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.
Holiday time. First the varnishkes. They will eventually become this delectable concoction. Don't you love the little pinked edges?
Then I cut up three absolutely perfectly ripened mangoes for dessert.
Here are the cranberries before I boiled them & added them to the applesauce.
The brisket was cooked days ago & refrigerated so that I could remove all the fat and slice it.
In between times I put in a few hours at the loom on the blue warp. I found a small cone of cotton pigtail yarn in my stash, just enough for one dishtowel. I think I'm nearly at the end of this warp. I plan to put on a new warp next week for some double twill samples.
I'm not necessarily a fan of purple—nor do I dislike it—you could say I am purple neutral. But what a strange thing happened this morning. I looked down at my weaving and saw that I had a purple temple stretching out my cloth, a purple weft in my shuttle, and I was wearing a purple shirt! What does this mean? Probably nothing.
About yesterday's bird...thanks for all the suggestions. It appears to be rough legged hawk although this is not its usual habitat.
This morning I came across a Dwell article about The Weavers of Lapua. If you can get beyond the highly styled photos and focus on the textiles, take a look at the weaving. Nice.
On a neighborhood walk I spied this bird on a wire. I wish I could tell you what it is -- all I can say is it was huge, about the size of my Thanksgiving turkey--but it did get me further into my black & white thinking. Keep in mind that this is an enlargement of a very small area of a phone snapshot, not a quality production. All identifications welcome.
Some leftover bits of gray Romney fleece found their way into my spinning basket, so I combined them & spun them up on a spindle, then plied & washed them. This is one of the yarns I just like to have around to fondle. It may not go any further.
Thinking ahead to more double twill on the dobby loom. First a structure drawdown, then a color version. Three wefts. These look better if you click to enlarge.
Have a good holiday, y'all. Be safe. Be generous with hugs. Happy weaving.
The Sixteens, one of the longest running study groups in Complex Weavers, has made Lampas their focus for 2016. They asked if I would provide my unpublished Lampas monograph (the class notes for a seminar conducted at CW Seminars 2016 in St. Charles, IL) as support material for the study, and I was happy to do so. In return, they sent me a notebook with a complete set of their lampas samples. I was overwhelmed! These are some very serious samples, beautifully designed and woven, and meticulously documented. All members of Complex Weavers have access to these. Just to give you a taste of what's in this notebook, here's Philis Alvic's sample, which I show you with her permission:
Click to enlarge. You will see that Philis used primary structure (plain weave with metallic yarns) as the pattern area and secondary structure (1/3 twill with multiple wefts) as background. She has carefully adjusted the aspect ratio of her draft in order to weave the design to square.
It was especially nice to reconnect with Philis, an old friend from days gone by. She is the one who actually introduced me to Complex Weavers in the late 1970's. Thanks, Philis!
I just finished reading Hermione Lee's biography of Penelope Fitzgerald, "Penelope Fitzgerald: A Life". Two of my favorite Fitzgerald novels are "Offshore" and "The Bookshop." Read them! Fitzgerald is a master of understatement, irony, and the deft combination of the tragic and the comic. One of the many delicious moments in Lee's bio is the revelation of some notes for Fitzgerald's projected (but sadly never written) novel about grandmothers:
A grandmother clock is smaller than a grandfather clock and, by inference, weaker … A granny knot is one that comes undone at once, granny bonds are or were a saving scheme which was simple enough for even the densest to understand, a granny flat is a subsection of the main house where the damage granny may do through absent-mindedness will be under kindly control. Grannies lose things, which they call not knowing where they’ve put them … I suppose the expression “Teach your grandmother to suck eggs” implies that grannies know how to do something , but not anything of any practical use.
Today's studio time was spent in finishing the bottom hems of the Double Twill Project. This makes me think of an old friend who once offered me a job indexing a book about Asian bureaucracies. "I've observed that you enjoy repetitive tasks involving a lot of detail," he said. Hm-m-m. I would rather say that I enjoy tasks that involve a lot of detail, with scope for meditation. In any case, I did complete 90% of the index before childbirth intervened. As I am now an old Granny in a retrospective mood, I will say that handstitching is more fun than indexing.
"By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes" is a line from Shakespeare's Macbeth, also the title of an Agatha Christie novel. And—although I haven't seen this myself—the title of an Outlander episode on TV.
But for me, it's the perfect title for today's stint in the studio. My thumbs are sore and bleeding from seasonal winter dry skin and from endless handstitching on the velcro'd top hems of the Double Twill Project. To protect my hands and to keep from getting blood on the fabric, I wrap cloth bandaids around my thumbs while I am stitching.
Well, the inevitable happened. I stitched the bandaid to the panel. Clever me. But easily corrected. Then after stitching the final panel, I turned it to the right side to inspect it, and to my disgust saw that I had trapped a pin inside the hem. So I ripped out part of the hem, retrieved the pin, and restitched it.
Here's a view of the little numbers woven into the bottom hems to indicate the order in which the panels are to be hung.
As I hadn't yet seen the Blue Ridge Fiber Show, and it's closing in January, we headed up the mountain today. The skies looked like this. We were undeterred.
This is always an enjoyable and varied show, with work by professionals and beginners alike. There's a good helping of weaving and felting, and I noticed a generous amount of very accomplished spinning this year. The garments were outstanding. You can check out a listing of award winners, but you'll need a magnifying glass to see the pictures. The conditions weren't optimal for me to photograph the work with my phone; however, I did manage to get a decent picture of this wonderful garment by Teena Tuenge:
Afterwards we drove to Teena's for a studio visit and I asked her about the very versatile structure she uses for many of her garments. She reminded me that she wrote an article about it in Issue #100 of the Complex Weavers Journal. If you're lucky enough to have this issue, look it up. It's a fascinating study.
I'm sewing some black hook & loop tape onto black fabric which will in turn be handsewn onto the tops of woven panels, which will then be affixed to a hanging rod covered in the corresponding hook & loop tape. Black on black, with black thread in the sewing machine, is a challenge for the best of eyes. Whew! But the hard part is now finished.
Time to take a break and go outside for the mail. There I was met by a very appealing pink sunset. What a reward!
It's been raining for the past several days, a very good thing. This morning, as the rain tapered off, the fog settled in for a while, which made for some interesting effects as I took my walk (I almost expected a few vampires to jump out from behind the trees). This photo looks better if you click on it to enlarge.
Back in my nice dry studio, I snapped the #10 foot onto my 25-year-old Bernina and set to work on the selvedges of the double twill project. I want all six panels to hang separately, but together; I thought it would be a good idea to reinforce the selvedges with some unobtrusive stitiching. This foot has a vertical metal barrier down the center, so you can butt two pieces against each other and stitch, with great accuracy. For a trial, I placed a piece of an old sample on the left, and a perle 3 cotton on the right, and zigzagged over them. Thken I pulled on the perle cotton cord to straighten the edge. Here is the foot:
And here's the fabric, with the stitching finished. Note the ripple.
Now here it is after pulling on the cord. All straight!
Looks like it's going to work.
Flash!!! This just in!! Bruce has published some great pictures of our trip to The Woolery. Take a look.