Now that I’m back in school, and back in the fiber studio, maybe I’ll post here a little more frequently. This semester in the fiber studio I’m concentrating on weaving. Here’s what I’ve done so far:
Wove a double knit sample that I’m turning into a wee bag:
Dyed some fabric to line the wee bag:
Dyed some yarn to use as weft for a painted warp sample:
And mixed dyes with which to paint the warp (that’s tomorrow’s project):
I’ll tell you about our visiting artist when I’m not so bloody tired.
I have decided to put myself on a schedule in preparation for the beginning of school.
- Up by 8:00 every morning. This will gradually move back to 6:45 a.m. the week before school. I stick with 8:00 on the weekends.
- Work on commissions all day until dinner, barring other obligations (play rehearsal, immediately-paid work, errands).
- At least 1/2 hour of spinning every other day, until/unless I decide it’s just not for me.
- At least one hour of personal knitting between dinner and bed time.
- At least one hour of reading before bed.
I’m not bothering with a bed time because it’s irrelevant as long as I’m up by the appropriate time in the morning. Weekends are reserved for working on the play, personal knitting, and designing.
I think that’s a good start. We’ll see if I can tighten things up after this week.
An Open Letter to My Readers:
I am participating the the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life in April at Michigan Tech University. I ask all who can to assist with the fundraising efforts and help me help make more birthdays.
There are two ways you can give to this wonderful cause:
Monetary Donation – this is a straight-up cash donation.
Luminaria – You may purchase a luminary for $10 and dedicate it In Honor of, In Support of, or In Memory of a tributee, and even include a personal message which will appear on the bag. These luminaries will be placed along the relay track and tributees will be honored throughout the event.
As an added incentive I will be knitting dishcloths while I am walking and I will give them away in some fashion after the event.
Please go to My Participant Page to make a donation or purchase a luminary.
Thank you all in advance for your support. Together we can find a cure.
Eric, a.k.a., KnittingDragon
With the end of the semester and finals, I managed to get behind on my updates. However…it’s done! The altar cloth is finished and hemmed, and I even have some pictures of it on the altar.
And here are a few of it on the altar:
All told, it took 20-25 hours to complete this project. I had great fun doing it and I think the result is wonderful. I’ll definitely be doing some more weaving in the near future.
Much progress has been made over the last week and a half.
Sleying the reed
Sleying the reed involves pulling each end through the dents, or openings in the read. In this case 563 ends (you’ll note this number changes later).
Setting up the shafts
As this loom had been in use and only 4 of the 8 shafts were used, I needed to count heddles to be sure that there were enough on each shaft. It was in this process that I discovered I had been given the wrong count for the number of ends per pattern repeat. Luckily I had too many ends. The final count should have been 545. I just pulled the extras out of the reed.
Threading the loom
Once the reed and warp are brought to the loom, each end must be threaded through a heddle in pattern. This is threading the loom front-to-back. You can also thread a loom back-to-front. After all the heddles are threaded the warp is tied to the warp beam with lark’s head knots, and lease sticks are inserted in the tabby (sheds created by all the even shafts then all the odd shafts) to maintain the cross and help with tension.
As you can see, I’m ready to wind on the warp, space it, then start weaving. Next installment will be the first pattern of the actual cloth.
I have decided to document the weaving process for my final project in Weaving and Off-Loom structure. I will be weaving an altar cloth for the university chapel.
The first thing was choosing the pattern. I was looking for something with a cross, and came across this
Gothic Cross from A Weaver’s Book of 8-Shaft Patterns: From the Friends of Handwoven by Carol Strickler
This is a shadow weave and is considered a complex weave.
Since I am doing this for the chapel, I spoke with the Chaplain to be sure we were on the same page. He loved the pattern. We decided on a full altar cloth as opposed to the panels that are currently there. The color choice was blue and white (shadow weave requires a dark and a light for both the warp and weft) so the cloth can be used for Advent in the ELCA calendar and for general Finlandia purposes (school colors are Finnish blue, navy, and white).
Next I had to choose the yarn. I settled on 3/2 perle cotton in Yale blue and natural for the warp, and Nassau and natural for the weft. Here are the cones for the warp. The weft is on order.
I spent the better part of an hour and a half doing the calculation for how much yarn I’d need for both the warp and weft, what the epi (ends per inch) was and what the sett would be. Here is the worksheet I used.
Winding the Warp
Finally I had to wind the warp. I needed 563 ends, 4.25 yards long. I wound both colors together as they will have to be threaded dark, light, dark light. I used the reel winder
instead of a warping board. I finished winding the warp today.
Next Installment: Sleying the reed and threading the heddles.
Experience (n): a series of events that, when combined, elicit an emotional response from the participant.
I would like to share with you an Experience. Last Saturday morning, I got up, showered, dressed, made coffee, threw on a sweater and scarf, and headed out the door to the Copper Country Community Arts Center to do a knitting demonstration at Fiberama, their annual fund-raising fiber swap. As I was walking out the door I realized I was going to miss lunch in the cafeteria, so I’d better stop to get some breakfast. On the way, I passed the tori, the famers’ market. I picked up some fresh, home-baked (that morning) currant scones.
After the demonstration, I headed over to the International School of Art & Design for a Finlandia Fiber Society meeting. As I had indeed missed lunch, I stopped at the Kaleva bakery and got a fresh, hot pasty.
A nice fall day, home-baked goods for breakfast, a hot lunch, art, and fiber, all within reasonable walking distance. Only in the Keweenaw.
OK, so that was really, really bad. It’s early, give me a break. As you may have guessed, we’ve started weaving. We started out on inkle looms with pearl cotton yarn. I so much love this process. I’m going to see if I can find an inexpensive one at the Weaver’s Exchange in 2 weeks.
Here is my first project off the loom:
This will end up as a hat band and strap-handles for my portfolio.
Here is the second project on the loom:
and off the loom:
(Ignore the ugly carpet) Last night I tied this in a double-Windsor knot and wore it as a scarvat (scarf and cravat). An older gentleman in the grocery store was intrigued with it and told me I should sell them…that might not be a half bad idea.
Next week we start on the big looms, then spinning.
In other (art) news, here are my first two still lifes (you can see why I’m a fiber artist and not a sketch artist):
I’m participating in the Mackinac Bridge Walk this weekend. Recap and pictures early next week.
I wrote this paper for an assignment in Art Business. The assignment: Envision yourself five years from now. There were some more explicit instructions, but that is the gist. Here is what I came up with:
Five years from now I will be finishing up my MFA from a school in either the Northeast or Pacific Northwest. I will be searching for a cottage/bungalow on the ocean or lakeshore. The dwelling must have ample studio/office space and good lighting. I will be searching also for a suitable location to open a yarn shop. Not just any yarn shop, but my, yarn shop, featuring natural and exotic products and creations by independent fiber artists.
Five years from now I will have patterns published in at least two knitting magazines and have a book in the works, if not already in print. I will have discovered knitting as art and, in addition to garment and accessory designs, I will be creating knitted art for art’s sake. I will have had at least one exhibition and have at least one more scheduled in the coming year. I will also be teaching knitting classes at two different venues.
Five years from now my studio will not be ideal, but it will be situated as best as can be expected in the space allowed (I will, after all, still be a grad student). I will have plans for my ideal studio; plans that are flexible enough to fit a variety of spaces yet can house all of the essentials and those things I need to keep me inspired and productive. I will have an ample contact list and a group of regular followers eagerly awaiting my next design and/or next piece.
Five years from now my circle of friends will include fellow artists, mentors, those quirky folks I tend to attract, designers, and groups of passionate knitters. My calendar will be populated (but not overly so) with gallery openings, receptions, parties, book signings, interviews, and design submission deadlines. I will be more comfortable with myself and more at ease socially. I will not sit at home being bored.
Five years from now my day will consist of coffee, class, teaching, designing, creating, and those social engagements necessary for my endeavors. Studio time will be a priority. I will take time for myself every day, even if just for a few minutes.
Five years from now I will be an artist ready to launch myself as an Artist.