Hello, friends. My husband and I are knee-deep in preparations to sell our home. While everyone faces the same challenges of making sure living spaces are de-cluttered and tidy and prospective-buyer ready, I have found it especially puzzling to “stage” my weaving studio. I need to keep weaving while our home is on the market, but this area had to undergo some big changes before it is realtor-ready.
First: why am I writing about this? While I found a lot of information about how to stage living rooms, kitchens, and even home offices, I didn’t find much about staging creative working spaces.
Where to being? Here is an overview of my strategy:
Sell unused equipment. I had two small looms that were mostly idle and so while it was hard to part with them (we weavers tend to get attached to our equipment, don’t we?) it made sense to find them new homes.
Move the yarn. I have an entire shelving unit stocked with cones of yarn. I moved this from my primary work space to allow for easier movement in the weaving room.
Off-site storage. I’ve stored all of my booth equipment in an off-site storage facility. Pipe and drape, canopy tent and weights, folding tables, booth lights and flooring are all currently accessible to me but out of the house.
Put away sharp and pointy things. While I love to have little ones come through a demonstration area and pet yarn and soft and lofty textiles, scissors and pins are off-limits.
Put away lightly-used items. Reeds, jersey mannequins, and other fiber-related equipment are stored in a closet, an old antique dresser, baskets, and even my loom bench.
Limit display textiles to 1-3 pieces. While it seemed tempting to use the studio as a makeshift pop-up sales floor, I didn’t take this route. I kept things light: a small table runner on an antique dresser and a neutral, textured lace shawl on the mannequin lady.
Here are a few photos of the way things stand right now (apologies for the rather dark photos as they were taken very early in the morning):
Feel free to share your own strategies for staging a creative workspace area! Thanks for reading!
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 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.
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:
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:
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:
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.
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.
Hello, friends. I have really enjoyed watching the “orange peel” overshot design take shape on the loom this week. A four shaft design, this pattern entails a lengthy pattern repeat and threading sequence. However, I’ve found that taking the pattern in increments and limiting distractions at the loom (true confession: trying to weave this pattern while listening to Philip Glass at the same time was a pretty feeble idea) will allow you to generate a very special piece for your home or for a friend. Patience is key. (But if you’re a weaver, you already know that).
A few disclaimers: a basic understanding of how overshot works is required. For example, I did not include all of the tabby picks that are required throughout the cloth. You’ll need to remember to tie up your loom for tabby as well, as only the overshot tie up is included in my draft.
Basic set up: I used 10/2 mercerized cotton sett at 20 ends per inch (threads are doubled in a 10 dent reed). The width in the reed is 14.5″. I used floating selvedges on each side of the warp. I used the same 10/2 cotton for the ground/tabby weft and 3/2 mercerized cotton for the pattern weft. You can select different yarns but your sett may be different. I weave a 2″ tabby border for hems with the 10/2 cotton before proceeding with the pattern, but you can plan to finish your cloth in a manner that suits you (i.e. hemstitching).
Here is the Google Drive link for the image of the draft. You should be able to see the threading, tie-up, and at least one full repeat of the border and the orange peel motif:
I’m weaving overshot (yes, again) this week and I am smitten with this draft:
The center motif is taken from Josephine Estes’ esteemed publication, “Original Miniature Patterns for Hand Weaving.” I’m using 10/2 mercerized cotton for the warp and ground/tabby yarns and 3/2 mercerized cotton for the pattern weft. I sett the warp at 20 ends per inch. I have a relatively light beat in general but I anticipate some shrinkage after the cloth is removed from the loom. Here is the same pattern using a black mercerized pattern weft yarn:
I’m actually submitting this black and white piece for a winter exhibition with the League of NH Craftsmen (Concord, NH), which will open in January.
Some of my Instagram followers have asked me about the complexity of the pattern. While it is only a four shaft design, the trick of it has to do with the length of the pattern repeat in both the threading and the treadling. If you’re going to attempt this pattern, I suggest having a multitude of sticky notes at the ready! After a few repeats, though, one becomes familiar with how the pattern sculpts itself into the cloth.
If you’re interested in seeing the draft, which I plugged into my weaving software program and set up for my jack loom (Leclerc Nilus II), please include a comment below. I’ll see if I can’t figure out how to upload the draft via Google Drive and will share my take on this lovely, traditional overshot design in a future post.
And now for a word from our sponsors…
My handwoven waffleweave washing cloths make great stocking stuffers! They’re also easy to ship and won’t break in the mail. I have about ten of these nifty handwoven treats ready for immediate shipping from the studio.
Handwoven waffleweave washing cloth
Handwoven 100% unbleached cotton washing cloth. Use in the kitchen or bath! Machine stitched hems. Size: 11.5″ x 10.25″. Machine wash and dry.
The loom has been dressed with one of my favorite weaving structures this week, waffleweave! Waffleweave, which is really just a variation on a point twill, creates cloth that is right at home in the kitchen. The little cells shrink up to make a highly textured and absorbent cloth. It does, however, present some challenges to the weaver. I’ve found that when winding a warp for waffles, it doesn’t hurt to err on the side of “too much.” When I work with 8/2 unmercerized cotton for waffleweave, shrinkage is considerable. For example, with these towels, I am weaving 34 inches of waffleweave pattern in order to yield a 24 inch long towel after finishing. That’s a lot of shrinkage (30%!). Here’s the towel in process:
I wove some waffles using a dark brown 8/2 unmercerized cotton warp and played around with some stripes using some bits of cotton from my stash:
Next up after the waffles will be a new overshot pattern for me, “orange peel.” I’m really looking forward to seeing how this pattern shakes out. I am basing my design off of the weaving draft found in the Josephine Estes weaving booklet, which you can access, too, right here: