09 January 2020

Brilliant Weaving Gadget with No Name

Today's post is not about knitting. Instead, it is about weaving.
Specifically, it is about this video of an unusual weaving gadget.

As I mention in the video, frame looms of this type are fairly common. This strange shed-cylinder thing is the brilliant gadget. I'm posting because I would dearly love to be able to purchase such an item. And I think there are weavers out there who would like it as well. I have no idea who made it. I have no idea if there is a patent associated with it. All I know is it is clever; and I have never seen one in a book, magazine, or the booth of a fiber festival.

Clever makers, please, have at it!

By the way, the whole loom comes apart. I can store this in a box a little larger than a pencil box. I can foresee a manufacturer offering a loom bag for this system. It would make it easy to store and transport, and it could hold the assortment of pieces. I could also foresee a design for the side pieces allowing them to shorten as the warp tightens during weaving. I am wondering if this system could be an alternative to a rigid heddle loom?

Edited to add: My friend Lin found this in the Lost Pond Looms Etsy shop:

19 September 2019

More Textile Exhibits

Wow! There is just so much to see around here.

SCAD FASH continues their amazing run of exhibitions. Closing this Sunday 22 September is Kaleidoscope Katrantzou. This is a 10-year retrospective of the work Greek-born, London-based designer Mary Katrantzou. Her work begins with digital printing on fabric, but evolved beyond that. Often she uses unusual materials.

Some pictures:

Printed images of landscapes in black and white combine with bold, simplified, sculptural forms. I love the full moon on the shoulder of the foreground dress with the cherry blossom tree. The partly obscured dress immediately behind is printed on a diaphanous material, creating an intriguing layered effect with the image.

Here couches and upholstery serve as the source of inspiration. On the left, I love how the jacket looks like an overstuffed chair. The quilt pattern on the skirt reminds me of a handmade blanket thrown across the back of a couch. The dress on the right is reminiscent of an oriental rug.

These two are examples of unusual materials. The "stamps" are linked together, but with gaps between them. Appropriate undergarments are key.

This dress was made specifically for Cate Blanchett to wear at Cannes' film festival in 2018. There's an article about it in British Vogue. In this work, Katrantzou has started with a digital print fabric resembling a floral paint-by-number. The dress is then lavishly embroidered and embellished. This is one you need to see in person to appreciate the color and details. Talk about a party dress!

The SCAD FASH people have done a great job posing the mannequins in ways that are both expressive and complementary to the garments.

Running concurrently is Form & Function: Shoe Art by Chris Francis. You have more time to see this show, as it goes until 8 December 2019. Chris Francis is amazingly self-taught. Some of his designs seem almost like small architecture rather than footwear.

A sampling:

If I recall correctly, the one on the far left is inspired by The Varsity restaurant in downtown Atlanta. The range of materials and textures triggers all sorts of associations.

The pair on the lower left looks like a cross between a golf cart and a child's toy. And they seem simultaneously very cute and a little dangerous, as if the wheels would make the wearer unstable. The shoe in the upper right takes Gain detergent as its inspiration point. The shoe looks like a silly over-the-top magazine advertisement.

I love this one for its cross between I Dream of Jeannie and Dr. Seuss. It is somehow exotic, alien, 1950s, and oriental all at once.

Here's a good example of one that looks like an architectural model. I'm not a fan of Brutalism, but this works here. The shoe seems like a cage for the foot. And when I imagine wearing it, I imagine the heaviness of trying to move as well as the uncomfortable concrete and metal.

If you have found yourself stuck artistically, Chris Francis' play may push you out of your rut.

The final exhibit I want to review just opened tonight: A Taste of TASA: The Woven World. This is at the Mable House Arts Center, right around the corner from where I live. TASA is the Textile Appreciation Society of Atlanta. I am a member of this group. I sometimes refer to them as the group for textile patrons. While there are some artists in the group, the majority of the members are collectors. Many of them are well-traveled and have been to unusual places. This exhibit will take you around the world.

Some photographs:

Here's a wall of Indonesian textiles. Some are printed. Some are ikat.

These Asia textiles include exquisite embroidery. The red jacket in the upper left is layered with pearls and metal threads. The banner is also heavily embroidered and textured. The purses in the case at right are encrusted with beads.

Really, what can you say about an African tunic covered in porcupine quills? I guess it is the ultimate expression of "leave me alone." The Moroccan mantle at center is a complex weave with supplementary warps and weft to create the complex patterns. Bold Kuba cloth on left.

The exhibit is up until 31 October 2019.

For all of these, I've purposely refrained from showing you details. As with so many textiles, you need to see them in person to appreciate them.

And if that's not enough to do, this Saturday is Spin in Public Day. Trillium Vineyard in Bremen, Georgia, is planning a big day. Spinning, wine, music — it's all good.

No excuses if you need inspiration. And it's all local!

26 August 2019


We all have those moments when we don't think things through.

Right now, I'm working on a versa lace circle jacket. It is lace weight yarn on 60-inch Addi needles. Most yarn shops do not carry the 60-inch length. Even many of the online retailers either do not carry the length or they carry it only in the larger-sized needles. I, of course, somehow came up with a project that needed a couple of 2.5mm needles in the long length. I had to order them from Paradise Fibers in Spokane, Washington. Yes, even Webs (yarn.com) did not stock long Addi needles in the fine lace sizes.

I'm working on a versa lace project. I am knitting it center-out, growing the project to the desired size. The yarn is changing gauge when wet-blocked, so I'm dunking the project as I go and checking what size it really is. A couple weeks ago, I did this in the evening around 6 or 7 PM. I had three needles in the project — two of the working size and a third even smaller even harder-to-find size I was using as a stitch holder. Addi needles are so shiny and pretty I thought they had a special coating.

They don't.

When I went to bed around 11 PM, the needles had spots from getting wet. They were especially bad where the needles had been in contact with the damp yarn. I did not expect this deterioration in only a few hours. However, I really should have known better.

This is a magnified view after cleaning the needles with size 0000 steel wool.

The steel wool got the needles smooth enough and clean enough I could continue to use them for knitting. But I was annoyed at myself. And I was concerned that over time, the needles might oxidize and pit in the discolored places, creating damage that would affect their use. After all, the joy of Addi needles is that they are super slick!

After a few days of thinking about this, I remembered something about using jeweler's rouge to polish musical instruments. I went to my friendly local hardware store. The nice gentleman sold me something called rubbing compound. It is a pinkish-peachy color. Considering how little I need to use to polish needles, the $4 tub is likely to be a lifetime supply. I used a little dab on a soft paper towel. Here's the result:

As you can see, the needles are much restored!

Lessons learned:
  • If you dunk-block something with an Addi needle in it, wipe the needle completely dry and protect it from the wet yarn.
  • If you forget, a paper towel with a little rubbing compound can reverse your indiscretion.

19 July 2019

More Things to See

Here's an update to my previous post.

At this point, Small Expressions is on display at Southeast Fiber Arts Alliance. The quality of work is high. There is a nice range of weaving techniques — wedge weave, multi-shaft, tapestry, even some basketry and three-dimensional sewing. The exhibition is on display through Thursday 12 September 2019. You can view it:
Sundays from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Tuesdays from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm
Wednesdays from 6:00 pm. to 8:00 pm and
Thursdays from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm

Also just opened at the DeKalb History Museum on the main floor of the historic DeKalb County Courthouse is Silk and Stitch. I haven't been yet; and I'm not sure how long it is up. The description indicates it highlights embellishing techniques in women's fashion from the 19th century through the mid-20th century.  Hours are:
Monday - Friday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and
Saturday 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.

And a late reminder that tomorrow is North Georgia Knitting Guild's annual Beat the Heat Retreat from 10:00 am until 3:00 pm. The event includes potluck food, knitting, mini-
workshops, and general camaraderie.

And farther over the horizon, Atlanta Knitting Guild hosts superstar Patty Lyons 6-8 September 2019. Patty is an excellent teacher who knows lots of subtle and obscure tricks. I've signed up for two classes. Follow this link to learn more and register while space is still available.

10 July 2019

Things to See Soon

There are several opportunities in the area right now to see fiber art on display.

The Prince Cherrywood Challenge 2018 Tribute Tour has been touring through the area. I first saw these on display at the Pittsburgh Creative Arts Festival back in March. These quilts were also on display at STITCHES United a month ago. Thank you to East Cobb Quilters Guild for one more opportunity to enjoy these beautiful art quilts! Right now, the quilts are finishing up a one-week run here in my neighborhood at the Mable House Arts Center. They will be on display for one more day on Thursday 11 July 2019 from 9 AM to 5 PM. There are actually three separate groups of art quilts touring the country. Follow the Cherrywood Challenge link above to see the places and dates. I may get to cross paths with the quilts again at STITCHES Salt Lake in early October.

There is a yarn bombing at the Rose Creek Library on Towne Lake in Woodstock. This is right next to Hillside United Methodist Church, where North Georgia Knitting Guild met for many years. The yarn bombing will be up at least until the end of July. Local crafters who meet weekly at the library have yarn bombed prominent locations, including the detection devices at the entrance and the blue man sculpture on the front lawn. My dear friend Betty Salpekar was heavily involved. She kindly showed me around. Much of the yarn in the installation came from abandoned or unfinished projects. Betty made "The Universe of Stories" panel to match the theme of the library's summer reading program. Much of that sleeve is made from leftover swatches — a knitter's sketches from her creative process. It was exciting to re-purpose these! When you see it in person, be sure to appreciate the ribbon yarn fringe and the turquoise corkscrew hair on the blue man.

The Handweavers Guild of America Small Expressions show will be on exhibit at Southeast Fiber Arts Alliance from this Friday 12 July 2019 until Thursday 12 September 2019. Since the show isn't up yet, I don't have pictures to share. On the other hand, this also means you can mark your calendar for 6-8 PM this Friday evening to attend the opening reception! Hope to see you there!