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Collette decided on the navy blue Tencel weft. I wove the shawls over the next month. Lots and lots of fringe! Almost 800 bouts of twisted fringe took a few more days and, finally, the shawls were ready to be shipped off to her.
A couple of months before the wedding, Collette reached out to me to have shawls woven for her mother and future mother-in-law.
People ask me questions about my process all the time. How long does it take to make a piece? What kind of machine do you use to do this? What steps do you go through to get a finished piece? Why is this scarf so expensive? Those are hard questions to answer in 10 words or less.
Obviously it varies vastly from piece to piece. Some pieces are easy to plan and set up and take a long time to weave: we call those slow cloth. Some pieces weave up quickly but the planning and loom setup take a long time.
Below is a storyboard of the steps involved in creating a piece in my studio.
Total time 1-3 hours
From Wrap to Warp
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Mechanics of making a yarn wrap
Color inspirations for yarn wraps
Designing the wrap:
the artistic part of the work
Inspiration from yarns
Inspiration from fabric
Inspiration from artwork
Inspiration from a photo
Inspiration from nature
Inspiration from fashion
Color study inspired by a photo
Using wraps for color studies
Using wraps for color studies
-- Pattie Lamb
Knots are a tough thing for some weavers to incorporate into their work process. They can be tricky to tie unless you have a bit of experience using them. It is definitely worth learning a few good knots because they are helpful with the entire warping process.
You will find the following knots described below, so grab some string and practice, practice (click on the links below to go directly to the knot description):
Where I use these knots:
Every weaver uses different combinations of ties and knots in their warping process. The following is simply the way this weaver uses these knots when warping back to front:
On the warping board:
No Peeking Allowed - Treadling Tips
Forgive me if I am repeating things I talked about in other posts, but some things bear repeating.
Everyone handles their treadling differently, and that is just the way of weaving: everyone has their own way.
Personally I hate peeking at my feet while I weave. I feel it disrupts my rhythm and flow.
I do several thing to make sure I do not have to peek.
Walking the treadles:
I almost always walk my treadles. Inside to outside. I find it easy to walk left right left right as I treadle. My shuttle is (almost) always moving toward the foot that is depressed. This is ergonomically preferably to using one foot over and over. And it is surprisingly easy to manage walking the treadles with most treadling patterns. My treadles on a 10 treadle loom would be set up for walking as follows:
Examples of my cheat sheets:
Finding My Fade
Weaving My Fade
The inspiration shawl and the woven shawl are different yet related. Both use the same colorway, both are soft and warm, and both made me happy, although for different reasons. But just between you and me, I would choose weaving over knitting any day.
Well, that is really questionable in my opinion. I have never enjoyed hemstitching. However, I have 2 really good tips to make it a little easier.
The second tip improves your visibility for hemstitching. Depending on the color of my warp, I find that seeing the warp ends and counting them correctly can be challenging. I place a contrasting sheet of paper UNDER the warp, and voila: visibility improves dramatically.
My favorite weave structure happens to be turned twill (also known as block twill). I love this structure because there are an endless number of ways to vary the threading, tie-up and treadling, and the structure lends itself very easily to color changes in both threading and treadling. A veritable weaver’s wonderland!
Block A in the above draft is threaded on harnesses 1-4 and Block B is threaded on harnesses 5-8.
With this tie-up, when treadles 1-4 are weaving the following happens:
Now, for my magical scarf.
I wanted my scarf to have just 2 warp-wise stripes, so I changed the threading so I had only one Block A and one Block B, like this:
Finally I changed the tie-up to make the horizontal stripe disappear on the right side. In the above draft,
By changing the face of the right lower quadrant of the tie-up from warp-faced to weft-faced, Block A (harnesses 1-4) will weave the same way whether it is being woven with treadles 1-4 or with treadles 5-8. The stripe in Block A has disappeared!
Now I wanted to weave a second scarf with stripes on the other side.
Further modifications to the tie-up allowed me to weaves stripes on the variegated side of my warp (in Block A on harnesses 1-4) while keeping the solid green side of the warp consistently weft-faced.
For the first half of the scarf
These experiments with the tie-ups for turned twill have taught me a lot and opened up a world of possibilities for more experiments with shapes and colors. I have another color block experiment going on to the loom now. I will shared the results in the near future!
-- Pattie Lamb
Over the years I have gathered many tools that have become indispensable to me in my studio. Here are a few that are easy to find online.
Goody Girls Ouchless Elastics, 2 mm, No metal
Target or Amazon, various counts and prices
I use these on my treadles so I can treadle without peaking: “Braille” for my feet. I put them on all of my treadles and slide certain ones down so my feet can feel them and others up out of the way so I cannot. I like to put 3 on each treadle so they are "bulkier" and easier to feel with my feet.
I have been happily weaving since my son was born in 1988.