Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Weaving tips: making tassels.

I thought that it might be useful to describe how I make tassels for my hand woven scarves.

The hair braider
I use a hair braider which I bought many years ago.  It has never been used to braid hair but it makes tassel making easier.

The waste threads at the end of the woven scarf.
At the begining and end of handweaving a scarf, I weave several picks using a waste yarn.  This helps to keep the weft in place when the material is taken off the loom.

I undo this thread at each side of the scarf leaving some of the threads in the cnetre area. You can see that they are fine pink threads.  When making tassels, start at each side of the scarf and work towards the centre.
Three groups of warp ends for the next tassel.
You need to decide how thick you want your tassels to be.  Then divide the ends into three equal groups.

Clip the three groups into the braider
Clip the three groups into the braider.  Hold the scarf fimly with your other hand or place a heavy book on top of the material.

Start to twist
Start to twist the three groups.  The braider does all the work.

Once there is sufficient twist, press the switch on the braider to twist the three groups into one. 

Carefully tie a knot at the end of the newly made tassel.  I try to adjust the length of each tassel as I work along the end of the scarf.

When all the tassels are made, I wash the scarf and then make any final adjustments before trimming the ends.

From July 2nd to 30th July there is an exhibition by the Durham Guild of Spinners Weavers and Dyers to celebrate 35 years.  The exhibition is called 'Looking Back Going Forward'. This exhibition is in the Galilee Chapel of Durham Cathedral,  a prestigious venue. This scarf will be one of my exhibits. 

Susan J Foulkes June 2015

Monday, 1 June 2015

What is on my loom: silk scarves

This post should really be entitled What was on my loom as this was my project for January.  I am a member of the Online Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers.  Each month there is a workshop. For January the workshop was UFO's - unfinished objects.  It is the New Year so it is time to take stock and look at your projects and yarn and decide to finish items that have been left to languish.

My unfinished project was a dyed warp and weft which I had neglected.  I had made the warp in sections and dyed it in a gutter.  Yes, I do mean a gutter.  I bought a 6 ft length of guttering from a DIY store.  The warp was folded into the gutter which enabled me to drip different dye colours along its length.

The inspiration and the woven material.

My inspiration was a set of pretty coloured shells, but when the warp and weft was dyed I was unhappy with the green shade so it was left as a UFO.
Dyed weft yarn 
The weft was wound as skeins and dyed green.  I had to wind the weft onto bobbins which  proved a little more difficult that I had imagined. The dyed silk was sometimes a bit 'sticky'.

My next step was to try to remember what weave pattern I had intended to use as I did not leave myself any notes.  I decided on a densely patterned look to echo the textured nature of the shells.

The pattern is for eight shafts but I also used two extra shafts for a plain weave edging. When I looked at the pattern I realised that I needed to make two additional warp ends for each dyed stripe so that the pattern fitted to the coloured warp. The silk wove beautifully.

The weave drawdown

I managed to complete my UFO by the end of the workshop.  I made two scarves and have decided to keep one for myself.  The colours when woven blended together  and I liked the combination very much.

Here is the completed scarf. It is difficult to photograph as the colours and texture shimmer in the light.

The completed scarf.
From July 2nd to 30th July there will be an exhibition by the Durham Guild of Spinners Weavers and Dyers to celebrate 35 years.  The exhibition is called 'Looking Back Going Forward'. This exhibition is in the Galilee Chapel of Durham Cathedral -  a prestigious venue.

I have decided to enter this scarf and also the very first piece I wove.  This is a blue and grey wool scarf in 2/2 twill.  I can still remember the thrill of weaving and then taking my piece off the loom.  I realised that weaving was the pastime that I had been looking for - something so involving and creative that there seems to be no end to the learning.

Susan J Foulkes June 2015