“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:

Blue summer and winter placemats
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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black and White Encore Exhibit; new work

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:

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Black and white placemats & overshot runner

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:

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Black and ivory overshot on the loom

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!

Asymettrical plaid draft closeup
Twill tea towel doodle

That’s all for now! Time to get back at the loom in earnest. (It is better than organizing paperwork for taxes).

Be well,

Kate K.

 

 

 

 

 

Summer and Winter Placemats

This week’s work at the loom involves another two shuttle weave, summer and winter! Like overshot, two weft shuttles are used alternately throughout the body of the cloth; one shuttle is used for the plain weave (to give the cloth stability and structure) and the other shuttle is designated for the pattern design. The really fun thing about summer and winter is that it makes a cloth that is reversible. I think that this feature is especially handy when it comes to placemats; it is like getting two mats out of one! Here is a photo  of the two sides of the same placemat design to illustrate:

 

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Summer and winter placemats in sage and white

 

Nifty, right? So the “summer” refers to the lighter hued version of the cloth, and the “winter” refers to the darker side. Here is a black and white version of the placemats:

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Summer and winter / black and white

The black and white placemats (a set of two) will be heading to Concord, New Hampshire in January for a League of NH Craftsmen exhibition that will highlight (you guessed it) black and white fine craft. I am also going to exhibit this overshot piece:

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Black and white orange peel overshot

Most of the orange peel overshot pieces that I worked on last week are finished. If you’re interested in reviewing the specifics of these pieces, please head over to my shop. Feel free to contact me with any questions, too.

Don’t forget, I am still offering free shipping on all US deliveries this week! Stumped about what to gift to your office mate or host/hostess this holiday season? Kitchen towels fit the bill! They’re priced right and ship easily. My prior customers have shared that they’ve designated these for Yankee Swap gifts, too. I have six of each of these in stock and ready to ship:

Handwoven kitchen towel / red & ivory farmhouse plaid

Handwoven kitchen towel in red and unbleached cottons. Plaid border is woven into all 4 corners. Machine stitched ends. Size: 16.5" x 24". Care: Machine wash & dry, press as desired.

$28.00

Handwoven kitchen towel / blue diamond twill

Handwoven cotton kitchen towel. Diamond twill features a variety of different blue yarns including turquoise, royal blue, sky blue, and powder blue. 16” x 24” with machine stitched hems. Care: machine wash and dry, press as desired.

$28.00

Thanks for checking in! Be well, Kate

Three reasons why I love to wind warp chains

Hello, friends. One of my favorite steps in the weaving process is winding the warp. I will admit that I was less enthusiastic about this necessary step when I was limited to using a warping board. I found the board to be fatiguing; perhaps if I had a wall-mounted warping board it would have been less so, but I always ended up perching the thing on the floor and it was just a major chore. Then my husband got me a warping reel!

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Blue 8/2 cotton on the warping reel

This is a Harrisville Designs (made right here in the lovely state of New Hampshire) reel and I really like using it. I confess that I often have more warp chains waiting to be put on the loom than is really necessary. Here are my top three reasons why I love warp chains:

 

  1. It is relaxing! People at art shows often comment that weaving “must be so relaxing.” I rarely find this to be the case (weaving and especially warping the loom require a fair amount of attention to detail) with the exception of winding the warps. Sometimes I listen to music, sometimes I prefer the quiet or, weather permitting, I open a window.
  2. Get off yer arse! As I approach my fiftieth birthday (yikes!) I find that it behooves my hips and backside to take frequent breaks from sitting at the loom bench and stand up for a while; why not wind a warp if I’m just going to stand around, right?
  3. Play with color: Winding warps takes me back to my finger painting days, in many instances. Obviously this isn’t always the case (it is a function of the design, really, and many of my warps are monochrome), but it sure is fun to play around:

 

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Warp chains are my eye candy

 

These chains will (someday soon) be more of my diamond twill kitchen towels. But until I finish my overshot table runners that are on the loom, the chains will have to wait:

 

Black snowballs overshot
Black and ivory overshot on the loom

I like weaving these small centerpiece-sized table toppers and, based on customer interest, I’d say that there is every reason to weave smaller items like this. They look really pretty on a dining table, especially on top of a simple clean cloth. They also pair well with smaller furniture pieces, like the one I have here on an antique bureau:

 

 

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Overshot in brown and ivory

I took a big leap recently and ordered myself some custom-woven ribbon labels for my handwoven pieces. Pictures to follow, once I actually cut some cloth from the loom!

Be well, friends.

 

 

Log cabin placemats

Hello, friends. I’m continuing to weave custom order requests that I received at the League of NH Craftsmen Summer Fair in August. These log cabin bordered placemats were a new design for me so I was especially pleased that they found homes at the fair. I’m weaving a set of eight mats for a client in brick red and ivory cottons. Here is how they’re shaping up:

 

 

 

log cabin mats on loom
Weaving placemats

I designed these so that there is a machine-stitched hem on each end. Placemats that live in my house tend to need machine laundering, especially after pizza night, so I like to make items such as these washing-machine-sturdy. I hang mine up on a drying rack and, if I’m feeling snazzy, run a hot iron over them to give them a bit of polish at the table.

Next up after the placemats will be another custom request for an overshot runner. My client requested a black runner in this well-loved pattern draft:

Snowballs off the loom
Overshot runners

I’m really looking forward to working with black as a pattern weft. Pictures to follow! You may have ascertained that a lot of my work is the result of custom order requests. I welcome custom work! If you have a special request or would like to inquire about one, please drop me a line. I’d love to chat.

Be well,

kate k.