Quillin Weaving

A blog about spinning, dyeing and fiber related things.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Don't you just love New Year's Resolutions? I am so bad at them! They are fine until about the third week in January and I am bored with the new rules and want to go back to my old ways. Well, I will try to post more often here. This red-brown jacket is what I worked on over the Christmas holiday. It is a dark brown and sandalwood warp with a teak weft - all wool from Harrisville and still available. The novelty yarn that makes the decorative strips is wool also but came from a discontinued bin, if you want a similar look go with a yarn with heavy slubs in colors that match your warp. It is woven as a 2/2 twill on 4 harnesses and was four pieces on a 10 dent reed. Two are 27" X 53", this is the main body, the two pieces sewn up the back and under the arms. Then a small piece for a pocket (because pockets make everything better) and a 5" collar that was done the width of the weaving with some scrap warp. The lapels are held back with large resin buttons.
Here is the second project -- a retro poncho! Also in Harrisville wool, it is woven in a diamond twill pattern. You can see the upclose below this photo. In case you want to make one this pattern is using a 10 dent reed and four harnesses. The warp is 20" across and the length of each panel (there are two just alike) was 45." After washing and fulling this comes to about 16"X 36", which was pretty close to what I was aiming for. If you are good at crochet, this poncho looks great with scallops all along the outside edge.

Here is what the pattern looks like, the weft was a teal wool that was leftover from some other long ago project.
Thanks to everyone who wrote to me condolences about my dad. It is still hard for me to believe he is gone, I guess we always feel that way about parents. If you still have yours give them a hug for the new year.
Blessings to you all.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Herald Looms. Several people have emailed me asking about my loom. Unfortunately the no-reply comment option on this blog host does not let me reply to you except by posting here. So if you write to me - Please send your email address along with your message. For Meaghan who has one of these and is looking for information on it. I never did get an instruction book with mine, but it was in perfect working order. The brake is a tension one and I would be glad to email you a picture of it if that would help.

So much has happened in my life since I last posted. My father passed away. It was sudden and took the wind out of my sails. I still spend days when I cannot believe he is gone. I'm working on clearing things up in this small town where I have lived for the past six years and will be relocating.

Best to you all.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The orange weaving I posted a couple of times ago became this Tangerine Dream Vest. I took it with me to Carlsbad this week and it went to a new home yesterday. I loved how the colors played together. There was a lot of texture in this and lots of different kinds of fiber including-- cotton (warp), wool, silk and novelty yarns. I like to use different textures in things because they come out so much more tactile. This vest also has buttons sewn randomly on the lapels to keep them in place. The other view is of the back.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Charleston House. Formerly the home of Vanessa Bell (Virginia Woolf's sister) and Duncan Grant. We visited this wonderful home just at the end of our stay in England. To get there you take a train from Victoria Station to Lewes, and a taxi from there to Charleston House. It is out in the countryside with rolling hills of green and yellow all around. The house was a mainstay for the Bloomsbury Group during the Second World War when the bombing was going on in London and they all wanted to escape. Vanessa and Duncan spent a lot of time in this place painting. Not just canvases but all over the house. There are mantels in several rooms that have been painted, all kinds of furniture including the dining room table. It was a very lived in house. There has
been so much written about who these people were and how they lived that I won't go into that here. Suffice it to say that they invented the Bohemian Lifestyle. What I did want to say was that while all the artwork was great to see, all or most of it original --it is the feeling of the lives lived here that make the place different. It is the sum of the friendships and loves that changed it from an ordinary house to the unusual.

The gardens and the pond are as beautiful as the house itself. Most of the statuary and mosiac work is just as it is presented in the history books. There is a sense of peace about the entire property that is hard to convey. It is not surprising that they came and stayed such a long time.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Today on the Kromski rigid heddle loom a bit of the sunset. A medley of oranges with a sprinkle of green and purple, lots of texture in this one. It will be a vest when finished and is destined for the Carlsbad Gallery. Orange makes me feel warm and alive and is pretty positive in general. This was not always the case. For many years I avoided Orange because it was too in your face, too committed to be bold and assertive. Now I find myself wanting to tuck bits of Orange in a lot of my work. It is funny how color affects us differently at times.

More on England soon.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Home from England. We spent a couple of weeks in England and most of that time in London. The weather was beautiful, some rain and moderate temps. Although this blog is mainly about weaving, this part is going to be about England because that is where the weaver went (me). This first picture is the London Eye, which is basically a huge ferris wheel that allows people to get a great view of the city and river Thames. I have to admit that I have never ridden the Eye because I hate hights, but I think it is a beautiful part of the skyline. Of course everywhere you look in England there are great things to see and experience. The second pic here is of Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery behind the fountains. I always debate which art museum is my favorite when I'm there. I think the Nat Gallery may have more Impressionists but the Tate has the Pre-Raphaelites and they are the soul of art to me. Don't even talk to me about the Tate Modern. We did spend time at the Victoria and Albert looking at all the textiles and being amazed at the wonderous things under that enormous roof.

The day we were in Trafalgar the schools were on strike. The students and teachers were marching through protesting, although we never could pin down what they were trying to get. They all were having a grand time having gotten out of school for the day. They marched down through the square and on to the parlimentary buildings.
Can you imagine people in the States doing that?

This last pic is of the Victoria arch, on the other side are gardens and the road that leads to the palace.

This was our fourth trip to England. I think I love it more every time and never get bored with all the interesting things to see. All of Europe is more in tune with the environment and the state of human rights in the world than we are here in America. We need to be asking why that is, and why our government thinks it is above the other nations in responsibility to this earth and the people on it.

May all your travels be safe and bring you greater understanding of other people.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Spring and ribbon, what could be better? This scarf was made entirely of that hand dyed silk ribbon that appeared several posts back. It is the blue and purple colorway and made the lightest weight scarf. It would make a good accent with a jacket or for one of you skinny girls, a belt. It was made on a loom powered by people-power, no electricity involved.

Last night the planet celebrated an hour without the use of electricity. I wish that had been better planned and advertised. There were many places where no one had even heard it was going on. I am a diehard liberal and will leave you with this wonderful quote from Wendell Berry - one our nations greatest thinkers. "The most alarming sign of the state of our society now is that our leaders have the courage to sacrifice the lives of young people in war but have not the courage to tell us that we must be less greedy and wasteful."

Friday, March 21, 2008

When was the last time you slept on embroidered pillowcases? Spring is just the time for a sweet indulgence like hand embroidered pillowcases. None of this made in China stuff please, just the real old fashioned thing. Embroidery seems to be undergoing a kind of Renaissance like some of the other fiber arts: knitting and crocheting especially come to mind. I think it is a response to how out of control our world feels. So many things that were common and predictable have all but ceased to exist. No wonder more people are taking time for guilty pleasures that are life affirming! Forsake that mall and pick up that embroidery hoop you got from your grandmother. Make something sweet for your family to remind them that the important things in life are the most basic ones and can't be bought in any store.

More weaving pictures soon......

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Grace is that funny divine gift that means you have been spared even when you did not deserve it. We had fires here yesterday. Thousands of acres burned and several homes were lost. Mine was not among them. The animals and I are still here on the plains with the looms and quantities of yarn. What to take when the sheriff comes and tells you to evacuate? The looms are too big and the yarn can be replaced. I just got ready to take the animals, but mercifully we were spared. The fires raged less than a mile from our home, the sky was dark for hours from the smoke long before sunset. This morning the acrid smell is everywhere. Still, we are grateful to be enjoying the sunlight and flowers. My husband planed these daffodils before he left for Iraq and they are just coming into bloom.
However you spend your day, be grateful.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Frisbee -- who rolls her eyes at yet another shawl, at least it's not another cat!

We can't get enough blue around here. These two projects were created from the same warp. 28"wide and 9 yards long is enough for a vest with leno lace and beads and pretty tame stripes.

This is the shawl from the same warp but the weft was all different colors of blue and purple. You can see a couple of the leno stripes with beads in this. The teal fringe is hand dyed silk (you knew I'd find a way to work that in). This shawl was made in two panels and comes to a V in the back. the fringe on the ends is double twisted with a sprinkling of glass beads.

This shawl is really in homage to Jane Thornley http://www.janethornley.com who is a knitting guru spreading the love of color around the world. I recently happened on her site and bought her book and one of her patterns. They are fantastic and even someone like me who does not knit at an advanced level can create some beautiful things. I'm working on her cowled caplet and will photograph it when it gets finished. If you love color and texture be sure to check out her site.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Too much ribbon? Nah. Like many fiber fanatics I have fallen in love with that wonderful 100% silk ribbon that is popular in knitting. I had to have some, but I hate what most places are charging for it, so I did what anyone with a superiority complex and lots of dye in the house would do, I made my own. I ordered blank silk ribbon from Dharma http://www.dharmatrading.com and then just spent most of the day dyeing silk ribbon until I felt like there MIGHT be enough for me to play with. My friends are laughing at this -- Is 80 yards enough to play with? Maybe. Might need more! Whatever your fiber muse calls for -- follow it!

Monday, February 25, 2008

A red letter day in the small conservative town I live in. I was able to get in and out of Walmart without using any of their plastic bags. OK, for those of you who live in a liberal world where most people take their own bags to the grocery store you might be thinking that we are still back there with segregated schooling. You would be not far from right. This past week our local Albertsons offered (grudgingly) for sale reusable grocery bags. They cost a dollar. On the same day I went into GNC and there, on the counter was another bag for sale. Recycling has hit my hometown, now if they would just consider recycling plastic, paper and glass. You have to take what you can get. Today I made my pilgrimage to Walmart and took my two bags. I stopped at the door to get the obligatory blue spot so that they would KNOW my bags were not stolen or smuggled in, but were there legitimately. For the first time in my life I was able to get out of that store without a horde of those awful plastic bags that do nothing but multiply under the sink and line the roadsides. A small victory, but one I will gladly take.

On to weaving and other fiber related projects. This weekend I worked on this small green silk purse. It was one of those clearance items at Hobby Lobby, originally $14 something marked down to $2.40. It had the leafy pattern printed and you just embroider on top and you are done. Well, of course it needed some beads and a bobble of Bali Silver but it is coming along nicely.

On the eight harness loom I'm working on a shawl that will be different shades of blue. To add some interest I'm putting in a couple of panels of Leno and some Danish Medallions. Leno is a hand manipulated mock-lace and this bit has some beads added in for good measure. Can you ever have enough beads in the world?? The Danish Medallions are going to be three rows in this area and another row later on for visual interest.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


Artist's studios fascinate me. I love to see where people work, the kind of atmosphere it has and how much clutter they work with or through. Because I create visually, I need to be able to see all those cones of yarn, or the skiens in a basket. Color is the great motivator and texture is a close second. So today I thought you might like to see where I work. This long narrow room is part of our recycled house, it was built on after the house was moved from town five years ago. There are tall ceilings, and ceiling fans and good light from large east facing windows. For years I have bugged my husband about building a studio on our property but I have to admit that this is probably better than a stand alone building because it is always right HERE. There is never an excuse about going to work, because I am already at work here in the light filled room right off the kitchen. The kitchen is important too because weaving requires lots of cups of tea.

A rare picture of the two cats together. They are not best buddies even though they look almost exactly alike. George is the one looking at the camera and Murphy the Manx is checking to see if George got a treat he didn't know about.

This is the other end of the room where I sit and listen to music as I work on the rigid heddle loom.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Regarding Spinning Wheels. This message is for Judi, who left me a message but no way to contact her. I love the Country Spinner by Ashford (They make wonderful spinning wheels.) but the smaller wheels give a tighter twist. The Country Spinner is really just for bulky yarns and for plying two or more yarns together. I use it for both things but I think you get a tighter twist and ply on a smaller wheel, like a Louet or even the Ashford Joy. You can really tell the difference in the final yarn product. Now, if you are just going to make loose bulky yarn, it is wonderful because that HUGE bobbin will hold hundreds of yards of yarn. A regular bobbin will only hold 75-125 yards of bulky AND if you are plying and/or making art yarn you have to stop fairly often and transfer the yarn to a niddy-noddy. Does this help? Contact me directly if I can tell you anything more helpful! Thanks.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Frisbee is a nine year old English Cocker Spaniel. She is a blue roan which means she has lots of gray and black and white spots all over her. She gets her own shrine that I wear around because she means the world to me. She is my constant companion since my husband works on the other side of the planet. She is my personal trainer and makes it a point to get me up between 4:30am and 5 every day so that I don't forget to go on our walk. I think art should be about celebrating the things that mean the most to us. My husband says that in his next life he wants to come back as my dog.

The copper slide case, and the slides came from Artchix Studio. They have great service and cool things to play with. http://www.artchixstudio.com

May your art reflect what makes your heart sing. (Don't tell the cats I did this.)

Two projects on one warp. The first is a V-back shawl and the second is a vest. They were made on one nine yard warp, where each panel is woven and a space is left for the fringe between before the next one is begun. The warp and weft were 100% wool, although that being said there are lots of different kinds of wool in the world. The warp has some soft Harrisville (the blue stripes you can see) and some old overspun wool from a stash I inherited. The weft is a red boucle that is pretty soft but also gives the whole thing a crepe paper feel. I think it would be a fun thing to wear if you live somewhere cold.

Now this other little project is posted for my friends in the Creative Life Group, run by Rice Freeman-Zachary http://www.voo-doo-cafe.com. It is a shrine necklace that features a picture of my dog Frisbee. She is one of the lights of my life. Another friend, Jean Peter (no web site) made the bone charm in copper with Frizz's name on it.

May Art enrich your life everyday.

Friday, January 18, 2008

The new year got off to a running start and I've been weaving things on the rigid heddle loom (see previous post). This is the first vest, mainly blues. The yarns are different kinds, some wool, ribbon, cotton and novelty. The idea was just to stay with things that looked interesting together and have a patchwork kind of effect. The vest went with me to the gallery last week and sold first thing. The woman who bought it put it together with a great turquoise necklace made by Frieda Bates.
Here is the back side, you can see some of my studio with all the cones of yarn on the walls. I always need to see things in order to remember they are there and able to be used.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

A New Year, a new project using the new toy Santa brought to me. Despite having several large looms I was enchanted with the idea of all the things that can be made on a rigid heddle loom. The one Santa brought is a Kromski Harp made in Poland. There are many nice things about these rigid heddle looms, they are hand made and it shows in all the details. They include a built in warping board on the back of the loom. They fold in half even when fully warped so they can be taken anywhere. They are available with a great stand that allows you to work anywhere there is a chair and a little floor space. I can see being able to take this fun loom with me to demonstrate weaving much in the same way my Ashford Joy spinning wheel goes with me to demo spinning. My resolution for now is to only make fun things on this loom, no serious projects, just cool colors and funky yarns. This first scarf is finished and came out soft and bulky. The yarns are all commercial but worked up nicely.

Here is Viola the dressform showing off the scarf after it has been washed and dried.
In addition to new projects for the new year I alwas look back on the things I am so grateful for in my life. Here is my list: 1. Family, Friends and Furry Companions. Not necessarily in that order all the time. 2. Being able to do what I love for a living. 3. Living in New Mexico where the light is incredible and the chili is the best! 4. Good books, tea and chocolate. 5. Good Health. 6. Yarn, yarn and yarn.
OK enough for now.
Blessings to you all in this new year. Get out there and do something to make your dreams come true.