Weaving the Bronze Challenge

Inspired by Dianne Totten’s talk at the Association of Northwest Weaving Guilds Conference in the June of 2017, one of our guild members, Marian, decided to try a second pleated scarf to enter into our guild’s Bronze/Get Wired challenge.   Loom controlled Shibori is a method of placing weft pleater threads, similar to smocking threads, every few rows in a plain weave ground cloth.

The pleater threads should be strong and smooth for drawing up, flexible enough to knot and fine enough so that the holes don’t show once the thread is removed.  Polyester upholstery thread works well and fits easily into a shuttle.   A weave structure is chosen to allow the pleater threads to be placed in a pattern; diamonds for instance.  Twills work well.  Marian chose a simple overshot pattern which allowed the pleater threads, set every 6 rows, to form large diamonds. .

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The ground cloth weft should be 50 -100% man made thermal reactive thread such as orlec or polyester. This ensures that the finished product, once steamed with the pleater threads drawn up will be permanently pleated. In this scarf orlec was used for the pleats and bamboo for softness and hand and they were woven pic-on pic.  (If the colours are close enough the thermal and the natural threads can alternate every 6 rows when a new pleater thread is added).  Pleating the scarf doubles the weight so using a fine weft such as 2/16 ensures a light weight scarf.

Pleats Warp

 

So here’s how it went.  After winding a 2/8 tencel warp using a couple of bronzes with a ‘duck egg’ blue accent at a weaving friend’s cottage on Georgian Bay this summer, Marian rented a nice Ashford table loom from the Greater Vancouver Weavers and Spinners Guild to use in her daughter’s garden during a visit out west.  After setting up the loom, Marian wove off and on while they all went off to work or daycare.  It was lovely.

Overshot Pleater Thread Diamond Pattern

One day close to the end of her stay, she took her work off the loom, finished the ends, pulled up and knotted the pleater threads and set it in a steamer on the stove for a couple of hours.  45 minutes is recommended but this was a small double boiler style steamer and she had to adjust the coils a few times to ensure every thing got thoroughly steamed.  …because, once you remove the threads, you either have pleats or you have flat cloth  …there is no going back.  And she got pleats!  Once the pleater threads were removed, the scarf was rinsed in luke warm water to remove the traces of any holes left by the pleaters   …and the pleats remained.

 

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THE GUILD GETS WIRED

It was a lovely fall day for the 2018 Five County Seminar hosted by the Guelph Guild at the Wellington County Museum.  The theme was GET WIRED.  Keynote speaker, Sayward Johnson, spoke in the morning about her journey into weaving with wire.  She was an excellent speaker and if you get the chance check out her work.   https://saywardjohnson.ca/

The afternoon program offered mini workshops and a tour of Wellington Fibres.  http://wellingtonfibres.on.ca

The Museum also held tours of their textile collection.

 

Seven guilds took the Get Wired Challenge.  The displays were awesome.  Such a lot of talent and creativity.  You would never know that most of the items were created  by seniors!  Each guild was given a metal to interpret either in fibre, wire, beads or felt.  The displays were inspiring.

Bronze was our guild’s challenge metal.  Our display had a variety of items.  Some were woven in bronze colours, some were created by crocheting, knitting or wrapping wire.  There were even baskets that incorporated wire and metal into their woven vessels.

 

Five guild members took on the challenge of warping a small table loom in wire and a long metal piece was woven using wire, beads, paper, fibre, and metal findings.  This piece proved to be the highlight of the show winning Best Weaving Award and the  Peoples Choice Award.  We were so surprised.

 

Here is a sampling of some of the other Guilds’ interpretation of the theme.

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THE STOWE EXPERIENCE

Each year a group of guild members make the journey to Stowe, Vermont to take part in the Basketry Festival.  This year only three members made the trip.  Here is Jill’s experience of her week in the mountains.

Tidal Wave Basket  (Instructor: Debbie Hurd – Garfield, AR )

This basket was woven over a class mold to achieve a perfect shape!  It is made of cane. We learned several techniques including 4-rod wale, 6-rod wale, twill weaving, triple twining, triple twine arrows, packing rows and a folded rim.  There were lots of colour choices.

Abalone and Cedar Basket  (Instructor: Pam Talsky – Waterford, WI) –

In creating this basket, we were taught traditional Haida weave techniques using finely, hand prepared Alaskan yellow and red cedar from Thorne Bay, AK.  Beautiful large Abalone specimens are included.  We learned square to round start, adding warp (spokes) and a sweet border at the top.  Beads were used to add an extra sparkle.  Waxed linen twining experience is a great base to learn from.  Harvest and preparation were discussed.  Pam harvests and treats her own yellow cedar.

Hinges, Doors, Books and Lockets  (Instructor: Mary Hettmansperger – Peru, IN)

This was definitely not a basket class but as the guild challenge this year is Get Wired,  it was a very approprite class choice.  Using copper sheeting and silver accent, we designed a hinged locket.   Mica was used to protect the image she brought for the locket and cold connections held it in place.  We made one locket with a copper back and a sterling front and other materials were available to make more books and lockets using just copper.  Patinas, texturing and metal applications, including embossing, were also explored.  The focus of this class was to master the hinge using tabs to create a variety of moveable doors.  It is a low-tech process with fabulous results.

     Wrapped Up   (Instructor: Annetta Kraayeveld – Beloit, WI)

Unfortunately Jill did not finish her basket but the photo below shows us what her 20180517_161142finished basket will be like.  It is a  little market style basket.  It starts with a woven filled base and is woven with round reed, hamburg cane and seagrass.  We were also taught a great method for hiding weaver ends.  The focal point of the basket it the eye catching wrap – one more great technique!

 

 

 Sculptural Antler Basket  (Instructor – Anne Bowers – Kearneysville, WV.)

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Jill did not take this course but could not resist showing it off.   It was woven by the daughter of the festival’s organizer, Merry.  This crazy colour basket was made using 10 different colors of round reed in addition to seagrasses, jute, baling twine and other materials.  Techniques include how to weave in hills and valleys and how to make use of windows and beads.  It sits on a  antler.  The baskets made in this class were all amazing!

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MISSISSAUGA GUILD TURNS 40

I became a member of the guild in the early 80’s.  I was member number 52 and knew absolutely nothing about weaving.  Over the ensuing years, guild members guided me through the trials and tribulations of warping a loom, learning new weave structures, and how to finish the woven item.  Hands on workshops; study groups; conferences all helped in my education.  I cannot imagine being able to achieve the skills I have today without them.  Although our membership has dwindled,  I still rely on them for advice, support and of course friendship.  The guild has made my life richer.

Recently we decided to spend a few days away together at the Burleigh Falls Inn.  The Inn was built in the 1800’s, destroyed by fire, and rebuilt again.  It has the old stamped tin ceilings, large windows to see the falls and the lake.

Besides rooms in the Inn, there are cottages each with two queen sized beds and a screened in porch.

The Inn is under new management and the staff accommodated our every need.  A large room was available for us to use for the many hands on projects we had planned for experimenting with wire.

Good food, a little wine, lots of laughter made this Retreat a memorable event for the Guild.

retreat dinner 2

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CHALLENGING WINTER

People who work in fibre, especially on a loom, struggle with the mechanics of their tools, problems with the fibre they use, solving design issues and colour interactions.  Often these challenges are dealt with alone in home studios and sometimes far away on an island.  Our long winter isolates us even more so it is great to get an email with a photo of someones latest work.  Here are a few of our members winter projects.

louise tea towels

Louise’s grand plan was to wind one warp 12 yards long of white 2/8 cotton and wind another 12 yard warp of pastel 3/5 mercerized pastel  cotton from ukI.  She was going to put the white warp on a secondary warp beam and the coloured cotton on the primary beam.  Unfortunately she found she did not have enough of the pastel coloured cotton for 12 yards.  She also found her secondary warp brake did not work properly.  She ended up cutting the white warp down to 6 yards and combined it on the primary warp beam with the coloured warp sett at 24 epi.  She used up the last of her coloured cotton in the weft which was the whole reason for the project.    End result was a lovely length of fabric to be cut and finished for tea towels for future sales.

 

marian portugal warp

Marian’s towels from photo inspiration to warp reeling to weft sampling to weaving.
The weave structure is Bumberet which groups warp colours in threes. On a warp reeling these groups were arranged using Fibonacci ratios (1:2:3:5) to give a graduated watery effect with the blues and a striated effect with the oranges.  This weave structure alternates plain weave with three end floats. The hope was that the long floats would help to keep the oranges and blues distinct.  The weft for each towel is simply one colour of blue; one mid blue, one turquoise, one aqua. Quite a lot of designing has gone into this project and there is still one more towel to weave.  For the last one Marian hopes to weave it using the Fibonacci ratios in a variety of colours..  Can’t wait to see results.

 

carole scarf 5

Carole’s silk and  stainless steel silk scarf was a warp and weave challenge.  She used a strand of silk and one of the stainless steel  silk together.  The later is a hair thickness, hard to see and definitely with a life of its own.  The warp was sett at 12 ends per inch.  After carefully winding the warp she made sure the warp was tied off ever inch or so to keep it under control.  As she was only doing one scarf she did not use a second warp beam but noted that even on a short warp the stainless steel warp thread needed a different tension and that the take up resulted in a threads which needed adjusting every once in a while.  Otherwise she just let the stainless steel silk do its thing as weaving with the pale pink silk made it hard to see any skips.  The finished scarf is a bit kinky and has a slight shimmer.   Quite a challenge for a winter weaving project.

 

katleen baskets in Dominica

While spending the winter on a lovely warm Caribbean island without a loom, Kathleeen spent the months creating woven/plaited baskets out of palm leaves. This is quite a collection of work. It proves that weavers’ hands are always busy taking up the weaving challenge where ever they are.

 

 

 

 

 

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A TALE OF TWO PERUVIAN SCARVES

The guild is celebrating its 40th anniversary and I hope to have a blog from as many members as I can to commemorate this year.  This article is written by one of our guild members who has been a guild member almost from the beginning of its formation.

“Earlier this year my son Jeff and his wife Karen vacationed in Peru.  During one excursion to a small village high up in the Andes Jeff came across a large pile of brightly-coloured balls of wool at the local marketplace.  He gathered up enough to fill an easy-to-pack bagful and brought it home to me (along with an exquisite sash woven on a backstrap loom.)  After admiring the pretty colours for several months, I decided to use some of the wool to make scarves for Jeff and Karen as a memento of their trip.  I don’t have much wool in my stash, but there was some “vintage” 2/6 Black Merino (circa 1989) which was comparable in size.  I weighed the Peruvian balls and with one exception they weighed 23 gm. each (the exception was 27 gm), and I estimated I had about 90 yds./ball.   My design was based on a project found in “Home Weaving” by Oscar Bériau, called “Belt or Sash”, pg. 250.  On December 19, hoping my math was accurate, I wound a 5-yard warp, using 6 of the colours for the stripes.  The weaving went quickly and I was able to twist the fringes, wash (and dry) the scarves and wrap them up as a surprise Christmas gift for Jeff and Karen to add to their memories of a magical trip.”

 

Peru Scarf - Finished

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FAREWELL 2017

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To many guild members 2017 held many challenges.  Thankfully the year has almost come to an end and we are all still smiling and creating lovely fibre items.  The guilds year end party with its gift exchange is always a highlight and the gifts we receive are treasured and help to bring back happy memories.

Here is wishing you a happy holiday season and good wishes for the coming year 2018.

spinners xmas socks

Our spinners get to wear their festive Xmas socks into the new year.

 

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