Monday, April 20, 2009

A Weekend of Ragweaving!

This was one of those stellar weekends. I hear that the weather was superb; I was stuck indoors at WEBS here in Northampton all day both days and didn't mind one bit. I was participating in a workshop with Johanna Erickson (author of Rag Weaving Gimmicks and Tricks) on the subject of Wearable Rags. We spent the whole weekend weaving up samples using several techniques and multiple materials. Rather than yarn for weft we used strips of materials.

This appeals to me as I have stockpiled old items of clothing for several years with the intent of doing some ragweaving. I also think that much of what I learned will apply to weaving with wool roving.

Here's a closer look at my samples:

This one included a quilted floral fabric like one would use to make a bedspread, then some pink knit fabric woven three different ways, then some shiny purple synthetic material interspersed with a weft here and there of multicolor; a large knitting needle was used to create the clusters of loops with the purple fabric.

The sample below was woven with a rather dense chenille warp. I experimented with wefts of batik-like cloth, seam binding, ribbons, rick-rack (the yellow stuff), and some brightly-striped fabric that had been pre-cut and supplied on a spool. I would have chosen a less-dense warp to allow more of the weft to show.

This piece involved weaving with strips of knit fabric such as tee shirts. It was particularly fun to weave with the blue and white-striped material, fiddling with each weft to create a checkerboard effect.

This was probably the most fun: picture weaving. A fabric with a design such as flowers is chosen, cut into strips, and the strips woven in order so that there is a squashed-down version of the images on the original fabric. The larger and simpler the images, the more the more similar the woven results will be. Here you can see I experimented with several different patterns.

I love attending workshops that involve creating samples rather than a finished item. Good food, good people, good weaving.


Thank you
Michelle Ward, Sharon Bogon, and Tammy for your recent comments.


These were two very successful and rewarding dye jobs in which I tried a new technique. In each bag there are several continuous strands of roving, each dyed a hue that is harmonious with the others. Because the colors are in separate strands the spinner can control exactly how the colors are worked up; either blended all together, spun intermittently, or even spun into separate colored skeins. The batch above includes strands ranging from a pale, polite yellow through several shades of green to aqua.

My friend Mary Alice bought a bag at the recent meeting of the Nutmeg Spinners Guild. When I saw her a few days later she told me how delighted she was when she looked closer at home and discovered that she would have so many spinning possibilities. So I've decided to call this dyeing technique my Mary Alice roving. It was nice to get good feedback from someone who appreciated my efforts to put more control into the spinner's hands.

Since Mary Alice asked me to set aside another bag of this, I only have one bag available now; it's 6.6 ounces of Finn Cross for $23.10.

More Mary Alice roving here, with shades of shrimp from pale to medium as well as a touch of pale mauve. I have four bags of this, each approximately one half pound; if you're interested I'll get you the specifics. Priced as above, at $3.50 per ounce.

I'm getting ready for my next selling event which will be the Fleece Market at the WEBS Tent Sale on Saturday, 16 May at WEBS here in Northampton MA. Although the main sale is a two-day event, the Fleece Market will be limited to Saturday. I have a new (to me) EZ-UP shelter which will hopefully function better than my shelter last year which blew down. My border collie Bud will be with me that day to welcome visitors.


mary alice said...

AH, shucks! Thanks for honoring me so!! I'll spin it up while sitting in the side shade of your new EZ-UP on the 16th!! If only I can make decisions by then. Some spinners can have TO much choice!!

P.S. I want it ALL!!

Robin Olsen said...

Your ragweaving samples are amazing! What fun designs and great use of color. These playful techniques make me want to take up weaving.