Archive for the ‘Window shades’ Tag

Hello 2014

yeah, I’m really bad about updating my blog.

Let’s see how quickly I can cover the past 8 months: the dog, Zoe, sweet Zoe, turned out to be a very fearful dog with fear-aggression issues. She barked and barked at anyone who came into the house. She barked and barked and barked at the kids when they came home for a visit. She barked and barked and barked and barked at the sounds of plumbers and painters at the houses across the street. The UPS driver doesn’t want to stop at our house any more.

Doesn't she look sweet.

Doesn’t she look sweet.

The upshot is that we spent lots of money on training, and now Zoe wears a citronella anti-bark collar all the time. She has learned to not bark all the time, which keeps her calmer. I can allow her in my studio rooms (the former kids’ bedrooms on the front of the house, facing the street), and she doesn’t bark, bark, bark at the windows. She can keep quite when visitors are in the house, she can even be in the same room. But she’s still very fearful, and won’t allow anyone to touch her. She won’t make friends with anyone. She went to the kennel when hubby and I went on a cruise over New Years, and she didn’t come out of her enclosure the entire time. She wouldn’t eat breakfast, only at dinnertime. Otherwise, she’s really sweet.

i finished the window shade fabric, and if I may say so myself, it looks great.IMG_2061

The shades aren’t completed yet, as we want them to be motorized, and finding the mechanisms has proven to be a complicated process. it was late in the year when i finished weaving the fabric, then I went on my Nicaragua trip (another story i will have to come back and tell someday soon), then it was the holidays, and now suddenly it is the second week of january.

Over the summer I became more involved with Yarn Bombing Los Angeles, the perpetrators of CAFAM Grannies Squared.

Next post, a new project for the new year: FunaDay Reseda

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Romans & Grannies & Dogs – Oh My!

Whoa, it’s been almost two months since I checked in here. From where I left off last time:

I got the 45″ wide warp for the window shade fabric on the loom – not without some glitches (of which I’m just going to stop reporting all the details; since I’m afraid I’m beginning to sound incompetent). I wove a  62″ sample and cut it off the loom to show the clients. Why 62,” you might ask? Why not weave a 12″ sample and not risk wasting that much of my materials? 62″ is long enough to be a shade if it wants to be, and it gives the clients a fuller picture of what the fabric will look like. It can be difficult for non-weavers & non-fiber-people to visualize something that doesn’t exist. I threaded the loom with a 3 yard leader warp. My warp is 8 yards, of which there will be very little waste at the back end. The project requires about 4 yards, finished, for the two 42″ wide shades. If I don’t use the first 62″ sample, I’ll still have plenty of warp; and the finished fabric should have plenty of extra for wiggle room. 

first sample

Anyway, the clients put the sample up in their living room and they love it. Now all I need to do is to dye another two pounds of the cotton flake weft yarn, and 2000 more yards of fabric strips.

Oh, and weave the remaining 6+ yards of 45″ wide fabric, then tie on the 36″ wide warp and weave 16 yards of fabric.

Piece of cake.

At the same time, I have been participating in Yarn Bombing Los Angeles’ Grannies Squared project to cover the Craft and Folk Art Museum with granny squares.

Definitely check it out on YBLA’s Facebook page.

At some point a couple of months ago, I was at one of the Stitch & Bitch session at the museum. Someone mentioned that they were looking for some kind of crochet-related pin to give to their 100 Club, the people who had crocheted 100 or more squares. The solution was obvious to me instantly, and the wire grannies were born. They only needed 50 of them.

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Wire grannies for the 100 Club.

I have made pins, necklaces, and I’m in the process of making earrings for the CAFAM gift shop.  My wire granny jewelry will be there late next week, along with other granny square themed merchandise, in time for the opening on Saturday, May 25th, at 7 pm. YBLA will be having a Photo Op across the street in the park at 5 pm. I will be there with the wire grannies for the 100+ granny contributors. 

AND. . . somewhere in between my last post and this one, I did something really stupid. I must have had a stroke or other mental defect, because we got a

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stinky dog.

I’ve got to go crochet wire granny squares. Hopefully I’ll see you on Wilshire Boulevard, next Saturday.

More of Everything

I guess I never really did a project where I wove this much fabric, and I know I never did a project where I dyed this much of anything.

Let me run down the whole project for you. Here is my original crude sketch of the windows.

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The window shades are for a bank of windows and doors that run from the living room into the dining room. There are two windows 42″ wide, one large window 92″ wide, and a set of patio doors 32″ wide each. These are the measurements to the outside of the mouldings, the desired finished width of the roman shades.

I decided to weave the fabric in two different widths, 45″ and 36″. I know that will give me fabric that finishes 42″ and 32″ wide. img013

My original calculations for warp length told me I wanted the 45″ warp to be 4.5 yards and the 32″ fabric to be 13 yards. I don’t know if anyone can interpret my notes there, but I neglected to add loom waste. This was only the first of the many ways I underestimated what I would need for this project.

After we changed from a white-on-white to a six color palette, I decided to do the next samples at the full width of the fabric. That prompted me to review my warp calculations, and upon reflection, I decided to add three extra yards to the length of both warps. The 45″ warp will be 8 yards and the 36″ warp will be 16 yards.

Back in October when I abandoned the multi-yarn warp, I decided to go with all 5/2 Perle Cotton, and quickly realized I didn’t have near enough. I bought two cones from Village Spinning and Weaving at Weff in November. Two weeks ago I ordered another cone. 

Now here’s where I have ??? dancing around my head. Whatever was I thinking?

It came time to start dying the white fabric strips, so I went to dig in the box where I remembered having all these rolls of selvedges cut from the ends of rolls of white cotton broadcloth. There were five. I hauled out my McMorran yarn balance: about 100 yards per roll. I went to my woven samples, did more calculations – total needed for both warps, 8 yards & 16 yards= 2500 yards of fabric strips. I checked my math a couple more times. I needed 20 more rolls of fabric strips. 

The company I had gotten the selvedges from is in Pennsylvania, and it took weeks before I remembered to call before 2:00 in the afternoon. Then, they didn’t have any more of the end cuts. But they had some partial rolls of cotton broadcloth, and they were willing to cut them into 1″ strips for me.

This lead me two days ago recheck my calculations for the other weft yarns. . . and WTF??

Going back to my woven samples, I found that my initial estimate of the number of picks per inch was way low. By this time I have dye-painted three skeins of yarn and five rolls of the fabric strips. This involves a process of winding the yarn off the cones into large 1 1/4 lb skeins, dye-painting it, cold batching for two days, letting it dry, then winding it back into balls. I had one of the skeins of 5/2 perle cotton get hopelessly tangled on the squirrel cage swift. After hours of working on it, I abandoned about 200 yards of warp yarn. 

I figured out that I needed another two pounds of this cotton flake I had bought back when the fabric was still going to be white; and that I can’t use any of the yarns I bought last summer at Convergence. In my white samples, I was doing my free form zig-zag non pattern using several yarns and shuttles at the same time. As the fabric has gotten more complex, I have decided to simplify the weaving. Everything is going to be space-dyed. Any zigzagging design will come from the serendipity in the way the colors land in the cloth.  I decided to combine the yarns to make them fatter, and only use two yarns for a total of three shuttles. 

But this now means that each yarn must cover half the picks for both warps. I have less than 1800 yards of each of the yarns I got last year at Convergence, and more of them is not available – that’s the reason I switched to Perle cotton for the warp. I no longer want to use a little of this and a little of that; I want to use the same yarns all the way through. My new math tells me that I need almost 5000 yards of each yarn. That meant I needed two additional pounds of the cotton flake, needed to skein, dye, then wind it back into balls. Plus I would need yarn to combine with the flake.IMG_1768

This was two days ago, as I said. This was after I struggled for hours with the tangled yarn. I dyed three large skeins of yarn today, I have one more in the garage that I have already soda-soaked. I’ll have to dye-paint two more pounds of cotton flake to plus 20 rolls of fabric strips. I couldn’t face any more dying. I ordered some 3/2 Perle cotton in beige, it matches the Chamois in my palette; and some carpet warp that matches the Terracotta.

A couple of weeks ago I ordered more urea. I got two pounds and as soon as it arrived I knew I needed to get another 5 lbs.

At the same time I started moving stuff out of Michael’s room so I can get all my stuff out of Samantha’s room, and turn that into a guest room in time Michael to use it when he comes home on Monday. 

And today I ran out of Terracotta dye. . .

Dying Time Again

Since my last post, the window shade project has taken a turn. We went over to Candy & Adam’s house with the samples and had a long discussion of what they liked and didn’t. I came home with some notes and plans to refine the patterns and make some new samples. I had left some of the sample warp on the loom so I could do further samples.

I left the samples taped to the windows at the house. I told Candy & Adam that they needed see them in different lights, at different times of the day. I got a call a few days later: the white fabric didn’t work at night. It looked washed out and boring. In hindsight I realized, of course, there’s a reason no one puts white drapes on white walls. Door Sample

We discussed the color palette and I decided to dye the yarn and fabric strips I already have. This way I’ll be able to use the yarns I’ve already acquired for the project, and get the palette exactly as I want it. So I ordered some fiber reactive dyes from Dharma and now I’m in the process of doing color tests.

I have started with each color straight from the jar. I like the soda soak & cold batch method for dying. I’ll be painting the dye onto the yarn and fabric strips, so this method is appropriate. I prepared small samples of the yarns and fabric strips, and mixed all of the colors the same strength. I want to be very systematic about it, so I can recreate the results when I get the palette I like. I’ll need to dye a couple thousand yards of yarn and fabric strips.

The first group of samples came out very dark, too dark. Yesterday I mixed the dyes at half and quarter strength. Cold batch means that you leave the dyed material wet for 24 – 48 hours to set the dye. Since I left the first round of sample setting for 48 hours, I will leave all the second set for the same amount of time. I was tempted to take out the quarter strength samples after 24 hours because I’m trying to get some pale shades, but then decided against it in order to keep my tests consistent.  If you only change one variable with each test, then you know what caused the results. Tomorrow I’ll rinse out the samples, then wash and dry them. After that, I’ll move on to adjusting the colors.DyeTests

Of course, I have other projects going at the same time. I have an 8 harness point twill warp on my 24″ Dorothy table loom that I’m weaving off. The results will be additional samples to help inform my Exploring Twills workshop for the Southern California Handweavers Guild, coming up next month, March 9 & 10. I have decided to de-acquire my 24″ wide, 8 harness Dorothy table loom. As soon as I get this warp woven off , I will list it on Craig’s List or something.

Next Monday, February 11, I’m speaking at the Palomar Handweavers Guild and leading a half-day workshop on using recycled materials in fiber art.

TopDownTI’m about ready to finish a knitted t-shirt for myself.  This is a rather unusual occurrence. As much as I love to knit, I have made very few garments over the years, only three things for myself. This is a top-down t-shirt I started almost a year ago. It’s an original pattern developed by Suzanne at Unwind in Burbank. I bought the yarn and signed up for the class to learn the pattern during last year’s LA Yarn Crawl.

I pitched in a donation and made some granny squares for Yarnbombing Los Angeles’s latest project to cover the Craft and Folk Art Museum with crochet.

I haven’t touched my Designing Weavers annual project for a couple of months. The past few years it’s been a Springtime mystery whether I will or won’t get my project done by May. Stay tuned to see what happens with that.

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