Warped Weavers – April 2017

Local weavers – all members of the Ann Arbor Fiber Arts Guild and the subgroup Warped Weavers – came to visit my studio and learn more about my experience in the Väv Immersion Class last year at Vävstuga Weaving School in Shelburne Falls, MA.

I shared a typical day at the farm house, a bit about Glimåkra looms, the special Smålandsväv set up currently on my loom, along with sixteen weeks worth of weaving, spinning, bobbin lace, drafting and fiber analysis.  Though almost impossible to share 16 weeks of life in weaver’s utopia, I described my experience and enthusiasm for the program and the beautiful textiles that now fill my home.  I look forward to future conversations with these local weavers as we continue to share resources and wisdom with one another.

 

The Ann Arbor Fiberarts Guild (AAFG) is an educational, not-for-profit club of fiber artists. It was founded in 1956 as a club for weavers and still has a large number of members who are weavers, as well as many members who create other forms of fiber art.

Warped Weavers (WW) is now a subset of the AAFG, as the guild itself now includes all techniques that involve using fiber or fiber techniques including: Basketry, Beading, Bead Embroidery, Bead Weaving, Kumihimo, Crochet, Doll Making, Dyeing and Painting, Embroidery, Felting, Garment Design and Construction, Handmade Paper and Book Art, Knitting, Knotting, Quilting, Sewing, Spinning, Weaving, and Surface Design.

Both groups meet monthly and support a variety of fiber activities, educational opportunities, a great library, shows and sales. I am very fortunate to live in proximity of so many incredible weavers and fiber artists.  For more information about AAFG and WW click on the blue links above!

April 2017

 

Setting up Smålandsväv

Smålandsväv is a double harness weave that can be woven on a large framed loom without the need of a drawloom attachment.

I fell in love with Smålandsväv  last spring at Vävstuga.  My notes, blog and memory, along with Becky’s video – Dress You Swedish Drawloom and the book – Damask and Opphämta guided countless hours of preparation and set-up.  I am grateful to Becky for her attention to details both in class and in her video. And I appreciate Betsy, a local weaver, for gifting me this classic book which is out of print.  My new weaving friend Taeko spent several days discovering the ways of Smålandsväv while assisting with the set up.  We had many “learning experiences”, laughed a lot, and proved that “many hands make light work”.

The 4 rows of  heddles near the reed create the pattern and are hung with elastic bands on shaft bars borrowed from a smaller loom to allow the shafts to be pulled down into the loom.  In addition, two rows of  large-eyed heddles are hung closer to the warp beam to support the plain weave.  These shafts are counterbalanced with pulleys and held with elastic bands for extra support.

As I sampled, I had occasional errors in the plain weave.  The book showed the plain weave tied to the middle treadles and with this tie up,  I could not get a good rhythm. Finally, after multiple errors and increasing frustration while sampling, I recalled (and saw in my class notes) that on the Smålandsväv loom at  Väv Immersion, the plain weave was tied up to the treadles to the right and with the pattern on the left and middle treadles.  Once I made this change, there were no more plain weave errors!

Smålandsväv, like many drawloom set-ups has a narrow shed.  The Glimåkra damask shuttles fit well in the pattern shed, provided I advanced the warp regularly.  However, the the damask shuttle would get stuck in the shed while weaving the plain weave.  I adjusted the narrow shed to create a bit more space and then recalled that Bob, a weaver from the local guild, had gifted not only me, but our entire group of local weavers, with beautiful slim shuttles he had hand crafted in his woodshop.  This shuttle slid with ease through the narrow plain weave shed and gave an extra damask shuttle for the pattern weave, thus allowing fewer quill/color changes!  Many thanks to Bob for this amazing shuttle!

The warp is a beige 16/2 cotton set at 30 ends per inch in a 15 dent reed.  The weft pattern uses various colors of 16/2 cotton doubled and a white 16/2 cotton single for the plain weave.  The warp is long to allow plenty of sample space and length to weave 7 or 8 scarves/table runners. Like an empty canvas, the warp awaits to be woven with a variety of colors and designs!

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The winter and early spring brought other textiles pleasures as well – all in various shades of teal.  I knotted the fringe and helped with finishing touches on friend Renee’s beautifully woven scarf – her very first handwoven textile!  The cottolin bath towels woven at Väv Immersion continue to be a delight to use – no more bulky, fuzzy towels for me!  These handwoven towels are light as a feather, absorb with ease, and wrap comfortably around one’s body.  I also appreciate the lightweight when I swaddle my hair with these towels.

Night-time knitting produced a lovely warm hat that actually covers my ears and my first lace knit scarf.  I was fortunate to be a part of a Brooklyn Tweed knitting group at SPUN, our new local yarn shop.  Participants were guided by Christine, Pattern Support Lead for Brooklyn Tweed and Carol, Co-Owner of SPUN.  It was great to increase my knitting skills and get to know other fiber artists in Ann Arbor.

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Spring brought forsythia to brighten the window which houses the new year’s paper stars that gave sparkle to the house during the dark of winter.  And now the days are becoming too warm to enjoy my new scarf and hat.  And so I’ll trade them happily for time in my garden.  Happy Spring to you all!

Happy New Year 2017!

 

Happy Hands, Happy Hearts, Happy New Year 2017!

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Several years ago we began a family tradition of creating art together.  For over a decade we had taken classes individually at both Talking Colors and Rush In Art Academy.  Then five winters ago, the four of us took a painting class all together for the first time with Natalyia at Rush In Art.  We had so much fun we took another class the next winter.  The following winter when Natalyia went on vacation, we decided we would continue the tradition at home.  At first we all painted a similar theme, then different themes and this year we’ve mixed textiles and paper folding along side the painting.

 

In honor of the Women’s March on Washington on January 21st in Washington D.C., we gathered with dear friends to knit warm woolly pink hats which are part of the Pussy Hat Project. Local yarn shop Spun is hosting it’s second knit-in on Sunday, January 15th to finish off the hats and send them to Washington DC.  There are Sister Marches all around the USA and the World!  Locally in Ann Arbor the Women’s March will be held downtown – January 21, 2017 • 2:00 PM.  I plan to participate – where will you march?

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December 2016

Evergreens, beewax candles, stacking dolls, dalarna horse, along with my handwovens brought cheer to welcome the winter.

 

Balsam Sachets – I was inspired this summer to make little balsam sachet pillows after reading KerryCan’s  Love Those “Hands at Home” Blog post about her balsam pillows.  I immediately ordered two large bags of ground balsam fir to insure I would follow through on the project.  Throughout the late summer and autumn the aroma drifted from the balsam bags calling me to create a handwoven fabric worthy of this amazing scent – colors that said balsam, evergreen, winter.  Then in early December, I wove with Swedish cottolin using the last of the M and O’s dishcloth warp alternating three to five shuttles of colors to create the fabric I’ve dreamed of for many months.

Then…came the decision of shape.  I was inspired by Tonya’s Handwoven Ornaments and decided to create a sachet to represent the balsam tree.   After chatting with Tonya about her process, went to a local quilting store to find the best interfacing to iron onto the handwoven fabric.  My goal was to support the fabric and also keep the balsam from poking through the handwoven threads.   Some people ask me if it was hard to cut my handwoven fabric.  My answer, no….I wove it to cut it.  The hard part was really just the slow part – stuffing the balsam into the small holes created by machine sewing and then hand sewing them closed.  These were gifts for the family and they all delighted in this first trial of tammyweaves balsam sachets!

After completing my dishcloth warp for my fundraiser, I still had a few dishcloths that needed woven, so I put on a new warp and wove up 15 more dishcloths for gifts to be given. As I took the dishcloths off the loom, I  noticed my color choices had changed  – they were darker – reflecting the colors of the early mid-west winter.

 

As winter continues here in Ann Arbor, I ponder the joys of 2016 and the amazing weaving opportunities I have experienced.  The quiet winter morning and the magic of Jack Frost at sunrise awakens my spirits to dream of the warps to soon dance upon the loom.

And, I wonder what creative dreams you are having.  Do share!

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Warp a Weaver – December 2016

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Last year this time I was in the middle of running Warp A Weaver – an Indiegogo Fundraiser created to fund my attendance at Vävstuga‘s first Väv Immersion Class.  I happily raised %33 of the total amount and took out a soon-to-be-paid loan for the remaining fees. Contributor’s were offered a perk/gift in exchange for their financial gifts. The gifts ranged from handwoven cottolin dish clothes and tea towels to piano and voice lessons.

 

 

A few daring souls signed up for the weave your own dish cloth opportunity.  This was the best deal offered during my fundraiser – @ 3 hours of weaving, instruction and materials all for the same price as the pre-woven dish cloth.  Though only five people chose this gift, it was my favorite, as it allowed me to share my love of weaving.

 

The perks/gifts were woven in my studio on beautiful Swedish handcrafted Glimåkra looms and hemmed on the old featherweight sewing machine my grandmother gave me years ago.  Today I popped the last of these gifts into the mail.  I smile in anticipation knowing that for many of these recipients, it will be the first handwoven item in their home.  And with a bit of luck, it will not be their last!

 

 

Loving Your Handwovens

When your package arrives from tammyweaves  – open with care if using a sharp object- for example scissors, as this could cut into your new textile. Feel the difference of handwoven Swedish cottolin. Touch, enjoy, savor the experience.

 

Your handwoven’s first bath: Soak gently in a bowel of warm water with just a few drops of soap. Gently rinse and squish out water, without twisting or applying strong pressure.  Blot out excess water with a thick towel.  Block your handwoven by laying it to dry so that it is “square” with itself.  Dry on a flat surface or on your favorite clothes line/drying rack.

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Ongoing washing:  Your handwoven textiles will become more and more absorbent with each washing. When using your cloth in the kitchen or bath – wash at least once a week. Toss it in the washing machine with towels of similar color or wash by hand in hot sudsy water. Remove from the wash and take a moment to square up and flatten the edges as needed. Line drying is recommended, though my mother always preferred to toss hers in the dryer.  Either way they will shrink a bit with time.  The Swedes put their towels through a mangle to press, so if the iron is your friend, you may delight in ironing your towel and if not, you can simply put your towel back to use as is!

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Dish Cloths: tammyweaves dish cloths have been used daily in my kitchen for over 15 years. Handwoven of Swedish cottolin – a mix of cotton and linen, these cloths will last for years. Note: washing sharp knives with the cloth, risks cutting through the fibers, and is not recommended.  Other than this, you can clean and scrub away at your sink, in the bath or in your home!   Rinse out with hot sudsy water after each use and hang over your facet/sink to dry.  Notice that the cottolin does not mold or hold odors.  This is the beauty of natural fibers.

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Tea Towels:  Enjoy these generous sized towels in your kitchen or bath to dry your hands or your dishes.  If you really “just can’t” use it as a towel, enjoy it in your bread basket or  to decorate the top of a table or dresser.   In the Swedish tradition, I’ve sewn loops of woven tape onto the ends of the towel for ease of hanging.  Handwoven in a traditional Sålldräll pattern(M’s and O’s in English) with Swedish cottolin – a mix of cotton and linen, your tea towel could become a family heirloom.  I now have a kitchen drawer filled with handwoven tea towels and wonder how I ever lived without them!

 

Thank you for your generosity which allowed me to follow my dreams.  Learning, weaving and developing my creativity at Vävstuga may be the very best four months of my life.  I am so very grateful. ~ tammy

Tammy Winding Warp

Tonya’s Wovens

Tonya recently celebrated the completion of six months of Apprenticeship at Vävstuga.  She is now working at Vävstuga and continuing to create and sell her amazing handwoven textiles.

When I visited Vävstuga recently, Tonya gave me a personal show of her many textiles. I was amazed at all she had woven during the summer.  It was close to midnight and after a long day of driving, thus the photo quality varies quite a bit!

Tonya’s Tulip Yardage transformed into a skirt, a reversible apron and beautiful buttons!20160901_22113220160901_22120420160901_22134520160901_221311

 

 

 

 

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This gorgeous fabric is woven in Jamtlands drall which is known as “crackle” here in the USA.  It was woven durin ghte Vävstuga Treasure’s Class.  Imagine setting the table upon this elegant cloth!

 

 

 

 

 

Tonya’s double weave blankets were woven in the early months of the year, but I hadn’t seen them all together.  One warp, resulted in 3 amazing blankets plus Tonya wove a lovely pillow  in shadow weave (photo does not do the pillow justice) to accompany them!

 

The Rep Class at  Vävstuga happened in May.  And while the Väv Immersion students were busy completing our last few weeks, Tonya was finishing off the Rep warps at the town studio weaving placemats, table runners and rugs.

 

And she wove tablecloths and bright colored dishtowels in a variety of weave structures, colors, sizes and designs.

 

And for a bit of fun…Delightful Rosepath Farm scenes, bands, more Rosepath and a yummy wool blanket.

 

Drawlooms – Tonya and I both fell in loved with them at Vävstuga.  She just keeps designing and weaving more amazing pieces.  These two were woven on the Shaft Draw loom that creates a repeating pattern across the fabric.

 

These cute Christmas Trees were on the Single Untit Drawloom during my visit.  Tonya plans to make them into something special for the holidays.   I can’t wait to see them.

 

The Single Unit Drawloom has become a favorite of Tonya’s  Here is her new “weaving sign” – woven of course, with several of her new designs.  Each design takes hours to create on graph paper, and then woven row by row, adjusting the loom to create these each individual pattern.

 

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Tonya’s Wovens Open House

“Come see my handwovens on Friday and Saturday, October 14 and 15, between 5:30-8:30pm and on Sunday the 16th between 1-4pm. Bally Mennonite Church, 1481 Route 100, Bally, PA 19503 .  There will be light refreshments.”

Read more on Tonya’s Wovens Facebook Page

This final photo is of Tonya’s Single Unit Drawloom masterpiece – the Farm.

I hope you have the opportunity to see it in person, as the photo does not do it justice!