Friday, April 28, 2006

Log Cabin Controversy

Well, it wasn’t actually a controversy. It was just a question, something along the lines of “where does blue end and purple begin?” What I was wondering was, at what point does log cabin morph into another color and weave effect?

Peg and I were having an interesting discussion about log cabin, and I started to wonder: What are its absolute bottom line elements? Does log cabin become something else when the weave structure changes, even though it keeps log cabin color patterning in it’s warp and weft? What happens when one starts playing with the colors pattern?

I had only picked up bits and pieces of an answer from various sources, so I shifted into research mode. I discovered that opinions varied somewhat. Not everyone seemed to agree on all the elements, but the consensus was that technically log cabin is a color effect on a plain weave structure.

After all that I pondered, so what, does it really matter? Well, in regards to artistic considerations probably not. In regards to teaching, I’d say yes. In regards to communication about weaving in general, it depends upon the communicators! For example, if you hadn‘t seen my log cabin twill samples, how would I describe them to you? Which explanation would mean more to you: “It’s a two block two color, color and weave with alternating blocks beginning and ending on different colors and the ends within those blocks alternating colors,“ or “It’s a log cabin twill.“?

That said, here are some more of my log cabin effect twills…..and beyond. :)

3 more LC twills
The variegated yarn in the all three samples is the same. The sample on the right obviously used three colors of yarn.

Claimed by Rascal
And as you can see, I was plagued by more than just philosophical questions.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Log Cabin Twill

My friend Ann sent me a draft for log cabin in twill, so I decided to explore this direction next. Here is my first set of samples.

BoringSince I had basically used the same color scheme with all my plain weave log cabin scarves , and since I didn’t want to appear stuck in a color rut, I decided to try something different. The colors for my first sample were chosen simply because these were the two I liked together best It is woven in a straight 2/2 twill.

The result is quite unexciting because the log cabin look has disappeared. Even so it is not unpleasant to look at if one likes blue and green.

InterestingSo for my next sample, I chose yarns with contrasting color value.

With these color choices the pattern popped out and I was fascinated! Even though I’m not crazy about browns, I really like this sample.

Warming up to the effect, I decided to try a sample in twill and reverse.

IntriguingAnd I'm off and running (weaving!) The more I weave, the more ideas I want to try. Next I will do a little color experimenting. More samples coming soon……………….

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Slo-Mo Fringe Twisting

By Leigh

I really like the look of twisted fringe. Unfortunately, the only directions I’ve seen for making it haven’t suited my all thumbs abilities. The method of “twisting two bundles until they ply back on themselves and then let go and let them twist themselves” hasn’t worked for me.

A fringe twister? Well, I’d rather spend the money on fiber and yarn. :)

Not to be defeated by my own ineptness, I decided to give twisted fringe another try with this series of log cabin scarves. To my delight and relief, I discovered that if I controlled the whole process in slow motion, I could achieve successful results!

Here’s what I figured out:

Twisting each bundle to the right.
Twist each bundle to the right (clockwise or Z twist) between the thumb and index finger of each hand.

Plying the bundles by exchanging them.  Right hand crosses over left to make the exchange.
Cross my right hand over my left and exchange bundles. This plies them in a counterclockwise or S fashion. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Actually this can be done fairly quickly.

I’m sure this method is written down in some book somewhere, I just don’t have that particular book!

Related Posts:
Beaded Fringing

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Friday, April 21, 2006

Silk Goody Package

The samples I ordered for the Online Guild’s Silk Spinning workshop arrived yesterday! The workshop is in May.

Generous variety of types of silks for the silk spinning workshop.
Starting at the top left and working across the rows: throwster’s waste, silk caps, Bluefaced Leicester/tussah silk blend, silk hankies, tussah silk sliver, cut silk cocoons, clean silk noils, natural silk cocoons, 64s merino/tussah silk 80/20 blend, mulberry silk noils (A grade), silk carrier rods, A1 silk brick, alpaca/silk blend, soy silk, carded camel down/tussah silk blend, B2 silk brick, and natural colored tussah silk noils.

I love getting packages in the mail.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Log Cabin Color Effects

My fascination with color is what keeps me weaving. Watching color patterns and effects unfold before my eyes can keep me entertained for hours. Here is what I’ve observed from using various space dyed yarns with my log cabin weaving.

Classic looking log cabin.

Classic looking log cabin scarves
This used yarns with short intervals of changing colors.

Stripy looking log cabin.

Stripy looking log cabin scarves.
Yarns with a longer, but regular spacing of colors created horizontal stripes.

Pseudo-plaid log cabin.

Pseudo-plaid log cabin scarves.
To me, these are more plaid-like. The color spacing of the yarns was long but irregular. The plaid like effect is strongest in the middle scarf, where the color values of the yarn closest.

Of all these samples I think I like the classic looking log cabin best. Will tuck this preference away in the back of my mind for some future painted yarn weaving project.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Uploading Photos

Today I'm going to figure out how to upload photos.

Ahh, success! It's nice to see that the mouse-overs work too.

The above photo is of my most recently finished weaving project, a recycled bread bag runner. In the background you can see my Schacht Mighty Wolf 4 shaft loom, my Ashford Traditional double drive wheel, and my Kromski Minstrel.

Here is a close up. In addition to bread bags I used plastic fruit and vegetable bags as well. I used fishing line for the warp, which actually behaved very well. Knotting the fringe a bit of a problem however. I tried simply tying them, but the line was too slippery for the knots to stay put. I tried melting them, but the candle left a sooty discoloration which I didn't care for. I finally used a craft glue, which held them very nicely.

One more.

This is my most recent knitting project, a pair of toe-up socks from an Online Guild workshop led by Fiona Morris. I knitted this pair in Bernat Sox Nouveau! yarns, alternating a solid color with a variegated yarn. The short row toes and heels knit up very quickly.

My Learning Plan

Log Cabin ScarvesI learned to weave 6 years ago. I took a one day workshop which not only introduced me to the steps involved in weaving, but also offered an opportunity to try various types and makes of looms. After that came classes in basic twills, an Atwater-Bronson lace shawl, and doubleweave. Online Guild workshops have included tapestry weaving, triloom weaving, and an introduction to overshot. However, I always felt that I was missing something by this haphazard approach to learning weaving.

It was an Online Guild member who mentioned that she had learned to weave by working her way through Deborah Chandler's Learning to Weave. This sounded like a good idea to me, so I have adopted this plan in hopes of filling in the both my experiential gaps as well as my knowledge gaps.

I decided to start my organized approach to self taught weaving with the log cabin structure. Having seen several examples which used space dyed yarn and because of my love for color, I wanted to do the same. I've been working through a variety of color combinations with a series of scarves.

One of my biggest frustrations when I started weaving were getting the tension even (welcome to the club, right?). I have woven miles of smiles in regards to fell, and miles of frowns in regards to my face!
Lashing on to the front apron rod
The thing that helped tremendously was learning to lash the warp on to the front apron rod instead of tying on. Peg introduced me to this method a couple of years ago, and after a little practice I discovered it was much easier to achieve an even tension with this method. Things improved quite a bit after that, though I still admit that I have occasional problems.

Joining a new weft by unplyingOne new thing I decided to try with this series of log cabin scarves is the way I join a new weft. I've tried overlapping and tucking in, but wasn't completely with the visible results. I've also tried simply leaving weft ends hanging out of the selvedges to be cut off later, but never felt very secure with that, unless the fabric was to be used in a sewing project. I never tried unwrapping the plies because that seemed too fussy, but decided to give it a try anyway. Now I am finding that it gives the nicest visual results, so I'm happy that I gave it a try.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Warped Weaving

At times like this I wish I had a weaving teacher handy. Oh, online help is great, but sometimes I need someone to take a look over my shoulder at what's going on and help me.

My problem? The scarves I am weaving were getting warped. Warped as in my Webster's dictionary definition 1a, "twisted or bent out of a plane." As I'd been weaving, one side was getting progressively looser. And the more I wove, the looser it got!

Another problem was trying to analyze the problem. Just why were the warp ends on one side getting looser and looser every time I advanced the warp? Did I not have the correct tension to begin with? Were my balsa wood separators not sturdy enough? Had part of the warp gotten caught on something? Or was it be the miles and miles of Red Heart that I keep tying onto as I wove scarf after scarf?

(Yes, I said Red Heart. Now please don't go reporting me to the Fiber Purist Police. After all, Red Heart comes in lots of colors and is cheap. Plus it is machine washable and dryable, making it a good yarn choice for those recipients of my weaving who don't care to dry clean or hand wash!)

What to do. I still had several more scarves to weave and there was no way I wanted to re-thread the reed and all those heddles for just a few more scarves. Options? I could cut it all off in disgust and simply forget the rest. Or I could hang 30 individual weights on each of the loose warp ends. Or I could continue to stuff that video tape behind that entire loose section on the back beam in an attempt to even out the tension.

Finally after lying in bed for what seemed like hours that night, I figured out what to do. I would finish the scarf in progress and cut it off in the front. Then I would cut off the warp behind the heddles. This way I could leave the heddles threaded, I liked that. Next I would pull most of the old warp off the back beam and cut off all except a few feet to tie on to again. After retying in the back, I would tie a new warp on in front for the next scarf, wind on, and proceed as usual.

And that's exactly what I did. Of course I was happy to have figured this out for myself, but I certainly would have gotten a better night's sleep if I'd had someone to tell me how to do it in the first place.

Thursday, April 13, 2006


By Leigh

Blogs have been rather slow to come into my awareness. I do spend a lot of time on the computer, but have limited my activities to email, fiber and textile email lists, web design, and of course a few favorite computer games. Then a spinning friend, Carol, sent me a link to her friend Valerie's blog and I was intrigued. I started to occasionally visit other blogs, but rarely found my way back.

It was M's blog that got me thinking, "I wonder if I'd like to do that too, to keep some sort of record of my fiber activities." However, I couldn't analyze the idea to the point where it made sense to have a blog: for what purpose, what would I say, who in the world would be interested, and what do I have to share that someone else couldn't do better?

I'm hardly a teacher. In fact I'm more the "professional student" type; after all, a learner can readily be excused for errors and imperfections, can't she?

However, it was Peg who suggested to me that a blog might be useful as a diary of my fiber and textile explorations. I had been lamenting the inconsistencies of my weaving education and had finally decided to go back through Deborah Chandler's Learning to Weave from the beginning and focus on the things I had missed. A blog seemed a perfect way to record this.

So ready or not (mostly not), here I go ablogging.

Posted 13 April 2006 at