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.
A new wall hanging in progress. The brocade wefts are both handspun; the lighter one is a singles of finn wool & silk noil combined, and the darker is a 3-ply merino, corriedale, yak, and rose fiber (!).
Apparently rose fiber is a recycled byproduct of the florist industry.
As I've just finished weaving one wall hanging and I'm about to begin another, this seemed like a good time to pause and make a few repairs. There are three lazy heddles that have been annoying me for the past few months, and the valves have to be replaced. It means climbing up on a ladder and getting into the guts of my TC-1, a procedure I don't enjoy, but "once begun is half done."
I have a strange assortment of tools that make the job easier: a very funky needle-nosed pliers with two noses, an assortment of metric allen wrenches, and a wooden mallet.
Ninety minutes later, done!
After a brief test, it appears that all the heddles are working (yay!). I'm going to reward myself with a cup of hot black tea, a comfortable chair, and a good read: Alan Furst's "Spies of the Balkans."
The past few days have been rainy, but before the weather closed in we did mange to celebrate Earth Day. A delightful trip to Walnut Grove raised our spirits.
The kitchen gardens begged for a panorama.
Back home, we noticed that the magnolia cutting, planted months ago, has finally decided to put out leaves. That bodes well for the future. I'm hoping for a very big tree. But that's a long timeline. We'll see...
In spite of the pouring rain, yesterday our intrepid guest drove us all the way to Old Fort, North Carolina, to the Mountain Gateway Museum and Heritage Center, for a look at the wonderful photographs of local craftsmen by William A. Barnhill. The photos, a century old, were a treat. One in particular spoke to me—an entire family carding, spinning, and weaving on the front porch of a log cabin.
An unexpected surprise at the museum was the arrival of a group of musicians, who entertained us with two hours of bluegrass, old-timey, and folk tunes.
Another brocaded project, another design. There are two handspun wefts in this iteration; the light one is the same as in the previous project, but the dark one is new. I continue to try to spin irregular singles. I find it very challenging!
I've just finished weaving a group of hangings, and it's time to make labels for them. I like to do these on an old Bernina. It has a simple alphabet function, nothing fancy, just one basic font. But the input is fiddly, and test sew-outs are in order to be sure no spelling errors creep in. These sew-outs take on a life of their own. They look like little palimpsests. The tails of rayon embroidery threads curl up every which way. I am easily entertained.
This morning the petals of my favorite dogwood were all over the ground. I was sad that I had waited so long to photograph them—they were beautiful while still on the tree—but they also make an interesting pattern on the ground. If I were looking for a new starting place for a random design, this would be it:
Random designs can also come from the bowels of the computer—here's one such, with a little prodding from me:
This one's proceeding slowly, as I'm using stick shuttles for the handspun brocading wefts. A few hundred picks is a good day's work.
As I work, I have the strange feeling that someone's looking over my shoulder.
It's my new dress form, modified to more closely conform to my own measurements. When I see her out of the corner of my eye, she looks a bit like my own Granny. That's OK, Granny had very clever hands and she would be a good guardian angel for anyone's studio.
It works! Using handspun bumpy singles as brocading yarns is producing an effect I like in this abstract design on the TC-1. The ties for the dark yarn are black and the ties for the fawn colored yarn are off-white. The tabby yarn, barely visible between brocade picks, is green 20/2 cotton. Warp is black & natural 16/2 cotton @60 epi.
Here are a couple of pictures from this week's holiday preparations. Catalina is chopping apples & walnuts for charoset, using my grandmother's chopping bowl and knife (very carefully).
For a brocading project with sharply contrasting areas of dark and light in the design, I spun two different singles yarns, trying for more lumps & bumps than I usually spin. These two yarns will appear mostly on the surface of the cloth. They're a mixture of wool, silk, and bamboo prepared on the blending board.
This past Friday we drove up to Penland to visit Tommye and Bhakti, who are leading the Spring Concentration in fibers--eight weeks of weaving bliss. Thank you to Bruce who took these pictures, as I was too busy talking.
There are twelve students in this group, of all ages, most of them beginners, and they are advancing rapidly in their weaving journey. You may recognize Edwina (seated at the table) in the above picture. She was also visiting, although she has a long history of teaching at Penland.