Monday, November 6, 2017

November "Cupcake" Dye Day

Last year, the guild invited Kathrin Weber of Blazing Shuttles to introduce our members to her fiber dyeing techniques.  We learned something from her called "Cupcake Dyeing" in which the yarn is dyed while it is in a center pull ball.  There can be several approaches the dyeing procedure and once the dyeing is done and the yarn restored to a skein, it will be magically variegated.

One of our members (Lorene) has a really nice area off of her garage where she pots and houses plants for the winter.  This was cleared away and made an excellent dye studio for us.

Fiber Reactive Dyes were purchased, and we set to work with our prewound balls of cellulose fibers. 

The photo above shows the "cupcakes" in their little plastic containers.  They will stay in them for 24 to 48 hours or more before they are rinsed.

There is hardly anything more fun than playing with color and this activity was pure delight.  We can't wait for the results.

Here is a follow up one week later at our Sage Weavers' Meeting.  Completed cupcakes.  Wow!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Even More Handwoven Towels!

Our study theme for last year "handwoven towels" seems to have resonated with many of our weavers.  There are still towel warps being woven and new ideas coming from our looms.

These last two offerings may be the last in this series, but they are certainly not least. 

Kathy R. needed to make "thank you " gifts for relatives and what better gift than a handwoven towel!.  She found a draft she liked in the Strickler book, number 27, turned the draft to make it easier to weave, and wove a whole series of towels using different wefts and even a plaid version.

Igor warped the 24 shaft AVL with 12 yards of 10/2 cotton for his towels.  There has been  an uneasy alliance between Igor and this big loom, but the loom may be winning him over. (The jury is still out!) Igor wanted to weave not only kitchen towels, but also some towels for exercise junkies - and he calls them zumba towels.  They are a bit longer than a regular towel so that you can hang one around your neck when you are at the gym, working out.  All the towels were woven on a straight draw threading of 20 shafts with a four shaft basketweave selvedge.
Zumba Towel with an original draft designed by Igor
Draft 8027 from

Draft 61265 from  turned version of draft



Saturday, July 22, 2017

2017 Learn To Weave

Tracy's loom with the weaving in progress.
Can you actually learn to weave with a four day class from the Reno Fiber Guild?  Well, we think you can.  We have an intrepid group of volunteer teachers who have worked hard to put together a comprehensive class directed at students who want to learn to weave.  This year's class had six students, each with their own mentor.  Before the class started, each student was able to pick three yarn colors they liked that would go along with the natural colored warp for their beginning projects.

Student, Tracy Doren, said this about the class:

I have wanted to learn to weave since I was a teenager.  Finally at 53 I've taken the Learn to Weave class and absolutely love it.  Everything about it intimidated me but as I went a long with each step all that went away and now I have so many ideas for projects and am really excited to move forward.  All of the mentors were so great and patient with us all. The only downside is that I didn't learn this earlier.  I'm so pleased with what I did in the class.  

Here are more samplers and towels woven by the students this year.  Hip, hip hooray for the bunch of them.  The teachers and mentors are almost as happy as the students to have had such a great bunch to work with. 

If you are interested in the Learn To Weave Class for 2018 - check out our informational page.

Tracy's towels

Melissa's towels and sampler

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Great Handwoven Towel Challenge Continues!

Weaving towels is a bit hit with many RFG members.  Some of the towels have been woven for months, and are just now surfacing, but there are those that have a continual towel warp on their looms and are planning for the sale season this fall.

So, we are going to continue this thread for another couple of posts because it is interesting, we are learning new things and who doesn't like a handwoven towel in their kitchen or bath?

 Shelley dyed some warp chains of white Lily yarn at the Kathrin Weber workshop over a year ago.  She had downloaded a free set of directions for these towels from Handwoven (the e-book is still available here).  The article was entitled "Towels as Gamps" and gave instructions for 8 different towels on a straight draw threading.  The article states that the different tie ups are available in the Strickler 8 Shaft book and I suspect there are also available from other sources too.  These are all 8 shaft designs.

 Shelley followed the instructions given in the e-book which indicated that the width in the reed would be 12.5" and the sett for 6/2 cotton, 28epi.  Shelley was disappointed that the towels are so narrow and will add width to them if she weaves this series again.  However, they will make fine hand towels for the bathroom and the array of different weave structures is fun to examine.

 Laurel sells her towels during the holiday season and now has people requesting certain colors and patterns.  The following towels came from her studio this summer.

The plaid towel to the left is one that a customer ordered.  The colors are plain, but are just what she wanted and so Laurel obliged with this elegant plain weave towel has just added a new collection of weaving drafts to their already astounding online resource.  Laurel picked one of the drafts 68026, to weave the turned twill squares within squares.  A timeless design from 1825.

 And, Marguerite Davison still has surprises after all this time.  Here is her "Myrtle Westola" draft on page 69 and Laurel's interpretation.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Great Handwoven Towel Challenge Part 2

This is the second part of our towel challenge photo gallery. 

The following towels were woven by Rae S. as Christmas gifts for her family who live in Ecuador. The colors were chosen to go with the family's kitchen. These are a two block twill on 8 shafts.  8/2 cotton sett at 20 epi.  
And what do you do with the ends of towel warps?  Rae has a great idea for you.  Make potholders. 

Lorene S. wove a series of huck lace towels and used a different colored weft and treadling sequence for each one.  One of the nice elements in these towels is that the huck lace is used as borders and the main body of the towel is plain weave.  Very elegant.
  Beryl M. wove a series of 16 towels on one warp with neutrals in mind.  This one is on 40 shafts using a shaded twill tie up which was  manipulated  to distort the pointed twill threading and treadling.  Warp is 10/2 cotton.

40 shaft tie up

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Great Handwoven Towel Challenge - Part 1

Late last summer, RFG weavers formed a study group to find out what makes a good handwoven towel and how to design and weave one (or many). In our research to find possible design and structure possibilities, we put together this document with many links to many different approaches.  You may download a copy here for your own towel weaving research.

We are now celebrating the towels that resulted from that challenge.  I am always amazed and gratified how these challenges result in a grand variety of ideas and resulting textiles. To make this post more readable and allow for ample photos, there will be another post about more weaver's towels in a few days.
Anni B. wove this towel  and the next in photo directly below.  Simple structures, but so much pizazz.  And, they will make very useable towels in soft unmercerized cottons. Love that texture in the soft green and lilac towel.

 Kathy R. designed a 4 shaft overshot pattern and wove a series of towels in astounding color combinations.  The warp was 10/2 cotton and she graded it in colors  of soft yellow to darker orange and back again.  Then she kept this same gradation in her tie down weft which was a 16/2 cotton.  The pattern wefts were a variety of colors in 8/2 cottons making each towel an individual. 

Laurel has a real flair in designing with stripes.  In the photo directly below, she used a 4 shaft 2/2 twill tie up and an interesting treadling sequence.  The resulting structure causes the little scallops in the black stripes. See the draft here.

Another of Laurel's towels.  This one woven in twill blocks and 8 shafts.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Jette Vandermeiden Workshop - The Four Shaft Weavers

Jette really arranged two workshops at the same time.  One for the eight shaft weavers and one for four shaft weavers.   

Here is what Cheri said about the workshop.

The "All Tied Up" workshop was phenomenal. Jette taught me much about drafting, and the relationship between threading, tie-up, and treadling. She offered tips that will allow me to become a faster and more efficient weaver. The warp on four-shaft looms was composed of four threading patterns, each in a different color. We used a variety of treadlings (twills, rosepath, huck, lace, M and W, etc...) to observe the texture and patterns created in our sampler. The results often astonished us, proving that mixing threading and treadling patterns can produce interesting outcomes.