Daily Check-in July 2013

Here we go again - with the busyness of summer it is hard to find time to be weaverly but. . . . Even though I may not be doing much physical weaving my mind is busy planning projects and I have been looking at weaving projects and reading a bit on weaving history. Looking forward to seeing what everyone else is up to. Weave on!


Posted on Mon, 07/01/2013 - 03:31

I just finished dyeing yarn for my next set of fabric samples...7 yards, 24" wide at 90 epi. (OK, that sounds suspiciously large for a sample...but I plan to try a lot of combinations of drafts, colors, etc. in those 7 yards. Since I want at least 12-24" of each combo so I can judge how well it will work in a garment, that's not as many samples as you'd think!)

Anyway, I dyed 210 grams of 140/2 silk a bright scarlet, and 60 grams of some godforsakenly-fine silk (it's about the same diameter as one of my hairs, and I mean that quite literally). I'm estimating 24,000 yards of yarn between the two.

Tomorrow is going to be  the fun part...unwinding all those skeins! I'm going to put them on my lightest swift, made out of Tinkertoys, and be very very careful about unwinding them. If I'm lucky they'll wind off without temper tantrums, if I'm not...well...I'll give it my best shot, but there's a reason that scissors exist!

Posted on Mon, 07/01/2013 - 12:10

your project sounds very scary to me! Good luck - looking forward to seeing your samples. You always do such interesting work. . . .


Posted on Mon, 07/01/2013 - 12:50

Oh, the 140/2 silk isn't scary (code for: "I did that once before and it didn't explode"). It's unwinding the superfine silk that worries me - it's a lot weaker than the 140/2 and if it breaks, I don't know if I'll ever find the end again! But we'll just have to see...!

Posted on Mon, 07/01/2013 - 15:05


You have probably already considered this, but would a vacuum with a restricted tip at the end of the hose work to find a broken end if it happens? (I am thinking to pull the end up from the skein so you can *maybe* see it waving at you?) Ok. Did I suggest this before?

Posted on Mon, 07/01/2013 - 18:25

but I am still weaving several afternoons a week. I am currently warping my BW for a "serenity shawl" from the January Handwoven. I have used Brown Sheep's cotton fine before and just love the springy touch the little bit of wool adds to the cotton.
I have started going to my gym regularly again because I realized certain chronic physical pains could make it harder to weave! So now if I an balking at going to the gym I remind myself that I do it so I can continue to weave just like I used to keep in shape so I could backpack. So far, its working well and my back feels much better.
Off to Santa Fe in a few days where I will get to gaze at many fine weavings!

Posted on Mon, 07/01/2013 - 20:50

I've tried that trick with a Dustbuster (hand-held vacuum cleaner) but it wasn't powerful enough. Maybe i should try it with a regular vacuum cleaner? I'm kind of terrified of breaking yet more strands, but it might be more effective. Have you tried it?

Posted on Tue, 07/02/2013 - 02:17

But seems like it should work. If you use a real vacuum, you can control the suction with floor or carpet setting. And figure out how much to constrict the opening or not. You could put something over the attachment to lessen the pull if needed? Hope you don't have to resort to Plan B, but I am unsure how to find the end if it breaks.

Posted on Tue, 07/02/2013 - 16:07

Sounds wonderful Tien.  You do such beautiful work.  Goodluck with such fine thread.

In less than 48 hours the gates will open for the 50th Mountain State Art & Craft Fair, I'm 3 hours from home and I have a list of "must have" things and where they are..... at home.  The biggy is a piece to the loom!  I do love have a handy fella and he's in the shop as I type resolving that issue.  Now to find someone (Hey Mom!) to go to my house, pick up the weavings and bring to the Fair.  She's coming anyway, but my house is 20 miles in the opposite direction from her! 

Wound a 10 yard warp for the pin beater loom, it was last woven on in 1927.  We are going to warp it, for the first time, at the Fair.  This should be interesting.  Bruce just brought up the cog for the cloth beam, and was admiring the craftsmanship of the blacksmith who made it.  I love the history of these looms.

Wish me well, if you find yourself near eastern WV (Ripley) between the 4th and the 6th track me down.   

Posted on Tue, 07/02/2013 - 17:05

I hope all goes well in unwinding skeins. Plan B sounds good but instead of a sucking motion you might consider a blowing motion , as a air compressor used to get the dust out of computer keys, if used far enough away it would create a gentle movement perhaps moving that loose end out without harming the other ends. Only a thought, I have never tried this.
I guess a blow dryer set on cold and low held an arm's length would do the same thing. Good luck! Hopefully you won't need a Plan B!

Posted on Tue, 07/02/2013 - 17:08

Me? I've been travelling for weeks and 1 week to go till I'm at my looms again. Driving through Indiana and very happy to report by the looks at the farms we should have wonderful corn this summer:)

Posted on Wed, 07/03/2013 - 14:07

Well, I unwound the first two skeins of 140/2 silk today. I'm pleased to say that they behaved themselves beautifully - unwound smooth as, well, silk, and I only got a few broken ends, which were easy to find. I'm still terrified of the superfine silk, though.

Pic of silk skeins (24,000 yards in photo):

Pic of the ball gown I'm sampling for (these will go into the skirt):

I have a four-day weekend this weekend, so am hoping to get the warp fully threaded by then. With 2160 threads in the warp (if I do a full 24"; I might do only 15"), though, that will be quite a bit of work. I hope things stay cool - my loom lives in the garage!

Posted on Thu, 07/04/2013 - 20:08

on a tied weave from Su Butler's MAFA workshop. I have only been able to weave for 10-15 minute increments since returning from the conference. Work deadlines. Arghhh.


Posted on Fri, 07/05/2013 - 02:41

I have a student who often lame to the overuse of awesome. However, you all never fail to live up to the rye meaning. I am ever on awe of your creativity a s gorgeous works!

Posted on Sat, 07/06/2013 - 19:16

Trying to get in at least an hour daily...between the garden and picking blueberries.....pulling weeds.....

Posted on Tue, 07/09/2013 - 10:59

Decided to change the shuttle to an end feed...to speed up the weaving...much better and is definately going faster. I am wondering why I ever wound six gazillion yards of warp on this loom...maybe I had grand ideas of 1 gazillion waffle weave towels..!!!!!

Posted on Tue, 07/09/2013 - 11:56

tension issues with the warp on the RH - apparently I was not paying close enough attention to detail while beaming on. So am trying to fix the issues and get this warp off the loom - its just not speaking to me and now with these issues it really is not speaking to me or I to it! I need to get a new warp wound for the MW - It is hard to be weaverly during the summer!


Posted on Tue, 07/09/2013 - 12:13

Tina, I think you're right! At least for me it's much harder for me to be Weaverly in the summertime ! Travel and visitors and such, really throws me off my game.
Sorry about your warp not behaving. My June tapestry diary was such a dog. So discouraging. Your next warp will be a dream!

Yesterday I wove early morning, peace and quiet, no one else was up. Nice.

Posted on Tue, 07/09/2013 - 21:54

I was testing an end feed shuttle this past week and I found that I could weave faster with my ordinary Swedish boat shuttle.  (No I won't tell you which one). I did weave with it for a long time to give it a good test. This was 8/2 cotton, so it is not a thread which is difficult for an end feed shuttle. 


Posted on Tue, 07/09/2013 - 22:00

Spent the afternoon going through some of my friends textile collection from Asia. I have some photos which I will post to my blog once I am home.


Posted on Tue, 07/09/2013 - 23:31

where I was inspired by the weavers in Chimayo especially Lisa and Irvin Trujillo at Centinela Traditional Arts and Eugene and Rose Vigil at Los Vigiles Living Traditions Fiber Studio and Supply. I bought a bit of yarn from Eugene and from Miriam's Well in Santa Fe. So much fun to talk weaving and yarn! Now I am trying to unpack, do laundry and finish warping my cotton fine shawl. Rather distracting but triple checking myself. I just don't want to wait till chores are done before I weave.

Posted on Wed, 07/10/2013 - 21:46

Lot's of Tapestry weaving today, July's tapestry diary is looking much better than June's:)

Tommorrow tie die in the Indigo Vat!

Posted on Fri, 07/12/2013 - 04:15

I've been inspired by my trip to Scotland and am going to try to weave a tartan.  I'm calling it "Golden Ticket," based on "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," as it has dark chocolate (dark brown), milk chocolate (light brown), white chocolate (natural), and narrow bands of gold (the Golden Ticket).  We'll see if I'm able to weave square, so wish me luck!


Posted on Fri, 07/12/2013 - 04:28

Just thought I'd try and show everyone the 200-year old loom that I saw in the village of Kilbarchan, Scotland.  This is at The Weaver's Cottage, which has been restored to its 1800s-era wonderfulness.  As you can see, the loom is still being used -- the weaver (whose name escapes me right now) just finished designing and weaving a tartan to honor the 500-year anniversary (next year) of the Battle of Bannockburn.  I highly recommend going here if you're in the neighborhood!


Posted on Mon, 07/15/2013 - 13:32

I went a little nuts over the weekend and threaded/sleyed/tied on/debugged a 1440 thread warp in fine threads. Here's the result, after about 15-20 hours of warping and debugging:

It's huck lace at 90 epi, scarlet warp and lemon yellow weft. It's wildly iridescent, and just gorgeous. I can't wait to see what else I get off this warp!


More details (and some weaving philosophy) in this morning's blog post: http://www.tienchiu.com/2013/07/heaven-and-hell-2/

Posted on Mon, 07/15/2013 - 13:44

Tien - that is some marathon warping / weaving but what a gorgeous sample!


Posted on Mon, 07/15/2013 - 23:23

So unwove it and rewove this. Better. (But still not my favorite.) I don't think it plays well with the warp because it covers it up nearly completely. However, if I ever had a dog on the loom, this would be a great way to cover it up and move on!

Posted on Tue, 07/16/2013 - 10:56

Tien, beautiful sample!

Sally, I really like this. I know very little about Samitum and away from my library, shucks! So I don't understand how it works. I Like the 3 D effect in your sample though and the weft colors, as usual, are Interesting/pleasing.

Still love , love, that warp!

Thanks for posting, great way to start my morning:)

Posted on Tue, 07/16/2013 - 13:11

OK. I have 8 pattern blocks across half this warp (shafts 5-12), and the pattern reflects in the middle. The tie downs are threaded on 1-4, alternating with a pattern warp.

There is no "ground" woven with Samitum as there was with the other samples so far. I rotate through the tie downs + pattern, one tie down at a time. 

So, I decided where I wanted the color to appear (and which color) on graph paper. The treadling sequence is tie down 1 + the first pattern color, then P2, P3, and if I have a 4th color across the row, P4. Next is TD2, and the same sequence of all the pattern colors before changing tie down.

Yes, it takes A LOT of treadling to complete just one sequence. The little purple square in the middle of the white box represents 64 pics! It's like all four colors pack down to make one pic in "normal" weaving.

The other tricky thing to keep in mind... to get the pattern color to appear on the surface, you have to treadle everything BUT those target shafts. So where you see the color blocks, the only warp treadled in that area was the tie down. (Hence the twill line). 

It sounds way more complicated than it is if you have a loom warped in front of you. I have been amazed at how intuitive it is (and perhaps Su Butler was an excellent teacher! ;-)

Posted on Tue, 07/16/2013 - 22:23

Wow, Sally, that's incredible! It sounds like so much fun! (And work!)Thanks for taking the time to explain what it's about. It 's on my " must experience" list! I also liked the other samples you did at that workshop.

Posted on Thu, 07/18/2013 - 23:40

with my weaving/tapestry teacher. WE all had so much fun with the natural dyes. I am going to have to buy some and dye at home soon, especially since I have only 3 oz. in each color. More, I want more!

Posted on Fri, 07/19/2013 - 12:17

Due to the weather here in central Pa.....high 90's for days....I'm taking a holiday from anything that even appears to involve any movement...other than drinking iced tea.  This is so outrageous....I have 5 fans running day and night....house fans...barn fans...!!!!!

Posted on Fri, 07/19/2013 - 12:17

Due to the weather here in central Pa.....high 90's for days....I'm taking a holiday from anything that even appears to involve any movement...other than drinking iced tea.  This is so outrageous....I have 5 fans running day and night....house fans...barn fans...!!!!!

Posted on Fri, 07/19/2013 - 13:04

I keep thinking at least I get paid to be inside in air conditioning. It's set high, at 80 degrees, but at least not humid.

Today should be the worst I think.

One of my guildmates is scheduled for historic demo tomorrow, and I follow on Sunday. I think I am going in "historic garb lite" instead of the full costume.

Posted on Fri, 07/19/2013 - 17:24

Just finished weaving 10 inches of the toughest weaving possible: plain weave! There's nowhere to hide your errors in plain weave, and needleweaving at 90 epi is not possible, so weaving fine threads in plain weave requires close attention to catch flaws. There are still quite a few flaws in the cloth, but not too bad, I think:

And the cloth is beautifully iridescent!


I'm now moving on to weaving a sample with metallic gold thread, but I don't like it as much - it looks garish to me. But we'll see what it's like once it's wet-finished...

Posted on Fri, 07/19/2013 - 19:13

The colors that you achieve in your dyeing are lovely. Besides being a very good dyer, are you using Lanasets?

I agree with you about plain weave, the hardest of them all! Unforgiving!

Posted on Fri, 07/19/2013 - 21:57

I use Lanaset when I use acid dyes, but the scarlet is Procion MX fiber-reactive and the lemon yellow weft is Cibacron F fiber-reactive, I think. I usually work with silk, and the fiber-reactives are easier to work with (no heat), more permanent, and have brighter colors than the Lanasets, so I've mostly been working with fiber-reactive dyes lately. I need to make more fiber-reactive samples, though! (Maybe next year...)

Posted on Sat, 07/20/2013 - 23:02

I was feeling a bit guilty, with the deadlines we have, I should have been working today (Saturday). But I had fun exploring taquete on my workshop warp, and then figuring out how to weave interlocking boxes. I cannot believe how much fun this is, and how many different "looks" I can get from a single warp. 

Posted on Sat, 07/20/2013 - 23:04

so glad you decided to weave today and share the results - beautiful!



Posted on Mon, 07/22/2013 - 01:51

Metallic gold weft (gold machine embroidery thread):

I didn't like it when I was weaving it, thinking it looked too garish - but now that it's wet-finished, I LOVE it - I think it looks beautifully regal.

Posted on Tue, 07/23/2013 - 21:14

We're getting ready to celebrate TJ's 1st birthday tomorrow. So not much weaving here. I did get some tapestry weaving done on vaca, but didn't even finish the warping process. Well it is slow weaving, so there you go!