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Four Shaft Saori Adventures

Saori four shaft loomA few Saori weavers in Australia choose to have the option of the 4 shaft spring system conversion kit. This can be a great choice for many reasons. For established weavers it allows all the patterning options of the classical weaving they love combined with the efficiency, portability, comfort and compact styling of the Saori loom. It’s also the ultimate comfort way to have a 4 shaft floor loom eliminating somewhat cumbersome hand operations of the table loom.
But for some people it is seen as a step further into the wonderful world of weaving. These weavers are new to our craft but are thirsty for more. They wonder about four shafts and what possibilities they are missing.
Having two extra shafts allows more options in how the warp threads can managed so you can weave patterns. Little repeating patterns across the weave and twills are its thing. In contrast to the two shaft loom it naturally wants to avoid freeforming by providing another two options for lifting a warp sequence across the cloth for you. If you want to weave the Saori free style way on it the challenge is to be flexible with the possibility of regularity repeating patterns whilst making good use of those extra two shafts. Although patterning isn’t the only reason you would want a 4 shaft loom it is the main one weavers look to.
This highlights a need for a creative painterly approach combined with a structure approach. A nice combination. You need some extra knowledge about weaving drafts and what might work for the threading and how your approach will bring about a very unique and individual cloth. Four shafts is naturally more complex than two. There is more mechanics and hardware on the loom and more to thread. Read more

The Photo Thing

woven bangles

Handwoven bangles. This was non-digital slide format.

woven textile

Photographed with early digital camera. Same styling as older work

Today is the day to reveal my small workings for the photo thing. See the other posts at Picture-Perfect. Thanks to Meg Nakagawa for this opportunity. I kept mistyping the photo thing to the photo think and I think that is pretty right in my case. I’ve photographed my textiles for a long time. Photo shoots used to take all day with special blue lights or greaseproof paper on a window – no digital camerato check what you just shot. Just lists that might be compared to the processed photos but usually not. It was like feeling my way in a dark cave. Read more

Ramping up my dye book

dyed skeinsDyeing is so relaxing and cathartic. It’s so easy and produces the most amazing colours normally not available anywhere. When the Online guild were running a Precision dye workshop with Margaret Coe this month I jumped at the impetus to update and re-work my dye book and learn even more about my dyes and their possibilities.

I’ve been using Drimerene K dyes for a long time and I’ve gotten to know the quirks of the dyes…their  weaknesses and strengths.As fibre reactives for cellulose fibres they are fantastic. Although Procion dyes seem to be popping up everywhere I don’t use them very often because I need to reserve the dye solutions for future use. Procion are only effective when in fresh stock solutions. This may suit many people but is a disadvantage to me.

Dye bookThe Precision dye workshop is based on exploring the primary palettes in a dye set to produce  a range of secondary and tertiary colours. We’ll also mix Tri-chromatics. It’s a paint mixing exercise! My previous dye books focus on how different strengths of dye produce different shades. I also used small amounts of black for toning which can soften colours without becoming dim and murky. It’s a great resource and I recommend the possible hassle in compiling it.

I guess too, because of this previous experience, which I remember in a very hot December with my children only just avoiding pots of dye everywhere, I was able to have a lovely controlled, organised and small dye run this time. Read more

Braid Love

braidBraiding is so relaxing yet stimulating at the same time. I’ve just written a Craftsy post on Braids every Weaver should know. The post is an overview, with links to tutorials, of a few different braid structures that fall into a weavers journey. The slentre or loop braid, lucet braiding and the wonderful Kumihimo braiding.

The best instruction for accessible Kumihimo that I have ever seen is by Shirley Berlin in Handwoven Magazine May/June 1999. She shows you how to set up a 16 strand braid on a circular cardboard disk, emulating the traditional Japanese Marudai stand,  then it is followed with a very direct and easy way of designing your own 16 strand patterns by Alison Irwin.  I have used this tutorial repeatedly over the years to young children and teaching teens. SO easy to produce a very impressive and complex braid. Read more

Removing and replacing a SAORI Inside Set

Inside setsRemoving, replacing and generally just having the availability of a Saori inside set is wonderful.

But the words “inside set” aren’t really descriptive of the function or process of the whole thing. When I first came across this, it was a very new concept to me, at least for a small craft weaver. I know that similar things are used in Asia and have heard of it in production weaving in Europe for saving patterns, but not for us ‘little’ people. It just makes so much sense. No need to buy several looms to run several different warp types or widths to weave when you feel like it. One loom can become many looms.

The main attraction for me too, was how I could use one floor loom to teach others but still do my own work. It really makes sharing and teaching possible where other looms are too dedicated to the one owner weaver. Read more

Morisset Weavers

The best way for me to describe the wonderful two day workshop with the Morisset weavers is with images of their work. Absolutely beautiful creations and all so very different from each other.  The group was voraciously interested in weaving and creating which is great to work with. Thank you so much to Lorraine, Ann, Nerida, Miffany, Margaret and Gill.