Saturday, July 18, 2009

Weaving this week

Tie Dyed cottons drying on the clothesline for my rag fabric weavings and crochet projects. Recycling old sheets and redoing so so fabrics to make them more interesting this last week while house sitting.

This week I am experimenting with weaving on simple looms using cotton strips. Weaving has been on my mind for a while now and while I had the time and space while house sitting this last week I took the plunge.I made a large rug frame out of the metal rim from a folding table that got destroyed in the rain but forgot to take pics of it. I've got an almost completed 24 x 40 runner in shades of blues and lavenders done on one side of it. I designed the loom so I could weave on both side. I had to leave it over at the house as I couldn't move it in the car over to the shop without tieing it on top. I have been making some cardboard and foam board looms that are tote bag sized to do weaving in the round on. I've started one in reds, oranges and yellows on a 15 1/2 x 20 black foam core loom. I've never done this kind of weaving before so don't expect much as I'm still learning as I go.

I decided to try the weaving after I made 3 crocheted rag totes using 1" cotton strips and size Q hook. They took 2-3 days each to make and used up lots of fabric. It's a toss up which uses more fabric crocheting or braiding, so in the interest of making my fabric stretch further I am trying to weave some bags with the cotton strips. These are fabrics from my mom's, grandmother's, and Cecil's grandmother's fabric stashes I inherited some years ago. Most are okay pattern wise but there are a bunch that I have to wonder what they were thinking or how cheap was the fabric when they bought them as they are rather ghastly in my opinion. I know I could dew them into something but I am not in a sewing mood and want to try making things that don't require needle and thread. My interest in braiding has whittled down because of all the sewing required by it. I will get Walk Me's braiding done eventually, I promise.

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The current weaving project was inspired by a weaving book in my stash I had forgotten about, "Weaving For Beginners" by Lynn Paulin, Glick Publishing, Inc. 1977. It's only 41 pages but it is packed with info , photos and diagrams that are easy to follow and understand. It has info on how to construct several different types of frame, cardboard and masonite looms along with patterns to weave bags, handings and pillows. I love all my older books as they are always so easy to follow and understand, more so than current more pricey books now a days.

I'm using 1" or so torn selvage size strips from various plain and print cotton in my fabric stash==probably about 10-16 different prints and solids so that I can go from dark red up to light yellow without having sharp jumps in colors. My warp is Peaches and Cream cotton yarn in red. I'm using a piece of double sided black foam core board with 1/4" cut notches on top and bottom, with 4 1/4 dowels, 2 on top, 2 on the bottom to hold the weaving up from the board. I am weaving around the board to weave a tube that I will then sew closed when finished. I'm using a long wooden naalbiding needle as my shuttle, and a large hair pick as my beater. I did 1/2 to 1 inch simple tabby weaving with some extra P & C cotton to hold my weavings in place. After I get this piece done I'll have a better idea of time and fabric factors. I am hoping to eventually build my skills up to try to do tapestry weaving which I have been wanting to do for years but have a hard time figuring out how to do color changes in my weaving.

A little more progress on the dino rug. I do work on it off and on. So far I think I'm happy with it.


WoolenSails said...

Love the weaving. I have a small loom, would love to make larger rag rugs.


Raggy said...

I just love your bags, great texture and colours.
Sandie at Rag Rescue

Fanxstitch said...

Hi Woolensails,

I've been trying to do weaving off and on for years and this time it seems to be working. Also listening to Syne Mitchell's WeaveCast podcasts at help at lot and inspire me. I still want to try doing tapestry, Navajo, and rigid heddle weaving.
On making a big loom for rugs you need a frame 30 to 45 wide by 48 to 78 long. Strecher strips with corner braces, bed frames, screen door frames or putting one together from 1 x2's or so cut wood or even long tree branches. (I have some long and thick Birch tree branches I'm thinking of doing a loom with) or try a sheet of 1/8 to 1/4 thick masonite or particle board. I'm poor so I tend to get very creative with whatever materials I might have hanging around to make things out of.
The table rim frame I made works great to make an at least 30" wide by 56"long rug, or actually 2 rugs as I warp around the frame length wise and can do a rug on each side of the frame. Just stick a piece of cardboard or paper in between in the middle to keep the rug threads separate from each other.
I have been thinking of doing rag rugs for almost 4 years now. I have a friend in Iowa (the one that got me into rug hooking) that weaves rag rugs professionally on her big 4 shaft barn loom and teaches weaving, She's offered to teach me to weave on a loom if I can ever get up her way.

Fanxstitch said...

Hi Raggy,

Thank you. I was thinking grocery and project carrying bags when I made them that's why they are fairly big and sturdy. They did come out fairly decent. Very simple to do--at least for me as I've been crocheting since the 60's and just make up simple patterns as I go. These are just single and double crochet stitches done in rounds.
Like I said in my blog, I inherited bags, boxes and containers of various cotton fabrics from my mom, grandmother, and SIL's grandmother plus have my own stash of quilting and tie dyed fabric that I used to make art quilts with. Rather than sewing bags I thought I'd try other non sewing ways to make them. I had a bunch of torn strips made up for a cotton braided rug I'm working on and began thinking what else could I do with 1 to 3" cotton strips besides braiding, crochet was one that I thought about along with knitting, and weaving as a way to use up these fabrics especially the "junk" ones. I've been trying to color coordinate the fabrics, and when I didn't have quite the range of colors I wanted I've been tie dyeing some of the fabrics to make them blend in better. None of my kids craft or want to (I've tried multiple times to get them interested in any craft but I intimidate them too much by what I can do I guess)so I'm trying to whittle down my slash and see how many ways I can use the fabrics up and make some money hopefully from what I make.