tour, so had prepared myself to be wait-listed.

On Sunday evening, Oct. 26th, I found an email from artist Debbie Jircik, Circle of Life Studio, who is on the Art Tour, saying they had met that day and I had been voted in. This morning, Joan Slack, Riverrun Center for the Arts, called to officially notify me I had been unanimously accepted. They will need text and photos for both the brochure and website before the end of the year.

I am really looking forward to a winter of weaving and cranking socks, as well as the Northwoods Art Tour next summer and fall, and having my work out in area galleries, a shop, and two or three art shows. Now, to work...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Great Studio Swap Part 2

Today, at long last, I had enough extra hands to help move the drawloom from a second floor room down to my new studio space, the main floor of my home. The loom dismantles quite quickly, everything was carried down, each of us had pockets full of bolts, nuts and washers (and instructions to remember which part of the loom each pocket of hardware came from). We re-assembled nearly everything, still needing to add the upper and lower lamms and the treadles. The shafts need work as they are tied in the old way, no Texsolv on them yet, though I'm considering it. The drawcord warp will need to be unwound, re-threaded in the reed, and beamed again, or completely replaced. A trip to the hardware store is needed to check for heavier cord for the counterweights.

Still, I am so pleased this change in location of my weaving studio is finally taking place. More swapping of furniture and weaving equipment will take place over the next couple days.

I've been working on a 15 yard cottolin warp, unbleached and white stripes for a series of towels and table runners. As my loom is a horizontal countermarche, there are cords running down the middle of the loom, so warps are made in two halves then beamed together. Pics of back-t0-front warping will be added soon.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Though traditional in appearance, this is what I've chosen to weave again, this time in white and unbleached cottolin for towels and table runners. There are probably other colors on the shelf that can be used as weft, too. Most of what I've woven in the past four years or so has been with rug warp and batik fabrics for weft. This will be a great change of pace, and a good reminder that I love weaving with finer threads. Though the 20-24 epi of this new warp is not really "fine," it is a good way to get back to weaving something other than 10-12 epi.

Tweaking the Countermarche

Since the countermarche loom was moved a few days ago, it seemed a good time to do a little tweaking of anything that needed to be adjusted. The rods were placed in the jacks (from the back), shafts were in their holders, and a "warp" thread was tied onto the front beam, through the reed, through a heddle eye, and tied to the back beam. The thread should have been resting lightly on the bottom of the heddle eye, but was up just slightly, so all shafts (and holders) were raised one hole in the Texsolv, and now the thread IS resting in the bottom of the heddle eye.

When the rods and holders are removed, the action will drop a bit, and the thread should then be in the middle of the heddle eye.

The long V-cords run down in back of the shafts and lamms as they are supposed to. The distance from the floor to top of lamms was checked, and though not exactly at the measurements provided to me quite awhile back by Joe (RugsbyJoe), they are only 1/4" or so off, and changing by one loop in the Texsolv cord changes the measurements too much, so they changed back to where I originally had them.

Treadles are being tied up today for a 10 shaft twill though some of the tie-up cords are missing. I ordered more Texsolv cord, so while waiting for it to arrive, the warp will be made, a white and unbleached stripe, giving me options in weaving all-over plaids, border plaid, stripes, twill, plain weave, and so on, as well as varying the treadling. This will be a 12-15 yard warp, using cottolin that I have on hand, a fiber combination I enjoy weaving with.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Great Studio Swap, Part 1

The past few days have been spent finishing up sock orders, now only one order left. I've also been going through books, filing fiber magazines into holders, going through seemingly endless amounts of papers, and setting up more files, trying to get control of the paper blizzard, and keep it in check.

Yesterday evening, the great Studio Swap began when we took the Glimakra CM loom apart and moved it down to the living room. The drawloom will be down here in a few days, along with one other loom, shelving, and equipment. I wanted to make my studio space accessible to visitors. The living room furniture will be going upstairs to my (almost) former weaving room.

Lamms will be put back onto the CM this afternoon, cords put back in place, then treadles will be tied up for a ten shaft twill. Tomorrow a cottolin warp for towels and runners will be made.

The drawloom, when I reach that point, will be warped with cotton in satin weave. The Glimakra 8 shaft Victoria table loom will have fine cotton or linen warp for bookmarks. The 22" 8 shaft Harrisville will be warped for cards and/or sachets. The Gallinger rug loom (still on the main floor, but moved to the laundry room) sectional beam has perhaps 45 yards on it ready to go, only needing the new apron to be lashed on, then tie on and tension the warp. I'm getting the studio and looms ready for a long northwoods winter of weaving.

There were two "interruptions" last week in the form of phone calls from the Northwoods Wildlife Center. As a rescue driver for them, I never know when they might call. Last Saturday came a request to drive to the U.P. to look for an eagle that was down. After searching for two hours, and not finding the eagle, we returned home. It may have gorged earlier and could not fly, but was gone by the time we arrived, or may have been stunned by a mishap with a car, but recovered enough to fly. We'll never know.

The second call was Wednesday, could I meet up with someone from MI DNR and transport an eagle over to NWC in Minocqua, which I did. I stayed to watch Mark (rehabber) remove the eagle from the carrier, a quick refresher for me on how to grasp the legs and keep clear of those talons. I just called NWC, talked to Mark, and found out the eagle had severe internal injuries and only survived 1 1/2 days. Sometimes this volunteer work is heartbreaking, and other times it is very rewarding.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Last Day for 2008

Today was my last day at The Studio Gallery for 2008. Tomorrow is the last day we are open for business for 2008, though any of the artists may be contacted anytime throughout the year. It was an interesting season, given the economy. Though there were many positive comments on my woven table runners, they did not sell well this year, yet my socks, made on a 1908 Gearhart sock machine, sold very well. This was the first year I was making socks to sell.

The Studio Gallery is a cooperative gallery with eleven artists this year. We all contributed to annual expenses, and most members worked two or three days per month. Located in Boulder Junction, WI, the gallery is in a small, old, railroad building behind, which has a unique charm and come spring, a clean-up day takes place, and the new artwork is hung/displayed.

There are a number of birdhouses in the immediate vicinity, and pottery birdbaths are located outside, bringing winged visitors and beautiful birdsong. In previous years, we had beautiful flowers in the beds inside the gate, and a gorgeous window box planted, yet every year, midway through summer, we would arrive to find the local deer had jumped the fence and devoured everything in sight. They apparently had not read the books about which plants deer do not eat.

This year several of the women gathered together, cut out large wooden flowers, and painted them in bright, cheerful colors. We had many, many people inquire about purchasing the flowers, but believe next spring they will be sanded down, and re-painted and displayed again. With the circle cutouts in some of them, people loved posing and having their pictures taken. It worked out very well.

I brought my runners and socks home late this afternoon, not wanting to make the 40 minute drive again tomorrow. Tonight I am thankful for another year with the gallery, and I am already looking forward to 2009, and working on ideas for next year.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Peter Collingwood, Weaver

This morning there was a post by Jason Collingwood, informing weavers that his father, Peter Collingwood, had passed away yesterday, unexpectedly, while in his workshop, his favorite place.

The weaving world has lost an individual who shared his discoveries in the form of books, workshops, and through on-line lists such as WeaveTech. This year, interviews with Peter Collingwood, on two DVDs, were made available at Convergence 2008, and are now available through Complex Weavers.

When I first started weaving, Peter Collingwood was going to be giving a workshop at The Looms, in Mineral Point, WI. Ken Colwell urged me to attend, but as I had just taken only my first or second week of weaving classes, I felt I did not know enough too understand the content of the workshop, so I declined, a decision I have regretted these many years. We will all miss Peter's knowledgeable and sharing posts on WeaveTech.

Drawloom, A Work In Progress

Earlier this year, my kids and I brought out and re-assembled my Glimakra Single Unit Drawloom which had been stored for the past thirteen or so years. With no directions, only my memories of assembling it long ago, we put it together. More parts, lamms, treadles, etc. are currently residing on the floor under it, but as yet do not need to be added.

After straightening out and counting the old string heddles, I found there were about 100 on each of the first nine ground shafts, with the tenth shaft having none at the moment. I must search through bags of string heddles and see if I have more of them, but expect I'll need to order a cone of seine twine, make a jig, and make not only the needed heddles, but more for all the shafts.

After reading that the plastic maillons were no longer available, and not believing it, I wrote to Sara von Tresckow, of Woolgatherers in Fond du Lac, WI, who said she would be able to order the needed maillons from Sweden; they arrived several weeks later.

I knew I needed more lingos, and was told by a couple places that only the new U-shape lingos were available. Fortunately, Becky Ashenden of Vavstuga wrote me she had around 450 of the old style lingos (above) and would sell them to me at what I considered to be a very reasonable price, which was wonderful news. A short time later, two very heavy boxes arrived. I wiped each lingo off with a damp cloth, dried them, then wiped each one down with lemon oil, then "dried" them again.

After the maillons arrived, I found the cone of fine, very strong thread I had purchased from Ken, and set to work making new pattern heddles. I could have bought the newer U-shape lingos, and bought Texsolv pattern heddles, but preferred setting the loom up as before, in a more traditional way. So this is the point I am at now, some pattern heddles made, more are needed.

Now I must decide what to make a new drawcord warp from, do my calculations, and get it ordered. As I wrote previously, I am moving these looms down to the main floor of my home, so need to do that before I can go much further.

In the meantime, the remainder of the striped warp is waiting to be woven off, so the countermarche loom can be moved, too. Progress on weaving off the warp, making pattern heddles, making the drawcord warp, and moving the looms will be posted as I continue this journey.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

CSM Yarn Colors

Today, I am taking a short break from cranking socks, having finished up two orders which will be going out in the mail today. It seemed a good opportunity to do a bit housecleaning of the yarns I am currently using for cranking socks (shown above). I've been having a wonderful time the past few months, working out various pleassing color combinations, and have a list of over 85 that have worked out well. Using three colors at a time, fine wool and wool/nylon blend yarns, resulting in colors randomly coming to the surface. They are fun and colorful socks which many people are now enjoying. I am looking forward to trying out a different cylinder and needle setups, as well as different yarns over the coming winter.

Unfortunately, the yarns I've been using have been discontinued, so the search is on for replacements. Meanwhile, I'll be using up the yarns/colors I have on hand, which have been quite popular this past summer at a couple art/craft shows and CSM demonstrations.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Closing Toes on Sock Orders

Today was another cranky day, on the sock machine, that is. This evening, I've been closing toes and washing completed socks. Now, later this evening, I am closing toes on three socks made at the demo this past Friday evening. I am not entirely happy with one pair, which were requested to be made in red and black. Since I work with three colors at once, she added navy. In the finished socks, the red and navy dominate, the black recedes. So, tomorrow morning I'll be trying another pair, and hopefully have another cone of black yarn; she'll then have her choice. There should be a pic or two of the finished socks in a couple days. We're not using our woodburning kitchen range yet, which helps the socks dry quickly, so drying time will take an
extra day.

I've been estimating how many pairs of socks I'll need to have completed for next summer, and it boggles the mind!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Table Runners Summer 2008

I've been weaving these table runners for the gallery for about three years, and although I have the fabrics to weave many more of them, now intend to take a break, and return to weaving with cottolin and linen, as well as working on the drawloom. There is also a vintage Gallinger rug loom here, and rugs waiting to be woven. It's going to be an interesting winter.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Batik Table Runners

Auditioning warp colors and fabrics, this was the beginning of a series of table runners. I ended up with twelve colors in the warp, and used different coordinating batik fabrics for weft. The cotton prints in the basket were set aside for a future warp.

Since I have a horizontal countermarche loom, I make my warps in two halves, most often on the warping mill.

One runner in a series using various "wine" batiks.

Wine runners at The Studio Gallery, Summer 2008.

Friday, October 3, 2008

The Studio Gallery

Batik table runner at The Studio Gallery, coordinating nicely with pottery by Nancy Shoop.

The Studio Gallery is located behind The Outdoorsman Restaurant, in Boulder Junction, WI. In the small red building, you will find the work of eleven artists. We are a cooperative gallery, with members working a couple days a month. In the gallery, you will find the work of Carol Miller, photographer; Wendy Polalisz, watercolors and jewelry; Amy Higgason and Nancy Shoop, potters; Louise Engelbrecht, watercolors and weaving; Kathleen Kimball, handmade soap, collage artist, and book arts; Cathy Wirtz, knitted/felted hats and bags; Jane O'Brien, water-colors; Shirley Surges, watercolors; Toni Bergeon, quilt arts; and myself, with weaving and
hand-crafted socks.

It is wonderful, everytime I drive over to spend the day, to see the new artwork that has been brought in, and to hear the positive comments of visitors and buyers on the quality of the work.

Today I am at the gallery, and this evening I'll be in Three Lakes doing a sock machine demo at an open house at their new arts center. This weekend is the area Art Tour, as well as the sale of work by the Lake Country Weavers at the UCC Church in Eagle River. All in all, a very Arty weekend.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Sock Orders to Fill

I feel as if I've spent a good part of my summer cranking socks, having made over 100 pairs, and selling 80 pairs so far. I had so been looking forward to getting back to my loom, after Art In The Yard. There is a warp to finish weaving, and many more to be made and woven. However, there has been a slight delay,...

Yesterday and today, I am cranking socks to fill the orders from Art In The Yard. Two more pairs to do today, close the toes, wash and hang to air dry, then finish and tag. This photo is a sock in progress on the 1908 Gearhart.