Weaving a favorite

Hello, friends. I’ve woven a fair number of placemats using my “Cityscape” design and have moved onto kitchen towels. I love to weave kitchen towels! “Farmhouse Plaid” towels have been a customer favorite since I designed them nearly eight years ago:

 

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Farmhouse plaid towels on the loom – red and ivory

 

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China Blue and ivory cotton kitchen towels

 

For these towels, I sett the 8/2 unmercerized cotton rather closely at 24 ends per inch. This results in a cloth that strikes a good balance between drape and thickness after finishing.

In addition to weaving in anticipation of summer and early fall exhibits this year, my husband and I are embarking on a rather big project. Here’s a hint:

 

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And so it begins…

My husband and I will be “right-sizing” now that our children are grown and flown. We’re looking for a place that will allow for ample opportunity for gardening, cheesemaking, baking, and, of course, weaving.

Be well,
Kate K.

PS: Be sure to stop in at the latest League of NH Craftsmen exhibition, “Fairy Tales & Fantasies” in Concord, NH. The exhibit runs through June 15, 2018. My handwoven “Truffula Trees” placemats are part of this exhibit.

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“Truffula Trees” and “Cityscape” weaving

“Truffula Trees” and “Cityscape” weaving

The “Truffula Trees” placemats are finished and I’m pleased with the results. A set of four mats will be my entry into the next League of NH Craftsmen exhibition, “Fairytales and Fantasies,” which opens April 6, 2018 in Concord, NH. In case you’re not familiar with “Truffula Trees,” I encourage you to read “The Lorax” by Dr. Seuss! It is a wonderful contemporary fairy tale and has a message that is relevant for our times.

 

The mats feature hemstitching so that the mats are reversible. (I like both sides!) I used 5/2 mercerized cotton in the warp, as the tabby weft, and also as the pattern weft (used doubled). The mats are machine washable in a gentle cycle.

The following mats, named “Cityscape” thanks to our son, Andrew, are a variation of the same threading. Andrew noted that the interlacements reminded him of the bricks on Bay State Road in Boston, where he is a university student:

 

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“Cityscape” placemats in turquoise and purple

I liked these mats so much that I decided to keep two for our table! They pair nicely with our Fiestaware dishes.

The placemats are so much fun to make (and feel so substantial!) that I have decided to see how a more traditional design would look and feel. These mats (and possibly companion table runners) feature overshot weaving:

 

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“Square and Compass” overshot

The color in the chart is a little underwhelming (I was trying to conserve printer ink by using a muted shade). It will be interesting to see how these go together.

That’s all for now, friends. Happy weaving to you!

Be well,

Kate K.

 

 

 

Making a case for placemats

Making a case for placemats

Hello, friends. What’s on your kitchen table? (If you’re like me, there is usually an assortment of mail, laptops/electrical cords, and the occasional mug of half-drunk tea. Guilty!) Come dinner time, though, I clear off the mess to make room for our evening meal.

While I love table runners (to make and to use), I took note of some of the conversations I had with visitors to my booth at the League of NH Craftsmen Summer Fair in 2017: “I can’t remember how long my table is.” “I like this runner, but it might be too long.” “I like this runner, but it might be too short.” Yep, kitchen and dining tables vary in length. I’ve woven custom sized runners in excess of 14 feet to meet the specifications of a particular table. What is a weaver to do?

Last year I had a log cabin placemat design available which, incidentally, sold well:

Log cabin placemats in garnet

This year I aspire to offer the log cabin design along with two summer and winter versions. Here is the latest (i.e. version 2 placemat) still on the loom:

In case you missed the other summer and winter placemat that I designed late in 2017, here is a picture:

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Summer and winter mats, version 1

I’m pleased with the results of the summer and winter mats because they meet the following criteria for use:

  1. they are machine washable (cold cycle, gentle spin)
  2. they are reversible
  3. they stay “flat” on the table, thanks to the heft of the 5/2 and 3/2 cottons

Summer and winter, like overshot, is a multi-shuttle weave which means that it is not “fast weaving,” if there is such a thing. The hemstitching, while also time-consuming, allows for the mats to be reversible. It is worth it, in my book, to get a piece that has this 2 for 1 feature.

I hope to have a few sets of 2 each available in my shop soon and possibly stocked in some of my retailers. And the placemats will also be available for your perusal at this year’s fine craft events!

Thanks for checking in. Feel free to weigh in on the great placemat debate! I enjoy and appreciate your comments.

Be well,

Kate K.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moving the loom, made a bit simpler

Hello, friends. A major reorganization effort at home has made it necessary to relocate my loom. Again. I just have one loom, a Nilus II Leclerc (8 shafts, 10 treadles) but she is a bit of a beast to move.

 

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Pieces and parts…

Some of the pieces are manageable, just awkward (see above). But then there is the center “castle” portion, which is quite heavy. These nifty “Super Sliders” made moving the castle much easier! We have used these under all manner of furniture, but I had never used these to shift the loom.

 

IMG_2413We bought an assortment of these at a local home improvement store. They are worth every penny! Four large sliders placed under the legs of the center of the castle allowed me to push the loom into her new room. Here’s the proof:

 

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Super sliders slid the loom down the hall…

 

I hope to get the loom back together this weekend. I have a new warp ready to go on the loom and am anxious to see how the draft below translates into the real thing:

 

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Draft of a new placemat design

Do consider using furniture sliders should you have to move your loom! It is not an easy job, and anything that can simplify the process, even a tiny bit, is worth considering!

Be well,

kate k.

 

“Gavotte” overshot is on the loom

The loom is dressed with a new warp this week, a self-drafted overshot design using four shafts. It is always fun to see how one’s sketch (or in my case, computer draft) translates into cloth.

After sampling several inches of fabric, I decided to double up on pattern weft picks to give the pattern a little more definition. While this approach elongates the pattern somewhat, I am not displeased with the results.

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“Gavotte” in garnet and ivory

I’m planning table runners with this pattern and started a second variation in a lovely moss green this morning:

 

 

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Major mistake! Snip, snip!

One would think that after all of the overshot weaving I’ve done over the years that I would remember how important it is to remain focused while treadling! I ended up cutting out about 6 inches of overshot fabric, which was no party, especially given the fine 10/2 mercerized cotton that I used for the tabby weft and the warp. I will venture to limit distractions the next time I am working at the loom. Maybe weaving to the “Wonder Woman” soundtrack wasn’t such a good idea. (It is a great soundtrack, though, especially if you need a pick-me-up).

 

It is fair application season for summer and fall 2018! I’ve submitted my work for consideration at Codman Estate (Lincoln, MA) and Roseland Cottage (Woodstock, CT), which are both Historic New England venues. Right now I am committed to the 2018 League of NH Craftsmen Summer Fair at Mt. Sunapee and will even have the same booth assignment as last year! This takes place in August. Stay tuned!

 

My shop will enjoy a brief hiatus as I take a family trip to visit my parents to celebrate a very special birthday.

Happy weaving, friends and be well.

Kate K.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A new overshot design

Hello, friends. While I’ve enjoyed weaving my “teeming with twills” kitchen towels (you can read more about those here or check out recent photos on my Instagram page), I am ready to see how my latest overshot pattern design is going to shape up on the loom. This is a four harness pattern and I hope to weave several centerpiece sized table runners with this cloth. I’m going to call this pattern “Gavotte,” in keeping with the musical theme that I started with “Minuet,” which was an 8 shaft overshot pattern.

 

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A glimpse of “Gavotte” 

I chose “Gavotte” as a name because this dance is usually performed to music written in common time (4/4 meter) and features steps in which the foot is raised, not “slid.” As weavers know all too well, we lift our feet all of the time while treadling! So with the four shaft design mirroring the 4/4 meter and all of the foot raising that is going to go on whilst treadling this pattern, I thought “Gavotte” seemed appropriate.

Do check in as I work on “Gavotte” after my last run of “teeming with twills” towels, which will feature a nice lipstick red as the main color and unbleached cotton as the secondary color. I’m thinking the first “Gavotte” will be ivory and black.

(In case you’re wondering, I do take inspiration from music while designing my cloth. As a classically trained cellist, I frequently return to the Bach Suites for Unaccompanied Cello when I get the itch to sketch.)

Snow is coming tomorrow, with another 8-12″ expected, so I am planning on spending lots of time with the loom. Thanks for stopping in.

Be well,

Kate K.

 

Teeming with Twills Towels

Hello, friends. The loom has been dressed with more kitchen towels this week. I just cut off this fabric from the loom yesterday afternoon and finished the first towel this morning. Here is my “teeming with twills towel” in unbleached cotton and China blue:

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China blue and unbleached cotton twill towel

I really like this blue! It is a little less assertive than a royal blue and that suits me just fine. There are several twill motifs in this piece; they offer both visual interest and a way to explore different textures without compromising the structural integrity of the cloth. Kitchen towels need to be able to get the job done.

I finished the custom order for sandy beige towels in this same design and they are already in their new home:

Please visit my shop for more information on my “teeming with twills kitchen towels” or any of my other items. Stay tuned for other versions of this new design; it is rather fun to weave!

Be well,

Kate K.