Production Backlog

Back in October, I had made a series of plain weave rugs on the Gilmore loom for sale at the holiday markets.  Of the five, I sold two in November and one in January.  I thought I should probably take photos and share before they’re all gone and I have no record of them.

The first is a rug similar to an earlier one with what I was calling tie dyed yarn.  This one uses some green/yellow/brown yarns plied together that created a grainy effect.  Nice rug, if you like yellow. The rug also uses a design scheme that I have use a few times before and I think the proportions work well.  One of the sold rugs used this same design, but with red and black stripes and a black and orange tie dyed yarn.

rug yellow black stripes

Yellow black stripes - detail

The fringe features my go to finish, the Celtic braid.  I know it’s not, but a neighbor once it looked like some kind of Celtic knot, so for lack of another name, that’s what I call it.

Yellow black stripes - fringe

rug yellow black stripes

The other one features some simple stripes using a rustic, bulky yarn.  rug brown stripes

This one has no fringe, which usually doesn’t work well with a plain weave rug.  But in this case, the yarn was bulky and fluffy enough that it could stretch and accommodate the fringe threads being darned back into the rug.  rug brown stripes detail

rug brown stripes detail

I’m still playing around with developing a good setting for photographing my work.  For some past works, I have just laid them on the bare studio floor, which is vinyl but painted over.  I have nothing against it in principle, but really, who paints a floor brick red?  Ugh.  This set features a white table cloth on the floor.  Mrs. Daylight had the idea of stretching it tight and holding it down with weights.  Overall, it worked out well.  There are skylights and lots of windows in the studio and the light is generally pretty good.  But it was cloudy and getting late in the day, so my background ended up with a blue tint.  Even so, I think the rug colors are pretty accurate.


Next up: from the Cranbrook loom


Crazy Twill

Wow, has it really been that long?  It’s been a busy Summer and Fall, full of visitors, weaving experiments, the County Fair, apple harvesting, and generally preparing for the winter months.  Also – Hey, I’m a business!  Daylight Weaving, I call myself, complete with business cards, my first cell phone (!), and a new website.  I even had a booth at the Summer Art Festival.  That was pretty exciting, since it was the first time for me selling my work.

I started my summer thinking I would try something new.  I saw a picture of a rug and, as I often do, thought how on earth did they do that.  After several days of playing around with designs and different loom setups, I had something I wanted to try out.  Of course it was nothing like the thing that got me on the path to this experiment, but I was ready to try this new idea I had come up with.  I won’t bother trying to explain what I did, since I’ve tried to explain it to other weavers without success.  Suffice it to say that it is a 2/2 twill weave pattern using a block design.


Closeup of the pattern details:

dsc_1615_smdsc_1610_smIt’s one of those designs that I could have done all kinds of crazy things, but just because you can, doesn’t mean you should – each looked more eye-crossing that the last.  I eventually narrowed it down to three different designs, but in the end, just used one. The second one, was the same, but with blue instead of red, resulting in a very different look.

dsc_1618_smdsc_1621_smFor the third rug, I used a repeat of some of the simpler elements or the original pattern.  I thought I’d try three colors this time, which gave it a 3-D effect.

dsc_1642_smAnd no fringe this time.

dsc_1650_smApparently, the judge at the County Fair liked it enough to award it Best in Show!  They have scribes write down the judges comments.  She actually used the word “inhuman” in describing the selvedges.  Considering some of the other entries in the Fiber Arts exhibit, I have to say I am quite humbled.

img_5429Those three rugs took all summer.  As I had more warp left on the loom, I made two more simpler twill rugs.  Here’s the unfinished first of the two. They are based on a traditional pattern I found in The Weaving, Spinning and Dyeing Book, by Rachel Brown – out of print, I think, but well worth finding at a good used book store.  Mrs. Daylight calls it the wheat shaft pattern.  The gold and reds I dyed myself.

rug-50 The second is similar and still waiting to be hemmed. Photos maybe next time.

Now that I’ve committed to being a professional, I have to get busy and make more product.  And in the mean time, I’ll make an effort to keep my faithful readers updated on what goes on here in the studio.

Yarn Stash – part 3: Bulky Heathered Yarn

Is that what you call it?  I don’t know.  It’s really less a heather than it is kind of a random mix of things.  Not even sure how I acquired it.  Made for a pretty nice-looking rug, even if I do have some concerns about how well it will wear.

Bulky yarn rug

There were flecks of different colors throughout the yarn that gave the finished product a sense of texture and depth.  On closer examination, it started to look like someone swept up everything that was on the floor of the mill – and I do mean everything, fiber or not – and spun it into a super bulky, fluffy yarn.  I’m not even sure it’s all wool. There were what might be feathers, cotton, bits of string, plus a generous helping of burrs and pokey stickery things.  Although, to be fair, wool is known for having leftover “vegetable matter” from whatever the sheep were rolling around in before they were sheared.  Typically, some of that gets missed in the cleaning of the wool.  And things inadvertently get sucked in the the spinning process – I once pulled out a long string of plastic several inches long twisted into some yarn.  But for this yarn, there was more than the normal amount of VM so that while weaving, I kept a pair of tweezers handy to pick out anything that might stab someone on their delicate bare feet.

removing the burrs

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Yarn Stash – part 2: Herdwick Wool

This rug uses Herdwick wool yarn I bought in Cumbria, England when Mrs. Daylight and I were visiting in 2006.

Herwick Wool Rug

It is from the Herdwick breed of sheep.  I never used this yarn because I kept wanting to save it for something special, or that I deemed myself not yet worthy.  So I finally decided to just make something with it already.  The wool is tough and somewhat bristly, and maybe not so good for a scarf, but great for a rug.

Herdwick wool texture

While the colors are obviously dyed, the light and dark grays are the natural color of the wool.

Herdwick wool colors

Hand dyed yarnI used a plain weave because that’s what’s was ready on the loom, and because the design can be simple, highlighting the texture of the yarn.  I did add a section using a tapestry technique called “clasped wefts” and a simple design element.  I have to remember that curves and clasped wefts are not friends – I had to un-weave about 2 inches of rug and re-weave it to get it just how I wanted.

The yarn is probably hand-dyed, as you can see the variations in color in the orange section.  To me, that makes it more personal and unique.

Detail of the curve section.  Subtle, but I like subtle.

Clasped Weft detail

Next Up:  probably another rug.

Yarn Stash – part 1

I might have mentioned I have a lot of yarn. I have everything from miscellaneous balls of yarn to mass quantities of industrial yarn on big cones, super thin to super chunky. Ok, not really, but I do have quite a bit and quite a variety.  Much of it I keep in bins with some sort of labeling so I at least have a vague idea where things are.  Other stuff is just kept on the shelf.

DSC_1422    DSC_1423

So, when I’m designing a rug, I start by just browsing through the yarn I have.  In some cases, I’ve written a list of projects that I would like to do based on some of the yarn I have.  Other times I see what I think will go together and work from there.  One set of yarn I came across, was a series of commercial skeins of yarn whose labels read Old Mill Yarn in a sort of old west font, from Eaton Rapids, Michigan.  The yarn was thick, a little coarse, and with a tight twist to it. It looked like there was enough to make a rug, but I was a little skeptical about the quality of rug it would make.  However, once I began, it really started coming together nicely.

Rug 39.08    Rug 39.06

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More Stripes

Finished this rug last week and only just now getting around to posting photos – brown, red, gold, and bits of purple and maroon.  Rug 37

I found some variegated yarn (tie-dyed?) that I used for accent, which happened to have some gold that matched the other gold yarn:

variegated yarn

Rug 37 details

Rug 37 details

Playing around, I made this little chain and decided to just leave it as is.Chain detail

Up Next: sunset-inspired color blending.

Block Weave

Not a whole lot to write about, just lots of pictures.  This new rug is the second in a series that was supposed to be another shaft switching design.  But after the difficulties in the last rug, I opted instead to do a block weave with “virtual shaft switching” – essentially retying the pedals for each section.  It uses a 4-end block weave.  I’m really happy with the results.

Block weave rug

This is a new version of a rug I did a while back.  The idea is to use two colors to create a virtual third color.  I particularly wanted to use two similar colors – light and dark brown, light and dark green, and so on.

rug yarn

The “third” color is really just stripes.  But if you squint, it kind of works.

three colors


Again, the back is the same, but with colors reversed.



Next: more strips and tie dye.