The Weaver's Dance

On a loom that whispers, with shuttles that fly
And bobbins that chatter as the hours go by
I'll not lay in one thread of mere chance
As I work in the motion of the weaver's dance.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Story of This-N-Thats

This-N-Thats are what I call my small handwoven pieces of cloth that have been created all onto themselves... which is why I couldn't call them remnents or left-overs. They are completely original, one-of-a-kind pieces of handwoven cloth.  They are always less than one yard, so most often they are hung on a hanger on the This-N-That Rack in my booth or just laid flat.

Oh....this and that....and the other....These words are how This-N-Thats were created.  My This-N-Thats are 1) the need to empty bobbins, 2) the need to test a new weft thread or 3) the need to test out a new draft or pattern.  The creation of This-N-Thats is very fast, ever-changing, mostly fun and never the same!  Most of the photos here are showing about the NEEEEEEEEED to empty bobbins!  Look at all those bobbins....and that's only about 1/6th of my problem!

As you can see, I have a LOT of bobbins to empty and they are such lovely yarns and threads that I just have to use them somehow in some meaningful, This-N-That's were born.

These photos show my beginning on Jimmy and Stanley, but I've moved on to adding This-N-That's on Deedle, too now.  Half my days are weaving them on Deedle while I finish a blanket on Doris that I want to take to Kid-N-Ewe in Texas in November.

This photo at left shows that I have so many shuttles loaded up and ready to go that I have to lay them on their sides to make them fit onto my funky old folding tray....I think I have 15 or so here.

I don't have a set size for these smallish pieces of handwoven fabric.  I just weave until I run out of the chosen combinations of wefts.  What's so great about creating This-N-Thats is the totally free thinking that's going on in my head....I remember that there would be times when a student would be having great difficulty deciding what warp or wefts to use and would become rather agitated in the decision making....I'd say, "This is just your first weaving, not your only!" 
 That was usually all they needed to just PICK!  Well, while making This-N-Thats I have no picking to do once I have looked for the preferred contrast or color combination....I just WEAVE!  I have found that these little creations work well on shadow weave and This-N-Tha's are a purrrrrrrfect time to test patterns.  In the photo above, you can see the end of one This-N-That and the beginning of's all rather fast and furious and totally creative!  My mind is free to PLAY and what results is lovely and useful.

The photo directly above is a wild and crazy This-N-That of all those colors on the old folding tray.  The caption shows where you can see it in my Etsy Shop...just click to go there! I've woven it on Stanley, 12-Harness Bronson Lace, but, as you can see, I've chosen just one of the lace elements to repeat over and over while changing only the threads that I want to weave in.  There's lots of texture and color and fun and I've found that they wash up just fine!

The photo below.....HERE'S THE REWARD!!!!!  Need I say more?

Okay here's ANOTHER reward for This-N-Thats!  The photo below shows them after they have been zig-zag stitched on each edge so they can be washed and dried and tagged.  Now, here's some eye candy!  Isn't this why we weave?


I think these This-N-Thats are a pretty good trick of the trade....oh, I've got soooooooo many trade tricks in my head.... so I'll post again with one I have in progress right now on Doris.....

Okay, several days have passed and, as you can see, I have several shuttles in progress right now.  When I have this situation, I like to carry the inactive shuttle/wefts up the side of the piece, if they are not too bulky.  So, in the photo at left, you can see how I "hold" inactive shuttles on Doris (she's a Macomber, but any high castle works great for this) so that weft can be carried easily up the side of my work.  Just treat this weft thread like you do the floating selvedge (over going in, under coming out) and the active weft with surround the inactive weft thus carrying up the side without any inconvenience.  I have had as many as 4 going up one side or both sides at a time, though here you can see just one.  Out of the photo is another one on the other selvedge.

Let's get a close-up of you can see I've made my "hangers" out of wire from my stash.  Out of the photo, there is a piece of tape holding the wire firmly in place on the INside of Doris' castle, so I can just take the shuttle off easily without the wire wanting to follow!  I used a square of duct tape there.

Since Doris is a HUGE Macomber, it took more wire to fit neatly over the top of the castle.  Use some needle-nose pliers here to get nice clean want this to look NICE!  This method works well for my Old Structo Artcraft Loom, too, and will work with any high castled loom.

NOTE!  Look back up at the first photo of Doris with the beater bar you see that?  This is the beater bar position needed to estimate the proper amount of thread to leave out of the shuttle.  The way I made my wire hangers, they do not allow for easy feed-out of weft thread while the shuttle is hanging on them, so they won't start to feed out when I don't want them to do so.  You can figure out how to make your, they don't need to be copper....that's just what I had on hand.  Any really stiff wire will do, yet I could bend it by hand....sorry,I don't know the specific gauge, but the shuttles don't weigh very much, so you'll know when it's right.

Okay, so let's keep weaving and creating and sending each other Miles and Miles of Smiles, Cat B.