Posted by: lavernewaddington | January 17, 2020

Backstrap Weaving – Into the Deep End

When I sit here deciding on the title of my blog post, it’s amazing the number of times that the title “Lessons Learned” immediately comes to mind. But then I think…Nope, I’ve used that one before. It’s lovely to weave structures and follow methods that I have used dozens and dozens of times over. The lessons have been learned from multiple mishaps. There’s no risk. It’s all fun. The results are guaranteed.

My current project doesn’t fall into that category. I broke my rules about sampling which left me with a large-ish project with a number of firsts and, therefore, many risks. And, I am still not done, so who knows whether this will a mess or success? Many lessons are being learned along the way while I splash around in the deep end.

I am still in ikat mode. You might be thoroughly bored with this topic by now. I certainly am not! There has been plenty to keep me on my toes. 

It was time to move on from 30/2 silk to the finer 60/2 silk. If I had been sensible, I would have woven a small sample to see how well I could handle keeping the pattern aligned in 60/2 silk, test the new methods that I have been hoping to use, as well as sample the dye colors.

Problem number 1: I decided that I should re-use the pattern that I had created some years ago in an ikat project in black-and-white in 20/2 cotton. I felt that I could double the pattern and still not end up with anything too wide in the finer silk. Well, it turns out that 60/2 silk is not all that much finer than 20/2 cotton. I drew out my pattern and calculated the number of threads I would need without fully realizing just how wide the project would end up being. Once I realized how wide it would be, there was the opportunity to scrap it and start over with something smaller but I was too carried away by the pattern at that point! I couldn’t wait to see how it would turn out.

 

Problem number 2: I didn’t check my calculations and, therefore, didn’t dye enough thread in the base “rye” color that I like. I prefer the more subdued rye color over white. Once I had measured out the rye-color dye, there was only a tiny bit left in the jar. I thought ….What the heck…and threw it all in. Then I discovered the mistake in my calculations. So, I was short on yarn, with no dye left. I was in a position where I could have changed my pattern to a smaller one in order to suit the amount of thread that I had dyed. But no, I had my heart set on that pattern and wasn’t giving up. I dyed more thread in a color called “wheat” and figured out a way to work it in so that it looked like it had been planned.

Problem number 3: While I had placed the wheat-colored thread in the warp in what seemed like a nicely balanced way, I forgot to take into account the distribution of the threads into the bundles that would be tied with ikat tape and the placement of the wheat color in the pattern itself. It turns out the the wheat color wasn’t so well positioned after all. But…..I was beyond caring at that point!

Problem number 4: This wasn’t so much of a problem as a challenge. I wanted to divide the warp in two so that I could tie my pattern onto two layers of thread at once and create an instant mirror reflection. I divided it so that it was half its width, placing one half on top of the other, and checked countless times that I had the two layers aligned correctly so that I could start tying the pattern. This was my first time doing this and I dithered over it for a long time! I did something similar in another ikat project. That time I halved the warp so that it was half its length and, for some reason, it was easier.

Problem number 5: After all that dithering, I measured incorrectly and started tying the pattern in the wrong position. Never mind, I had only just started, I cut out the ties and happily started again, very pleased with myself for having done so. Then, when I was well into it, I discovered that I had made another mistake and was off in the pattern by one bundle. Urgh. I wasn’t going to start over. I adjusted the pattern and I think I can get away with it!

Here’s most of the main pattern tied…

I am usually very particular about sampling before I launch into a large project. It never occurred to me to sample the dye colors. In terms of color, this project has not turned out ANYTHING like I what I had originally envisioned! Fortunately, I still love it! Of course the colors in the paper chart that I have are based on dyeing over white. I had to expect that dyeing over rye and wheat would produce tones that did not match the chart. I dyed several layers of color in this project and now I know that I really can’t expect any color, no matter how strong it is, to completely cover and cancel out the underlying color. I was just lucky that I didn’t end up with a muddy mess! 

A discussion online had me thinking about weavers that work with natural dyes from plants that they grow themselves.. I am sure that they often get unexpected variations in the colors as rainfall and other conditions vary from year to year and must affect the quality, strength and tone of the colors that the plants produce.

This is the first color I dyed. It wasn’t what I had been expecting. I then tied some more sections on the green, adding some small motifs like the three you see here, to preserve this first color.

Below, you can see the result of the second layer of color. If I had been wanting teal, this would have been perfect. However, I had been expecting something VERY different. I tied off a few sections to preserve this color and unwrapped others ready for the third dyeing. Goodness knows what the third color will look like! At this point I was already contemplating Plan B:  if this project was a disaster, I would take off all the ikat tape and dye the whole thing black. Then I would be able to save it by weaving some colorful patterns into it in supplementary weft. It would still be the nice wall hanging that I had been planning all along…just not an ikat one.

Deep breath….here comes color number three…again, not what I was expecting!

Above, you can see it with all the ikat tape removed from the two combined layers. The two remaining strips of tape are preserving the teal color and are tied to the two layers separately. This means that I can now open the warp to its full width and leave those strips of tape in place while I start the weaving. I always feel more comfortable weaving with some ties still in place as I believe that they help minimize the amount that the threads shift. I am not crazy about having the teal there and I will probably weave some motifs in supplementary weft on those strips to almost completely cover them.

Now to get the cross sticks in and make heddles…880 of them! It was fun peeling the two layers apart to see the completed pattern.

The threads are still sitting together in their little bundles, somewhat stuck together after having been tightly wrapped for so long. I try to leave them that way as much as I can as I think that this also helps stop them from shifting too much out of alignment (although it is really tempting to strum and fan the whole thing out to get the full effect of the pattern).

In other news, I am moving along with my latest book project even though this ikat project has been occupying a lot of time. Sitting at the frame and tying patterns is very relaxing after typing away on the book project but it also opens my mind up to thinking about the current instability here in Bolivia and also the dreadful bush fires in my other home, Australia. Many people have written to me with their concerns about the situation in Bolivia as well as for my family, friends and property in Australia. I am always grateful to receive those messages and I reply to them in as much detail as possible. I hope you will understand if I don’t feel like talking about any of that here.

I’ll leave you with a picture taken by my brother, Wayne, of little bit of re-growth in the blackened bush at the back of his home on the mid north coast of NSW.

 

 

Posted by: lavernewaddington | December 20, 2019

Backstrap Weaving – Moody Blues and Greens

I have had a frustrating time trying to photograph my most recent ikat piece in a way that captures its true colors. I haven’t succeeded. The piece either looks a pale and washed-out green or takes on a blue resembling turquoise. So, you will see that the colors of my latest finished silk ikat project in the following pictures are ridiculously different. This piece has its moods!

This is the ikat warp that I dyed with a color called Teal by the manufacturer only to find that much of the blue component of the dye mixture simply would not take. The dye bath water turned a turquoise-ish blue at the end of the process and I had to rinse the yarn very well to stop it from continuing to release blue. What was left behind was a green that I ended up loving. I suppose this color could in fact be called teal. I have completely lost track now of the color my mind’s eye had been expecting.

Below, you can see the first band of patterning with supplementary weft and the ikat pattern stretching away in the distance. You can see the “holes”, or spaces,  that I left in the ikat pattern which I planned to fill with motifs using supplementary weft.

I scattered some more motifs using silk supplementary weft before reaching the start of the ikat section…

I used the same motif and designed an elongated version to fill the spaces I had left between the lines of ikat…

Here it is in a blue mood. It is off the loom before being washed and pressed and feeling rather stiff…not like silk at all. I know not to be disappointed by this. The wet-finishing process produces magical results!

I washed it and gave it the typical hard press so that the silk relaxed and shone…Now it’s in a green mood on the black background.

A different background, a different mood…(I love this version!: the colors are pretty true for the motifs but that’s not the real color of the warp).

One of the things I like about this particular technique of patterning using supplementary weft is that the motif does not show on the back of the cloth. Instead, you see a sort of “reverse embossing” (my made-up name for it!). If you look closely you can make out the diamond shapes and even the pattern that sits within the diamonds.

You can read more, if you like, about this single-face technique in a basic tutorial that I wrote some time ago. It includes some pattern charts.

As for the true color, I guess the closest shot would be the one with the black background. The real color is a richer version of that. I did the wet-finishing before dealing with the fringe as I wasn’t sure to what use this piece would be put. One end is a selvedge so there was nothing to bother with there. I wanted to avoid having the unwoven warp ends collapse into a tangled mess in the wash and so, while at the loom, I stopped weaving and then inserted a piece of cardboard in a shed that was the width of the warp and about three inches long. Then I wove another inch and cut the piece off the loom and removed the cardboard. That was enough to keep the unwoven warp ends in good shape until I decided what to do with them.

I had been planning to move onward from this project to a balanced weave in which the ikat pattern is in the weft or perhaps in both warp and weft. However, I can see from the samples that I have woven with the 30/2 silk in balanced plain-weave that I need more experience with getting a consistent beat and achieving the desired number of picks per inch.

I haven’t quite settled into that yet and I think I need to have developed a good rhythm before I attempt tying and dyeing and trying to get dyed threads to align. I did weave another balanced-weave sample in 30/2 silk using a finer bamboo reed that I have….28epi this time instead of 24epi and am much happier with this sample.

So, next up is an ikat project with 60/2 silk. I have been scratching around all week trying to come up with a pattern in which I can combine several of the elements I have been working with so far….creating shapes with a bit more curve (with limited success), dyeing with multiple colors (two, so far) and folding the warp to create an instant repeat when I wrap it with tape. This time I am going to fold the warp to halve its width rather than its length and tie the pattern on those two layers of threads at once.

I’ve decided to try having four colors in the pattern after looking at gorgeous pieces from Indonesia that have been dyed with morinda and indigo. The patterns include a very dark blue-black, a paler blue from the first dipping in indigo, morinda-red and the raw white original color of the cotton warp. Hopefully, I am not pushing this too far in my limited experience!

I’ll leave you here with my best wishes for a joyful Christmas and all the best for whichever holidays you celebrate at this time of year. I added a few more Andean Pebble Weave Christmas tree ornaments to my collection because I was itching to do some pick-up. All these colors are true! 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: lavernewaddington | December 6, 2019

Backstrap Weaving – Free Time

How did you all do surviving Black Friday and Cyber Monday? I didn’t buy anything but I have been doing my share of advertising for the fact that I published a new book of patterns last month and also the fact that all my publications in English are now available as spiral-bound books rather than just as PDFs. …a girl’s gotta make a living after all.

But, in this blog post today, I think it might be nice to take a step back, have some “free” time and also think about some free resources that I have made available on this blog over the years. They have been around for a long time but perhaps we all need to be reminded of them now and then.

The first free thing I would like to tell you about is my tutorial on a weft-twining technique that I used to finish the following project…

I recently made some Christmas tree ornaments using the metal ribbon crimps that I normally use to turn my woven bands into wrist cuffs. I found that they also make cute little hangers for bands to swing from the Christmas tree. These are’t for me. I don’t do Christmas with a tree and all that stuff. These will be gifts.

The ribbon crimps I used, (or ribbon clamps as they are sometimes called), are one-and-a-half inches long. They come in various sizes and metal colors. I used weft twining at the ends of the little band pieces to stop them from unraveling. The weft twining is a pretty and practical finishing technique. I have used weft twining on other projects in the past when I have wanted to prevent unraveling. Using it means that I don’t need to twist or braid fringe or sew a hem. Below, you can see the multiple rows of twining just before the fringe starts on the place mats that I wove.

In one of the weave-alongs that we ran on Ravelry, Julia used the technique to finish the bands that she made into key fobs. The technique that I used to finish my tree ornaments uses four strands of thread to twine two rows simultaneously. It is quick and easy and fun. I do it while the piece is still on the loom as I find it much easier to apply while the warp is under tension.

So, this is one of the free things on my blog about which I can remind you…my tutorial on basic weft twining. The tutorial has video clips which show simple twining with two strands and then the four-strand twining that I used for my ornaments. It also shows photos of other projects where I have twined little patterns and even words. The videos show how you can use strands of two colors to twine motifs.

I have been weaving three ornaments per twenty-inch warp. My backstrap loom allows me to work on short warps. Twenty inches gave me three pieces for ornaments while also giving me plenty of room in which to work comfortably. I designed a set of Christmas-themed patterns for the Complementary-warp Pattern Book that I published back in 2018. I used a few of those for my ornaments but then I decided that any pretty motif would look nice hanging from a tree. So, I used a hummingbird and a flower pattern that I also designed. I will be weaving more and will probably give a set of four in different colors to friends. Maybe I can add a couple of new ones each year.

Here’s a tip I can give you if you are planning on making some of these: I prefer to make the band slightly narrower than the ribbon crimp. That way, when I enclose the raw edge in the crimp, I don’t have to be concerned about the warp ends flaring and peeking out from the sides of the crimp. They can, however, be tamed and made to behave with a little glue before you apply the crimp, if you prefer.

As you can see, the complementary-warp structure (in this case Andean Pebble Weave) that I used produces bands with two structurally identical faces with colors reversed.

Olyweaver has been playing with simple warp floats, a technique she learned via the free tutorials on my blog. Her Schacht inkle loom is allowing her to weave a surprisingly wide band. I love the calm, cool colors she is using.

What I call the simple-warp-float structure, gives you pattern on one face of the band and a lot of texture. You can see how the green floats stand out above the flat background of green and purple plain-weave horizontal stripes. My free tutorial on this structure is here.

It’s a nice technique for those who feel they would like to go beyond the basics of plain weave and take some first steps in pick-up weaving.

From there, you can advance to a technique in which both colors are used to form floats and pattern at the same time. Olyweaver is only using the green threads in her warp to form the pattern. In my examples above I am only using one of the two available colors to create floats.

My free video shows you how to create a warp for a backstrap loom so that you can weave these kinds of pick-up patterns.

In the following beautiful piece woven by Tracy Hudson, in which she used her own hand spun yarn, both colors are used to form floats. In the center section, red floats form the motif while blue floats fill in the background. This was woven on a backstrap loom.

You may remember that I showed pictures of Tracy just starting this piece when I got together with her on a visit to the USA. It is exciting to see how it has progressed since then.

Tracy’s piece has patterns from Central Asian yurt bands as does the band that I showed in my last post made by Olyweaver…

The traditional yurt bands only show pattern on one of the two faces of the band. They use a technique that produces warp-floats in two colors on only one face and I have a few free tutorials on that technique on my blog. This is the same structure that I used to weave the place mats that I showed earlier on in this post. This structure is used in many regions around the world. My place mat pattern comes from textiles of the tropical lowlands of Peru.

Here is the free tutorial for the S pattern band that Esther wove below. This is a traditional yurt-band pattern.

In my Complementary-warp Pick-up book, I show how these same patterns can be woven with two identical faces.

You can browse all the topics of my free tutorials here. And, may I remind you that many of the items that I gathered on my RESOURCES page are also free downloads.

Let’s see what else has I have seen online and in my inbox…

I LOVE this cotton piece made by Nettina on her backstrap loom! It’s plain weave and gorgeous!

My favorite part is the way she finished the raw edges of the cloth. I showed you earlier in this post how you can use weft twining as a pretty finish alongside fringe. Nettina didn’t want fringe on her piece and carefully covered the raw edges with coil stitches. This looks fabulous.

She has carefully spaced her coils so that colors can match up perfectly with the arrangement of colors in her woven cloth…beautiful!

If you would like to learn the coil stitch and other decorative finishes, I teach them in my book The Eye-pattern Tubular Band and Other Decorative Finishing Techniques which you can buy as a spiral-bound book or PDF at Taproot Video. I use step-by-step photos, drawings and video clips in my instructions. Both the PDF and print book  allow you access to the instructional video clips.

Here you can see the little “pocket bag” I wove and later decorated with the decorative coil stitch. You can make the coils as a colorful contrast to the piece as I have done or have them blend in perfectly as Nettina has done.

Wendy made a hat band using a cute viscacha motif as well as one that she designed herself in Andean Pebble Weave…

And, while not weaving Christmas tree ornaments, I have been working on my latest ikat piece. Here it is on the frame while I was tying in the pattern with pink plastic ikat tape…

I dyed it using Jacquard brand acid dye in a color they call teal. The dye behaved strangely. When I have used this dye in the past, the color has been almost completely exhausted by the end of the process. The water is almost clear and I have to do very little rinsing. This time the water was very blue and I had to rinse a lot before the silk thread would stop releasing blue color. It seems to me that the blue part of this dye mixture simply did not take anywhere near as well as the other components. I ended up with a green that I am guessing is missing much of the blue tone that one would normally expect from teal.

I decided I liked it. It’s funny that I had very recently downloaded a photo that my friend in India had shared of herself with a friend.  I had fallen in love with the green sari her friend was wearing and the rich colors of its pattern. My warp ended up being a green color that reminded me of the sari and gave me the idea to use earthy colors for patterning.

The aim for this ikat project is to include patterning with supplementary weft, not only bordering the ikat section but also within it. I have to stop looking at that sari because my piece is not going to be anywhere near as pretty! 

I started with a row of supplementary weft motifs in various colors. The warp is 30/2 silk and I am using several strands of 60/2 and 120/2 silk as the supplementary weft. My friend Betty has textiles from Bhutan hanging on the wall of her weaving studio and I used a motif from one of them that I had photographed while visiting. When I get to the ikat section I will use that same motif s and add another to fit the blank spaces that I left between the lines of ikat pattern.

In these pictures the cloth is showing much more of a blue tone than it does in reality. After the first row of pattern, I scattered a few more motifs to fill the space before the start of the ikat section. Then I had to start cutting off some of the ikat tape in order to be able to advance the warp. I leave the tape on for as long as I can manage as I believe that it leaving it in place helps to stop the warp threads from shifting too much. 

So, I have this on my backstrap loom on which to continue. Every now and then I take a break and work on Christmas ornaments. 

December is the month in which I decided I need to go back to working on my next book. Let’s see if I can stick to the plan! A balanced-weave ikat project is calling to me….I need to work out a schedule where I can do both. I could happily weave all day every day, but as I said earlier, a living needs to be made too!

In my next post I hope to show you what I have learned from attempting to tie and dye weft for ikat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: lavernewaddington | November 15, 2019

Backstrap Weaving – Inundated with Ikat Ideas

Now that I feel that I have a bit more of a grip on a technique for creating warp-ikat patterns, I find that this newly-acquired level of confidence leaves me awash with ideas for future experiments. I am just about to start ikat experiment #6 but have so many ideas for experiments beyond this that I am almost losing interest in #6. However, #6 definitely has its purpose as the things I learn from this experiment will hopefully be applied to future projects. It remains to be seen if the lessons I learn will be more about do’s or more about don’t’s.

So, what became of experiments #4 (the cowl) and #5?

My idea had been to connect the two ends of the result of my fourth ikat experiment to make a cowl. I wanted to use buttons along one edge of the fabric with braided loops on the other end. I did that and it didn’t work. It was clumsy and fiddly and the buttons were too heavy for the light silk fabric. I had to cut it all out and start over. You can see that I ended up with several snaps along the edge and I used fabric to reinforce the ends. The snaps are super easy to fasten and un-fasten and don’t add too much weight to the cloth. This works really well!

Above the black cowl you can see the result of the fifth ikat experiment as well as a small piece of balanced plain-weave fabric that I wove using my bamboo reed. The balanced-weave piece is an experiment so that I can plan a possible double ikat piece, in which both the warp and weft are tied and dyed, some time in the future.

Ikat experiment #5 was about testing how well I could manage 30/2 silk in this technique. I also wanted to experiment with folding the warp in half so that I could tie the ikat tape around two layers of warp at once and create a repeat. The third thing on which I wanted to focus was dyeing with two colors.

I placed the ikat tape, then dyed the warp red. Then I removed some of the tape and dyed the warp orange. Actually, the orange color was not what I was expecting from a dye color that was called “dingo”but the orange color grew on me.

Here’s the warp after the first red dye bath and with some of the tape removed ready for the second color. The warp is folded in half around the metal bar you can just see between the warp threads at the bottom of the picture. 

What I learned: The warp threads got super compressed inside the tape and were stuck together when the tape was removed. I separated the threads here and there but realized later that I needed to be more thorough about that. If I wanted to dye with a second color, I needed to separate the threads in each and every bundle and make especially sure that I pulled them well apart at the point where they re-entered the wraps of ikat tape. I had figured that the 18-hour pre-dye soak that I give the warp would be enough to enable the threads to bloom and separate and recover from the compression. Apparently they didn’t do that entirely. This meant that I didn’t get  even penetration with the second dye color.

Here’s the warp stretched out on the loom after its second dye bath.. I needed to add string heddles and then I would be ready to weave. You can see how the second dye bath with the orange-y so-called dingo color brightened and “gladdened” the red. I wasn’t expecting that and it was a pleasant surprise.

It’s exciting seeing the pattern emerge. There’s always a sigh of relief when I see that the threads are not going to shift so much as to ruin the pattern.

Here it is off the loom before being washed and pressed…

I was really pleased with it! It could be another cowl, if I really wanted it to be more than just an experiment. I also thought it might be interesting to somehow join the two patterns together side by side to make a square. Maybe it could be one side of a cover for a small pillow.

Here’s a close-up after wet-finishing.

I felt pretty comfortable working with the 30/2 silk and would call this experiment a success (ah, but was it just a fluke?!) and I’ll use the same 30/2 silk for experiment #6. The next experiment will be about combining ikat with motifs in supplementary weft. I have done this before in ikat projects using cotton. 

There’s always time to do lots of thinking while I sit here tying the warp with strips of tape. I will use that time to think about what would be a good pattern for a first attempt at double ikat. Perhaps I should just start out with a weft ikat piece and slowly work my way up to double ikat. But that idea has to wait in line. I still have ideas for moving on to using 60/2 silk for ikat projects. I have been reading that some ikat artists fold the warp both horizontally and vertically to create a side-by-side mirror image of a pattern as well as a mirror-image repeat along the length of the warp. I don’t feel ready for that yet!

From my inbox:

Olyweaver wove a band with a pattern that is found on yurt bands in Central Asia. In this structure, floats in the two warp colors form the pattern on one face of the band. Irina spent a lot of time studying a picture of this pattern on my blog so that she could chart the figures herself. She said that this exercise gave her a much better understanding of the structure before she could start weaving. She also said…. the design was small enough with internal mirror repeats that by the end I could anticipate the next step without counting chart squares, but I did need the chart for guidance. I looked at how the design evolved in each colored area as opposed to what the chart said line by line. 

Llunallama wove a beautiful band of running horses in complementary-warp pick-up (Andean Pebble Weave structure). She calls the piece “Flight” and says that it might be used as a hatband. My friend Deanna created the four horse motifs and contributed them to my Complementary-warp Pattern Book.

That book and all my publications in English are now available as either PDFs or as spiral-bound printed books from Taproot Video.

Here are four of the seven titles that are now available as spiral-bound printed books…

The seventh title, More Andean Pebble Weave Patterns, is one that was published just last week. It is a book of 132 Andean Pebble Weave patterns that can be used by all those who have learned the pick-up methods from my books on complementary-warp pick-up and/or Andean Pebble Weave. Read the full product description and look at sample pages here.

If you don’t own any of my books and would like to get started in weaving bands with pick-up patterns, I recommend starting with Complementary-warp Pick-up.  (which includes some Andean Pebble Weave patterns). Note that none of my books are aimed at those who have never woven anything before. You should already be able to set up your loom of choice and weave a warp-faced band in plain weave before approaching these patterning techniques.

And, if you like Irina’s band with the pattern from the yurt band, I have a tutorial on this structure here on this blog. The pattern I use is a sweet S-hook motif that I saw on a yurt band in a friend’s collection. Depending on your level of experience, the tutorial page will tell you where to find instructions to get started.

I send many thanks to everyone who has bought my latest book so far. Your support is very much appreciated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: lavernewaddington | November 8, 2019

Backstrap Weaving – A New Book of Patterns and more!

I have three bits of exciting news to share with you in this post 🙂

I have been promising a new book of patterns for the last few weeks and am pleased to announce that it is now available at taprootvideo.com.

The second part of this exciting announcement is that this is the first time that I am releasing a new publication as a PDF as well as a printed book! Both are available at Taproot Video.

It’s called More Andean Pebble Weave Patterns. It contains the pebble patterns from my 2012 publication More Adventures with warp-faced Pick-up Patterns, plus six brand new ones. The Pebble weave patterns in the 2012 publication were drawn on charts that are made up of spots and lines. In my new book the same patterns have been drawn on the more classic block-style of charts that I use in all my other books.

The new book is aimed at two groups of weavers:

  1. All those who are fans of creating patterns using complementary-warp pick-up and/or Andean Pebble Weave and who don’t already own my 2012 publication, More Adventures with Warp-faced Pick-up Patterns. If you fit this group, you will have 132 new patterns to use in your bands and other projects.  
  2. All those who do own my 2012 publication, More Adventures with Warp-faced Pick-up Patterns, but who are not really in love with the spotted charting system that I introduced in that book. I have found that many people have overlooked those patterns in favor of those that are charted on the more classic block style of chart that I use in my other publications. I fear that they may never get to enjoy those patterns. So, in this new book, I present all 126 of those patterns again using the block-style charting system. Plus, there are 6 new patterns.

The new patterns….The new set of patterns that are included in this book came about because I became interested in the sweet dragon pattern, that you can see above, when ladies on Ravelry were talking about it in a tablet-weaving discussion. You can see an awesome hat created by Penelope Hemingway with nalbinding using Oslo stitch. She felted it down to size and edged it with a band she wove on her inkle loom using a chart I drew for her.  The motif is based on one from a tablet-woven band from a 10th century Viking find in Dublin. The pattern is often called “Little Dragons”. I have seen it online in pictures where it has been woven in several tablet-woven structures. I was able to easily adapt it so a version of it could be woven in Andean Pebble Weave, a complementary-warp structure.

Online searches showed me several sweet patterns woven with tablets that use the head of the little dragons and I adapted them for my latest book. Five of the six new patterns in the book use the little dragon heads. 

The other patterns include snake and star motifs that appear in various forms on textiles from the Bolivian lowlands, knot-work and historical patterns adapted from tablet-woven bands, motifs from belts of Russian origin, adaptations of motifs used in Komi knitwear, Kuba cloth of Central Africa, storage bags from Baluchistan and textiles of Central Asia as well as contemporary figures found in Andean textiles.

Snake pattern.

Star pattern with various filler designs.

Pattern adapted from a Central Asian textile.

Motif from a belt of Russian origin.

The printed book is spiral-bound and has 85 pages. You can read more about this latest publication, in both PDF and print form, as well as take a look at sample pages at taprootvideo.com.

The third piece of exciting news involves all my other English-language e-books that can be found in PDF form at Taproot Video.

They are all now available as printed books at Taproot Video! (Note: The complete version of the tubular band book is available in print form but not the abridged version).

You can see the full list of titles here. If you are unsure about which book best suits your level of experience, learning style and preferred loom, information on a page that I wrote here on my blog, may help you decide…or just drop me a line via a comment. I’ll be happy to advise.

A lot has been going on with my ikat experiments too. Experiment #5 is well underway in the finer 30/2 silk and I am really pleased with it. There’ll be more about that in my next post or, in the meantime, you just might catch a glimpse of it showing up on my Facebook or Instagram pages.

Happy weaving and a million thanks to all those who bought my new book following my announcement on Facebook a few days ago. THANK YOU!

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: lavernewaddington | October 25, 2019

Backstrap Weaving – From Experiment to Project

Just when I am at the point when I feel that I have learned enough about the behavior of the naturally-dyed silk that I was given to be able to move on to real projects rather than experiments and samples, I find that I don’t really have enough of this yarn left to be able to make anything decent!

These are the skeins of silk that had been used in natural dye experiments and given to me. I have used them to weave journal covers using a variety of warp-faced pick-up structures and, more recently, to experiment with ikat. If you have been following my most recent posts you will have seen and read a lot about my experiments in which I use multi-colored base warps for ikat. I wrap the warp in ikat tape to create a pattern. The taped areas resist the color in a dye bath and, when the tape is removed, a multi-colored pattern is revealed ready to weave.

Sadly, I am almost at the end of my supply of this naturally-dyed silk. There is just about enough to make one more small warp but I think that it is time to move on and try out the 30/2 silk that I got from my weaving friend Deanna in a swap.

The fourth in my recent ikat experiments with the multi-colored silk has happily changed its role from  experiment to project. I warped up a wider and slightly longer piece and decided not to create stripes of random color and width this time. All the stripes were twelve ends wide and I used symmetry in the arrangement of the colors.

I divided the groups of warp threads to be wrapped in tape into twelve-end sections. This was going to be a very orderly warp. I didn’t challenge myself to creating the impression of curves or to create nice even horizontal lines. I went with bold diagonals instead.

Here it is out of the black dye bath and almost dry enough to place on my backstrap loom beams.

As soon as the first few inches I had been woven, I knew that this one was going to be my favorite so far.

A little further along and feeling really pleased with it :-).

And, finally, off the loom…a close-up.

One more picture (can you tell I am loving this one?!)

How would it behave once wet finished? I had high hopes that this would work as a cowl. I had used 60/2 silk as weft. Would it have enough drape? I love the wet-finishing part of working with silk. The fabric relaxes and almost oozes under the iron as I give it a good hard press.

I am trying to show the sheen after wet finishing in this next picture. It was really hard to capture.

And, yes! It works as a cowl. I am so happy that I can wear this piece! (This is what fifteen months of cold turkey grey-hair grow-out looks like, by the way).

 

It is just draped around my neck in this picture. I have yet to finish it. I have three selvedges and need only deal with one raw edge. I’ll cover that edge with fabric and use three buttons and loops to close the cowl. I need to make the closure decorative as I am pretty sure that the cowl will swivel at will around my neck as I wear it. The buttons could end up in any position and they need to be pretty. Once again, I’ll have to put my meager sewing skills to the test.

Another project that got almost finished is the silk ribbon that I made for my Koru pendant:

I have washed some of the 30/2 silk so that it can be dyed. The first ikat project with this new material will be a narrow one while I get acquainted with the way it behaves. I want to focus on a much longer warp which will be folded in two on the ikat frame. In that way I can tie the ikat tape in multiple layers at the same time and achieve a repeat.

My weaving friend Pam shared pictures with me of her visit to Uzbekistan many years ago in which you can see a warp of many meters length folded and placed on the ikat frame where the young ladies sit ready to tie the pattern. The  beams that hold the warp under tension are tied to bolts in the floor.

I am absolutely in love with this piece below from Timor. Kinga Lauren who collected the piece, kindly allowed me to show it here in my blog post.

I love those curvy irregular patterns. You can see how the irregularities in the pattern in the lower half of the fabric are perfectly replicated in the upper half. The warp was obviously folded with ikat tape wrapped around both layers at once. 

A close-up of part of the ikat section and the fringe shows the number of beautiful subtle colors that were used in the stripes. This is naturally-dyed cotton.

Wrapping multiple layers will be one new challenge for me. The other will be attempting to dye with more than one color. I tried a very simple version of this many years ago on a rather carelessly tied pattern. I really liked the effect and was able to use the piece as a book cover. I had some mishaps with this cotton warp. This was back in the days when I was using cassette tape for wrapping cotton warp. I made one of the dye solutions too hot and the cassette tape simply did not deal well with the heat.

So, on the heels of my happy cowl project/ikat experiment, let’s see what kind of mess (or success) I can make with 30/2 silk!

To finish, I have some nice work to show you from my inbox from new and old online weaving friends…

Shilpa Nagarkar Rao is weaving Andean Pebble Weave patterns using my Complementary-warp Pattern Book (after having learned the technique in my Complementary-warp Pick-up book). She uses an inkle loom to weave bands and then combines them to make beautiful bags. (See her Facebook page).

Bag made from several bands woven on an inkle loom by Shilpa Nagarkar Rao

Cynthia has been working with supplementary weft creating motifs in several colors along the length of the band. This ability to change color at will is one of the many nice things about this technique and is why Guatemalan clothing can be so colorful.

I love how Vanessa De Columna made what I believe to be her very first Andean Pebble Weave band into a headband.

In book news, my latest pattern book, which ended up with 132 charted patterns, is in the hands of Taproot Video and I am just waiting for it to go live on the website. The Taproot folk are currently busy shooting a new spinning class with Joan Ruane…exciting news!

 

 

 

Posted by: lavernewaddington | October 11, 2019

Backstrap Weaving – Mess or Success

I feel like I am back at square one with my ikat experiments in terms of not being able to predict what the end result will be…..Mess or Success??… 

But then, I suppose it depends on how you define success. My experiments have been about trying to create images using the ikat technique with little or no shift in the warps threads to blur the image. I know that many people consider blurring the very characteristic that makes ikat so attractive. Quite often you can’t even notice the blurring unless you are examining the images closely. It is the overall effect that is important…the bird’s eye view rather than the ant’s view. Other times the blurring is very noticeable as if that was the very thing at which the weaver was aiming. One example of this is the fabric that you can see below from Uzbekistan. Soft blurred edges are what make these patterns so attractive.

Ikat fabric from Uzbekistan at the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market

My most recent experiments have been with silk. The first one, which you can see and read about in past posts, gave me images with barely any shift at all. I was so pleased! The silk I used was given to me and I have no idea of its origin. It was something like 5/2 cotton in size and somewhat “hairy”. That kind of smooth well-defined motif was what I had been after. I wanted something sharp and crisp like the the bold geometric patterns seen on ponchos woven by the Mapuche people of central Argentina and Chile. You can see an example of a Mapuche poncho below.

For my second experiment I followed exactly the same procedures, the only difference being that I used a finer and more slick kind of silk…I am guessing that it was something like 8/2 cotton in size. I got slightly more shift but have no real idea about how to account for that. I can only guess that the finer slicker silk made the difference.

Now to experiment number 3….same silk, same procedure, different kind of dye. I started with a multi-color warp in tones, of green, blue, grey and gold.

Here’s the warp stretched on the makeshift frame that I use when I wrap the warp threads with ikat tape. I have a small table with shelves that is made up of open bars. There are no solid surfaces and it turns out that it makes a very nice frame on which to hold my warp under tension while I do the wrapping.

My tools are a charcoal pencil with which I draw the pattern onto the warp threads, a paint brush with stiff bristles that I use to erase mistakes in my drawing, scissors to cut the tape and to remove incorrectly placed wrapping, a sharpener and of course the ikat tape itself.

My pattern has a kind of yin-yang thing going on in the center although the colors will not reflect the yin-yang concept. I was hoping for an illusion of slight “curviness” but I don’t think I managed to pull that off.

After a the blue dye bath, this is what I had. I looked carefully at the pink wrappings searching for dark spots which tell me that the dye leaked under the tape. I didn’t find any….not  that anything can be done at this point if the dye had in fact managed to get in.  I think my wrapping technique is getting pretty good!

Here is the warp back under tension on my backstrap loom. The scissors sit nearby ready to be used to cut off some of the wrappings. What I notice is that I need to work on getting my lines straight. You can see that the vertical line that is made up of ten separate wraps at the far right of the pattern is quite straight. The matching one on the far left certainly is not! How did I not see that? Those were the last wraps that went on and possibly I was tired and careless at that point. I have found that I need to take lots of breaks when I am doing this kind of work because it is indeed easy to get a bit careless when you are not feeling fresh any more. Oh well, nothing can be done about that at this stage.

Here is the woven motif. You can see that the warp threads shifted more than I would have liked them to. For me, calling this a success would mean being able to account for the fact that the threads shifted more in this experiment than they had in my second experiment.The only thing different about this project was the brand of dye and I hardly think that that could have had any effect. Standing back and looking at it with the eye of a bird in the sky, I  have to admit that I am very pleased with it. The ant’s eye view is less pleasing to me 🙂

I decided that there was enough fabric to be able to fold the piece in half and make a pouch. So I decided to play with the amount of unwoven warp that was left and add some figures using supplementary weft. I changed to a finer ground weft so that I could add a second supplemental weft without thickening the fabric.  I added a couple of the little paisley motifs that I had designed to use on a silk scarf some time ago. That scarf had been woven in 60/2 silk and the paisley motifs had been fine and delicate. How different the motifs look on this heavier silk! I wanted them to sort of match the shapes in the center of the ikat image. And then I designed a swirl for the small amount of space that remained.

My paisley patterns in supplementary weft on a silk scarf I wove in 60/2 silk.

I did end up folding the fabric and sewing it into a pouch. I even remembered to put in a lining before sewing the pouch. Lining always seems to come to me as an afterthought. I have yet to decide on whether I should edge it with a plain blue tubular band. That would hide the turns of pale blue supplementary weft that can be seen on the selvedges. And, I need to add a zipper.

I am heading towards using finer silk for my next ikat experiments. I have a cone of 30/2 silk that a friend gave me. It is not ready-to-dye and needs to go through a process of preparation. Thank goodness for my online weaving friends who are always willing to help when I need information and tips for such things. I have ready-to-dye 60/2 silk but I don’t feel ready to leap into that kind of fineness for ikat yet!

So, the 30/2 silk needs to be skeined and prepared.

While thinking about all that, I decided to slip in a small project…a silk ribbon on which to hang the awesome macrame seahorse that a talented young macrame artist in Australia made.

She is on Instagram as one_mile_smile_creations if you would like to check out her work. I think my little seahorse is actually her profile picture. I thought that the seahorse was a nice piece to buy from her as I was at that time visiting a part of Australia where she lives that is known as the Sapphire Coast. 

The silk ribbon has various fish and ocean motifs with seaweed, currents, ripples and bubbles. These patterns are charted in my Complementary-warp Pattern Book and several of them were contributed by my online weaving friends.

Perhaps I am just trying to put off winding those skeins of 30/2 silk and fiddling around with the preparation process…I don’t know…but I saw that still had enough of the multi-color naturally dyed silk that I have been using in these recent ikat projects to squeeze out one more project. This time I decided to create a slightly longer warp and weave it using very fine silk as the weft in the hope that the resulting fabric might have just enough drape to allow me to use it as a cowl. I won’t know until it is done and wet finished. It might stand up like a piece of cardboard!

So, here is the warp I wound with the scraps of silk that remain….

Instead of winding stripes of random widths, I wove twelve-end sections in each color. I have been wrapping sections of twelve ends in ikat tape so far and so it will be interesting to see how this warp will look with each ikat section being a solid color rather than a mix of various tones.

Here it is out of ts black dye bath. I didn’t challenge myself with curves or horizontal lines this time but I did create a pattern that is quite a bit bigger than the other three experiments. I think it will make a really nice cowl if it works out. If it doesn’t, oh well, I get another pouch! If the fabric does turn out to have enough drape, I will need to come up with a way to secure it at the back once it is around my neck. I have plenty of time to figure that out. I don’t see any dark spots under the tape on first examination. I think my wrapping was successful.

The big unwrapping ceremony is on standby while I finish another tiny tape on my backstrap loom. This time I am making a silk ribbon on which to hang the Koru pendant that I got in New Zealand. I chose a a pattern of curls to match the Koru curls that represent the unfurling leaves of the New Zealand silver fern. The pendant is one-and-a-half inches across at its widest point. The silk ribbon is tiny! 

I will leave you here with a picture from Gonit Porat in Israel. Gonit learned to do Andean Pebble Weave using the instructional and pattern e-books (PDFs) that I sell on Taproot Video.  I love being able to make connections like this with weavers on the other side of the world via my books. Gonit does amazing and inspiring work using eco dyeing and tablet weaving techniques as well as pick-up by hand. She teaches in her studio in Israel and this is the work of one of her students, Tal. This Andean Pebble Weave warp is tensioned on the frame of a rigid heddle loom. 

For me, this picture represents a little piece of heaven. Thank you, Gonit, for allowing me to show it here and for providing me with a beautiful image with which to finish my blog post. (If you are interested in buying one of my instructional ebooks but unsure about where to start, please read this page which gives you information on each book in terms of the audience, kind of loom and skill level at which it is aimed.)

 

 

 

Posted by: lavernewaddington | September 27, 2019

Backstrap Weaving – Stepping into Curves

I have been at my loom these past two weeks but also at my laptop keyboard as I move ahead with the new Andean Pebble Weave pattern book I am preparing. The new book has grown from 127 charts to 132…Help!…I can’t seem to stop! Give it one more week and I think I will be done. I am very excited about it. It has been fun weaving the new patterns into samples to be photographed for the book. Each block chart has its own photographed sample.

Between bouts of charting and weaving samples I wove the Silver Fern leaf pattern that I showed you in progress in my last post. Maori Koru motifs represent the curly yet-to-be fully unfurled fern leaves and I wanted to draw, chart and weave a representation of my own as a joyful reminder of my recent visit to New Zealand.

My first sample of the shape was a little too flat along its bottom edge and so I made a few adjustments in an attempt to create a bit more of an impression of “curviness’ and then set about weaving a narrow band for a book mark in 60/2 silk.

This is really just a test-run of my charted pattern but it is nice that it can be turned into something useful like a book mark.

The sample will help me see if the proportions are to my liking and if the figure looks too flat or is indeed quite curvy as I have hoped it to be. It will also help me to experiment with the ideal width.

My sample started out too narrow but the figure started to settle and look nicely rounded as I allowed the band to widen. I attempted to let the band go even wider hoping for even better proportions and curves but might have overdone it at the end as I could see a little  bit of red weft exposed in the black areas.

I am pleased with the result and may end up using this motif in a larger project at some point.

In Maori culture, the Koru is said to represent renewal and hope for the future. As there have been some quite significant changes going on in my life recently, these concepts are particularly meaningful to me right now. 

Next on the loom will be a silk neck ribbon for a brilliant little macrame seahorse that I bought from a talented artisan in Australia. I think I am going to use some of the patterns in the Rivers and Oceans set that I published in my Complementary-warp Pattern Book. That set is made up of some of my patterns as well those contributed by my weaving friends Julia and Kristin….a variety fish, sea creatures and watery swirls and eddies. Those watery patterns should make a very pretty band for the seahorse.

A few of the fish and water-themed motifs from my Complementary-warp Pattern Book.

Something else that is underway right now is another ikat piece using the tiny balls of naturally-dyed silk that I was given a few years ago. I combined a lot of the colors in two ikat warps earlier this year. They were very colorful base warps that I proceeded to wrap in ikat tape and then dye jet black. The areas wrapped with tape resisted the dye and gave me a warp of multi-color figures with stepped diagonals on a solid black background which I could then weave into cloth.

My latest warp is much more subdued as I am using a collection of paler more subtle colors…mostly the green, grey and blue-ish tones with a smattering of gold. I plan to dye this one blue with some powders that my friend Mog gave me when I was visiting in Australia. It involves mixing two lots of powder to get the blue I want. Mog gave me very clear instructions. I just hope I get it right!

As far as the pattern goes, I am still using figures with stepped sides but I am making the steps a lot smaller in the hope of creating something slightly more curvy….stepping my way slowly into curves, you might say. Even if I fail on the attempt at curves, I think the pattern will be quite nice…that is, IF I tie the ikat tape tight enough to avoid leaks and IF the threads don’t shift too much as I weave and IF I get the right tone of blue when I dye….so many things to consider when doing ikat!

And, I have this idea of adding some plain weave in a pale tone of blue to the sides when the time comes to weave the piece. I might weave some motifs into that part using supplementary weft. Yes, I can feel very confident about this plan at this point as the actual weaving part of this project is still a long way off!

Here’s the warp stretched on my ”ikat frame” with some ikat ties in place.  I have already decided that the first shape on the left is not quite right and so I will most likely be cutting those ties off, adjusting my pattern and re-tying. So, I see days and days of tying plastic strips on this warp… measuring, adjusting, cutting, starting again! Call me crazy but it is actually very satisfying. It provides a nice ”relax” time away from the keyboard and the book. In the same way, the book gives me nice breaks from tying ikat. It’s all good!

I will leave you with a reminder that all my e-books (PDFs) are now available at Taproot Video. It has been impossible to change every single old link on my blog over the last nine to ten years from Patternfish to the books’ new home at Taproot Video (I am, however, still trying to!) I see via my blog stats that a few people still click on the old Patternfish links now and then. I do hope that you somehow find your way to the Taproot Video website eventually.

If you are curious and/or excited about my up-coming new book of Andean Pebble Weave patterns but have not yet learned how to do complementary-warp pick-up or Andean Pebble Weave, my e-books(PDFs) on Complementary-warp Pick-up and Andean Pebble Weave on Inkle Looms will show you how. The Complementary-warp Pick-up book teaches you a method that can be used on any kind of loom. The only experience you need is the ability to warp your loom and weave a plain-weave warp-faced band. The method enables you to weave Andean Pebble Weave and any other kind of complementary-warp structure.

The Andean Pebble Weave on Inkle Looms book teaches methods that are particularly suitable for those who use a standard inkle loom. Those who are already weaving plain-weave bands on their loom will have all the skills necessary to continue with this book. Support in the form of video clips is also provided.

I hope to show you a lovely ikat warp on the loom and ready weave the next time I see you here. And maybe I will announce the release of the new pattern book and show you my seahorse pendant on its silk band. Thank you all for your continued support. Now it’s back to work!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: lavernewaddington | September 13, 2019

Backstrap Weaving – In the Pursuit of Curls

I am once again in the pursuit of curls, curves, circles and spirals as I attempt to draw a chart for a figure inspired by Maori Koru. The Koru is a spiral shape that represents the unfurling of a frond of New Zealand’s silver fern.

Image from the website of activityvillage.co.uk

The challenge is to figure out how to make the lines that I can naturally create in my weaving somehow all work together to give the impression of a curve. In my tool box of natural lines are wavy verticals, smooth horizontals, smooth diagonals and stepped diagonals at various angles. In my experience, the more ends I have to work with, the easier it is to create something curve-like. However, it’s amazing how when weaving a band with only nine ends per shed, a figure can appear to be curved. Below you can see an Andean figure that so many people have told me reminds them of Maori Koru, including my weaving friends in New Zealand itself.

I have read a few different descriptions of what the Koru means in Maori culture. One description names it as a symbol of creation. Another says that it represents new life, growth and peace. The spiral shapes are the kinds of things I had in mind when I first started studying how to create curves in ikat and I collected images of Maori kowhaiwhai scroll patterns so that I could attempt to create something similar in ikat. That was all very well until I sat in front of a fresh white warp with ikat tape in hand and realized how difficult it was going to be! I first needed to see if I could create just one simple curve before I could even think about creating something as complex as a kowhaiwhai pattern.

Image from the website of silverfernz.com

I decided that I needed to step back a bit and start out slowly with large simple curves and then perhaps think about trying a more intricate kowhaiwhai pattern after I had had several years of experience with much simpler shapes! So, I just went with circles and I was pretty pleased with those….

…except that I forgot to consider take-up and my nice circles ended up flattened once they were woven into cloth. Another part of this particular experiment was to create pick-up patterns within my ikat circles. It is a quirky piece of work which has made a nice slip cover for my laptop.

I remember when I was living in Chile and just starting out experimenting with weaving on a trial-and-error basis somewhere around 1994. I had knocked together a simple wooden frame with nails at two ends to hold warp threads. I had no idea how the warp threads should be spaced.  All I knew is that the weft yarn had to go over one and under one. Because of the way I had spaced the warp threads, I was ending up with weft-faced cloth and that was fine. Of course at that time, I didn’t even know that there was a choice.

After weaving a couple of small pieces that had the shape of hour glasses, (I finally figured out how to lay in the weft correctly to stop that kind of draw-in) I found that by adding and changing colors I could create little patterns on one face of the cloth with a whole mess of ends hanging out on the back.

From there, what I really wanted to do was to create images. However, I had little at my disposal for ideas in terms of books or magazines. This CD cover by the band Split Enz provided inspiration instead and I remember weaving a very simple version of one of these patterns into a piece using acrylic yarn that became a cover for a very small pillow. Sadly the piece never got photographed and is one of many things that had to be left behind when I moved to Bolivia. 

It’s funny that after all these years I have come around full circle to once again have a strong desire to weave these kinds of patterns.

So, which structure should I use to try to create my Koru-like pattern? I quite like using warp-faced double weave for this kind of thing. I can create shapes that are very angular, as in the pattern below left, as well as ones that appear quite curvy, below right. The finished piece, if successful, will be called a book mark but it really will be just a sample for perhaps something bigger later. Double weave in fine silk will give me a piece that is not too thick for a book mark. 

Double weave is also the structure I used for my Shipibo-inspired piece in which I wove fine curvy lines within a frame of bold angular lines…

Using supplementary weft for patterns on a base of warp-faced plain weave has also enabled me to create the impression of curves. I designed some paisley figures for both warp-faced double weave and plain weave with supplementary weft. The process started with a paper paisley cut-out which I traced onto my charting paper….

It was very sweet in warp-faced double weave but, as I was wanting weave the patterns into a scarf, I decided that double weave would be too heavy. I went with using supplementary-weft to make the patterns on a warp-faced plain-weave base….

When I look back at these patterns, I start to think that maybe a Koru-like pattern won’t be so hard to design after all. I have actually already made a preliminary sketch on my charting paper and now just need to iron out all the kinks. The double weave warp with the paisley pattern I showed above still exists. I can use that same warp to test my first attempt at charting the Koru. I use four sets of heddles when I do warp-faced double weave with fine thread like 60/2 silk and it will be nice to be able to weave this sample with a warp that has been already set up. Now I just have to dig around and find it!

I had a de-clutter frenzy when I got back from my latest trip away and I am hoping that I didn’t toss it out. I came home feeling stifled by stuff. Once I get into one of my de-cluttering moods, I can get pretty carried away!

If the book mark pattern works, I’ll make a silk ribbon with curvy design on which to hang my Koru pendant. I also have a lovely seahorse pendant that was made by a talented macrame artisan that I met when in Australia which needs a patterned silk ribbon…something wave-like to represent the ocean…more curves! Hopefully, I’ll have some progress to show you soon.

In the meantime, I am putting the finishing touches on a book of one hundred and twenty-seven Andean Pebble Weave patterns.

Another one??

Well, I have to admit that this is not exactly a new book. Back in 2012 I published More Adventures with warp-faced Pick-up Patterns, a book of patterns inspired by ethnic textiles from around the world. In that book I introduce weavers to the “spotted chart” for all the patterns in the first half of the book. In all my other books, my patterns are charted on the more conventional style of chart which is made up of stacked rectangular blocks.

My idea for using the spotted charts in 2012 was based on opening up and promoting the possibility of readers designing their own motifs. The spotted charts make designing so easy. And, many of the readers did just that! I was happy to then be able to make roughly 25% of the Complementary-warp Pattern Book that I published in early 2018 about original patterns contributed by devoted fans of the spotted chart.

Above: Original patterns contributed by Maja Bürger (spindle), Laura McCarty (dog chasing squirrel) and Carlos Vargas (bee) to the Complementary-warp Pattern Book published in 2018.

However, I know that many weavers have not had the time to study that spotted charting system and have by-passed all the awesome Andean Pebble Weave patterns (Celtic knot-work patterns, Guaraní stars, motifs inspired by Central Asian textiles, to name just a few!) in the front half of my More Adventures book in favor of the other kinds of patterns charted on block-style charts in the second half of the book. 

So, I have now had all those spotted charts transformed into block-style charts. There are 127 of them and that is what I am about to publish.

Having said all that, my ”new” book will be aimed at two audiences. It can act as a supplement for those who own my previously published More Adventures book and who have not had the time or inclination to get into the spotted charts, or it can be a completely new book of patterns for those of you who have woven using my Complementary-warp Pick-up or  my Andean Pebble Weave or Andean Pebble Weave on Inkle Looms books.

See you with more news about the ”new” book soon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: lavernewaddington | August 26, 2019

Backstrap Weaving – Flying Visits

Flying visits…I’ve been zipping here and there in the southern hemisphere starting with a three-stop visit in Aotearoa, land of the long white cloud, followed by stops on both the east and west coasts of that other great southern land, Australia.

It all started with a flying visit to Santiago, Chile where I was happy to run into Mapuche textiles in a store in the airport during my three-hour wait for the flight to New Zealand. Being in the airport and hearing the Chilean accents was enough to have me feeling a tug on the old heart strings. I had lived in the far south of Chile in the Chilean Patagonia for five years before I moved to Bolivia in 1998.

I loved seeing this heavy wool Mapuche poncho in one of the stores with its very precise ikat pattern. It is these incredibly precise patterns that are created by the Mapuche weavers with little or no shift in the warp threads that inspired my own recent ikat experiments in silk.

 

The pieces on display in the store included pillow covers with patterning in complementary-warp pick-up as well as belts in double weave. The balls of hand-spun wool were tempting but the yarn was far too heavy for the kind of work that I like to do and the climate in which I live.

I met lots of backstrap weavers in New Zealand. This is a group of friends in Auckland forming a huddle.

The weavers settled very quickly into the rhythm and there were even occasions when they could pause for a smile between sessions of silent concentration.

A little to the south, in beautiful Tauranga in the Bay of Plenty I wove with even more budding backstrap weavers and was taken by Colleen and Lynne to visit the famous Mount and other picturesque places along the shore.

On a drive out to visit the folk at Majacraft, one of New Zealand’s makers of spinning wheels and fibre tools, I was taken with the sight of a Maori pouwhenua – a carved land post that marks Maori territorial boundaries or places of significance. Between the fields of kiwifruit surrounded by thick high hedges protecting them from the wind, an open untouched green field suddenly appeared. It seemed strangely out of place, open to the elements and vulnerable next to all the other fields with their thick protective walls of hedges. This field was, however, guarded in one corner by a stately but raw and rather weather-beaten wooden pouwhenua. I was told that this one most likely stands to watch over the site of a battle.

A series of seven beautiful pouwhenua stand on the shore near the Mount. They represent Te Kahui Matariki (the Pleiades cluster of stars, or the Seven Sisters) and are much photographed and visited. But I have to say that I much preferred the weather-beaten but powerful single powhenua standing alone in the corner of that wind-swept field in the country.

I got a scarf with Koru motif in the super-soft possum-merino blend for which New Zealand has become known as well as a Maori Koru pendant which will soon swing from a silk neck ribbon that I plan to weave. The Koru is a Maori spiral-shaped motif that is based on the appearance of an unfurling frond of the silver fern.

Air New Zealand aircraft sport an image of the silver fern and  Koru motif…

I flew over snowy peaks (it’s winter at this end of the world) on the way down from Tauranga to Wellington, the last stop on this visit to New Zealand…

Wellington is a gorgeous city. I have been to New Zealand three times before, the last time being thirty years ago. On all three visits we simply drove through Wellington to take the ferry over to the south island. I was so happy to be able to stop and stay this time and enjoy, thanks to my friends Fiona and Sandra, the views across the Cook Strait (see below) and from the top of Mount Victoria, a stay in one of the many homes that cling to the steep Wellington hill sides and a visit to the Te Papa museum with objects from not only Maori but many other Pacific island cultures.

Onward to Australia and the far south coast of NSW where my old backstrap weaving friends gathered once again for a few days of weaving fun. Driving down the final descent to the fishing club where we always gather to weave, a kangaroo nonchalantly hopped across the road. Yes, I am Australian, but I can still get excited about kangaroos.

Once again we enjoyed the pretty view of the ocean with its changing moods right from the door of our weaving venue. We usually step outside in the winter sun to wind warps on the table outside. This time I found it occupied by a group of kookaburras all fluffed up with the cold. Yes, I get excited by kookaburras too! The mural of Spirit Dancers painted on the side of a local water tank is one of several in the area.

At home with my friend, Mog, I found her weaving these beautiful golf towels with lettering and golf ball motif that she designed herself. I don’t think I have heard of anyone weaving golf towels before. It might become a ”thing”.

Then it was off to Western Australia where I met with weavers in Perth city, the Perth hills, and then later up north in Geraldton. I got to spend an evening with weaver Wendy Garrity. If you have been a long-time follower of my blog you will know that Wendy and I first met online via her blog on Bhutanese weaving techniques. We then met up in our travels in Bolivia and Santa Fe in the USA and have maintained a correspondence over the years since then. It was nice to see her this time in her home city. That day just happened to be my birthday and Wendy made sure it was celebrated with dinner at a Perth beach with its beautiful fine white sands to watch an Indian Ocean sunset, a tour around the city and gelato complete with birthday candle. Thank you, Wendy!

Brenda, provided me with crumpets for breakfast and other Australian treats that I often miss when in Bolivia. This picture is for all the Americans to whom I have ever tried in vain to describe a crumpet!

Brenda’s husband, Geoff, made me a bunch of beautiful swords in Western Australian jarrah, also known as, Swan River mahogany. The card that accompanied the gift shows the numbat, a termite-eating marsupial that is native to Western Australia.

In the Perth hills I stayed with Maggie and husband Peter. It was lovely  to get outside and stretch with a stroll around in the bush in the low evening sun spotting tiny native orchids. Peter just happens to be an expert in them.

In Geraldton, I visited Lynne and Max who offered me a bedroom right on the Indian Ocean. I was treated to a glorious sunset almost every evening. That was the view from my bedroom.

And weren’t we spoiled for lunch?! Geraldton, apart from lying in the wheat belt of Western Australia, is also the center of the rock lobster industry. Lynne’s husband Max provided a lunch of luscious lobster from his own catch.

Now I have time to spend with my brother and sister-in-law in their new home on the mid north coast of NSW. They have been taking me around the local beaches and lookouts…

…and into the bush.

Protests in the main square of Santa Cruz city. (Picture from The Bohemian Diaries).

See you next time back at home in Bolivia. My home province of Santa Cruz has been in the news lately in connection with the fires in the Brazilian and eastern Bolivian jungles. September is typically the month when farmers burn-off in preparation for the new planting season. It’s usually a smoky and unpleasant time of year. Smoke descends in the cooler evening temperatures and still air and is thick and fog-like in the streets at night. Apparently, this year, many of the fires are burning out of control and destroying vast areas of jungle. I’ll reserve further comment until I get home and see for myself what is happening.

 

 

 

 

 

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