Monday, February 12, 2018

A Custom Order - Gone Horribly Wrong and Then Right

I get a lot of requests for custom straps. Usually I know right away whether or not I can do what the customer is asking. Sometimes I need to mull it over for a while. 
(You can see one of those examples here). With this particular request, I thought it would be easy, but  I was very much mistaken. The customer had sent me this graphic below. I admire the skill and wish I knew how to make something like this! It appeared to me just about as tiny as it is appearing to you and in this orientation. I noticed that there were numbers alongside the drawing, but ignored them. WHY? Because, as my husband the machinist pointed out later, I AM NOT used to customers sending me blueprints! I assumed that he was just recycling some other graphic. How could he know anything about inkle weaving and give me numbers that were useful, I reasoned.  
They MUST be meaningless. Did I ask him. NO. WHY NOT? I kicked myself later. 

Taken as it appears above, his drawing looked like a pattern draft to me and I thought it looked relatively simple. So, I said I could do it, quoted him a price and he sent the $ and hardware for the strap ends. This strap will replace the one on his  laptop bag. 
I decided to do something that I don't usually do, use two wefts. One was thick and one was thin.
It was a bit of a pain, but I thought it looked more like the spacing in the drawing.

I sent him the photo above and that's when I learned how wrong I had been.
Of course, the numbers meant something! DUH! I needed to enlarge the drawing and turn it on it's side. You will see this below. I didn't give up then, oh no! I'm very stubborn. If you ever get me to say that I'll do something, know that I WILL. (My kids may have used this against me once or twice).

My next thought was MAYBE I could do a horizontal bar pickup. Tried it. Nope.
The floats were too long as I suspected. So, I added some turquoise stripes in the center, wove a random pickup pattern and created the guitar strap below. It's now for sale in my Etsy shop here

Attempt 3 took a lot of doing. Doubleweave was the answer. I did it one time in a class with Laverne Waddington. I didn't practice it after the class and it's been a few years. 
I needed a refresher. So, what was I to do? Oh, I have notes from her class showing how to set it up on an inkle loom. Where was the book that the notes were in? My husband and daughter decided to help me look for it as I was sort of miserable by this point. Nowhere to be found. It took me two days to realize who I had loaned it to and two more to retrieve it. She met me half way in between her house and mine and we had a yummy lunch at The Hollar in Madrid. Still, I had a problem.  So, I enlisted my friend Kim Varland to help me. Kim teaches inkle weaving in Albuquerque at the Yarn Store at Nob Hill and has also studied Laverne's teachings via her blog. I spent a nice afternoon with Kim and she showed me the error of my ways. I had made a foolish mistake when warping. Laverne has a double weave tutorial here on her blog which shows how to set it up on the backstrap loom. She's currently working on a video specifically for inkle loom weavers. Hooray! 

Okay! Finally, I'm getting it to work out! The weaving is looking like the drawing!

Here's the strap all finished with the customer's hardware installed. He was SO delighted with it when it arrived at his place that he decided to give me a tip. It was equal to twice what he had already paid. I am grateful to him for understanding that it was a difficult thing for me to accomplish the pattern and for paying extra for my efforts. 

The two closeups below show a bit more, both front and back. I used the same yarn I use for most of my straps, (Omega Sinfonia) so it turned out to be nice and thick. Great for the intended purpose!
I missed a few threads on the backside and my edges were less than perfect.
But, I'm calling it a success. 

Monday, January 15, 2018

Annual Birthday Give-Away!


I've had a lot of fun things to do this past year, and the blog has been neglected.
Still it gets a lot of use for the patterns, resources, FAQ's and Answers page and tutorials that I've posted in past years. It warms my heart to see so many people from all over the world visiting and finding help and inspiration here! 

Although I don't post here often, I do post to my Facebook page and Instagram feed. 
You can follow me there to see what I'm up to!
This past year, I've sent a lot of woven goods to Japan and they are now for sale in a boutique in
Osaka. They include key fobs and wool sash belts. The next order will include bracelets, too!

I still hope to finish working on my book early this year, but it has had to wait while I was weaving.

I continue to make guitar straps and am grateful to the following shops for carrying them:

Here's the latest batch of guitar straps.

So, here's the Birthday Give-Away:
One of these colorful wrist straps. They can be used as key fobs, or a wrist strap for small camera, purse, walking cane, flash drive, etc. For a chance to win, please leave a comment on this post. 
I'll pick a random number and select the corresponding comment from the list. 
You'll have to check back to see if you got lucky.
 I'll post the winner on January 31st. 
The winner will need to send me an email with their color choice and mailing address. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

Pattern Variations- Three Designs on One Warp

I like telling my customers that they have a one-of-a-kind woven piece.
With the guitar straps, my main focus, they are woven one at a time, so that's easy.
But, right now I'm making a collection of hatbands.
If I put a long warp on the loom, I can get 3 hatbands out of it.
Then I asked myself, how can I make each one different?
If I am using plain weave only, what are my options?
My answer: add warp threads, subtract warp threads, change the color of the weft.
In this series, I tried all three of the above. (To see detail click on photos to enlarge them.)

When I warped the loom initially, I used 5 colors: dark purple, red-violet, burgundy, red and turquoise. The borders are purple, so by using red as a weft it showed up nicely as red dots along the border. (At left in photo).
After weaving the first 34" I made the following changes: cut and removed the 4 red warps, added in 4 more purple warps at the outside edges, and changed the weft to purple so it blended in with the borders. (Center band in photo)
For the 3rd variation, I cut and removed the 4 burgundy warps and changed the weft to turquoise.
(At right in photo)
I'm satisfied that each one of the bands has its own character; each is just a bit different than the others.

All of these changes were simple to make as I went along. In this photo you can see what happened when I added warps. I ran them in the same path as the original warp and they just sat alongside the section that was already woven. No problem.

Below are two more examples. In these experiments, I used a medium length warp and only got two bands on each.

At left is the first band on this warp. I wove it with a contrasting black weft. For the second band, shown at right, I added two warps in the center, a tan and a black. This changed the design from a simple pair of black stripes to a tan chain within the black stripes. 
I also changed the weft from black to rust.

At left is the first band woven on this warp. For the second band, shown at right, I added to each border one burgundy and one turquoise warp and switched the weft to orange. 

Sunday, May 28, 2017

A Good Trick from My Upcoming Book

When my friend, Karma, asked me if I used this trick, I was blown away by it's cleverness and wondered why I hadn't thought of it myself. I thought everyone should know, so I'm sharing. It's one of the tips which will be included in the inkle design book I'm working on. 
I hope to have it finished late this summer.

By using a comb with long, straight teeth, you can preview a design without even having to set up a loom. Simply weave under and over the teeth in the comb. Even numbered teeth will represent one shed, and odd numbered teeth, the other. 

After weaving the preview on the comb at left, I decided to omit the motif in the center. 
The actual woven strap is shown at right. 

In this photo, with the woven comb laid on top of the woven strap, you can see how well the woven comb mimics the woven strap design.

The spacing on this comb is a bit wider, so the pattern is stretched out a bit from what the actual woven design is. 

I searched for the perfect comb with long and strong teeth. The comb used here is actually a vintage angelfood cake cutter. It's a little bit bigger than needed. 

My search finally led me to this hair pick, or Afro pick. I bought a large quantity to get a good price.
So, now they are for sale here in my Etsy shop: