Saturday, January 30, 2010

FingerWeaving on yahoo groups

(picture:chevron band, fingerweaving)

New group: Fingerweaving on yahoogroups

This group is primarily for discussion of finger weaving, an old string craft that is used to make sashes, belts, bands, bags, and other items. Also known as Indian braiding.

People are invited to share information about finger weaving both modern and historical. There are other groups where discussion includes finger weaving, but finger weaving will be the primary focus of this group. Discussion of finger knitting and finger looping is also allowed.

Advertising is limited to finger weaving related items and is allowed on any day.

Anyone can read the archive but has to join the group to post messages.

Come visit today!

Have a good day!
Franco Rios
Listowner, Fingerweaving on yahoogroups

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Techniques of Sprang

It came in the mail today! The Techniques of Sprang by Peter Collingwood!

It was offered to me by email and I bought it for $15. It's in great condition.

I can see why everybody says I need this. This book is a textbook on sprang. There is 300 pages and most every other page has a chart or diagram on it explaining this or that aspect of sprang.

I'm going to be reading on the bus for a while.

Have a good day!

Clipboard Loom - First band finished

(click pics for larger image)
Here is the first finished band, 18 inch long, about 5/8 to 3/4 inch wide, using 17 wpi cotton thread. The upper part of the band in the picture shows where I began, just fooling around and the lower part is when I figured out the warp floats. To finish off the band I kind of did a loop back through the band.

Here I put the weft through, then put a crosstitch needle in the shed, then closed it and put the next pick through.

I cut the thread, put through the needle eye.

Then I pulled the weft through the band. I'll trim the thread at the band edge and may use some "fray-check" type of glue to hold the ends when I start making bookmarks with this loom.

Have a good day!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Clipboard Loom update

The clipboard loom passed its public transit test. I've been weaving on the bus/train to and from work.

(click on picture for larger image)

Here is my loom. I've stuck a copy of the pickup technique instructions between the front and back warp to help keep things separate. I use a large re-closable plastic bag to contain the loom before I stuff it into my book bag. There's enough room for a pair of scissors too.

Here is the back of the loom with the paper removed. As weaving progresses I can slide the warp down and around the loom. As you can see, the patterns are two sided on the band with colors reversed on each side. You can see where I first started not doing too well, then the little light in my brain turns on and the pattern starts getting organized.

You can also see what happens when you choose a weft color that is not the same as the border color, all the outer weft turns are easily seen. Using a matching color would be less noticeable.

One more note. I made the loom 13 inch long which is the longest size for my book bag. I will make the next loom 12 inch to make it a little easier to stuff in the bag.

Have a good day!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Clipboard Loom - Toba Sash Inspired

NOTE: Dr. Carol Ventura, Professor of Art, has created a wonderful website with dozens of articles and hundreds of pictures.

When I saw the article "Sashes of the TOBAS of ARGENTINA" showing how to weave with warp floats on a small frame loom, I knew that would be part of the fiber adventure.

(click pictures for larger image)

Seeing the loom diagrammed by Carol V., I thought of a clipboard. I found a hefty legal size one for 99 cents at a thrift store. About 9 inch by 15 inch.

I cut it down to 13 inch so it would fit in my book bag. Using a fret saw is easy and I can cut curves.

With a drill larger than the rivets, I drilled out the rivets holding the spring clip so it can be removed.

I marked a two inch border, drilled holes in the corners, put the saw blade through the holes, and cut along the lines to open the center of the board.

Board is cut, extra holes are to tie on the dowels. All cut edges were sanded smooth.

As I weave the band will get tight on the loom. The plan is to remove a dowel to create some slack so I can manipulate the band. I read that somewhere on the internet.

Here is the band warped up on the loom.

So far, so good. The simple frame loom is working with a string heddle and shed stick. I'm using a plastic debit card with notches cut as a shuttle and beater.

Have a good day!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Sprang - first bag

Here's the finished bag. I used string to sew up the sides. I think I'll leave the sticks in before sewing next time because I couldn't keep track of the outside cords. The drawstring cord is braided from red & white string. I did not chain loop the bottom, instead I put a string through it.

The real test of a bag is to put something into it. The bag failed. The mesh was too loose to hold and oranges fell through.

So next time I think I'll use pencils again, but I'll tighten up the twist. If that doesn't get it, I'll try chopsticks again but make it more loose.

Have a good day!

Sprang - chopsticks and pencils

I've been using chopsticks to keep my spacing in the sprang and it is just not working for me. The web is so tight that I can't stretch the 3 inch wide band more than 4-1/2 inch wide as shown above.

So on the recommendations of the people on the yahoo Sprang_List I tried using pencils and leaving them in to keep the spacing. This looks better.

See how the web is now spreading out almost 11 inches wide!

A couple of tips: Top of the frame I used a doubled up string to tie up the upper dowel. I wrapped it twice around and tied with a shoe lace knot. Wrapping it twice around makes it easier to cinch up and tie up since the double wraps makes a mechanical advantage similar to a pulley. I can quickly tighten or loosen as needed.

The other tip is to look at the back of the sprang. Here we can easily see the two blue strings I missed on my last row. In weaving these are called "floats", but I did not want this to happen. More later.

Have a good day!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Salmon in classrooms in my corner of the world

Salmon are a native fish in California. They hatch from eggs in creeks and swim down to the river, then out to the ocean. There they grow for a couple of years and return to the river where they were born.

My lovely wife is an elementary school teacher (5th grade) and her classroom is designated to receive eggs from the "Trout/Salmon in the Classroom" program. She has a special refrigerated fish tank provided by the fishing sport association and the fish eggs are provided by the Dept of Fish and Game.

The classroom received 30 eggs, which all hatched and after several weeks, there were 30 fish almost an inch long that needed to go to the river. Since the fish eggs are from the Feather River which feeds into the Sacramento River, we had to drive the fish to the Sacramento River (about 10 miles) to be released.

This is the boat ramp at Discovery Park leading to the Sacramento River. It's almost dusk, the sun is going down.

This is the little traveling tank with 30 of the one inch long salmon.

Here they go, hopefully to grow big and strong, then return to spawn and lay eggs for more fish.

This is the first time the classroom has received salmon eggs. Usually they receive Steelhead trout eggs from the river close to our house, the American river, and the children get to go on a little field trip to release the fish.

It's harder to get permission to go to the Sacramento River, so we had to take the fish ourselves.

So that's another little piece of life in my corner of the world.

Have a good day!
Franco Rios
Sacramento, Calif.

edited to correct: We released salmon into the river. The steelhead trout eggs are coming in February.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sprang in color

I'm ready to start working on larger sprang. I pulled this wooden frame out of the garage to use for sprang. It measures 11-1/2 inch between the sides and is 30 inch overall. It part of an old laundry hamper that I took apart to use as a frame loom. I tied on the dowels at 23 inch apart.
(click on pictures for larger image)

I warped up with red, white, and blue cotton yarn because I'm tired of using white yarn. This is for practice. I'm going to comb this out and start over. Look at the upper right there is a string that got away and is not attached to the web for three rows.

There is the whole frame. As you can see at the bottom, I was trying to make horizontal stripes, but the webbing is not forming correctly. I found that using chopsticks, dowels, and a safety string are very good for holding my place as I try to figure out what the heck I did!

I'm getting encouragement and advice from the people on the new Sprang_List on yahoogroups.

Have a good day!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Autumn/Taupe Scarf Finished

Here it is! (click on picture for larger image) 80 inch long including 3 long fringe, 4-1/4 inch wide. Loom is a Schacht Cricket. The horizontal stripe pattern carried all the way through even as the warp colors changed from the variegated yarn. When I am weaving I am focused on a small section of the piece, so I was pleasantly suprised with how well the color changes worked in the complete piece. No so much because I'm good, but because the yarn designer did a good job with the color changes.

When I set up the warp, I took advantage of the placement of the 9 inch long yellow sections in the yarn. I made sure I had yellow in the fringe area on each end of the scarf. So I was able to braid yellow with a contrasting color for the end treatment.

I braided the scarf on the loom, it's just easier to control things that way. After cutting, braiding the first end, remove the heddle then wind the scarf onto the beam to get back to the beginning. Then cut, braid and finish the second end.

The color and horizontal stripe pattern has a "native" feel to it so I thought braids would look better than twisted fringe. The fringe looks good, I need more practice to make the ends even. 3 inch long, knotted, then trim yarn 1/4 inch.

To see first part of this scarf project see Autumn/Taupe Narrow Scarf

Have a good day!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Autumn/Taupe Narrow Scarf on Cricket

Using variegated color yarns gives a chance to embellish plainweave items with changing colors with a minimum of fuss. Usually I combine a solid color warp with variegated weft to get stripes. But I wanted to experiment with variegated warp. My first experiment went well with a black/grey warp and weft (scarf shown earlier).

(click picture for larger view)
Here is a yarn I had. Vanna's Choice (VC) acrylic color called Autumn Print. I wanted to try it as warp with a solid weft, VC acrylic solid color Taupe. I stretched it between two chairs and soon found the color pattern repeats at about 198 inches. These chairs are 99 inch part so once around is one color pattern then it repeats. So that is my warp length, 99 inch from back beam to warping peg. So I warped it and wound it on the beam.

If you notice, all the colors on one side are met with a different color on the other side. So I thought I would arrange the warp for thin warp stripes on the heddle.

Red=Light, Taupe=Dark, LL DD LL DD LL DD LL DD LL all the way across.

When I started weaving with the taupe weft, I had this piece that to me looked very mud colored. I didn't like it. I un-wove it and strung the heddle differently.

This time I put the center warps in a horizontal stripe pattern by warping


I left two sets of stripes on the outsides for borders (LL DD LL DD)

This time the color is spread out over the whole width of the scarf. I also made it more warp faced by intentionally pulling the width closer. It's warped about 5 1/2 inch, I'm weaving about 4 1/4 inch wide. Since this is too narrow to beat with the heddle, I'm using a ruler to beat the weft and check my width. I'm making this 10 dent heddle piece into a 12 dent heddle piece. Next time I'll start with a 12 dent heddle.

I like this look a lot better. It should be finished in a couple more days.

Have a good day!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New Sprang list on yahoogroups

There is a new group for discusssion of Sprang, a string craft of interlocking warp used to create webbing for sashes, bags, hairnets, hammocks and more.

Go to yahoo groups to sign up

You are invited to join and share information about sprang both modern and historical.

Note: There is another older Sprang group on yahoo, but it appears to have gone dormant. Hence, the new list.

Have a good day!
Franco Rios, listowner Sprang_List