July 2018: Convergence and Complex Weavers Seminars.

August 2, 2018

It was the gathering of the international weaving clan. Weavers came from around the world to attend Convergence organised by Hand weavers Guild of America (HGA) and then for a very focussed group of weavers, Complex Weavers Seminars at Reno, Nevada, USA. This was the first year they had been run at the same time for a number of years. It was great that I could again attend both easily as now it just took one return airfare.

Both were held at the Peppermill Resort, a very large casino and convention centre.

I arrived a few days before CW was due to start primarily so that I could check out Convergence and in particular the vendor hall and the exhibits. Here are some highlights from those first few days.

I came in the doors and saw all the traders. One did get used to the carpet. Large bold designs were typical of the over the top décor.

As well as ethnic collections, yarn, books, looms and all things textiles, there were two new pieces of equipment that took my eye and that I will mention.

TempoTreadle is a very neat electronic device and provides amongst other features a way of keeping track of shaft lifts for weaving sequences for a table loom. http://tempotreadle.com.

There’s a new loom out by AVL. It looks totally different to their past looms and functions like a countermarche.

Next door there were several exhibitions. I was in particular interested in those chosen for the fashion parade and the yardage exhibit and of course those that were hand woven. Congratulations go to all those who exhibited here and in outside venues. It is always interesting to see other’s textiles. Here’s a list of exhibitions listed in the gallery guide. I got to see them all.

City Lights, Festive Nights, the wearable art exhibit that was put up following the fashion parade. These are some of the winning entries. Each entry was accompanied by a handling piece.

First place: Mimi Anderson. Friday Night Fever:  4 colour double weave.

Second Place: Inge Dam with Manon Pelletier, Band of Northern Lights, Tablet bands integrated and woven with a 32 shaft twill.

Third Place and the Seattle Weavers Guild- Virginia Harvey Award for Color: Lillian Whipple with Sharon Bell, Red to Blue and Green All Over Jacket.

Here’s a general view of some of the exhibits showing how they were displayed.

 

 

Trukee River, the yardage exhibition was very accessible this time. In the past the exhibits had been hung above the heads of attendees often from a balcony. It was great being up close to the full length. Here are some selected pieces.

 

First place: Slip streams by Kathryn Arnoldin turned taquete.

Second place: Secrets in the Water, Dottie Weir, handwoven shibori on ice dyed warp fibre reactive dyes, discharge, overdyed with vat dyes.

Third place: Water is Life, Nancy Peterson, Handwoven crimped tencel with polyester sewing thread.

Complex Weavers Award: Tablet Woven Triptych John Mullarkey.

While this piece did not win an award, I was very excited and delighted to see that Joan Namkoong represented by two pieces. Both were delightful. However it was this piece that really made me stand still and think “Wow”.   Tapa (Hawaiian stamped bark cloth)  was woven in a 6 shaft satin on a drawloom. Joan had worked in my studio and it was there that she discovered drawloom weaving. She became hooked and went home and acquired her drawloom. No wonder I was excited to see this piece.

It was announced that Convergence in 2020 will be in Knoxville, Tennessee in the last part of July.

And then finally Complex Weavers Seminars began. It started with the exhibition opening of Complexity 2018: Innovations in Weaving. It was a great way to provide a very focused start.  I was honored to have been asked to jury it along with Janice Lessman-Moss (USA) and Jette Vandermeiden (Canada); a very international jury. The initial jurying was done on line using a five-foil Likert Scale in the Submittable format. It was a tough job as there were many fabulous entries. We scored them blind and from this score, the gallery staff selected the 27 works from 23 artists. Jette and I had the difficult though rewarding job of selecting the awards prior to the opening as we were both there. We also consider ourselves very fortunate as we could handle and check what was on the back of the pieces: a very decided benefit! Complexity was hung in Metro Gallery in the City Hall. Many people got to see it purely because of its location. This is what it looked like with an early crowd at the Opening.

For a Gallery guide and the list of awards and winners go to http://www.complex-weavers.org/gallery/complexity-2018/  This will provide a much better way of viewing the exhibit than I could ever provide here.

One of the wonderful benefits of Seminars is that there are many opportunities to meet other like- minded weavers and to catch up with fiends from around the world. Meals are held together. There are a wide range of events: an informal fashion parade, traders, the silent auction, meetings of study groups and of course, the seminars.

There were a wide variety of topics presented. I was honored to have been selected and I presented Ties: Decorative, Practical and Unconventional and absolutely delighted with the buzz after the presentation.

 

I must admit I don’t have too many images to share. I was just too busy having a great time.

There is an exciting publication that will soon be available. It celebrates the 40th anniversary of CW. After the fashion parade, those weavers who had a piece in the forthcoming book took the floor. There were many interesting pieces. I can’t wait to see it. It is now available for pre-sale on the website. http://www.complex-weavers.org

Here’s some of the weavers with work in the book.

One of the results that I will share here came from the meeting of the Double Harness Study Group.. I had co-chaired the meeting with Jette Vandermeiden. I’ll also mention that the Double Harness Study Group is the oldest study group in CW. It was the first one formed. It was very satisfying to see a very enthusiastic gathering and is encouraging for the future.

From the meeting came the request to share two loom modifications. That has already happened and I thought that this was also an opportunity to share those here. They had happened over a number of years. The first I did in 2011 and my original article was presented in the International Damask Newsletter in Winter, 2011. A simple conversion for a Glimakra loom with an Opphampta attachment.     Jette wrote up her development, a variation of mine for the same publication in Autumn 2012. However the modification didn’t end there. The final modification for both Jette and I came about when her engineering husband became interested. The result was Medusa. I’ll put both a separate page on my blog under “Looms and loom modifications” for future reference.

Good times, great learning were had by all. I’ll look forward to the next Seminars in 2020. The last hurrah: a celebration great times at CW Seminars 2018.

Forthcoming classes in my studio

3-7 September Double weave and friends

1-5 October Colour in weaving: colour and weave effects, shadow weave, echo weave and optical colour blending.

12-16 November Woven shibori

10- 14 December Special also includes beginning weaving

Forth Monday September – November inclusive. BYO Loom: work on your own project with a review on the following month.

Full details under Kay’s Weaving School on my blog.

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December 2017: a loom and a convenient treadle tie up method for countermarche looms

January 5, 2018

My daughter fosters dogs. Sometimes they arrive in a very poor condition and need much TLC. However you may well be asking what on earth does this have to do with weaving? I have been feeling as though I am duplicating what she does but with looms.

I was offered a loom. It had been acquired in a farm lot in western Queensland (possibly an estate sale). The new owners were fascinated by things old and mechanical and have quite a collection. It was stored adequately and for a number of years, off the ground yet under a house- a “Queenslander”. Its owners came to the realisation that it would be unrealistic for weaving to happen and so by various means, it ended up in my studio. Yes, I really couldn’t resist the challenge of bringing it back to good condition and weaving on it.

Amazingly, all the pieces were there. However it did have a fine covering of dirt and every hole was inhabited by mud put there by insects that thought they would be ideal homes. Somewhere along the way it suffered some water damage. Some string heddles could have walked being inhabited by “critters”. Those very quickly made it into the bin. But surprisingly there was the original instructions and they were in good condition. I was very pleased to note that none of the pieces had warped.

The mud homes were demolished, the wood washed down and oiled, the loom assembled. It went together beautifully. It’s an old Glimakra (countermarche action) and this loom is really a testament to the original craftsmanship in how well it weathered the passage of time. New cords installed, the loom balanced and now it works beautifully. Here it is in all its glory with a warp on and ready for students to weave on.

 

For some time now, I have been meaning to write up the system that I use to tie up the lams, shafts and treadles. So while I’m talking of fixing looms, this is an ideal opportunity to do so. I use this system on all my countermarche looms apart from the draw loom. Countermarche looms have advantages especially with regard to the great shed that can be obtained, but it does have the drawback of having to tie up every shaft that is used to every treadle: those that go up and those that go down. It is often enough to put people off weaving on these looms. I often hear weavers saying that it’s too hard to get under the loom to tie up all those treadles.

Commonly weavers use short and long cords according to whether shafts will be attached to upper or lower lams and swap them around according to what the shafts are required to do. Setting up a loom under this system does take time as each new project may require a different combination. Often it is inconvenient as all the adjusting is done beneath the treadle.

This system that I use is so very convenient. I never get under a loom any more. The cords are always in place, attached to a treadle and available for use whether the shafts go up or down. There’s no need to swap cords around….ever. I make adjustments from the top. It is simple and easy to use. Kati Meek wrote up a very detailed description in the latest Complex Weavers magazine (October 2017) and with a much appreciated acknowledgement to me. I would also like to acknowledge Kati for her input prompted some fine tuning of this system. As she says no man is an island and communication enables thinking. Here is a brief outline of what I do for those who don’t have access to that magazine.

This system of tying up treadles is done after the shafts are hung and attached to the lams. Systems vary according to looms. I will mention some generalisations in brief here. All adjustments should be made with the shafts locked in position and the eyes centred on a string that passes from the front to the back of the loom. The lams can have several positions ranging from both parallel to the floor to them being angled. Use what’s allows your loom to work best. This old loom required the bottom lam to be parallel with the top 5cm higher at the non-pivoting end. Once the shafts and lams are correctly positioned it is time to attach the treadles.

This image shows one treadle and will explain the basic principle. The texsolv cord is attached to the treadle and passes through the appropriate hole on the lower lam and then through the hole in the top lam. A knot is made so that the cord won’t fall through. The treadle is permanently attached and no adjustment is made at that end. I can’t give you a specific measurement for each cord for every loom as each loom is different. As a general guide, the height is to nearly the bottom of the shaft including the extra length that is required to make a knot and whatever method is used to attach to the treadle.

The cords are pegged from the top down: above the lower or upper lam according to requirements. As these cords never move, the optimum position can be marked, so it is a simple matter to put the peg in and know that no further adjusting is required. I leave the pegs in the end of the unused cords so that they are always there. If you look carefully at the unused cords on the right you can see the white plastic pegs.

 

The length of the cord has to accommodate the treadle being on the ground (not used) and the movement of the upper lam as the shafts go up. It should never restrict the movement of the shafts. Note that while one shaft is raised, those that aren’t being used have some slack.

Every shaft on every treadle will have one of these. So for a 10 treadle, 8 shaft loom, 80 cords will be required. Yes this is a lot of cord.

Does each cord need to be the same length? Can I save on the quantity of cord required? With care some fine tuning of length can be made. The treadle that will require the most is the one furthest away from the pivot point. The hole on that treadle that requires the most is the front if the treadles are mounted from the back. In reality I would suggest that for each treadle the cord length is the same. However, I often make each treadle’s cords a different length according to the position of the treadle. Experiment if quantity of yarn is a concern.

One of the factors influencing cord length is the method of attaching it to the treadle. This diagram that I found in a texsolv booklet shows methods of using the cord. Diagram B is the neatest to use but requires more cord. Alternatively diagram C may be used. Another alternative is to peg under the treadle or even use knitting needles. This of course will use less cord.  My aim is always to achieve a result of not having cord accumulating under a treadle and collecting dust. So if I use the latter methods, I will also use a knitting needle above the treadle to keep the cord from dropping down.

The following image shows an 8 shaft loom with its full complement of cords. Yes, every treadle will require 8 cords. So in this case of a 10 treadle loom and 8 shafts, 80 cords will be required.This is a lot of cord. But this is certainly outweighed by the convenience of never having to get under the loom again. Note the use of knitting needles. You will also note that not all shafts are currently tied up. Sometimes you will not use all the shafts for every project. As this loom is regularly used for different 8 shaft projects, this is how it remains with its full compliment of cords. You’ll notice that in this case only 5 treadles are being used. I will space the treadles to make it easier to put my foot on just one treadle and not the one beside it. It also saves hitting my ankles.

 

 

Sometimes an 8 shaft loom will be used for a run of projects using  a fewer number of shafts. In this case there is an option of removing shafts, treadles and lams. It makes for less clutter down there. The rescued loom has the potential to be a 10 shaft loom. I have only set it up with 6 treadles for a 4 shaft configuration. Do I take the cords off the loom? Of course they do need to be removed from the lams so that they can be taken off the loom. If I wish to remove treadles, I will leave the cords in place and with the pegs attached. If each treadle has different lengths of cords due to their position in the loom, I will number the shafts underneath so that they go back to the appropriate position.

The only loom where I don’t use this system is my draw loom and that is because usually only two cords are used for each treadle. I can deal with retying treadles in this case. However I always use long cords that can be interchangeable.

However for all my other countermarche looms this system has sure made my life easier.