Kate Kilgus is a handweaver from New Hampshire specializing in heirloom-quality table runners and pretty and practical kitchen towels. University of Michigan alum. Avid vegetable and herb gardener. She like polka dots, birds, and berries.
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.
I’m planning table runners with this pattern and started a second variation in a lovely moss green this morning:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
Hello, friends. The loom has received a very special new addition! My husband crafted me a custom handle for my front beater for Christmas. I knew that Don had been spending extra time in his basement workshop around the holidays but really didn’t know what he was planning. The new beam handle is wonderful! It is affixed to the front beam of my Leclerc Nilus II and I’ve found it to be very beneficial. I don’t have to reach as far to grab the beater (I’m not very tall, coming in at just over 5′ 3″) and the additional weight of the beam + handle means I don’t have to beat each pick with quite as much “oomph.” Here are some photos:
The toweling cloth that is on the loom this week in sandy beige and unbleached cottons is a custom order. I’m enjoying this pattern so much that I plan to weave additional color combinations. (Teaser: keep your eye out for China blue and red).
I’ll be packing up a healthy supply of kitchen towels to take to the League of NH Craftsmen Retail Gallery in Nashua. This is a lovely gallery located right on Nashua’s Main Street and restaurant options abound. Nashua has a very walking-friendly downtown and makes for a great day trip.
More snow today. If I make some decent progress at the loom, I may be able to get outdoors on the cross-countries skis.
Hello, friends. I’ve finished weaving the eight shaft overshot table runners (see my earlier post about this cloth here) and am quite satisfied with the results. I made three runners, one each in black, garnet, and mineral blue. Here is the black one:
After some consideration and research, I decided to call this design “Minuet.” A traditional minuet is a slow, graceful dance in 3/4 time. I tried to capture the element of “three” in this piece, and I also attempted to suggest a sense of movement in the pattern. Here is a close-up of the “Minuet” in mineral blue that is finished with the opposite side facing up:
The garnet runner will be finished up today. I plan to submit this design for possible inclusion to the “Living With Craft” exhibition for the League of NH Craftsmen Summer Fair, 2018. Fingers crossed!
My newest project: kitchen towels in straight and point twills. Here is a photo of the cloth on the loom in spring green, natural, and royal blue cottons:
It has been fun to brainstorm about different color combinations for this design. I will share more details about this item as the cloth progresses!
Happy New Year, friends. I hope that today finds you in good health and spirits. May your days be merry and bright in 2018.
I’m preparing to take up new work for a League of NH Craftsmen gallery exhibit that will open on January 12, “Black & White Encore.” Although it is scarf-wearing season here, I decided to submit handwovens for the home:
I am continuing to work on the eight-shaft overshot self-drafted runners and am on the last one of three. The darker-colored pattern weft yarns seem to do a nice job of bringing out the half-tones in the pattern. Here is an example, in black and ivory:
A new run of towels is waiting for its turn on the loom. I designed this cloth using a combination of four shaft straight and point twills. Let’s hope that the cloth resembles something close to the computerized design!
That’s all for now! Time to get back at the loom in earnest. (It is better than organizing paperwork for taxes).
Hello, friends. The summer and winter placemats are finished and some have headed out to my family for Christmas. I liked the “heft” of the cloth, which is important for well-behaved placemats. So, we’re moving right along in the weaving queue!
I hope to submit at least one piece to the “Living with Craft” exhibition which is held during the League of NH Craftsmen Annual Summer Fair. (See more about the Summer Fair here). I’ve been tinkering with several different self-drafted overshot designs and finally settled on one:
I designed this pattern with the help of FibreWorks weaving software. I’ve been using FibreWorks for several years now but, because I am a slow learner, am just now starting to appreciate the features of this weaving program. I like the different color palettes that are available. For reasonably complex designs such as the one above, it is lovely to see the results of a new tie-up plan with just a few clicks. If you’re interested in perusing the program, do head over to their site. The FiberWorks folks were most accommodating when it came time for me to reinstall the program on a new laptop. Check them out!
After correcting a couple of threading errors and having words with a broken floating selvedge thread, I started to weave the overshot pattern. I’m using ivory 10/2 mercerized cotton in the warp and tabby weft and 5/2 mercerized cotton in mineral blue, single thickness, for the pattern weft. I typically use a thicker cotton for pattern wefts in overshot, but I really was going for a finer, lighter cloth here. I experimented with the 3/2 cotton during sampling and I found that the thicker yarn tended to yield a less defined design. Here is a photo of the first five inches or so:
This photo doesn’t do the best job of capturing the mineral blue color very well. If the good people of New Hampshire are provided with a day that affords more light, I will reattempt the pictures. This project will be in the works for some time so hopefully there will be a break in the clouds so that I can get a decent photo. As with all overshot cloth, the weaving is slow-going but the results are usually worth the effort.