Wandering at the Shadows' Edge

exploring potential and possibility

Archive for the category “Fiber Arts”

Keeping Warm While Wandering

In my last post I mentioned that I had crocheted three shawls.  I’m one of those people who gets cold easily, so shawls come in handy when I’m at work or traveling.  I only have pictures of two of them completed. The third picture is just the first couple of repeats of the shawl.

The first picture is of a shawl that was supposed to be mine, but when it was finished I wasn’t really happy with the colors. My sister, on the other hand, adored it. So I gave it to her!

Kelli's Shawl

Butterfly Stitch Shawl in Desert colors

The second picture is a completely different pattern. This one was intended from the beginning to be kept at work, so I picked a really boring neutral color for it.  I love the pattern though and expect I’ll be making a few more in different colors and different weight yarns.

Crochet capelet

Victorian/Steampunk style shawl

The third picture is actually the first shawl I did. It’s the same butterfly stitch as the first shawl, but a different weight and color of yarn.

Butterfly stitch beginning

Beginning repeats of the butterfly stitch shawl

A Brief Foray into the Light

It’s really easy to get lost, even at the edge of the shadows!  I’ve been busy – even done some projects, but somehow never came back far enough in the light to document them!  I’m going to try to do better because I really do want to track things I’m working on.

In the meantime, I’ve crocheted three shawls – one of which now belongs to my sister. I’ve submitted a short story to an anthology which will come out in October. And I did a letter of intent for a friend in the SCA.

In progress projects include a knitted shawl, a practice inkle weave piece, some kumihimo braids, final revisions on one novel and several other novels, novellas, and stories in progress. I have two major projects in the works – a book of hours and a reliquary for friends.

And of course, there’s always the intent and attempt to post more often here and on my other sites! Time to make that a habit, rather than the occasional “Oh yeah – I need to update that!”

For now, it’s time to wander back into the shadows though.  How is journey going?

Weaving Embellishments from the Shadows

I’ve already posted some of my experiments with inkle weaving.  Having done those, I decided to try my hand at embellishing my weaving.   There are methods I wanted to try – brocading and pickup weaving.  For some reason, I decided to try the brocading first.

Method

Brocading involves the use of a second weft thread or threads.  Generally  you want that thread to be double or triple the weight/size of your warp threads. This cuts down on the amount of warp that shows between your rows.   The brocade weft is woven through the warp in a pre-determined pattern, which usually looks like a cross-stitch pattern. Basically, the brocade weft sit above the warp where you want it to show and below the warp where you don’t want it to show.  The regular weft thread is woven normally, with no adjustments.

experimental brocade pattern

A celtic knotwork cross-stitch pattern that I used to try brocading my inkle weaving.

This is

The Pattern

This is the pattern I decided to start with.

I probably should have started out with something a bit simpler.  Celtic knotwork really isn’t the easiest pattern to work with at first.

The advantage?

I realized I was doing something wrong with my first try pretty quickly.

The disadvantage?

It seemed like it took forever to get through one repetition of the pattern!

 

 

 

The Results

brocading 1st try

This is the first try at brocading. Obviously something went wront.

The First Attempt

This is my first attempt.  The bottom is the celtic knotwork – not even recognizable for what it is!

Not understanding what was going wrong, I decided to try a simple diamond pattern .

The result was a bit better – at least the diamond is recognizable!  But it’s not anywhere close to solid like it should be.

I went back to my instructions and re-read them, assuming that I had missed something when I read them the first time.

As it turned out, it wasn’t so much that I missed something as that I mis-read part of the instructions.  Having figured out what went wrong, I decided to try again on the same band of weaving.

 

 

Brocading 2nd try

The second attempt at brocading. The technique is right, but only uses a single brocade thread.

 

The Second Attempt

This is the second attempt.

This time I got the technique right.  the knotwork is more or less recognizable and the diamond is definitely recognizable.

The only problem I had with this one is the amount of the warp showing through.  Obviously a single brocade thread  isn’t enough to make a fairly solid pattern.

 

 

 

The Third Attempt

brocading 3rd try

The third attempt at brocading – the brocading weft is doubled

This is the third and final attempt at brocading my inkle-weaving.  The only difference between this one and the second one is that I doubled the brocade thread.  The patterns are both more recognizable for what they are and less of the warp is showing.  I think that in the future I will either triple the brocade thread or use a thread that is the equivalent of a triple weft.

Thoughts

Overall, I am very happy with the outcome.  I feel like I have a solid understanding of how the process of brocading inkle weave works now and I think I can also apply it to card/tablet weaving in the future.  I wouldn’t want to stop weaving in the middle of a pattern repetition – I’d be afraid I’d forget where I stopped. That being the case, I would want to keep my patterns small or make sure that I only wove when I had a good solid block of time.

What do you think?

A Gift of Simple Knots

I’ve had an interesting year at work so far. One of the admin assistants has been of particular help over the last couple of months, so I decided to make her a small gift to say thank you.

Having sat at her desk for two weeks, I knew her favorite color was purple and I knew that I had some purple yarn in my collection.

 

crocheted cowboy boot

undecorated crocheted cowboy boot, about 3 inches tall

Every year, my work place has a theme for our peak season. This year the theme was a country-western one. After a bit a searching, I found a pattern for a small crocheted cowboy boot and decided that it would make a good thank you.

The pattern looks a little more like an actual cowboy boot if you use two different colors and add the suggested decorations, but I only had one color of purple, so I just did the whole thing in that color.

Overall I was pretty happy with how quickly it worked up and how it turned out.  And the lady I was gifting it two was very happy with the addition to her collection of purple decorations!

I would certainly do this pattern again for other occasions.  It was relatively simple and quick and the outcome was close enough to the picture on the pattern to make me happy.

Small Weavings in the Shadows

Patterns and Sizes

My current explorations are in the area of inkle weaving.  I’ve been playing with patterns and thread sizes.

Black, yellow and white simple lines

simple alternating lines

Blues and white

bars, lacking contrast

3 sizes

same pattern, different colors and threads

I’m finding that the size 10 cotton crochet thread works up the quickest. It doesn’t snag on the heddles or pill and get fuzzy. The size 20 crochet thread might work up just as fast if my heddles were made of it rather than the size 10.

The size 10 crochet thread also seems to have given the cleanest version of the pattern, though that might be as much from the color choices as the thread size.

Heddle Variations

black and gray alternate heddles

non-standard heddle pattern, black warp, gray weft

The most recently completed piece of inkle weaving was an experiment with which warp threads I heddled.  In some spots I heddled two in a row and then left two alone.  The result was a sort of speckled pattern where the weft showed through where the heddles didn’t alternate as usual.  I’m wondering what kind of patterns I can come up with by coordinating various colors of warp and weft with heddle patterns.

 

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