One of the great pleasures that has come with decades of teaching, has been the opportunity to spend time with remarkable women. I have been blessed with long and lasting friendships and some of them just have to be shared. I’d love to introduce you to Sherella Conley, one of those gals that lights up a room the minute she enters and leaves everyone wanting more.
I first met Sherella in 2008 when she started coming to Salt Spring for our in-house retreats. Her wit, humour and wisdom made every workshop that she attended, richer, like the yummy dark chocolate she is fond of 🙂
I recently reached out to her to see if I could do a wee interview and now I get to share her with all our readers.
It’s so wonderful to once again be able to share another weaver’s exploration of the lessons learned in Colour and Design. Gail Maier has taken that knowledge and layered structures from Twills on Four to create her own unique cloth. It makes my heart sing 🙂
Check out Gail on Instagram @nesthandwovens to see more of her amazing work.
My name is Gail Maier, and I live in Victoria, British Columbia. The weaving “bug” bit me about 7 years ago – when I was lying on a woven beach towel and noticed that it was completely different on one side vs. the other. My curiosity was triggered, and I had to learn how to do that – my passion for weaving was launched!
I have been a member of the Online Guild from the start, and I have also been fortunate to take several workshops on Salt Spring Island with Jane in the past. But that didn’t include twills on four, and I was super excited when this season began.
Both threading gamps were my inspiration for this project. I wanted to show pattern possibilities by using multiple threadings in one project, without it getting too busy. So, I went back to my all-time favourite lessons from the Online Guild, Colour and Design, Jane’s first lessons. I wanted to use a strong graphic to organize the different twills and chose a three-stripe design with wide-ish borders and edges. My studio shelves have been recently restocked with luscious Venne organic cotton, and I wanted to use some of my new stash. The warm warp colours I choose were havanna, brick red and brass, set off by frames of curry which resulted in some good colour play.
I knew I wanted to fill each big stripe with a different twill, and I also thought it would look cool if the curry-coloured edges and borders could be a different twill too. So, after studying the gamps I chose 3 different point twill threadings and a straight draw threading for the borders. This allowed me to make the intersections where the twills meet have clean, sharp lines.
Twill sett used was 20 epi; I find that I can beat this sett at 20 picks per inch consistently and the resulting cloth is still sturdy enough but also has some nice drape.
The point twills are my favourites, and I selected these – #4 and 5 from the small threading gamp, and M’s and W’s from the large threading gamp. So I then figured out threading repeats by section and drafted so that the big stripes were as equal as possible in size. The warp was 450 inches long, 474 ends, enough for a dozen towels that are 33 inches on the loom and 23 ¾ inches thru the reed.
Weaving the first towel as drawn in is a great place to start. Treadling each section trompe as writ, or following the threading, resulted in some interesting different patterns. I especially liked the design created by treadling 1234 – 321 – 234 – The “wall of troy” threading. I knew I wanted to play with lots of variations, so I decided that when I overlaid ideas from prior classes I should keep one treadling throughout. Otherwise it seemed the design would get too busy.
In the next few towels I used just one treadling sequence, except when I was adding framing borders in the warp colour, curry. In these cases, they were also treadled in a straight draw, which made the frames and borders more distinctive.
My favourite technique to play with is to use colour and weave sequencing options to produce some horizontal stripes, using Fibonacci sequences. This created some really interesting variations, making the cloth look totally different – almost as if I had rethreaded it. Very cool, and this effect was most interesting when the treadling sequences were an odd number, like #5 (1234-1-4321). I used either 2 or 4 picks per stripe so two shuttles were easy to manage – one on each side of the cloth. These stripes inspired me to use this idea in a plaid, and it worked well. The resulting patterns are not traditional plaids, but it’s still plaid-like. These are some of my personal favourites, especially the purple one.
I switched out colours and pushed the combinations so that the cloth wasn’t warm anymore, using purple, deep red and turquoise weft colours.
Lessons learned from this project include the following:
small twill patterns need to be “held” in a strong graphic to make them more interesting and sophisticated looking.
proved to myself (again) that purple and turquoise can work with almost any other colour – magenta too
applying Jane’s concepts in the Colour and Design lessons are the most important to me. Learning weave structures is interesting and gives options to create cloth with different hands and for different uses, but the design lessons are always my foundation.
This was a really fun project and the resulting dozen kitchen towels are lovely; a great study in how simple little twills can make big bold statements. Great learning, and I look forward to doing another 4-shaft twill project very soon!
This month I’m happy to introduce you to another member of our Online Guild – Arlene Kohut. Arlene is a wonderful weaver who enjoys the design possibilities of layering elements into the fabric that she weaves. You may recall Season 2’s episode on Stripes where I showed you 2 tea towels that Arlene designed layering striping and Bronson Lace. In this blog post she takes us on her journey exploring this season’s Twills on 4’s Simple Two Stripe sample.
If you would like to see more of Arlene’s weaving, you can follow her on Instagram @inkohootsweaving.
My name is Arlene Kohut. I live in Victoria, British Columbia. I started weaving 10+ years ago after my son’s Grade three teacher brought a rigid heddle loom to class for the students to weave a class project. I was able to weave a couple of inches since I was a class parent helper. Once I realized that cloth could be created from fibre woven on a loom, I was hooked.
In the past I had taken ‘Twills on Four’, the in-person class with Jane. So in January 2020 when Jane posted her first Online Guild class of the year, Season 4 – Episode 1 – Introduction to Twill & Simple Two Stripe Sample, I watched the videos and took notes. Once the video session was complete I reviewed my notes and doodles and had an ‘a-ha moment’. I kept seeing “borders” and I was intrigued with mixing plain weave and twill together. I just wanted to play on a warp ASAP.
I decided to skip the samples for this guild session and go right to weaving towels. My stash did not have enough Charcoal 8/2 Cotton but there were two cones each of Olive and Natural. My brother is having a big birthday later in the year and he likes green so why not make towels? I made the warp wider than suggested by Jane and wove a couple of inches of each technique that she demonstrated on her loom video (so I would have a condensed sample for myself). Then I started playing with what I learned from this episode.
My first sample where I could see borders and different patterns that I could incorporate into a towel.
Then a towel woven in Olive and using a fibonacci stripe sequence, continuing in the 2/2 twill pattern throughout. Just the colour changes in the stripe sequence:
2 Natural 3 Olive 5 Natural 3 Olive 2 Natural
Another towel using Olive weft and a natural for the border. Then changing the twill direction every one inch for the centre part of the towel and finishing off the towel with the same border on the other end.
This towel has the same border as the towel above but I used natural as the main towel colour. In the centre of this towel I used a direction pattern change every four picks creating a zig zag effect in the centre of the towel.
For this towel I played around with colour and design. I have a graphic below in my notes.
Lastly, I found some matching 2/16 cotton in a similar dye lot and switched to a slow clasp weft weave. This idea came from a fellow weaver, Kathy Ready. The two us throw ideas at each other so I gave Kathy’s idea a try. I found this design appealing and it gave me more ideas. So………
I made a second longer warp of 2/8 cotton. Going back to my stash I chose Chocolate for the dark side and a strand of Ivory and Beige alternating for the light side (because I only had a cone and a bit of each). Then I started to play again…….
These are some of the towels from this second warp. I used basket weave for the border on the top left towel, which I will try again. I like the colour that was created by using a strand of the Ivory and Beige. Unfortunately, I could not capture this colour on a photo. So you will have to take my word.
AND I played some more. I am not use to just weaving with neutral colours so I had to add some colour in this lot of clasp weft towels.
What have I learned from this session? Weaving these towels were fun while trying to decide where to put a border and what type. I love the texture that occurs when using plain weave in between four picks of 2/2 twill. Changing twill direction makes its own zig zag pattern. Basket weave for a horizontal border, who would have thought. This session has given me lots of new ideas to play with and I still have more ideas to try in the future.
Below, I have included my rough notes for the second sets of towels and a photo of three stripes that I wove on the last little bit of warp. I will keep this bit of weaving for future reference.
Hi kids, it’s that time of month again when I have the privilege of featuring a member of our Online Guild. This month, I’m delighted to introduce you to Kate Watt, who lives and weaves in northern Maine. Kate has given us a window into her story and her journey using “what if” as her guide. I was delighted to find her posts on Instagram where I could see the imaginative structures she has created combining Clasped Weft and Log Cabin.
My name is Kate Watt and I live in northern Maine. I became mildly interested in weaving about 10 years ago. An attractive online ad for a used 4 shaft counterbalance loom caught my eye and I jumped at the opportunity. I didn’t live near any guilds and I didn’t know anyone who could teach me to weave. Instead, I started learning what I could through books, videos and online forums. There were many frustrating moments, but there was something different about weaving. With weaving, both sides of my brain are in full use. I love the math side of weaving but I also get joy from playing so creatively with color! I was puttering along trying to learn the basics, but still feeling like I was “playing” and not actually weaving. I averaged about one warp per year. That all changed after joining the Online Guild. I now feel like a real weaver. I’m still playing, but it’s with a lot more skill thanks to Jane! I never realized how much fun and excitement I could get from plain weave!
One of the projects that I particularly enjoyed was one based on the Log Cabin samples featured in Season 3 Episode 3. I wound the warp with 8/4 cotton, as Jane did in her samples with colors I had in my stash. Clasped weft has always intrigued me, especially after watching the Parrot episode (Season 2, Episode 5). Jane demonstrated how to get a clean line with clasped weft and I had never thought about using it in that way. I had this beautiful warp in 8/4 cotton and matching colors of 8/2 cotton. Then I started asking myself “What if?!?!”
I started with the idea of just weaving the log cabin on the one side of the warp and leaving the other side all one color. In order to do this, I wove one pick natural 8/4 cotton. The next pick was black 8/2 cotton clasped with natural 8/2 cotton. In order to keep that clean line, I made sure to beat on an open shed and pull a little to the right or a little to the left to get that clasp to line up just under the red divider line. Jane demonstrated this really well in the Parrot episode. I continued to alternate the 8/4 pick with the clasped pick in the log cabin pattern. This was slow weaving, but it was so exciting to get a pattern like this with “plain weave”.
If it worked so well on the log cabin section, why couldn’t I do the reverse? This time I wanted to weave the solid black grid lines, but keep the log cabin side all natural. This was easier than the log cabin sequence. It was just 5 picks with the clasped weft followed by a square woven of 8/4 natural, repeat.
I used both clasped weft experiments on one of the samples. It’s not the best division of space, but I can see several ideas I would like to explore in the future.
A third section of clasped weft that I experimented with is my particular favorite. I wanted to incorporate the log cabin with a similar spacing to the black grid lines. I started with a pick of 8/4 black. Then I clasped 8/2 natural on the left with 8/2 black on the right, hiding the clasp under the red divider line. I repeated these two picks to create a log cabin block on one side and a solid black line on the other side. Then I did a section of natural in 8/4, and then went back to alternating the clasped weft pick with 8/4 in black.
After looking at the finished sample, I think this clasped weft section would look great on the end of a scarf. I think I would widen the black stripes in the warp to match the log cabin squares. There are really so many possibilities.
The selvedges are a little uneven in the clasped weft section, but with practice I think they could look better. Or if you were using the end fabric for something sewn, it wouldn’t matter what the selvedge looked like. The clasped weft technique really slows the weaving down, but it opens up so many creative options. And because this was all “plain weave” it could easily be accomplished on a rigid heddle loom as easily as a 4 shaft loom!
With the rest of the warp I played with sequences from the Colour and Weave gamp: DDD/L, 4D/4L, DLDDL. And for the last little bit of warp I wove 2 samples with 8/2 boucle.
Most of my weaving with the guild projects are just samples for my education in weaving. All of them could be functional, but they are really just experiments. If I were to weave them again I would be more careful about planning my division of space. I find them a little busy for my style, but there is so much potential for future projects contained in these sample. I’m trying to add to my “body of work” as Jane has referred to it. This keeps me from looking at a project and being disappointed, but rather I am still trying to find my unique “style”. I’m getting closer with each warp!
Hi kids – it’s time again to introduce you to another weaver who has delighted me by taking lessons learned from our Online Guild and turned her cloth into her own unique design. This month, please meet Linda Fleming from Texas. Linda’s shawl incorporates Log Cabin, Clasped Weft and Colour and Weave – all from Season 2, Colour & Design. It is indeed a wonderful amalgamation of techniques representing one Online Guild season. Thank you for sharing your process with us Linda – the results are stunning.
I have always been fascinated with weaving; however it was not until about 15 years ago that I met someone who knew how to weave. I learned to weave from her and once I started, the weaving bug hit me hard! I love to see the pattern develop on the loom when first starting to weave a project. It always feels like magic.
I was inspired to make this shawl after watching Season 3, Episode 3 on log cabin. I had woven a shadow weave baby blanket in the past, but had never woven log cabin. I was intrigued by how simple it was, but what an impact it made. I chose some yarns from my stash that were just looking for a project. They are 8/2 American Maid Naturally Colored cotton from Lunatic Fringe. I love how the colors darken over time with each washing. I used the dark brown and the natural with a sett of 18 EPI.
I made a sketch of what I wanted the two ends of the shawl to look like and then I was going to just wing it for the rest. I divided the warp into sections with log cabin on the ends and the stripes in the middle. I also added a purple zinger on each side of the stripes.
I started weaving using my schematic and then I thought, hmm, what if I do some clasped weft?
I wove further and decided I really like an asymmetrical look on scarves so I started putting in small stripes using the weaving sequence dark, dark, light, dark. They were so much fun that I just finished off the shawl with the stripes.
This warp was so much fun that I was sorry to see it end! This is what I have enjoyed the most about the Jane Stafford Guild. I have realized that I do not have to follow a pattern to the letter. I can play with the warp, and it makes the final product so much more interesting.