Category Archives: woven shibori

Weaving & Art Gypsies in June

New 16/2 cotton warp.
New 16/2 cotton warp.

June 1st began with making a 14 yard warp of 16/2 Bockens cotton for more woven shibori scarves.  New threading was 4 shaft Monk’s Belt, sett 30 epi.  Varying treadling allows one-of-a-kind scarves.

Hemstitching on the loom.
Hemstitching on the loom.

Previous scarves were hand-hemmed, or had hand-twisted fringe. On this warp, I decided to hemstitch on the loom.

Front and back of scarf.
Front and back of scarf.

The above photo shows the front (left) and back (right) of a newly woven scarf, off the loom, prior to gathering and tying.

Beginning to gather and tie.
Beginning to gather and tie.

Above, the gathering and tying process has been started.  The teal pattern threads will be gathered and knotted as tightly as possible, then trimmed.

Art Gypsy postcard for June 2014.
Art Gypsy postcard for June 2014.

The Art Gypsies, a small group of area artists, had their art fair just outside Minocqua this year, on June 21st.

Art Gypsies Wendy Powalitz and myself at the fair.
Art Gypsies Wendy Powalitz and myself at the fair.

Wendy Powalitz graciously shared her tent space with me, where I had woven shibori scarves, “rag” runners, and a couple cottolin towels.  Despite a light rain, it was a beautiful day!

Woven shibori scarves.
Woven shibori scarves.
More woven shibori scarves.
More woven shibori scarves.
"Garden Party" was the theme that day.
“Garden Party” was the theme that day.

Then, it was time to prepare for the upcoming Northwoods Art Tour!

Tapestry Beginnings

Tapestry beginnings.
Tapestry beginnings.

For a long time I have wanted to try tapestry weaving.  I had joined the American Tapestry Alliance about 1.5 years ago, and had seen the two mentor programs they have.  In May I sent in an application for their Helping Hands program for beginning tapestry weavers, which is a six month commitment.  A couple weeks later I was matched with Pam Hutley, of Queensland, Australia.  We have started communicating and I’m looking forward to her advice, ideas, and critique.

An experiment.
An experiment.

At the end of my last woven shibori warp, I woven a foot or so of plain weave, no pattern weft rows.  I had the idea of trying to stitch a design in by hand (above).

Experiment is gathered and tied.
Experiment is gathered and tied.

After stitching a design, the thread sections were gathered and tied, and it will be going into an indigo vat this weekend along with two or three other samples.  Results in the next post.

Unwashed Lincoln fleece.
Unwashed Lincoln fleece.

I have fleece waiting to be washed, a job I do in warmer months, outdoors.  In the last post there was my usual area on the lakeside porch waiting for this, but I had to remove it all because the porcupines keep coming up onto the porch and chewing on the legs on my wood sawhorses!

Lincoln fleece soaking.
Lincoln fleece soaking.

I did set up the large canners/pots I use for washing fleece out on the lakeside porch, and did wash about half of a 6+ lb. fleece, which is now drying in the racks in the garage, away from hungry porcupines.

I’m looking forward to carding and spinning this fleece, as well as figuring out what I’ll be making with the yarn, whether knit or woven.

The Results Are In

I've Got the Blues.
I’ve Got the Blues.

Earlier in the month I had few more pieces ready for the indigo dyepots, and the results are in.  I finally took photos today and was quite pleased with this trio of scarves.  There is another still needing its fringe done.

Starting to hand-twist the fringe.
Starting to hand-twist the fringe.

I had rinsed, washed and rinsed again, and pressed the pieces, and finally sat down to hand-twist the fringe.  Today, while looking for something in the studio, I found a gallon bag with another one or two samples and some silk thread I need to dye.  I’m about to finally wind a new warp so I can get back to weaving.  It’s been a busy month.

Transitions woven shibori scarf.
Transitions woven shibori scarf.

While finishing up the last warp I sat wondering if it would be possible to have a bit of control over the indigo dyed areas by which sheds were used and by the number of plain weave rows in-between.  My idea was to use treadles that had long floats at the beginning and end sections, and work in from both ends toward a lighter mid-section.  It worked, somewhat, but I’m not entirely happy with it as I was looking for a bit more gradual transition.  I’ll be trying this again.

"Memories of Norway, 1."
“Memories of Norway, 1.”
"Memories of Norway, 2."
“Memories of Norway, 2.”

Years ago I suddenly decided to try tapestry weaving, even though I had no knowledge of tapestry or how to even begin.  I made sketches, simplified to basic cartoons, and the results were the two tapestries above.  Woven on a Schacht table tapestry loom, using Navajo wool warp, and my handspun yarns for weft.  I was pleased with them at the time.

On Facebook, I follow several tapestry weavers.  Tapestry weaving is something I have wanted to try for many years, and the new large tapestry loom is glaring at me from the corner, asking why I’m not using it yet.  I’d been reading about several weavers who work on a tapestry diary throughout the year, and I thought that would be an interesting project and it would get me to sit down and weave on it each day.  I checked to see what warp they were using, sett, and try to get an idea of the weft to use.

Glimakra "Sara" upright tapestry loom.
Glimakra “Sara” upright tapestry loom.’

Several years ago I purchased the “Sara” loom and I thought it would work for this daily tapestry diary project.  This loom can be warped at 6 epi or 10 epi, so I chose 10 epi.  I warped it with seine twine, and had 13 colors of Bockens 2 ply tapestry yarn.  It was warped in two sections, six months vertically on each half. I sat down to weave, and found the yarn, used double, was too much and would not cover the warp, but single yarn would.  The problem was, I wanted to be able to blend colors, use two colors at once, and short of un-plying the yarn, it would not work.  What to do?  Re-warp to 6 epi?  Order all new weft yarn?  Or, change the project?  I chose the latter.

Tapestry sampler at very beginning.
Tapestry sampler at very beginning.

Plan B became weaving tapestry samplers, which meant more sketching, and now I must make a cartoon.  I have a number of tapestry books, and it is time to begin learning tapestry techniques, use of color, and so much more.  A new adventure!

Fleece washing area on the lakeside porch.
Fleece washing area on the lakeside porch.

On one of the two nice days we had during the month of April, we went out to clean up and rearrange the lakeside porch.  I took that opportunity to set up an area for washing fleece.  Now, if the weather would just cooperate!

Always Magical

Woven shibori, with pattern threads in teal.
Woven shibori, with pattern threads in teal.

At last, I was nearing the end of this warp, threaded as an advancing twill on 8 shafts and using 8/4 teal rug warp for the pattern threads, and 16/2 Bockens cotton for the plain weave.  On these pieces, I was treadling in random order, and varying the number of plain weave rows.

The last of this warp, just removed from the loom.
The last of this warp, just removed from the loom.

The last of this warp consisted of two scarves, one sample, and a length that would be cut into four pieces and will be made into smaller items.

Soaking in water prior to indigo dyeing.
Soaking in water prior to indigo dyeing.

Later the next afternoon, I set up in the garage for indigo dyeing, setting the now gathered and tied pieces to soak in water while mixing up a new indigo vat.  I then measured indigo out into two more smaller buckets for “diluted” dyebaths for achieve a medium and bit lighter shades of indigo.

New indigo vat with "flower' forming on the surface.
New indigo vat with “flower’ forming on the surface.

The new indigo vat worked well, forming the “flower” on the surface, and after skimming it off (and setting it aside, to return to that vat when finished), the dyebath was the greenish color it needed to be.

A sample changing from greenish/blue to indigo blue when exposed to the air.
A sample changing from greenish/blue to indigo blue when exposed to the air.

It is still magical, watching the wovens change from a green/blue to the beautiful shades of indigo blue.

Designs in one section of the long length of fabric.
Designs in one section of the long length of fabric.

After the wovens have been exposed to air and turned indigo, I give them a good rinse in a bucket of water, squeeze the water out, and hang them on a wood rack to begin drying.  When they are dripping, I move the rack into the house and turn a box fan on to encourage them to dry a bit faster.  Why?  Because I am a bit impatient to snip the knots along one selvedge, begin easing the gathers out, and pull the pattern threads out the other side so I can see the designs achieved from that particular threading and treadling.  Keep notes!

Detail of a shorter piece.
Detail of a shorter piece.

I then take and wash them, by hand, one-at-a-time, in Seventh Generation soap, and then rinse repeatedly until the water is clear. They are placed in a lingerie bag and run through a spin only cycle to remove excess water, and again, hung on a wood rack to dry. Before they are totally dry, I press them with a steam iron, hang to dry, then press again, and again, hang to dry.

Three of four pieces cut from the long length of fabric.
Two of four pieces cut from the long length of fabric, on the left, and a sample, on the right (dyed slightly darker).

I have two scarves left to finish, both needing twisted fringe.  Though it is early April, we have a snowstorm due tomorrow evening and overnight, a good time for that project.

Now, it’s time to decide on the length of the next warp, do my calculations, move the warping mill out, and get it made.  I’m thinking this time it will have the “pattern threads” run warp-wise.

Indigo dyer extraordinaire, Glennis Dolce (Shibori Girl) had shared a sample of warp-wise indigo dyed fabric with me, perhaps a year ago when I first started this learning adventure, and asked when I would warp up my loom for it.  I believe the time has come!  I will be using 16/2 cotton again, not as fine as the sample she sent me, which was likely machine woven, but should be another good learning warp, and if it turns out I must send a sample to Glennis.

No More Dallying!

Woven shibori scarf in progress.
Woven shibori scarf in progress.

It’s been a long and very cold winter, and I will spare you photos of the last blizzard.  It’s also been a period when I wasn’t feeling 100%, and more than anything wanted to hibernate, and often did.

Perhaps spring is on the way?  I want to weave, and am back working on a somewhat narrow warp for woven shibori scarves (above).  This scarf is being treadled randomly and the number of plain weave rows between each “pattern” row also varies. 16/2 Bockens cotton, sett 30 epi, and I’m using a neutral color of rug warp for the pattern rows which are removed after dyeing with indigo. Stay tuned to see the finished scarves!

Drawloom warp is threaded, sleyed and tied on, ready to weave.
Drawloom warp is threaded, sleyed and tied on, ready to weave.

If I remember correctly this is a 20/2 cotton warp, sett 64 epi for 5 shaft (ground) satin.  The warp is spread and I’m ready to begin weaving.  Time to locate a chart I’d like to weave, to begin, then dig out designs I was working on, simplified from photos I took in China years ago.  I still need to transfer (and possibly enlarge a bit) to graph paper.

Glimakra "Sara" loom.
Glimakra “Sara” loom.

The Glimakra “Sara” upright tapestry loom is a simple frame-type loom, tall, on legs, adjustable weaving length, and has hard plastic “teeth” top and bottom to wrap yarn on.  This loom can be warped at 5 epi or 10 epi.  I may regret it, but I warped it at 10 epi with bleached 12/6 seine twine after finding the linen I was going to use was a bit too wide/coarse for that sett.  It is warped in two sections for a tapestry daily calendar.  I had decided to try this in February, then promptly came down with a head cold.  Now, I can either make up the weaving, or start March 1st.

The idea of a tapestry diary or daily calendar is to weave a small bit each day which is appealing and doesn’t feel overwhelming.  I’ve been debating with myself over how to approach this weaving,… vertical or horizontal?  A particular shape (square, rectangle, trapezoid)?  Freeform?  Color approach?  I do know this will also be a good way to learn and experiment with tapestry techniques, and color.  It’s time to sit down at the loom and take the first step, then I’ll be asking myself what took so long.

Behind the “Sara” loom in the photo above is the new-to-me “Regina” tapestry loom.  Part of the studio was rearranged to make a nice home for it, lights will be installed shortly, and I’m waiting for a new 8 dent stainless steel reed to arrive, again, from Gowdey Reed Company in Rhode Island.

The pace of life is about to pick up.  My younger daughter’s wedding is in two weeks.  We’re hoping the weather will begin to warm up a bit in early April so we can begin refinishing floors, then treating the log walls.  Our first seed order arrived and very soon we’ll be setting up and “fencing” a table in the basement where we can start seeds (and keep the cats out!).  After the snow has melted and frost is out of the ground, we’ll set up raised beds, put up fencing, and plant vegetable and flower gardens.  We’re planning to add bees next year.

And while all those projects are going on, the weaving must continue, and we’re finally going to add the opphamta attachment to my Standard loom, something I’ve been waiting years for.

In addition to the Northwoods Art Tour, and one or two open studio days of our own, I’ll again participate in a show with the Art Gypsies.  A busy and exciting year coming up!

Northwoods Life, In and Out of the Studio

Woven shibori scarf.

Woven shibori has turned out to be a fascinating weaving technique, and my experimenting with weave structures and tie-ups continues.  The scarf above is the last from the most recent warp.  16/2 Bockens cotton sett at 30 epi, advancing twill threading and freeform tie-up.  A new warp is on the loom, and though the tie-up will remain the same (perhaps one or two treadles changed a bit), the threading is another advancing twill and I’m looking forward to seeing the differences.  I need to update my records before I start forgetting details.

A bit closer look.

The dyeing on the scarf is actually fairly even, but the photos appear lighter on the top than the bottom.  The photos were taken outdoors early this afternoon, on the lakeside porch, and I believe the porch roof is giving a shaded or shadow effect. 

Later in October, I’m looking forward to being able to branch out into larger works, as well as try one or two wearable pieces.  It’s always good to have new learning and challenges to look forward to! 

Norwegian coverlet book.

A few days ago I was looking at the 2014 class schedule on the VavStuga website, and saw mention of a Norwegian coverlet book, “Om fellen kunne fortelle… akletradisjon til inspirasion” by Randi Breiset ($44.00 US).  It was originally published in 2001, and perhaps has been reprinted.  The book is being carried again in the VavStuga shop.  Of course, I sent an immediate email asking a copy be sent to me.  What a treat!  Beautiful photos, a bit of history about each, and drafts and weaving information provided.  There is also an abbreviated English supplement in the book. 

I am looking forward to the coming winter and continuing my woven shibori studies, and attempting a small version of a Norwegian coverlet.

If you read this blog you are probably aware I am a volunteer rescue driver for Wild Instincts, a wildlife rehab facility here in the WI Northwoods.  After doing this volunteer work for 12+ years, it has been a real treat to be able to be present at the release of a few of them.  If you’ve ever wondered what the release of fawns was like, the following photos will show you!

Don’t worry, they are alive.

The previous day, five fawns were released; on this day, the last six were going to their new location.  The fawns were tranquilized, carried over near the transport vehicle and laid on the ground, where Sharon tagged them (required by State of WI).

Four of the six fawns ready to go.

After being tagged they were each placed in the vehicle.  Ken is one of many volunteers for Wild Instincts.

After arriving, the fawns were again placed on the ground.

Mark gives each an antidote to help them wake up.

One by one, heads started to raise, and when ready they were helped to their feet.

This fawn laid down again, wanting more rest.

They still have their spots.

Fawns were moved off into their new lives, back in the wild.

Next month,… I hope to be there for release of five bear cubs.  Stay tuned!

And now, back to the weaving studio, where another 12 yards of warp for more woven shibori scarves awaits me, and three or so sock orders, and getting ready for the Oct. 5 art show/sale.  Yes, I’m back to cranking socks again,… cooler autumn temps and another winter are on the way!

Stash Crisis Averted!

A new “freeform” woven shibori scarf.

After a bit of time away from the loom, it’s back to another “freeform” or “random” woven shibori scarf.  This is nearing the end of the warp in the previous post (advancing twill threading, freeform tie-up).  As I did not keep notes on treadling and number of rows of plain weave in scarf #4, this one will be somewhat similar but not identical.  Of course, the gathering, tying, and indigo dye all play parts in the outcome, too.

My new stash of 16/2 Bockens cotton!

Earlier this week I was starting to consider the next warp, whether to stay with this threading and tie-up, make it the same width or perhaps a couple inches wider, length of warp (probably 14 yards or so), or change to a new weave structure.  I looked and found I had 2.5 tubes of this cotton left.  I needed to order more thread right away, 2.5 tubes would not be enough to make another warp and weave it off. 

I called Glimakra USA to discover they were all out of 16/2 bleached.  Crisis!  I ordered 12 tubes of unbleached, then I sent an email to VavStuga inquiring if they had any 16/2 bleached on hand.  A reply told me they had 16 tubes of 16/2 bleached left, did I want them?  Yes!  Both packages are here now, and just for fun I did a little calculating,… if my math is correct, there are approximately 87,264 yards here!  That should be enough to keep me busy for awhile.  Oh yes, I also have several cones of bleached and unbleached 20/2 cotton waiting, too.

The next post should have another indigo dyed scarf, possibly a sample or two, depending on how much warp is left, and the new warp should be made and on the loom.  I’m also just starting on making wool socks again.  Yes, I know I said I wasn’t going to, but after getting four or five orders, and a small autumn show coming up (and cold winter weather will be here before long), I decided to have some socks done, too, in addition to the

Meanwhile, the WI north woods wildlife continues to keep me entertained and busy.

Young porcupine in my yard.

The porcupine family continues to visit, and on this day it was the young one, now growing up.  Here she is peering at me between the back of the empty salt lick and a red pine.  (They are trying to chew their way through the wood.)  Such a sweet face!

Little porcupine’s dangerous side!

As I was trying to take the photos, she kept her back to me, quills raised and gave a little jump and flick of the tail to keep me away.  It worked!

Eagle in tree, beaver trap on its foot tangled on a branch.

Yes, this is the same eagle as in the last post, a bit better photo (taken by someone on the scene, thank you!).  Traps can catch unintended victims.

Mark Naniot, Wild Instincts rehabber, eagle with head covered, and me.

As I wrote, the eagle came down, went into the lake, was caught by Mark, and in this photo, I am folding a wing (it was busy flapping and wanting to escape) so I can get around and hold it’s legs while Mark removed the trap.  This is the only photo of me, in twelve years or so, during a rescue, as I’m usually alone.  Notice the welder’s gloves, which only offer partial protection from beak and talons.  Update:  this eagle is alive, doing well so far, foot wrapped, but they are uncertain about whether or not the toe that was in the trap will need to be amputated. 

I think I may have written back in May or June about an eagle rescue, an eagle that did NOT want to be caught.  It had an injury, was starved, and had severe lead poisoning.  It also had a lot of attitude!  I am happy to report, he was released this past Wednesday afternoon, photos are below.  Happily, I was invited to be present for his release back into the wild!

Mark has transferred the eagle to the young woman doing the release.  He still looks grumpy!

Motion shot, at the beginning of “the toss,”  1-2-3-GO!
He made straight for an “eagle tree,” dark pine in center.

Wouldn’t you know, he made straight for a tree that already had an eagle pair, nest, and very possibly young.  You should have heard the squawking that went on for a long time!

Now, decisions to make on that next warp and calculations to do.  I have a smaller warping mill here to try out, on loan from a friend, and I need to return it to her.

Summer Weaving and Eagle Evenings

Aug. 16, 2013, four scarves to indigo dye on a beautiful day.

Four new woven shibori scarves were woven this past week for a small five artist/artisan show.  Using 16/2 Swedish cotton, 30 epi, advancing twill threading, freeform tie-up, each scarf was treadled differently.  Friday was a beautiful mostly sunny day, warm and a bit humid.  I set up on a table on the lakeside porch, and opened the dyepots to see how they were after weeks of very little use.  The original vat looked great, green though there were blue specks.  The vat with the lightest shade did not look good at all, and the smaller vat with a medium shade looked hopeful. 

Four scarves, gathered and tied, soaking in water before dying.

I placed the four gathered and tied scarves in water and gave them time for the water to penetrate the folds.  Meanwhile, I got online to see what I would need to do to revive the vats.  Thiox was needed, so mixing a bit at a time, I added some to each.  Only the lightest vat didn’t seem to change no matter how much I added or how long I waited. 

Left, scarves hanging on rack to begin drying; right, fabric test pieces.

 tried fabric in each vat, to check how well it would dye as well as shade.  The original vat worked well, not as dark a color as the first time, but that was fine as I didn’t want that dark of a color.  Another vat gave a light shade by a bit uneven color, the medium vat was working better than the light.  Some fabric pieces were dipped a second time to give a bit darker shade.  Once I felt confident the dying would work, the scarves were dyed, a couple of them put in the dyebath a second time very briefly.  They were each rinsed in two large buckets of water, then left to dry on the porch, but because of the humidity weren’t drying.  Needing them finished the next day, I moved the rack to an upstairs bedroom, turned a box fan on and closed the door. 

Beginning to remove pattern threads from the lightest color scarf.

Needing the scarves for Saturday, I started removing pattern threads as soon as they were partly dry.  I began with the lightest scarf, leaving the others to continue drying.  Removing the threads involves clipping the knots along one edge, sometimes a challenge when tightly knotted as you do not want to clip a warp or weft thread in the process.  My fear was having used 16/2 cotton, I might either cut a thread with scissors, or break a thread when pulling the pattern threads from the other side.  By the time I got to the last scarf, I discovered the threads pull out easier when dry (or nearly dry). 

On one scarf, I had mistakenly used a shuttle with seine twine which I had used on previous cottolin scarves.  For the next three I used a beige rug warp which though strong, was also a bit more difficult to tie tightly and hold a tight knot.  After clipping all the knots on one edge, I  turned the scarf around and began smoothing out the gathers to my left while holding the pattern thread with my right hand, approximately half the gathers, then go back to the top and start pulling the threads out, gently. 

First, a crinkly look.

After the pattern threads are removed, the fabric is crinkly, really quite a nice effect, but they still needed pressing a couple of times, and twisting of fringe.

Were the first two rinses out on the porch enough?  NO!  There is indigo inside those folds that does not rinse out until the pieces are able to be opened.  So, downstairs to a sink where they were washed with mild soap, then rinsed repeatedly until the water was clear.  Then back up the drying rack and box fan to dry them again, prior to finishing.  They were pressed while still a bit damp, allowed to dry more, fringes twisted, and a final pressing.

New scarves on Saturday, three of the four new scarves went to new homes!

I’m very pleased with the new finer threads scarves.  Did I mention this is very time-consuming?  For me, they are well worth it, and just need to take that into account in the future.

My favorite of the four!

Indigo dyed a medium+ shade, this was my favorite, and is one-of-a-kind since I treadled it randomly, and used random numbers of rows of tabby between the pattern rows, anywhere from 6-14 rows (tabby).  It was also the first scarf sold on Saturday.

It was a beautiful and fun day, I had a great time chatting with people, and was quite tired at the end of the day.  Deciding it was best to go home and rest, that is what I did, for about an hour, and then the phone rang,…

It was Wild Instincts, could I go out on an eagle rescue?  No one else was available and I was closer than the rehabber.  The eagle’s foot was in a beaver trap and it was on the ground under a tree.  If I couldn’t open the trap, just put the eagle with trap into my container and get it to the facility.  I agreed to go, moved the table from the back of my car and put my eagle bin and supply bag back in, and called to get specific directions.

I was given the specific location, and told someone would meet me at the gate.  However, the eagle was now 35+ feet in the air, the chain on the trap caught on a tree branch and the eagle hanging upside down.  Now, I’ll do a lot to try to catch an eagle or other critter, but climbing trees is not something I’m willing to do.  I immediately called the rehabber and said he would have to come and that I was on my way.  This is what I saw when I arrived…

Bald eagle, hanging upside down, trap on its foot caught in a tree branch.

There were three or four men there, one up on a 24′ ladder trimming branches away so they could get a rope over and around the branch so it could be cut and the eagle lowered.  A fire chief also arrived to help provide advice and equipment.  The sun was setting and we were losing light.  The eagle was alert and watching, but also flapping whenever a branch was cut and dropping.  I said please don’t just drop the eagle because if it can fly, it will try to get away and with the trap still on will get tangled somewhere else and die because no one will know where it is. 

A bit blurry, but you can see he trap on its left leg, and chain going up that is tangled on a branch.

Mark arrived, provided another a small saw to use (instead of the long pruner).  I don’t know if the branch broke or or if it was cut and the rope didn’t hold it, but suddenly the eagle was dropping to the ground and it immediately headed for the lake which was a few feet away down a slope.  Mark Naniot was instantly down the slope and into the water with sheet and heavy gloves and came up with the eagle in his arms, its head covered.  I followed him to the road and heard “where’s Jan?”  “I’m coming,” as I pulled on my heavy gloves on so I could hold the eagles legs while Mark opened the trap.  He then took its legs, turned it over and placed it in the eagle bin, while I slowly slid the cover on so it couldn’t try to escape again.

I called this morning, Mark said the eagle is alive, though maggots were in the wound and they’ll know in a week or two if the toe that was caught in the trap will need to be amputated.  There were also lacerations on the wings from flapping against the tree branches, but none were serious.  Praying now the eagle will survive and be able to be released back into the wild.

Wild Instincts is a wildlife rehab facility about 4.5 miles outside of Rhinelander, WI.  Mark Naniot is a licensed wildlife rehabber, and he and his wife own and run the facility, with the assistance from late spring to fall by a number of interns who are learning and gaining experience with this work.  They have quite a number of transport drivers (willing to transport critters already contained), and rescue drivers, like myself, who will not only transport, but sometimes need to catch the wildlife before transporting.  I think this was the third evening this summer I was sent out for an eagle.

Wild Instincts has a high success rate and is a blessing to the WI Northwoods.  Check out their website,; their blog,; and their Facebook page, they often post photos and video.  They are supported entirely by memberships and donations.

Today I gave myself a day to rest, some computer time, time to read, a nap, lots of rest.  Tomorrow, I need to call and order more 16/2 Swedish cotton warp, there is a warp to finish weaving off, and it’s time to begin making socks again, and an evening guild meeting.  And you never know when the phone will ring, you look at it and see the words “Wild Instincts!”  

Scarves are Coming!

Swedish cotton warp.

I started a new warp yesterday, 16/2 Swedish cotton, 30 epi, 3 threads per dent in a 10 dent reed, and weaving not quite 30 ppi.  The threading is an advancing twill on 8 shafts, with a “freeform” tie-up.  I’m really looking forward to seeing the results after dyeing.  This is a new group of woven shibori scarves I hope to have done and at a sale this coming Saturday. 

Scarf #1.

Scarf #1 was treadled the same as the threading,… 1-2-3-4-5; 2-3-4-5-6; 3-4-5-6-7; 4-5-6-7-8, and so on.  To help me keep track I put a little tie thread on after each two groups, and had a notecard I was checking them off on.  I leave small loops on each side to make it easy to hold onto for gathering and tying.  Those threads are then trimmed to approxi-mately 1.5″ before dyeing.  As I was taking this scarf off the loom, I immediately noticed what a fine hand and drape the cotton has.

Gathered, tied, ready for the indigo dyepot.

I like to start in the center, pulling on a couple loops at a time to begin the gathering, working my way to the end, then the other half.  Then I go back and start clipping a few loops at a time, gather again, and tie a tight square knot.  When one side is done, I repeat the process on the other side, making sure the gathers are as tight as I can get them, then knotted.  With this warp, I’m having to be careful because of the finer warp threads.  (During an edit, Blogger has added spaces between lines that it will not let me remove.)

When I started weaving I wasn’t thinking about the harshness of seine twine on the fine warp so as you can see, that is what I used on this first scarf.  No threads broken yet, and it is ready to be soaked, water squeezed out, and immersion into the dyepot.  Now the question is, will I be able to remove those pattern threads without breaking any of the warp threads,… we will see.

Scarf #2.

I was thinking about the issue of what to use for the pattern threads this morning, needing something strong, that won’t break during the gathering/knotting, but not abrasive on the warp threads.  Recalling reading rug warp as an option, also suggested to me by tapestry weaver Janet Austin, I found a bag with partial tubes of rug warp, filled a bobbin, and started weaving Scarf #2.  The treadling on this one is simpler, 1-3-5-7; 2-4-6-8.  Repeat.  I’m again adding my little counting thread on the side and have a notecard in the basket hanging on my loom bench.  And I never walk away without completing a repeat.

The warp was somewhere around 10-12 yards or so, so I’d better get back to my loom, finish this scarf, and hopefully get another scarf half woven yet tonight.  Later, I’ll do the gather-tie work on Scarf #2, preferring that to leaving them to do all at once.

I plan to be dipping these into indigo dyepots Wednesday afternoon followed by a lot of rinsing, washing, more rinsing and hanging to dry.  Then fringes need to be twisted.

It’s a busy week, having been procrastinating, but I’m enjoying it all immensely.  The WI Northwoods has been having early autumn weather since late July.  It is cool, sunny, a few clouds here and there, breezy, and with windows open, really perfect weaving weather!

Check back this weekend to see how the scarves turn out!

Learning Curve Continues

Woven Shibori scarf, dyed June 8, 2013.

In early June two more scarves on an 8 shaft Monk’s Belt threading were woven, along with a sample of each treadling.  This past Saturday, the scarves and samples were indigo dyed in “watered down” indigo vats, attempting to achieve lighter shades. 

The scarf above came out light/medium shade; the matching sample (below) was dipped in the vat twice to get a bit darker shade.  After dyeing, the scarves and samples were rinsed as well as can be done with gathering threads still in, put in lingerie bags so any remaining water was spun out in the washer (no rinse), and hung to dry on a wood rack outside on the porch.  That evening, I sat down and started clipping and removing the gathering threads, anxious to see the results.

A closer look at the border of this scarf.

Detail of the border, tracking visible.

After the gathering threads were removed, they were rinsed again several times until the water ran clear, and again, water was spun out so they would dry a bit faster.  Normally I would start pressing them while still a bit damp, but they had dried overnight so the next morning they were misted both sides; the iron was set on cotton with highest steam setting.  It takes more than one pressing to get the wrinkles out of cottolin. 

While pressing the first time I noticed what appears to be tracking, something I was not expecting.  I’ve had tracking happen twice, once with Harrisville wool singles, another time on a towel with cottolin warp and cotton weft (which gave a couple short diagonal lines.  I’ve woven many cottolin towels, plain weave and twill, and never had tracking occur.  A third steam pressing this afternoon helped a bit, but the tracking seems to be here to stay, and actually, I like the textured look it is giving to the borders.  The tracking is not on the plain weave hems and plain blue areas, only the woven shibori borders.

Additional note:  I just looked at the first scarf and samples.  Tracking does not appear on the samples woven on the twill threading, but there is tracking on the first Monk’s Belt warp, on the dark indigo scarf and the samples, just not as visible because they were dyed darker shades of indigo.

Unfortunately, the photos, taken outdoors in good light but not direct sunlight, appear in the photos as medium and light blue, but the borders are actually medium blue on bleached (white) Swedish cottolin.  Setting up a place and learning how to better photograph my work is fast moving up on my priority list.

Sample for notebook, dipped in dye bath two times.

Back of the above sample.

Another woven shibori scarf, also dyed June 8th.

This scarf above was dyed in a more diluted indigo dyebath, coming out quite a light blue, and unevenly dyed, exactly the effect I was going for.  I had done a little marketing research, showing the scarf in the previous post and a few samples to two women I know.  They liked them all, and asked if I would have any lighter color scarves, to wear with stonewashed jeans in summer.  

These two scarves were my first attempts to get the lighter, “stonewashed denim” look  in woven shibori scarves.  These two scarves were shown to the same women yesterday, and they wanted to know when I would bring some in for them to choose from.  I think I’m on the right track!

Border area of this second scarf.

In the border photo above, you can see how the tracking seems to add great texture to those areas of the scarf.

Detail, to show the “tracking.”
Sample for notebook, dipped in dye bath twice.

Back of this sample.

Because of how the gathers happen on this Monk’s Belt threading, the bolder color and design side is really the “back” side of the fabric as it is being woven.  The “back” side of the scarves and samples have lighter indigo color and more delicate design, and are actually the “right” side of the woven fabric. 

All were hand-hemmed, and I chose to have the bolder, brighter indigo sides to be the right side of the fabric, but could just as easily have had the more delicate design side by the “right” side. 

Now, I am thinking of other ways of finishing hems.  Hand-hem, hemstitched, knotted, and others.  What I am trying to keep in mind is how the particular thread looks after repeated washings, even hand washing.  Cottolin, after repeated washing can get a little ratty looking on the ends of the threads, something I want to avoid.  So now, I must delve into my weaving/fiber library and find options that will stand up to wear and care.

There is now a finer warp on the loom, 16/2 Swedish cotton, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the next scarves turn out! 

And all this blue, I’m thinking I’d better warp up another loom with some color and different technique or structure for a little variety for all of us!