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

More Twill

Work is moving along and Burning Daylight Studios is keeping me plenty busy, and is proving to be a suitable home to Daylight Weaving. I know it sounds confusing, but I really like both names, so I kept them both, on for the physical studio, and one for the business. My goal here is to try to post at least a couple times a month, so stay tuned.

Last we met, I was finishing a series twill rugs.  This is just a short post as an excuse to share photos of the last in that series.

Twill weave rugI used some random grey yarn that I had lots of, but it turned out to be rather a pain to weave with.  It didn’t behave well – kept getting tangled and didn’t pack down consistently – but it did create an interesting ropy effect.  And I have to admit, it took me a while to warm up to this rug. I had it hanging in the studio unfinished for months because it had so annoyed me while weaving.  I have come to think of this rug as being inspired by the sea. The pattern in the previous rug had a wheat shaft look to it, whereas this rug’s pattern reminds me of seaweed.

Twill weave rug detail

I finished it with a folded hem.

Twill weave rug end detail

Twill weave rug detail

In all, it ended up as a nice sturdy rug that will make the right person happy to walk on in its new home.

Up next: Production work

 

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.

dsc_1612_sm

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.

Sunrise and Sunset

This is about two rugs.  Both were inspired by colors in the northwest sky, and both have a very similar look, but they developed in very different ways.

The first rug is very much like one of the previous rugs.  In fact, it’s the same colors, same yarns, except for some minor tweaks.  I just wanted to try it again.  I started by using yarn colors that alone are not that exciting, trying to put them together in some sort of meaningful way.  After laying out all the yarn I wanted to use, they kind of reminded me of the colors in the night sky after the sun sets, as dusk progresses to dawn.  Not so much a snapshot in time, but more of a time lapse image, if that makes sense.  Kind of in the same way that Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase represents more than one moment in time that you see all at once.

Rug 42

The rug is the second one like it, so I guess there is something I like about it, even if it isn’t really the colors one actually sees in the sky.

The design for the second rug came about very differently.  I was coming home on the ferry last fall around sunset and we watched the sun going down from the deck. I took this photo:

SunsetYeah great, beautiful sunset.  But then I tuned around to the east and saw this:Back Sunset Like a lot of people, I normally watch the sunset facing west, not the “back sunset”, or whatever you call it.   The western view is the usually the crowd pleaser, but this time the back sunset was really what intrigued me.  The subtlety of the colors really struck me – the gradual fade from blue to pink and the more sudden jump to blue-grey.

When I got back to the studio later, I saw a lot of those back sunset colors in the yarn on the shelves and thought I could make a rug with this new color palette.

Rug 43The colors might be a little more vivid than the original, but for the most part, but it kind of worked.

Up Next: some new takes on some old designs.

 

 

 

 

No Eulogies, No Poems

I was a long and hard winter.  This winter seemed to be a season of loss for loved ones.  Or maybe with the loss of my own mother in January, I’m just hyper-aware.  In any case, it was a winter that, emotionally at least, I want to put behind me.

This isn’t a eulogy or memorial.  In fact, she expressly forbade that.  Her written last wishes declared that she did not want a ceremony, or memorial, or service of any kind. “No Eulogies and No Poems,” it stated.  It was the only part of her final wishes that was actually printed in bold.  I don’t know if she intended it, but that part still cracks me up.

I am glad I was there, however sad it was helplessly watching her deteriorate.  But no matter how much pain she might have been in, I do know that she was happy to have us all with her.  And I am thankful that it was mercifully quick – she lasted about a week from terminal diagnosis.

Even so, in her style, my last conversations with her were not about her or her illness, but about my weaving, my new loom, and what was happening here at the new place.  She always had encouragement and support for whatever I happened to be doing in my life.  And when I expressed an interest in weaving at the age of 40, she kind of went into overdrive.  For that, I am grateful.

Cranbrook loom turning wheel

Close up of the new loom.  The rug in the background is Rug No. 1 – the first one I made back in 2007.  In addition to encouragement, my mother gave me the yarn for this rug – wool yarn for the weft (Monte Tate yarn) along with the cotton warp.  But more than that, the loom, the shuttles, and even the books I used as reference (most notably Peter Collingwoods “Techniques of Rug Weaving”) – all the equipment needed to make this rug – came from my mother.  When I was done, I gave her the rug and she proudly put it in a place in the family room where everyone walked on it for almost 10 years.  My step-father thought I should keep it.  I only hope that its new prominent position – on the direct path to to the bathroom – will live up to its honorable past.  I think that would make Mom laugh.

Coming up: Back to work.

 

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.