Saturday, January 20, 2007

Computer Design Workshop

My local guild has very few weekend workshops. I've signed up for several only to have them cancelled for lack of participants. They have had several week night programs that sounded interesting but due to school responsibilities I couldn't go. So when Leigh and Karen started talking about this Online Guild I was psyched. There's a different workshop each month - I'm pumped and ready to sign up for them all!

If you've read other members' blogs you probably already know that Leigh is running this month's Computer Design Workshop. She provided us with three sample pictures which we were to modify using the capabilities of photo editors. She provided several online editors and freeware links, but since I have Photoshop I wanted to explore its abilities. You can get really caught up in this. My hand, wrist, and elbow haven't hurt this bad since I finished my thesis! But once I started I couldn't stop. I added, subtracted, and modified each filter so many times my head was spinning. I tried to keep track of what I was doing but many times I forgot to note what was done. There are so many tricks in Photoshop that I wouldn't be surprised that there is some way you can see what was done - like the way you can tell what camera and settings were used to take a photo. So here's what I did, with as many notes I can can dig out of this muddled brain.

Sample 1

I rotated the image, then used a series of filters under the Blur (motion and radial) and Distort (glass, spherize, twirl) menus.

This was after only a few filters were applied and I wasn't very impressed.

This reminded me of some of the low water immersion dyeing I did a few years ago. I liked the results and it inspired me to think about dyeing more fabric, but I was looking for something more.

Sample 2

I thought this image was very uninspiring - that is until I started playing with the filters.


I left the orientation the same and started applying blurs, swirls, etc. Finally I focused on an area in which the colors spoke to me. I selected a spot that was probably about 1/6 of the original image. I then used the patchwork filter. I could have played with the filter exclusively and not run out of new ideas. In Photoshop it is under the Filters/Texture menu. You can choose the size of the square (1-10) and the relief (1-20). While the literal inspiration would naturally be for patchwork I wasn't thinking so much as using these exact patches but more for layout purposes. I also could use it as a jumping off point for warp painting.

Sample 3


There were some amazing things done with this sample by some of the other members using the Brush Strokes filters.

I rotated it 90° clockwise and used more of the Texture filters, Craquelure and Grain - maybe others. Anyone thinking Shibori?


I cut vertical and horizontal pieces and pasted into a new image. I was trying to make it look woven by moving sections forward and back, but I think that would have necessitated too many layers and too many brain cells!

My Design

Maybe it was because several weaving lists were discussing crackle or maybe it was because I couldn't get the name of one of the texture filters - CRAQUELURE - out of my mind but I decided to that sample 2 would be a good inspiration for my first attempt at crackle.

I pulled out A Handweaver's Pattern Book, A Weaver's Book of 8-Shaft Patterns, and Mastering Weave Structures. I settled on a draft from Mastering Weave Structures.

Then I went into Photoshop and picked up colors using the eyedropper tool and found the RGB settings. I then went into Fiberworks and used those colors for the light and dark pattern weft, which remains constant, and the light and dark warp, which changes.

This isn't predictive of the outcome because I couldn't figure out how to make the tabby a thinner thread. Fiberworks lets you choose thickness for weft but as far as I could tell only for two pattern wefts. My plan is to use 10/2 for the warp and pattern weft and black 20/2 for the tabby weft. I have some silk but I don't think I want to use this as it's still pretty much a learning experience. I'm also thinking that rather than use solid colors for the warp I might paint two or three combinations of light and dark using these colors for inspiration.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


I reknit Calorimetry and just in time as winter seems to finally be making an appearance around here. After several record breaking highs over the past few weeks it was actually cold this morning.

I used handspun from some of the first roving I dyed in the oven roaster. I cast on 80 stitches instead of 120 and recalculated the short rows by the same percentage. This one fits like a charm!

I had about 250 yards and I was able to make the hat, a pair of mittens, and I'm using the rest for a narrow scarf. We'll see how long it is.

After seeing what Leigh and Karen were creating with the Online Guild, I signed up and began working on Leigh's Computer Design Workshop. I'm starting to explore the filters on Photoshop and have come up with some pleasing results. More about that in my next entry.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Surprise! Surprise!

Last August, before the s**t hit the fan, I ran to my local weaving shop to pick up some cotton rug warp and 5/2 perle to use for my boundweave sampler. Finally the loom is warped and ready to go. I watched the tape again and I'm ready to color in my worksheet. I ran downstairs to see what colors I bought. Lo and behold there's else wrapped up inside the bag -- a Schacht double bobbin boat shuttle. The good thing about being so forgetful is that it's like getting a present for no reason!

As I've said before, I'm using Nancy Hoskin's video but then I remembered I'd picked up a book at Creative Strands a few years back. For my second surprise I picked up the book and found that it was always by Nancy Hoskins! Using the two I hope to learn the basics and then some.

There are two pieces of posterboard placed in two sheds. She instructs you to tape the cardboard to the warp to keep it from pulling in at the beginning.

After weaving an inch in a solid color you pull out the cardboard and hemstitch using the knot stitch.

Here are the first two bands. There is one more upside down and then three more right side up for the first sampler. She designs it that way so that you can fold it in half for a little purse or bag.

The warp is 8/4 white rug warp, the weft is 5/2 perle cotton. I might also try using two ends 10/2 so that I have more color options. I have lots of small amounts left after the gamp. Green leaves and stems would be nice.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

To The Sea!

I'm quite secure in following my own path as I traverse through life, but show me a new tool, pattern, or book and my lemming tendencies shine right through!

I read that Carolyn wants to make Amy Butler's High Street Messenger Bag. Done. Pattern came yesterday. I'm not going to use it for my laptop though. I have a very cool backpack that also has a sling pouch for my laptop. What I need is a bag that will hold all the stuff I need when I'm taking care of my mom. Cell phone charger, iPod, etc. This is going to the head of the list.

When I heard someone mention micro-macram�n one of the DIY shows a couple of months ago I didn't think much of it, but then I saw Maus' new earrings. Before I could stop myself I was ordering the Joan Babcock's Micro-Macram�ewelry and Sherri Haab's Beaded Macram�ewelry. I quick order for some C-Lon and I should be in business by next weekend.

On one of my drives through blogland I saw a hat that I might actually wear. So I grabbed some handspun and started knitting Calorimetry. Since I have an absolutely huge head I tend to knit hats on the big side. Several years ago I posted this picture of a hat I crocheted for my sister (about 10 at the time). This was no exception. It's supposed to stretch out and meet at the nape of the neck with a button closure.

That's about an 11" overlap there folks.

Is anyone else thinking Mick Jagger??

But I really loved the way a rather blah ball of yarn knitted in this shortrow pattern, so I ripped it out and started over. I kept the size 8 needles which I felt produced a nice fabric. I cast on 80 stitches and short rowed until I had 28 in the center and 26 on each side. This fits perfectly but I couldn't get a picture with my cellphone so it will have to wait until I'm back from my mom's.

I finished another necklace yesterday. This was my own design. I did a base row and then three rows of scallops.

After the second row I was worried that it would be to ruffled but once I started on the third pass it started to look good.

I was going to do a square stitch across the base row but that distorted the neckline.

So I ended up going through the first row again for strength and added a pewter bead which stick ups a bit and looks rather like picot.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Out with the OId - In with the New

I rang out the old year finishing up some projects. The three ply grey corrie is finally done. This is for an all natural wool Faroe style cardigan. Next up will be the chocolate brown - unless I take a short break for some more colorful spinning!

I also finished the twill placemats using 4/4 cotton. Leigh asked if this was the same as Sugar and Creme. This was called Peaches and Creme but it's the same thing, the heavy cotton that people use to knit dishcloths. I got 8 placemats from one cone of ecru for the warp and about .75# of the variegated for the weft. I was very pleased with the way the washed up. They make a nice heavy mat. I've heard people say they've used this for baby blankets, but it seems a little heavy to me.

I tried several different means of reserving space for the fringe - strips of plastic grocery bags, and strips of posterboard. I was going to try some rags or doubling up the weft but ended up sticking with the bags.

I used a three-step zig zag and sewed along each side with the bags still in. Then I pulled out the strips. If I hit it with a stitch or two the plastic ripped very conveniently and pulled right out.

Placing my hands on each mat and pulling gently for tension I ran a second row of zig zag down each one. This is when I realized I should have done a few rows of tabby as a header.

I was able to use the same piece of string for each mat keeping the finished mats within 1/4" of each other. After washing they look identical.

These were sett 10 epi, 140 ends and woven to 19.5". They came off the loom at 11.5" x 17.5" and shrunk very little (less than 1/2"), which really surprised me. I will use this heavy cotton again, but the next time I am going to use a tabby header and a hem. When I weave towels I weave the turned under portion of the hem with sewing thread. For these placemats I'd use 8/2 or 8/4 to reduce some of the bulk.

New beading: I'm trying my hand at designing my next necklace. It's pewter and copper metallic seed beads.

New weaving: Boundweave! I put on a 10" wide warp of white rug warp and I'll be following along with Nancy Hoskin's video.