I'm Alice Schlein, a weaver and book maker in South Carolina. Occasionally I write about Photoshop, Network Drafting, bread baking, and whatever else strikes my fancy. Thanks for stopping by! Comments are welcome.
Explorations in Double Twill Two-hour lecture at the Complex Weavers Southeast Gathering. June 17-18, 2017, at the Yadkin Valley Fiber Room. For more information on the Gathering, click on above link.
Spin Your Own Yarn Jan. 17 - Mar. 13. Learn to use the simple drop spindle to spin your own woolen yarn for knitting, crochet, or weaving. This hand tool of prehistoric origin is inexpensive, portable, and easy to use. Create a mid-weight yarn suitable for garments, accessories, and household items. Pack all your spinning supplies in a lunchbag-sized tote and take it with you on vacation! Click on Winter Brochure 2017.
The Woven Pixel: Designing for Jacquard and Dobby Looms Using Photoshop® Co-authored by Alice Schlein and Bhakti Ziek. 362 pages, many illustrations. Now available for free download on handweaving.net. The accompanying CD with 1400 pattern presets is not included with the free download, but may be purchased separately. Email me at aschlein[at]att[dot]net for more information.
Network Drafting: An Introduction By Alice Schlein. Break away from the block. Curves for your dobby loom. Originally published in 1994, now available as print-on-demand from www.lulu.com.
A Crepe Is Not Just a Pancake 52 pages of text, b&w and color diagrams, and drafts for multishaft tradle & dobby looms. Many color photos of actual cloth. Methods for drafting your own crepe weaves. Annotated bibliography. Pdf available for immediate download. $21. USD. Payment by PayPal. Email me at aschlein[at]att[dot]net for payment instructions.
Echo Weave Based on the 1996 article in Weaver's, Issue 32. With brand new diagrams and high resolution scans of original fabrics. Pdf available for immediate download. $7. USD. Payment by PayPal. Email me at aschlein[at]att[dot]net for payment instructions.
Spotted last week in Miami, this fellow was hard to photograph because he was moving so fast, but here is the least blurry shot:
I was attracted to him because of the beautiful patterning and coloration of his neck feathers, so blew up the neck area and indexed it to 10 colors in Photoshop (this process is described more fully in The Woven Pixel).
A few days after I saw that rooster, we were having breakfast at a sidewalk cafe on Lincoln Road in Miami Beach (the greatest spot for people-watching I have ever encountered), when another rooster crossed my line of sight, this one on a bicycle. Yes, on a bicycle. This rooster, Mr. Clucky, is apparently a local celebrity with his own website. No kidding.
Here it is the next-to-last day of January, and these little devils are poking their heads up already. I don't know what cues them. It can't be the temperature, because we are now heading into another cold snap. Maybe it's the longer daylight hours. At any rate, many of them will be frozen to death before they ever bloom. Many but not all. Knowing I will have daffodils in a few weeks is a very cheering thought.
Here are two interpretations, both in black, white, and one color. They could be woven in taqueté or samitum. The first one uses 100% dithering for the index conversion, and the second one no dithering. Forgoing the dithering results in a stronger graphic statement, and dithering renders a more realistic result, even with only three yarn colors. Clicking on each image to enlarge will give a better view.
Back home again. It feels so good to be at the loom! This morning I finished warping the bamboo scarves and began weaving some samples with borders. The ribbon-like design is on the back 20 shafts, and the point twill on the front 20. There is plenty of opportunity here for small repeat designs in the center, or for fancier borders, or a combination of the two. This is a scheme which would work on as few as 8 shafts. To zoom in, just click on the image.
These specimens were in a kiosk at a rest stop on the Florida Turnpike. The extreme contrast of the blue cartons, and the relative sameness of the red tomatoes and the rust background led me to wonder if I could isolate the blue and make the rest 3 or 4 shades of gray. Then I could weave the tomatoes and the ground in a shaded gray satins, and add a single contrasting weft in weft-backed satin for the cartons.
The cartons could actually be any color, or even a different color for each shelf, by changing the color of the second weft.
One of the (many) joys of visiting my adult children is the opportunity to see old weaving projects in a fresh light. Our kids have always been enthusiastic recipients of textiles from my studio - they adopt rugs, towels, wallhangings, bathrobes, whatever I am willing to let go to the plaintive question, "Mom, can I take this home?" Long after I've forgotten these textiles, they are used, reused, and worn out in places far away from their state of origin. This week I was happy to see the following three old friends. The first one is a kimono/bathrobe woven approximately 30 years ago. I think it was the first project on my first AVL, a mechanical dobby loom which was later converted to Compudobby I (I no longer own the loom, but it did go to a good home, and the present owner is weaving on it). I can't imagine why I chose to weave plain weave on this dobby loom, but this is a heck of a nice bathrobe. The warp was 20/2 cotton at 30 epi (the things we remember!), the reddish stripes a commercially space-dyed yarn, and the weft a fine bouclé.
The second textile is a linen/cotton bath towel in M's & O's. It's gotten at least 20 years of hard use and is faded and worn thin but still being used.
The third textile is a wallhanging in a stuffed double weave - a weave I encountered at my first Convergence , in Toronto (1986?), in a workshop taught by Naomi Whiting Towner. The warp in this picture runs horizontally, so turn your head a quarter turn to the left to see the actual weaving orientation. It's a block weave, and four shafts are required for each block. Four wefts are used: one to weave on the face, one on the back, and the other two float in between the two layers. Every inch or so, a few shots of plain weave are thrown, to seal the tubes and equalize the tensions. If all four wefts are different colors, there are four different possibilities for color in the face cloth. It's a really interesting structure, and I wove 7 or 8 hangings with it, but this is my favorite.
Another overcast day in Miami, but this gloom does wonders for the colors. It started to rain, so we walked over to a construction site on a golf course. How much color do you need in order to be recognized as color? I think that this image which is mostly shades of gray benefits from the subtle color in it. The second version has all color removed. I think it's not nearly as rich. It would be an interesting challenge to weave, with just a few areas of supplementary color, maybe in the text areas, to punch it up.
Not typical Miami weather, but very exciting on the beach. The wind and low clouds have kept all but intrepid beachgoers off the sands, but the birds and runners are out in full force. So are a few windsurfers. The colors are deeply saturated in this light. I was wondering how many shades of blue and green I could find in this picture.
I indexed it to 24 colors, removed all the tans & browns from the color table, and was left with these 15. I know there are many thousands more, but these 15 can be easily distinguished with the naked eye, and would be a good starting place for a palette for weaving or ???
So-o-o good to be in Miami while cold weather continues back home. Even though I'm away from my looms and my sewing box (although not my knitting needles - more about that later) there is a bounty of fiber here. Two examples from this morning, while at Jimbo's, on Biscayne Bay.
Now here's one that's not fiber, but a lot of texture, literal and figurative. Saw this fellow in a coffee shop around noon. Note that he supports NPR, good for him. Maybe after a short power nap and another latte he'll perk up.
What a perfect time to go south - a new winter storm is coming in, and I've had enough of the cold weather. We'll wind up in Miami, but for tonight we're at a motel at the halfway point, Valdosta, Georgia. Traveling weavers are incurable fabric watchers, so here is my contribution for today, the upholstery on the motel room sofa. It looks like it could be done on a 32-shaft dobby loom (40 shafts for sure), and features a supplementary warp in two colors. This is a one-shuttle weave. Now where to go for dinner?