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.
Two sections of yesterday's doodle were extracted, flipped, layered, colored, another drawing layer added, and transparencies adjusted. The first four steps shown below:
Then another transparent layer with my favorite dots:
Next step: flattening, indexing, assigning each color to its own layer, applying weaves as layer styles. If you'd like to learn more about this process of preparing a file for weaving on a jacquard loom, see The Woven Pixel.
I'm an inveterate doodler, especially while on the phone. If I have to call a help line where long waits are likely, my pen takes on a life of its own. Yesterday during a conference call my mind was paying attention but my hand was not. I found this in my notes of the meeting:
For some reason it resembles a map of South Carolina. I think parts of it may be useful in a weaving.
Washing machine department: when I filled the machine tub with warm water and detergent, then added the Torah Mantle fabric, swished it around, and pressed the start button, nothing happened. Panic! Then Bruce tactfully mentioned that I hadn't shut the lid. End of panic. In gratitude for his pointing out the obvious, and in honor of his birthday, here's Bruce, ready to be woven (in shaded fancy twill):
And now back to the Torah Mantle department. The fabric is now washed and hanging to dry on the rack:
You can just barely see the wave pattern in this one:
And of course the trees. Everything will need a good steam pressing.
Today's task will be finding a suitable lining fabric.
And finally, the Photoshop department. Many thanks to Steve who suggested a workaround for the abbreviated menu problem in CS4, in yesterday's post. His fix can be seen in the comments section after that post.
Currently I'm running Photoshop CS3 on my Mac, and have no plans to upgrade to CS4 any time soon. But I do like to know what CS4 may be doing regarding Woven Pixel techniques. This morning I took the opportunity to use CS4 on a borrowed Mac, and at first look I am not happy with it, for the following reason. When I select an area of the screen and try to save it as a pattern preset in order to build a weave library, I find that the Define Pattern command is nowhere to be found in the Edit menu. In fact it's nowhere in any menu. Crisis! After I calmed down, I did discover an item at the very end of the Edit menu, "Show All Menu Items," and after I click on that, the Define Pattern and Preset Manager items are back in the Edit menu where we are accustomed to seeing them. Whew. But (and here's the kicker) you have to choose "Show All Menu Items" every single time you use the Define Pattern command. What a drag! I went to the Preferences to see if there is a way to change this behavior, but I have not found one. If any of you Photoshop gurus out there know of a way around this dilemma, please let me know. Until then, I'm sticking with CS3.
In Torah Mantle news, I've cut the fabric in five pieces—two with borders for each mantle and one plain piece for the tops. The ends are serged, and tomorrow the fabric will go into the wash for preshrinking.
I've picked up the acrylic pieces from the plastics company, and I'll have to go to the Temple to check that they are an acceptable size, as the holes were cut a little skimpily. There's plenty of margin for error here, but I'm going to check anyway. The acrylic pieces will be the actual pattern for the tops of the mantles, as well as being the interior structural supports.
The weaving on yesterday's warp is finally finished. Today I'll cut it off. At the moment I'm weary of the horizontals and verticals I've been spending all my time on the past few days, dealing with the threads and not the pattern. Warp and weft. I'm craving curves. Something like this:
My passion for chocolate is so intense that I try not to keep any of it in the house, except on special occasions. Imagine my chagrin when the King Arthur Flour catalog arrived in my mailbox. The cover of that catalog is pure chocolate porn: a stack of two fudge brownies up close and personal, covered with chocolate sauce, a dollop of whipped cream, and chocolate shavings. I've been staring at it for two days now. It makes me weak in the knees. It's a very good catalog, by the way. Just beware.
And while we're on the topic, here's a draft I did last year for a 24-shaft loom.
I promised you that yesterday's bird's nest would soon be history. This morning I completed the tying-on of the new warp, then gently pulled the warp forward. This view is from behind the heddles.
A few of the knots had to be eased through the heddles, but the rest traversed without complaint.
Then the knots had to be pulled through the reed. Piece of cake.
Then the knotted ends were cut off, the new ends gently combed and tied to the rod on the cloth apron. Ready to weave.
Now all of this could have been avoided if I had properly calculated the first warp. But tying-on is not a bad occupation for a few days. I isolate myself inside the loom; it's like being in my own little house. I listen to my favorite podcasts on my iPod. I don't answer the phone. I forget to make dinner. A mini-vacation.
I know it looks like a bird's nest now, but after all 900 of the new warps (on the right) are tied to the old warps (left), this mess will magically straighten out. The knots will be drawn through the heddles and reed and anchored around the breast beam. Trust me.
This loom was built with an extra 2 feet of length between the heddles and the back beams, so that I can put a low chair in the space behind the heddles and assume a comfortable posture while tying on.
AVL has just announced the class I will be teaching April 21-24 at their headquarters in Chico, California. Students will be introduced to jacquard design using Photoshop for design work and preparation of loom-ready files. Everyone will have the opportunity to weave one or more of their designs on the AVL Jacq3G, a computerized jacquard loom with e-Lift; Lucinda Grisham will be assisting me.
I plan to concentrate on shaded weaves, samitum, and double weaves, although students will be guided in the development of their personal libraries of weave structures in Photoshop, which they may then use for their own jacquard and dobby work.
For class details and registration information go here.