woven codex


As a weaver I would have named this book structure a sewn codex but it’s also called a rubbish book so that works just fine for me as an alternate name. Using recycled materials for the covers, members of the Book Arts Guild constructed books using a handout which referenced Alisa Golden’s book Making Handmade Books, page 163 and 164, and facilitated by Chris and Lee.  I don’t have the book but mention was also made that there was a typo in the materials list.  So if you intend to use those instructions, measure twice.  Our materials were all cut for us except for the covers which we brought with us.  I had hoped to use my box in the other orientation with the title across the top, but the size of the box was too small for that.  Expectations were adjusted several times in the construction process.

The book was sewn together with Tyvek ™ paper from old delivery envelopes.  It’s very strong and can put up with much pulling and tightening.  Each signature had a cardboard cover and four folded sheets of printer paper inside.  Slits were cut in the signatures and covers to accommodate the width of the Tyvek strip.

When the book is opened between signatures there is a crack the width of the signature and you can see the purple and orange logo of the delivery company that carried the envelope to its original location.

In the middle of the signatures you can see the Tyvek again sewn over a thin strip of cardboard also cut from recycled boxes.

Top view of the book showing the signatures.  The addition of the cardboard strip causes the spine to be thicker than the paper within so this book would accommodate some addition of photos or collage work without bursting open.  I’m not fond of books that appear to be overstuffed.  Note that the covers are doubled cardboard and there is a slight overlap.  It looks like the glue stick didn’t quite do its job or I needed to use more clamps as it dried.  Or we could be generous and say, I left it that way to illustrate the construction better…

The sewing of the signatures was accomplished first and then the covers were sewn on last.  A second set of slits was cut into the cover (into one of the folded flaps) and the Tyvek was slipped into the extra slits and the flaps were glued down to hold the stitching in place.

After awhile the end of the Tyvek became limp and had to be pushed through with a blunt needle, which also was a handy tool for tightening up the stitching before the final gluing of the flaps on the cover.  A little more than most of us could finish in two hours but I always enjoy a hands-on meeting.  Wish I had more time to get involved in the activities at The Printing Museum where we meet.

Linking up with Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday.

weaving holes


Still have the white cotton warp on the loom, but I changed the reed and dented it a bit closer.  It’s still an open plain weave so I expect it to full up quite nicely and fill in the air spaces between.  The pattern is called Breaks and Recesses and is in the pattern book of drafts by Carol Strickler, page 17.  I wove the sample that appears in the book.

I like to use this simple 8 shaft straight draw structure for hand towels and this time I’m playing with a pulled thread idea from embroidery.  I’ve tried cutting and pulling threads in my handwoven cloth and it’s laborious.  I thought I would speed it up by not weaving the part where the threads are normally pulled out.

Of course, I had to cut the warps to make the empty corners. See how that group of the weaving below kind of sags?  I stitched the ends back into the work and blanket-stitched over the edge.  I left the ends hanging on the back and after it’s washed I’ll trim them closer.  I used two shuttles to weave the single pattern repeat on the two borders.  I have threads still attached to finish up the hemstitching along the border areas.  I’ve got the hemstitching on one side started and it’s a bit fiddly doing it up instead of across.  I expect to get really good at it before I’m done and I’m sure my last corner square will look much better than this first one. If all goes well, I’ll probably put it in the guild’s fall sale. If not… it’s cotton and I’ll be using for a dye experiment of some sort. Shall I do some more “pulled” work in the middle area? Or some contact printing with leaves? So much potential …

Warping the loom for this warp appears in two earlier posts here and here.

Linking up to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday.

under a cloud


Been under a cloud lately.  Distracted.  Depressed about many projects started and hardly any finished.

The long drought ended rather abruptly.  Now we are getting rain almost every day and I’m finally getting some things accomplished.  The barometric pressure must affect my creative thinking.

One piece framed and photographed and another in the final stages.  I may actually make the Wednesday midnight entry deadline.

In the meantime, here’s a corner of the handwoven, deconstructed screen printed piece I’m using for the current Take A Stitch Tuesday challenge on Facebook and Pintangle.  This week’s stitch was the detached chain around the pinkish dot.  The colors reminded me of this stormy sunset we had the other day.



Another year gone by.  Marking time by orchids.  The grill king brought these home for my birthday and took me to sumptuous dinner at Pappa’s Brothers Steakhouse.

The next photo is for Will – only he will be able to pronounce the brand of this beer.  It was delicious and I’d buy it again so I had to take a photo of the label so I can remember.  I had the buffalo filet with foie gras and potatoes and haricot vertes. He had the ribeye and a steak salad with apple and Roquefort. The milk chocolate mousse with marshmallow and dark chocolate ganache sprinkled with toffee brittle was ordered to bring home.  I’m still nibbling on it – enough for four people at least.  Truly a fabulous dessert to end a wonderful meal.

In the garden, we finally got all the sticks and trash picked up from the storm the other night with the help of my granddaughter and our regular gardener guy.  The American Beauty Berry is a little the worse for wear but still putting out the berries that the birds enjoy.

And the following is what happens when you leave the lid off the thickened dye.  Beautiful crystalline patterns.

I’ve finished weaving the white project on the loom but I have to get it prepared for entry in a little over a week.  Once I know if it’s in or out, I’ll post a photo of the completed piece.  I’m quite pleased with the progress so far.

The photo below shows how well Sue knows me.  She felted the piece that is laying on top of my handwoven and deconstructed screen printed cloth.  These could be hung side by side – once I finish stitching on mine and who knows I may stitch on hers, too. I love embroidery.

weavers’ stories


Every chapter of the latest publication from Thrum Books, Traditional Weavers of Guatemala: Their Stories, Their Lives focuses on a weaver and his or her family, with heart-wrenching stories of sadness, struggle and loss but still their portraits gaze proudly back at me as they pose wearing handmade traditional costumes.  Many are teaching their children and grandchildren giving me hope for future generations of weavers. The stories were collected and written by Deborah Chandler and Teresa Cordon with photographs by Joe Coca.

These are not the stuff of headlines, these are the human interest stories that used to fill the second section of our local newspapers.  I couldn’t read the book cover to cover in one go.  Each weaver deserved my full attention along with a cup of coffee.  Photos of the weaving and embroidery begged to be touched – the images seemed dimensional; I imagined I could feel the stitches if I just closed my eyes.  Swirling around the stories are photos of feast days, vast landscapes and snatches of everyday life.  We are given access to weavers’ homes, their families, closeups of their looms.  It’s not a travel journal of a three-day, four-night cruise to six cities; this is a sabbatical experiencing the land, the people and their crafts through the eyes of a weaver.  An armchair vacation I can take again and again.


weaving in white, continued


I’ve been busy on the white warp.  Here it is one-third of the way threaded through the heddles.  I like the flat metal ones as I can flick them to one side or the other easily with one hand.  I have separated two heddles on each of the eight shafts.  I’m doing a simple straight draw – one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight and repeat.  I can do a myriad of structures on such a threading just by changing the combination and order of the lifting of the shafts.

I have also separated out sixteen threads.  You can’t see the other pair of the lease stick, eight threads go over the one you can see and eight are going under it. Checks and balances – 16 heddles, 16 threads – a quick visual to be sure all is order, then tie that bout in a temporary hitch.  Avoid mistakes as you go.  I couldn’t get a decent photo of my hands threading the heddles because I use both and I haven’t figured out yet how to focus and snap a photo with my tongue.  I reach my right hand on the right of first heddle on the furthest away shaft and pull one thread off the pack while I hold the group taut in my left.  I fold the warp and push the fold through the eye of the heddle.  My ring finger is holding the heddle steady and then I grab the fold with the same hand and pull it through.  Repeat two hundred times.

Moving right along, all the warps are through the heddles and the next step is to get them through the reed.  I’m using a ten dent reed and two go in each dent.  When I pick up the next set of eight warps and lift up they form themselves nicely into four groups of two.  I slide my fingers into the spaces and can easily pull them through with a heddle hook which is in my right hand in front of the reed.  The Baby Wolf has a metal peg hanging by a chain and that slips into a hole through the beater and into the front part of the cross frame to hold the beater still and upright.  Very handy.

Once several groups are through the reed, I tie them into another temporary half hitch for security.  After this, I remove the lease sticks and the raddle and tie the ends to the front stick that will eventually roll onto the cloth beam as I weave.  In this photo you can see the inch marks on the shuttle race.  It’s supposed to help me center the warp as I pull it through the reed, but usually I miscount the beginning and end up pushing the reed to one side or the other to get it lined up just right.

I’ve begun weaving the cloth that is supposed to be entered in a show in less than ten days.  I’m not happy with it; doesn’t match my mental image yet.  More fiddling is necessary.  I may stop, unweave the bit that is done and rethread the reed for a closer sett.  Sometimes that means rerolling the warp on the back beam if the change in width is drastic.  Thinking about it still.  Petting the cloth and asking for inspiration.

weaving in white


Warping my loom with white 8/2 cotton.  Deadline for a ready-to-hang piece is less than two weeks away.  “Will she make it???”  Doubtful, but maybe.  I’m warping back to front which means the warp is rolled onto the beam before it’s threaded through the heddles and the reed.  Never mind this if you’re not a weaver.  Your life will go on.  For the rest of us it can be a life and death discussion – weavers are divided into camps advocating front-to-back or back-to-front.  There are still plenty of middle-of-the-roaders who adhere to the principle that “whatever works is fine.”

I started my weaving life as a front-to-backer, but times change and I did, too.  The photo above shows the warp with the ties holding the cross even though I’ve already put in the lease sticks to hold the cross which keeps the threads in order.  Note the sticks are tied to eye bolts screwed into the back of the loom.  Sacrilege!  I also mark on my loom to show inches on the shuttle race.  It’s about time to redo them as the marks are wearing off.

Here is my home made raddle using eye bolts and marked to make it easy to center a warp.  Each space is one inch and the zero point is in the middle.  I only hang the bouts on the eyes temporarily until they are all on, then I begin to slip them onto the stick that is attached to the warp beam as shown below.

Once they are all on the stick, I run a very smooth cord through the eyes and tie it to the side bars to keep the warps from jumping out of their assigned spaces.  This warp rolled on especially easily – must be the fine Eqyptian cotton I bought from Lone Star Loom Room.  Last 8/2 cotton warp was all sticky and bindles drove me crazy.

The last step before beginning to thread the heddles is to remove the counting thread I put in while winding the cotton on the warping board.  I forgot to take a shot of that.  I use a chain and just a quick pull and it comes out easily as you can see below.  There are ten in each group and two groups make up an inch.  This warp will be 20 epi for the plain weave.  I’ll also be using a thick weft and some fun things, too.  More on that later.  Must start threading.

beaded cuff


Another little beaded thing done for the Bead Journal Project on a Facebook group by the same name.  At this rate, I’ll never use up my bead stash.  Decided it was heavy enough even though lots more of this bead soup left.

I’ve made a decision that once I finish a weaving project, any of the leftover yarn will be disposed of – given away hopefully to a beginning weaver who will use it to sample.  I’m thinking the same policy could apply to leftover beads.  Project’s done, get rid of the rest.

Linking this to <a href=http://ninamariesayre.blogspot.com/2015/08/quilting-by-lake-review-off-wall-friday.html>Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday.</a>