Today, for Show and Tell

IMG_3789“Now, Kerry, it’s your turn. What did you bring for Show and Tell?”

Show and Tell? I loved Show and Tell!! Showing off was disapproved of at our house when I was a kid but, once in awhile, at school, we were allowed—nay, encouraged—to show off. At those times, showing off was an officially sanctioned event.

Some days I feel like I’m using my blog the same way—as an opportunity to show off a little, under the guise of waxing rhapsodic about all things handmade.

And today is one of those days!

I’ve already gotten a lot of blog miles out of my green striped dishtowels. You’ve all been so patient and attentive in the past, that I’m trotting them out one more time. They’re finally finished, hemmed and everything, and I’ve taken the glamour shots.

These were the towels that got me so excited because I was able to weave four different patterns after threading the loom just once. It doesn’t take all that much to make a new weaver happy!IMG_3790

At the end, when I had the three planned towels done, I changed the weft (horizontal thread) color from off-white to green. Again, this changed the look of the patterns hugely.IMG_3784

I also tried hemstitching for the first time. This is a finishing technique that is done while the fabric is still on the loom. The effect is neat and tidy, and reminiscent of the vintage linens I handle all the time. I’ll be using it a lot!IMG_3788

The towels aren’t perfect, of course. They are too small for my taste and I did the hems on the sewing machine and I still haven’t reached détente with my sewing machine.

But, they have far fewer mistakes than the last set of towels I made, I tried some new techniques, and I got a sense the possibilities on my little four-harness loom. It’s all good!

Sigh. Show and Tell is over for today. Now it’s time for Reading Circle and Arithmetic . . . and recess! I loved recess!

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The Unbearable Coolness of Weaving

IMG_3330Want to know something really cool about weaving?

You can do the hard work of setting up the loom once and get lots of very different- looking products out of it!

The long vertical, or warp, threads are set in one pattern of color and a base pattern that governs, to a certain extent, what you can do.

Just the warp threads

Just the warp threads

But depending on what you do with the horizontal, or weft, threads, you can get multiple looks, and they can be quite different from each other.

For instance, here’s the dishtowel I showed you a while ago. Green, brown and tan stripes in a herringbone pattern. Nice! The weft (horizontal) threads are all done in the tan thread.

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Herringbone

I finished the length I wanted for that towel and then decided to switch the way I was pressing the treadles of the loom. My second dishtowel looks like this:

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German Bird’s Eye

It still has the green, brown, and tan stripes running vertically. I’m still using the tan thread for the horizontal weft. But now I have a bird’s eye pattern! How cool is that?

In fact, if you look carefully, you can see that, in between the first pattern and the second, there’s another simpler variation. I wove that in as a section I can cut and hem when I’m done, but I think it’s attractive in its own right.

A third, ridged, pattern at the bottom of this photo

A third, ridged, pattern at the bottom of this photo

I should also point out that, if I changed the color of the warp (horizontal) thread from tan to, say, dark green, the look would change dramatically again!

All told, there are five different patterns that can be achieved this threading of the loom, called German Bird’s Eye. I expect to do at least one more of them for the third dishtowel on this warp. Maybe I’ll change the color of the warp thread, too!

I think you know that I won’t be able to resist showing them all to you when I’m done!