Friday, December 15, 2017

Self-imposed homework on a swatch maker

I belong to the Fort Wayne Spinning Guild, which has been an enlightening and inspiring experience. Such a welcoming, talented, and encouraging group! At each meeting, when business is taken care of and show-and-tell is over, there is a program. This year, several of the programs are about color.

I swear I must be missing some cones and rods in my eyeballs because I find myself color-challenged. I can't tell the difference between navy and black unless they are side by side. When choosing colors to knit or weave, I tend to go for tried-and-true basics like red-black-gray or primary colors, or I let the yarn manufacturer decide for me (e.g. self-striping sock yarn). When I knit my SO a vest of many colors, I let him do the picking AND the ordering of the thirteen colors.

The last meeting's program was on color theory for weaving, and it was very helpful. Sara is our current president and a college professor and now a blogger. She presented a mini-lecture on color theory which helped my left brain understand, or at least begin to.

The next guild program is the first of three on color and weave, with 2-color examples on a 4 harness loom. Everyone in the guild uses harness looms for most if not all of their weaving. I am the lone holdout, not because I am anti-harness but because I like my rigid heddle looms and pin looms and toy looms. Someday I may graduate to a harness loom, but for right now, I am happy with what I have.

I am also one of the newest weavers in the guild, and one of the most distracted. I don't always have weaving to share at show-and-tell because there is knitting and spinning and dyeing to do, too. The examples for the next presentation are going to be in log cabin, straight twill, hounds tooth, and checks. I decided in order to get the most out of the program, I should work up some examples of each of these design patterns.

Not wanting to create anything big, I turned to my Swatch Maker 3-in-1 Weaving Loom. I have not used this nifty little device much, so creating some samples on it kills two birds with one stone.

Already I have an idea for an improvement to this device. The weft is "beat" with a comb or fork, so getting a straight line is not easy. After creating one swatch, I penciled in lines to help me get a straight weft in the future. I would also recommend they replace their needles with ones with curved points.

For a hounds tooth pattern, the warp consists of two threads of one color, then two threads of another, repeated across the board. Likewise, the weft is two picks of one color followed by two picks of the other color. The weaving action then creates the design. Simple, no?

I've tried hounds tooth before, with unsatisfactory results because I beat the weft too hard, squishing the pattern. This time I made sure to not repeat the same mistake. I also hemstitched, something I think almost every woven object needs, and tried something a little different for the fringe. Besides being a tidy little example for show-and-tell, this can then be used as a mug rug. Weaving is so practical!

1 comment:

kayT said...

I've been sorta kinda wanting to learn weaving. Your adventures are encouraging me a great deal. Thanks.

BTW, are you reading Franklin Habit on Makers Mercantile? He's doing a very fun and funny series about weaving. (Duh, it's Franklin, so of course.) (scroll down the page for Part I)