It’s official– I’m now a Master Weaver

It’s official– I’m now a Master Weaver

Friday, Nov. 4, I got the news that I had passed the examination for the Handweavers [sic] Guild of America’s Certificate of Excellence Level II– Master Weaver.  I got the first level certification in 2012, after 4 years of hard work.  This time it took me 2 years of full-time research and weaving.  The Level II is an individual research project, and mine was Weaving Clothing for Plus Size Women.  I read everything I could find on clothing design for sizes 14+, wove lots of samples to explore different weave structures I hadn’t previously tried, and evaluated them for suitability.  Some, like waffle weave, I hoped would provide stretchiness, and it did, but with too much bulk.  The motifs in crepe weaves were too small.  The final part of the research was to weave 3-5 “master works.”  I chose to do traditional weaverly garments: a bog jacket in handspun merino/tencel and silk (green), a vest in twill diagonals with insets at the sides (purple/blue/green), a kimono (the one shown was an earlier version in silk), a wrap with clasped weft inlay around the neck (gold/pink, shown below), and one non-traditional garment, a tunic in twill sewn on the bias (gold/white/brown stripes).

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Each garment was designed for a member of my guild who had one of five body types: A (hips wider), E (every body– the wrap), H (straight body), O (tummy bigger), and X ( hour glass shape).  Design elements were not meant to “slim” the look, but to create ease so the garment hangs well and fits properly.

It was a challenging project, and I thank all my friends, my partner Margaret, and even my cats for supporting me.  I hope to develop publications and workshops based on this research.

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Upcoming weaving classes

I have two upcoming classes taught in central Missouri.  Hurry and sign up now!  Here is the information.  E-mail me at liebcrow@earthlink.net or call the venue to register.

I. Frame loom weaving for beginners (and others who want to explore the possibilities of simple portable weaving).

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Two sessions Oct. 12 and 26, 9-12:30 at Lake Studio for the Arts, 16533 N. Hwy. 5, suite 201, Sunrise Beach, MO 65079. 573-317-6818.  Class is $70 for both sessions.

Materials kit is an additional $35, includes two shuttles, warp yarn, weft yarns, heddle stick, pick-up stick, tapestry needles.  Participants will get an e-mail with complete instructions for making a frame loom in advance of the workshop (all you need is a wooden picture frame and some small nails), or you can buy one at the workshop for an additional $20.

Session 1: How to warp a frame loom for weaving with a shuttle, weaving with different colors to make dots, waves, stripes, vertical stripes, clasped weft technique.  How to take weaving off the loom and finish it.

Session 2: needle weaving tapestries to make abstract designs, how to use a cartoon to make woven pictures. Display options.

II. Beyond the Basics: Embellishing Plain Weave

For Advanced  Beginner/ Intermediate Rigid heddle/ Table loom Weavers*

2-part Class: Sat. Nov. 5 10-12:30 a.m. AND    Sat. Nov. 12   10-12:30 a.m.

Class will be at Fleeces to Pieces yarn shop, where you can also register and get the materials kit. 138 W. Hwy. 54 ,Camdenton, MO 65020 (309) 838-8825.  Open Wed.-Fri. 10-6, Sat. 10-2.

$40 for Class and Materials Kit.  Materials in Kit: One skein weft yarn, pick-up stick, instructions.

Class Part 1:  We will make a 10” wide sampler hanging or table runner. If you want a table runner, you need to pick washable yarns for wefts.  Part one will include hemstitching, inlays, and pick-up techniques to create designs on plain weave. Work at home: practice making your own designs with these techniques.

Class Part 2:  Clasped wefts, supplementary wefts and warps.  Finishing techniques.

What You Need to Bring: your loom warped with #3 cotton or equivalent** — #10 heddle warped 10” wide by 3’ long (not including loom waste allowance), two or more stick shuttles at least 10” long, short lengths (a yard or so) of  several colors of yarns that contrast with your main yarn.  Also some bits and pieces of “fancy yarns” if you have any.  I will bring lots of yarns as well, paper and pencil to make inlay designs, scissors, tape measure, yarn needle, several safety pins, small crochet hook.

*You must be able to warp your loom, do plain weave, and take off the finished project.

** About 20 wraps per inch (wrap yarn snugly around a ruler for 1” and count the wraps).

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Long Asymmetrical Wrap Design

I have had some requests from the weaving and sewing for weavers facebook groups to explain how I make long, flowing wraps like the orange and blue ones I posted recently. I call them asymmetrical because they are longer in the back than in the front.  This creates a unique drape, as much of the fabric is now on the bias.  It literally fits almost every body, from a size 0 up to a 3X.

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Orange wrap

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Blue wrap

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The weaving is straightforward—two rectangles.  I make them a minimum of 24” wide (on-loom) up to about 30” wide.  The sleeves on the narrower rectangle hit at about elbow length, and with the wider rectangle about wrist length.  My preferred lengths (measured on-loom) are from 60” for average height, and up to 70” for a taller person.  Any weave structure that produces a fairly lightweight fabric with a good drape will do.  I have made it in wools with a very light, open beat, but I usually use cotton, rayon, or silk.

The asymmetrical “tilted” effect is achieved by sewing the two rectangles right sides together at the back seam for 2/3rds of the length, leaving only 1/3 open at the front.  I first saw a similar design, “Hapi Wrap” by designer Trish Lange, published in the Handwoven’s Design Collection 9: No Sew Garments (Interweave Press, 1988).  Hers was shorter and not as dramatically asymmetrical, but it gave me the idea of not stopping the seam at the shoulder.  After making a few weaving 60” long rectangles (measured on-loom), I tried one 66” long and liked the effect.  The two I showed on Facebook were woven 60” long due to lack of yarn, but when I have enough yarn I prefer the 66” length.  IMPORTANT: where the center seam ends at the back of the neck, the garment will be under strain.  Be sure to reinforce this area with a bar tack (sew across the seam for about ½” on each side and back stitch) or sew by hand with the weft yarn across the seam a couple of times.

If you are short on that special yarn, you can choose to hem the garment rather than have fringes.  As the weaving plan below shows, I usually leave a 14”+ section in the middle for fringes.  This is secured by weaving in a few shots of waste yarn at the end of rectangle 1, another few shots in the middle of the fringe allowance, and more just before weaving the second rectangle.  For hemming, add 1” at the beginning and end of each rectangle for hem turn under and eliminate the fringe allowance.  I usually twist the fringes, which takes almost as long as the weaving!

After sewing the center back seam, fold the piece in half at the shoulders and sew the sides together, leaving 10” open at the shoulder for the armholes.  Twist fringes or hem. Wet finish as appropriate to the fabric.

The large open space of this garment leaves lots of room for design possibilities.  On the blue wrap, I wove a free-hand circle around the neck using a darker weft, turning each weft around the other when they meet.  It is vital to measure carefully, since ½ the circle is on each rectangle.  I started the half circle at inch 10 (front)  and finished it at inch 30 (back) .  Other garments have had an inlaid design in the center back.  I made one using Theo Moorman technique to inlay Monet-like water lily sections randomly all over a watery space-dyed warp.

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Homage to Monet IV: Water Lilies Wrap

Very often I make a border, by simply weaving different wefts in stripes at the beginning and end of each rectangle, as seen in the orange wrap.  Again, careful measuring is essential so the stripes will line up at the center back and side seams.

Below is a weaving plan and illustration of how it is sewn.  My drawings are not to scale and pretty amateurish, but I hope you get the idea.  Happy weaving!  If you make one of these, please send photos.

long wrap weave plan

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My short wrap weaving instructions

My short wrap weaving instructions

Melissa Woodruff of the Facebook group Sewing for Weavers has asked about this wrap since I posted a photo of it on the group.  This is a short version of my favorite garment– a much longer wrap.  I didn’t have enough of the lovely weft yarn so decided to create a somewhat different look with a shorter warp and with fancy yarn woven into the front.

This is a “low-sew” project– only three straight seams all on selvedges, so no special treatment needed.  You can see the center back seam in the photo.  There are two side seams that aren’t visible making sleeves.  The neckline is shaped on the loom and it and the hem edges are finished with crochet.  I would have hemmed the bottom but didn’t have sufficient yarn to make it long enough.  This is a “one-size-fits-most” garment.

I used a ramie/cotton green yarn rescued from unraveling a thrift store sweater for the warp, sett at 8 epi, width in reed 23″.   (I normally make my longer wraps at least 24″ and preferably wider, but again, lack of weft yarn dictated a narrower warp.)  The main weft is Filatura di Crosa “Cambridge”, a wool/mohair blend with a nylon binder.  The accent weft is “La Bohème,” which had several colors.  I was disappointed to find it was composed of  approx. 5 yard lengths of different yarns simply knotted together, so I cut it apart to use the kind of teal-bluish color only.  The clasp is an Art Deco antique I bought at a show a long time ago.

Here is the crudely-drawn, not to scale, weaving plan.  It is woven as two 44″ rectangles (all measurements are on-loom).  Draw a full-size cartoon for the decorative area that shouldn’t be wider than 4″  (mine was a simple stair step).  I make my cartoons on scrap fabric or on interfacing because paper tends to rip loose when you beat. Begin at the top of the diagram. (You can also weave this from the bottom up, just reversing the inches marks.)  This is plain weave, and with all wools I don’t really beat the weft, but gently snug it in so the garments feel light and airy.

short wrap weave plan

If you start weaving at the top, weave for 20″, then begin to weave the neck opening by using the main weft up to 4″ from the right selvedge, and use a second small shuttle or butterfly to weave in waste yarn or other spacer material from the selvedge to the 4″ mark.  Keep weaving the neck area for 4″ (you are now at inch 24 in your weaving).  Pin your cartoon for the inset accent design to the waste yarn area, weave 1 pick of main weft across from left to right selvedge and back to left selvedge.  Wind a second shuttle with the accent weft and begin weaving it from the right selvedge to meet the main weft coming from the left.  When the wefts meet, wrap the around, open the next shed, and return to the selvedges. Advance the cartoon as you weave.   Continue until you have woven the whole 44″ back/front piece.  Weave a line of waste yarn and start over doing the next piece, only making the neck at the left selvedge.

Remove from the loom, machine stitch around the edge of the neck opening, and remove the waste yarn and unused warps from that area.  Machine zig-zag the edges again.  Do the same for the hem edges and for the dividing line between the two rectangles and cut them apart.  Wet finish.  Sew the backs together at the center seam.  Fold at the shoulder line and leave an opening of 10″ from the fold.  Sew the side seams from there to the hem.  You can make the garment rectangles 4″ longer and allow for a turned-under hem, or you can encase the raw edges with crochet or with bias binding.

Let me know if you have questions and what you think of the wrap!  Happy weaving.

Beginning Weaving Classes Announced

Beginning Weaving Classes Announced

 I am excited to tell you that I am planning two sections of beginning weaving classes.  The first will meet Feb. 27-28 and Mar. 5, the second Mar. 18-19 and Apr. 2.  You don’t need any experience with weaving at all, but the class is also good for those who once wove but have forgotten how.  You don’t need any special equipment as I will provide looms and other tools.
These classes will meet at my home studio in Sunrise Beach, MO.  On the Saturday, we will meet from 9:00 am to about 4:00 pm.  You will learn how weaving works, the parts of a basic loom, how to plan how much yarn you need for a project, and how to wind a warp for your loom.  On Sunday, we will meet for brunch at 11:30, then learn how to set up the loom for weaving and how to weave.  We should be done by about 4:00, and you will take your loom home to weave a scarf.  The last Saturday, we will meet from 9:00 to about 2:00.  You will learn how to finish the weaving, remove it from the loom, and wet-finish your project.  We will discuss further options for you to continue exploring weaving.  I will provide lunch both Saturdays and brunch on Sunday.
For those who don’t know me, I am an accredited weaver with the Certificate of Excellence from the Handweavers’ Guild of America.  I have been weaving since 1992, and have exhibited my work in shows and galleries in Iowa and Missouri.  I am now a retired college professor (French and Women’s Studies) with over 40 years of teaching experience.  Believe me, teaching French verbs to adolescents is excellent training in patience!  Since retiring, I have taught a number of classes and workshops, including beginning and advanced weaving.  I am a member of the Lake Area Fiber Artists and Missouri Fiber Artists groups.  I love weaving and I love teaching others how to weave!
Tuition includes warp yarn, meals described above, use of my looms, extensive handouts, and purchase of weft yarns at cost.  Tuition is $180 for the three-day class, and I am happy to make an affordable payment plan for your convenience.  Classes are limited to a maximum of three people.
Please reply to this e-mail to tell me which class you want to take, or that this is not a good time but you would be interested later, or that you would like me to remove your name from my list of potential beginning weavers.  You can e-mail me or call my at (573) 374-1063 if you have any questions.  Thank you and have a great day!
Diane Crowder
liebcrow@earthlink.net
New Hand Weaving Blog

New Hand Weaving Blog

I am new to blogging and suspect I will make a lot of mistakes!  I don’t plan to post very often, but I do want to share some of the things I have learned over more than 20 years of weaving.  As you can see from my “About” page, I am a retired college professor now weaving full time.  I passed the examination for the Handweavers’ Guild of America’s Certificate of Excellence in Weaving in 2012.  This self-taught rigorous exam took 4 years of research and 40 weavings in every kind of structure.  I have done several presentations to my local guild, as well as teaching classes here in central Missouri.

My plan for the blog is to post two kinds of things.  One will be my presentations on topics such as using thrums (loom waste), reading drafts, making low-sew handwoven clothing, and more.  The other will be examples of my weavings with comments on techniques, weave structures, loom shaped clothing, etc.  My hope is to share what I have learned, to inspire newer weavers, and spark sharing of ideas through your comments.

The photo above is an old one showing a ruana in both handspun and commercial yarns.  I made it when I lived in Iowa, where the warmth was very welcome in winter!

I hope to post one of my presentations soon, so check back often.  Thank you.

Diane