Friday, October 25, 2013

Second Rug on the Kromski Harp

Not nearly as much trouble, weaving OR wrestling, on this rug! It was sheer pleasure!

In the first place, I ordered an 8 dent reed to use, and I used cotton warp thread. The sett is 8, and the rug is 24" wide and 45" long in a plain weave. No pattern/draft. The weft is Lion Brand Homespun Stripe. The Kromski Harp stand is also a big plus, as far as the wrestling goes! Much better than the TV trays! And I paid close attention to the tension, so I didn't have to separate the warp threads in the sheds every time. Yay! 

The finished rug beside my bed. My furniture isn't actually black. It's hunter green with light coral walls. I found out that I should have packed the weft harder than I did on the rug, but it's not in a heavy traffic area and usually only bare feet touch it, so I think it'll be ok. I LOVE the look and feel of it, so I'm happy. :)
Next project is a coral and sage green cotton rug for the bathroom in front of the shower! Just waiting to get the yarn!

First Woven Rug On A Kromski Harp

So I still love my Schacht Cricket for smaller projects, but I wanted to weave larger things, like rugs and blankies without having to stitch them together in blocks or panels. Hence the Kromski Harp 32" loom (I was warned that one loom is never enough) situated on two side by side TV trays (above), which was not working out at all for me. A lot of wrestling and intimidation going on here! :/

Hence the stand was also purchased, along with an 8 dent reed, because the loom came with a 10 dent reed, which didn't exactly cater to the Peaches and Cream cotton yarn I had planned to use for my first rug warp...

I had one heck of a time getting used to the larger rigid heddle loom, mainly because I didn't know what I was doing and couldn't hold it in my lap. Pulling the cotton thread through the too small holes and slots, which I re-started about 3x, was frustrating. I didn't know to skip slots and holes, so I put a thread in every one for almost the width of the loom. Above is what the warp looked liked when I got done. Waaaay too dense! But I couldn't bare to unravel it. :(
I wove a header (turquoise), then started weaving with the Lions Brand Homespun yarn that I REALLY wanted the rug made of. This is as far as I got. It didn't look right, plus the cotton warp was sticking and I was having to separate every shed with my pick up stick.
I didn't want to waste the Homespun, so I unraveled it and picked out some navy, denim blue, and red cotton yarn from my stash and decided to make this adventure a learning experience. I made up the pattern stripes and started weaving. I still had to separate every shed, which made it take a lot longer, and there are two unintentional stripes lengthways where I skipped one hole and forced two threads through another hole. The other side has some different yarn in the warp because I ran out of the solid, plus there are a few skipped threads. It's all good! I learned a lot about rugs and wrestling. Besides, it has character, I think! lol
Here it is finished! Not happy that it looks "netted", but I can live with it, and we've already thought of several uses for it. Chalking it up to a great, but frustrating, first experience with rug weaving!
Now on to the rug I intended to weave in the first place! I already have it warped and ready to go! :)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Woven Towels

Okay, sometimes it pays to have a draft/pattern to go by. I decided to make some dish towels to practice making stripes, checks, etc. I just guessed at the size and for some reason thought a 12" length would be enough for a drying towel. NOT! 

So what I have is four dish cloths, but that's okay! They will be used and next time I'll remember to make them longer! Mistakes are the best teachers! :)

I used Sugar and Cream cotton yarn in both warp and weave on a Schacht Cricket rigid heddle loom with an 8 dent reed, except for the gold stripes. They are rug warp cotton. I would have sworn that I made one of them denim blue. Guess not! They are all on the same warp in a plain weave and haven't been cut apart in this picture. I also practiced hem stitching on them.
Someone mentioned that I could use them for gifts as bath cloths with bars of soap. Good idea, but I think I'll chalk these up to learning practice and use them myself. What fun!
Maybe I'll get some more done for Christmas gifts!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

"Cirque du Rabbit Hop" -A Story of Faction

Sharon Prater-Pope

It was the fifties. Ten year old Sharon sat on the front porch steps on a beautiful Saturday morning with no one to play with. She had no siblings and none of the neighborhood kids that she usually played with were at home.

She wasn't in the mood for the cartoons on television or reading. She sat her chocolate milk on the porch beside her as she pondered what she wanted to do.

She looked down at her blue and white wide striped pajamas and, for some reason, thought of a circus tent.

"I know!" she said to herself. "I'll put on a circus!"

Sharon did not lack in the imagination department.

She jumped up, ran into the house, and changed into her red and white bathing suit and red sneakers, which seemed appropriate for circus attire in her opinion. Her golden blonde, baby fine, hair was pulled up into a pony tail with a red bow, and she added a touch of her mama's red lipstick to her lips and checks for effect.

Now she was ready to begin!

Back outside with her beloved stuffed horse, Benny, she started assembling the circus in the front yard. People passing in their cars must have thought she was crazy, but that was okay. She liked playing with other kids, but she was equally good at entertaining herself, and she was about to have a blast! The kids would be sorry they missed it.

She sat Benny down on the walk for the time being, while she wrote the words "cirque du rabbit hop" (Rabbit Hop was the name of the community where she lived) on an old blue scarf with a black magic marker and added a little design work, hoping mama didn't notice any time soon.

She brought in her first horse from the sixties, whose name was "Old Pat", because Pat was already her name when daddy bought the mare, and she was an old gray mare. Old Pat was also very gentle and patient, and was already wearing a faded red halter. Now she was wearing a blue with gold fringed scarf on her back, and she didn't mind one bit.

Sharon gathered up her two imaginary friends, Madamojell, a southern belle, and Jessie Brown, a tomboy if there ever was one, along with an imaginary audience, full of very interesting characters, plus Benny, and ushered them to seats on the porch steps and along the porch edge.

The audience waited in anticipation as she started the music on her record player, which only played 45 speed records that had to be stacked on the spindle. Her uncle had raided an old jukebox and brought her the records.

The first song was "Davy Crockett", which played while she called in her Pekingese dog companion from the eighties, Kibbles Marie, and climbed up onto Old Pat's back, via a stump. Kibbles joined the audience for the time being.

Sharon rode Old Pat back and forth across the yard a couple of times, then stopped in front of the crowd, which got bigger by the minute, and pulling her legs up, she sat cross-legged and made large sweeping gestures with her arms. She was rewarded with clapping.

The crowd roared as she twisted around and lay on her stomach across Old Pat's back, holding her arms out, as her feet dangled off the other side. She followed this by laying flat on her back along Old Pat's back. She was not brave enough to stand all the way up, but she did get on her feet and do a squat, while holding on to Old Pat's mane.

She concluded her act by sliding off Old Pat's back onto the ground and crawling under her stomach to face the crowd, throwing her arms up and out in a victory stance. The crowd loved it!

Then Kibbles was called over to do her thing. Sharon noticed a squirrel sitting in the tree nearby watching intently while nibbling on a nut or something.

Kibbles wound around back and forth in and around Old Pat's feet a few times before Sharon lifted her onto Old Pat's back, where she stretched out on her side for a minute, walked on to Old Pat's rump and back, the laid down atop the scarf on Old Pat's back and posed for applause, which she got in abundance.

By this time "Good Golly Miss Molly" was playing on the record player and Sharon was getting bored, so she took a final bow to thunderous clapping and whistling and a standing ovation, before leading Old Pat and Kibbles back to the future, as the imaginary audience filed out and went home.

Madamojell and Jessie Brown assured her that the Rabbit Hop Circus had been a huge success and that she should put on another one soon. They went back to her imagination as she sat back down on the porch steps and thought about what to do next.

"What are you doing, Sharon? Why on earth are you wearing your bathing suit?" mama asked, as she noticed her sitting outside alone. She didn't notice the lipstick.

"Nothing. Just sitting here thinking." Sharon shrugged her shoulders and smiled to herself.

She could still hear the applause...

The End
PS-A portion of this story is written in the background, under the layers, on the final painting. Some of the story is fiction, some is fact, thus it is faction! The characters are real, and the names have not been changed to protect the innocent. :) 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Pinwheel Scarf in Turq

It took a while, but I finally figured out how to do a pinwheel pattern, thanks to Joyce Brisebois's youtube video on same. She is also the administrator of the Facebook group "Rigid Heddle Weaving" that I belong to. It's a wonderful group, full of very generous and helpful weavers.

 It was a lot of fun to do, once I got the hang of it! I used Peaches and Crème cotton yarn for both warp and weft in turquoise and off white with little bits of color on my Schacht Cricket 15" loom with an 8 dent reed and a sett of 8.

Below is the warped loom and the beginning weaving....

The finished scarf, before the fringe is trimmed and the header yarn (hot pink)  removed...

 Finished! I like it, and I don't think I did too bad a job for a beginner! :)

Memory Portrait-Harlequin Violin

Okay, here is what started out as a timed 20 minute painting for the group at the Trodden Path (see sidebar for link), but the phone rang before time was up and I lost my train of thought on the painting, which, by the way, is on an 8"x10" mixed media board.

The "roses" were made with rolled up paper dipped in acrylic paint. I wasn't liking where the painting was going, so I added some stenciling with a harlequin pattern stencil, some white gesso, and some umber drips and runs, then turned it upside down and decided to make a memory portrait (inspired by Heather Murray's class at the Trodden Path) out of it...

These are the same figures from the other two portraits, because I had already printed and cut out extras, and I didn't want to take time to find something different right then. Only part of the girl in the bathing suit got printed, so I drew her a skirt...

I tried out a butterfly stamp on her peplum style gown and added touches of acrylic paint here and there...

It was too bright and busy for me, so I add a wash of white gesso and gel medium and let dry...

Too much whiteness for me, so I took part of it off with an alcohol pad, along with some of the bright colors, then added more paint...

Still a little too bright, so I took some more paint off the dress and added the oversized rose, plus a few other details, and called it finished. The girl is me at age 10 (the fifties), an ancestor from the turn of the 20th century, and my Pekingese, Kibbles, from the eighties. Music transcends generations, centuries, and species, after all.
If you look closely, you can still see the butterfly image in her skirt and the harlequin pattern and paint runs amidst the layers. I like it!
The next one will have totally different figures, and I am choosing them at this time. If you want to see more of these memory portraits from other students and the teacher, go to the trodden path (link on sidebar). I am also sharing this on Paint Party Friday, Creative Every Day, and my FB page (links also on sidebar), where you can visit and see a lot of wonderful art by many talented artists.
I have also finished my first two woven rugs, which I will be sharing in another blog. I am loving weaving almost as much as painting and writing!
Hope you all have a wonderful creative week! Thanks for visiting! :)

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Rose Bleu-20 min Painting

A twenty minute painting inspired by the group at the Trodden Path (link on sidebar). I used alizarin crimson and indigo blue plus white gesso on a 6x6" gallery canvas, set the timer and let loose without thinking too much about it. This is what I had when the timer went off.
I have since gone back and darkened the area by her neck a little. I just love her!