Monday, September 29, 2014

Try and Try and Try Again

If you hit the target every time it's too near or too big.  
~ Tom Hirshfield

Last week I took my backstrap loom on a work trip and tried to add my supplementary weft patterning with bright yellow embroidery floss.  

Here is my first attempt:  

I was not pleased.  :(

It doesn't look anything at all like the pictures on this blog that I am following...  :(

Happily, it's easy to remove a supplementary weft pattern and try again.  

My weaving friend suggested that I try doubling the thickness of the embroidery floss.  

Here is my second attempt:  

A little better, but still not very good.  :(

My friend suggested that I try beating the weft tighter - or maybe use a thinner weft yarn.  She said that she could kind of see the pattern, but it was elongated.  

This time I pulled EVERYTHING off and started over from the beginning this weekend - with trying to tighten the warp threads evenly.  

It took several hours to tighten and re-tie all the threads - the result:  

I was happy with the half on your left, but not happy with the half on your right.  

So, I untied it all, tightened it all and re-tied it all - several more hours:  

Now, BOTH sides look bad.  :(

I do NOT know what is going on with this project.  :(

I've already put more time into this front panel than I put into the back panel, and it isn't even really started yet!  :(

People talk about "listening to your warp" and "it is trying to tell you something"...  

Apparently this warp is saying, "I hate you!  Die!"  :(

So, I don't know what I'm going to do...  :(

Wow, isn't it great that we have these hobbies to help us relax and enjoy ourselves?  ;)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

One Advantage Over Sewing...

Books [and backstrap looms] are a uniquely portable magic.  
~ Stephen King

I can take my loom with me on my work trip and weave in my hotel room!  

Sewing machine?  Not so much...  ;)

Monday, September 22, 2014

'Cause I'm...

So kiss me and smile for me.
Tell me that you'll wait for me.
Hold me like you'll never let me go.  
~ John Denver

Yes, I have yet another week-long work trip...  :(

I'm taking my backstrap loom and my camera - send me good wishes for happy hotel room weaving!  

I hope your week is looking better than mine!  ;)

Friday, September 19, 2014

Warp Speed... NOT!

Trees that are slow to grow bear the best fruit.  

I have been working ever...




on preparing the warp for the front of my loom bag.  

A weaving friend (yay!  I have a weaving friend!) suggested that I add some extra crosses to the end of my warp, to help reduce the presence of ridges in my final cloth.  

So, I added extra crosses:  

And I'm working in small batches:    

It took a while, but I finally got  it all warped and on the loom.  :)

See the two thin black rows in the middle of the warp?  

Right now, they appear odd - out of proportion to the rest of the fabric.  :(

Well, they mark the boundaries for where I am going to put my supplementary weft pattern.  

The (bright yellow) pattern should pretty much fill the space in between them.  

So, I hope that, once I start weaving and adding the pattern, it will all come together and they won't look so odd...  

We'll see...  

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Pattern Planning

Children have never been very good at listening to their elders,
but they have never failed to imitate them.
~ James Baldwin

I'm getting the majority of my information on backstrap weaving from a blog entitled (brace yourself) "Backstrap Weaving" and written by Laverne Waddington, an Australian living in South America.  

While I was hoping to find a supplementary weft pattern heavily featuring kittens, rainbows and hearts for the front of my loom bag, I will probably start with Laverne's supplementary weft patterns.

Here are two that I am seriously considering:  

Remember that my color scheme is a royal blue background and a bright yellow pattern.  

I've been working on getting my warp ready - I'll try to have some pictures for you later this week!  

Monday, September 15, 2014

Classy and Fabulous!

A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.
~ Coco Chanel

I have a wonderful friend who personifies this Coco Chanel quote. In addition to all her other awesome qualities, she has a special knack for style and design.  It shows in everything she does - but particularly in her clothes and her home.  She knows how to make a wardrobe or a room have a distinctive style and look "put together."  

She spread a little bit of her magic into my sewing room this year, as a gift for my birthday.  

Look at what she created for me:  

She picked out two beautiful vintage patterns on Etsy and framed them - making the perfect pair of wall hangings for my sewing room!  

In retrospect, it's such a simple idea.  But it never would have occurred to me in a million years.  And they are just beautiful!  

What a fabulous way to decorate your sewing room - or as a gift for a friend who sews!  

Thank you, to my friend W., for bringing a little bit of her classy style into my sewing room!  :)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Loom Bag Progress!

Begin - to begin is half the work, let half still remain; 
again begin this and thou wilt have finished.  
~ Decimus Magnus Ausonius

I am half-way done with my loom bag!  More specifically, I have finished the back panel.  AND, I have some pictures for you!  :)

The warp on my loom:  

I had been shooting for 12 inches wide - it came out around 11 inches wide - not too bad...  

I did a few inches with a wide weft to get everything "shaken out" and aligned.  Then I switched to the narrow weft - you can see both sections in this picture - look for the threads sticking out the sides to see where one leaves off and the other starts up:  

I used white yarn left over from the warp, as the weft - look at the cute little white dots I get along the edges:  

Here it is finished (24 inches long) on the loom:  

Here is the bag cut from the loom and laid out next to the loom sticks to judge the size:  

You can see how nicely the loom will fit in the bag (remember, this is just the back panel) - you can see how I plan to form the casing  along the short edge on your left:  

I decided to make braided drawstrings for my bag, using left over yarn:  

There will be two braids, each going through the casings on both sides of the bag and one coming out on the left side and the other coming out on the right side:  

I am pretty happy with it so far!  I wish I could let everyone feel the woven fabric - it is so soft and yet substantial at the same time...  

Now I'm waiting for the rest of the yarn to come in the mail, so that I can make the front panel.  I'm going to use bright yellow embroidery floss to add a pattern to the front panel.  I was hoping to find a simple pattern that maybe had some kittens playing with a ball of yarn under a rainbow - or with fireworks in the background - or maybe twinkling stars and hearts - you know, something suited for beginners...  ;)

But it looks like I'll probably end up with some simple geometric pattern...  Sigh...  

Monday, September 8, 2014

Gratuitous Kitten Picture

Cats can work out mathematically the exact place to sit
that will cause the most inconvenience.  
~ Pam Brown