Tuesday, June 05, 2007


I've been reading my friend's blog E.r.r.a.n.t. and amongst the many cool photos and happenings, there's a picture of her loom at the Craft Center. This is the third quarter she's taken the class, but I can take no credit for teaching her, since she learned it all from someone else the first quarter (we only have a limited number of looms, so you have to repeat the class to guarantee yourself a loom). At any rate her current project is very ambitious and very exciting and the glimpse of her dressed loom made me realize I never take photos of things before they're done.

So here's to WIPs (Works-In-Progress).

My current project on the school loom. Black on black overshot with inlayed unspun cap silk (not visible in this photo). What is it? I suppose it could be a scarf. (Do I make fabric with no end purpose just because there's a loom and yarn? Yes I do. Handy inventions, scarves. You can call anything a scarf. And if it's too wide, you can call it a shawl.)
This is a scarf on my Pioneer Loom. The pattern was worked out from a shawl that my friend had and loved until it was eaten by ravenous orange kittens. I'm planning on duplicating the shawl in the baby blue she loved, but first I wanted to check my draft, hence this smaller version. Looks simple, but this is a ten shaft pattern unless I'm missing an obvious way of doing it with fewer shafts.

This will be a shawl. Hopefully. Actually the pattern is for an oak leaf tablecloth from an old German knitting book. I wanted to knit a circular shawl, though after I started I realized that there isn't really a great way to wear a circular shawl without obscuring the pattern. The fiber is yak and silk roving which was a gift from D, though I may have to find out where she got it in case I need more. I've been spinning it very fine on my book charkha and on version 2 of my enameled fish tahkli (version 1 was too light to use alone, version 2 is bigger and better).

This is the demonstration shawl we worked on for the Whole Earth Festival a couple weeks ago. D and I dyed the silk warp and warped the loom ahead of time (i.e. got all the blue threads on the loom), then on Saturday and Sunday of the festival, we spun black alpaca into two ply yarn and wove as much of the shawl as we could. In a sheep-to-shawl contest, there would be a team of 5 or 6 including something like 3 spinners, a plyer and a weaver, and the shawl would be done in 4-6 hours. We had another spinner for a brief time and a guest weaver (one of my beginning students from this quarter who happened to walk by...she rocked it on the loom both Saturday and Sunday and let us get a lot farther than we would have otherwise--us two being easily distracted when there are folks to chat with). The shawl is probably about three quarters done.

More demonstration stuff...I dyed this up a while ago, landscape evoked was the delta in spring. Most of this was spun for a Picnic Day demonstration back in April.

Meanwhile, the glass sculpture I started at the same demonstration (I went back and forth between spinning and glass) had been untouched ever since, as I hadn't been doing any torch work. Friday night there was a "De-stress" event at the Craft Center (following the muffin party, don't ask). I was asked to demo lampworking and not many people came around so I got a bit more done on the figures. (Can you find all four?) The last one didn't really want to do what I'd wanted all the others to do, so I'm not sure where the whole thing is going. No matter, will set it aside for a bit. Must madly work on spinning wheel! Sneak peek:

The base, with treadles in place. Nothing is joined yet. The back beam will be changed to something thicker and there are some grooves still to cut.

The joint I've been working on for a couple weeks. The two flyers and spindle will go through the solid piece and the bottom of the split piece aligns with the top of the base so that this part of the wheel can rotate down. I designed this wheel with very few wood joins because I don't have much experience with them. Most of the parts are screwed together or have simple groovy joints. However, for this joint, I wanted to prove I have woodworking skills (I don't). I started with a mortise tenon idea and ended up with this. There are probably easier ways, but I used a japanese saw and chisels to make it. Sadly, the fit is not perfect. But it's pretty close. And I may fill in the gaps with crushed stone inlay.

And finally the drive wheel with the roughed out fish. Notice the blind dovetail joints...I'm very proud, they actually fit well, nice and tight. No fish flinging here. The center joint is my design so we'll see if it works. There will also be a circle laminated over the center so that'll give the joint some more strength since I didn't quite get this one tight. I have to thank my geometry teacher Mr. Metzger for the skills to pull this off, though I only have myself to blame that I complicated things by wanting seven unjoined fish. There are a lot of good reasons to use a solid rim.

1 comment:

Mel said...

Oh, Kim! I am eternally jealous of your days spent art-ing. :) The wheel looks beautiful, as does everything spun - that black shawl your friend is making is AWESOME! I am going to send my mom pics of your weaving, because I think she is still on the lookout for a woven shaman-thing-a-ma-bobber.

I hope to be updating my own blog soon :D