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.
Once a year my now-47-year-old copy of The Joy of Cooking gets opened to this page. It actually falls open to this page by itself. You'd think that by now I'd remember how many minutes per pound to roast the turkey… This ritual is a little melancholy, because it makes me think of all the past Thanksgivings, and the people who aren't around the table this year.
But it also reminds me of how lucky I am. It was a wonderful day! We had lots of family, one foreign student, and two granddogs here (the dogs were from different families, and were a bit argumentative at first, but eventually settled down together). After dinner everyone went outside; the dogs fetched sticks and the children rolled down the hill. In the evening, C took all the dishes out of the china cabinet, arranged them on the bedroom floor, and invited everyone to her "tea party." K presented a handlettered menu, with beverage choices of "red wine, white wine, and green wine." Most everyone chose green wine, and we all sat cross-legged on the floor (I can still do that!) to enjoy the impromptu party.
After we cleaned up I noticed that someone had polished off the Brie that had been inadvertently left on the coffee table. I suspect it was a canine guest.
If I told you that this is all that remains of the turkey, I would be lying:
I just brought home the turkey—it's definitely starting to feel like Thanksgiving. When I took the cranberries out of the freezer and put them in my wooden chopping bowl (it was my grandmother's bowl, and I love the associations it calls up whenever I use it), they got an icy bloom of condensation - it almost looks as if they've been snowed on.
Found this beauty in my folder of travel pictures. It's a closeup of the back of a Border Leicester ewe at the Common Ground Country Fair in Maine this past September. She was a nice lady and stood still for a photograph. Doesn't this make you want to just sit down and spin?
Originally I had planned to weave all three panels of the triptych at once, rolling them up on the cloth beam together, and not cutting off until all three were finished. But the selvedges were getting just a little tight, so this morning after finishing weaving the second panel, I cut the first two off and retied. When I hung the panels up, I discovered that they were not equal in length, something I had expected, as there is no automatic cloth advance on the TC-1. Fortunately I have generous hem allowances, and the difference can be compensated for in the finishing.
The warp is retied, the hem for panel 3 woven, pirns filled; all is ready for the weaving of the final panel. Pretty exciting. But I'll have to put the weaving aside for a few days and start getting ready for Thanksgiving houseguests, including this gal:
The amazing Cindy Woods is gone. I've followed her sketchbook journal, Learning Daily, for some time now, and have loved her sketches of daily life. Her drawings of the people around her have always been keenly observed and respectful of everyone's essential dignity and humanity. I once fell in love with a drawing she did of two Klezmer musicians, and wrote asking permission to use this drawing as the basis for a weaving, and she graciously agreed to my request. I later sent her photos of the work, and she seemed pleased with the results. You can see her original drawing here.
I had always assumed that Cindy worked in a nursing home, because most of her subjects were nursing home residents, and that she sketched in odd spare moments. I have just learned that Cindy was herself a nursing home resident for the past 30 years, and only turned to drawing late in life. I was stunned. I had assumed, wrongly, that anyone so "plugged in" to life and with such a huge circle of friends and admirers, lived out in the Big World. Well, in a very real sense, she did. You can see many of her beautiful drawings on her Flickr site.
Cindy died of cancer two days ago, and her friends and admirers all over the world mourn the loss of this brave, talented, funny, generous, and keenly observant artist.
Sometimes I will rescue weavings with the application of strategically placed embroidery. Such was the case with George Washington's Cabinet. The tonal values in some of the faces were not quite what I wanted, so I went over these areas with the colcha stitch, a stitch which covers large areas quickly.
Yesterday I went back to the pickup truck and tried a few rescue options. I liked the tone of the truck body, but it didn't stand out enough from the busy background. I tried outlining it with chain stitch, but that was too jarring. Stem stitch didn't work, either. On the third try, this backstitch outline got the effect I was after. Seen from the proper viewing distance, the truck looks quite trucklike, and the negative area representing a person standing at the left front fender makes more sense.
So the question has to be asked—why restrict the embroidery to rescue operations? Why not incorporate it into the planning of the project as an integral part of the work? There are so many issues here. The timeline of the work would be entirely different. No longer would a piece be essentially finished once it was cut from the loom. The factor of spontaneity would come into play…
Thirteenth in a series documenting the Torah Mantles project. Click on Torah Mantles in Categories in sidebar to see them all.
This morning I met with the chair of the Aesthetics Committee at the Temple to see how the sample looks in place. It has met with her approval.
It's hard to judge colors on the computer in this photo, but the blue-green background of the cloth picks up the blues and greens from the stained glass windows in other parts of the sanctuary, and the aubergine of the trees is very close to the tones of the wood of the ark. The height of the trees is good for the border, which will not be obscured by the silver breastplates.
The yarn for the whole project is on order and should be here in a couple of weeks (if the creek don't rise, as we say in SC).
I'm back to work on the triptych. This is the start of the first panel, and a closeup of the weave.
The red part is one of the "wrong side" weaves," a bit spidery up close but it reads very well from a few feet away. You can see why I wouldn't want to use huge amounts of this structure in any given piece.
I'm allowing generous hems on both ends of each panel, so that when the three pieces are assembled I'll have some wiggle room with their lengths. There is no auto-advance on my TC-1, so I am relying on consistency of beat to keep all three panels roughly the same length. It gives me new respect for coverlet weavers who do their overshot coverlets in panels with a very visible seam going up the middle. I'm not trying to hide the selvedges—I just want the image to flow gracefully across the divides.