HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!

Today is my birthday, so it’s as good a time as ever to start this thing.  To give you  some background:  I started kindergarten during the Eisenhower administration (who’s that, you say!), I live in Memphis, and I am a professional weaver and weaving instructor.  First thought as I woke up this morning was trying to remember the name of a tune that kept playing in my head.  I finally realized that it was Glenn Miller’s Moonlight Serenade. So it really is  the beginning of the end.  My husband’s first words to me today were “Well you’re still alive!” and I responded by telling him that I had to check today’s obituaries first to see if this was some kind of cruel hoax of an afterlife.  Well, at least I’m not dependent on a laxative yet, and I have all but three of my original teeth.

So as a birthday gift to myself and to share with you, here is a slide show of my current weaving project — a bamboo kimono woven in an 8 harness shadow weave adapted from Marian Powell’s 1000 (+) Patterns in 4, 6 and 8 Harness Shadow Weaves. Warp and weft are  Bambu 7 available from Woodland Woolworks. The kimono will be part of an exhibit scheduled for February 2009 at the Shainberg Gallery of the Memphis Jewish Community Center.

winding a warp of 5 1/2 yards of 312 ends bamboo yarn on a warping reel

#1 winding a warp of 5 1/2 yards of 312 ends bamboo yarn on a warping reel

Detail of warp chain after completion of winding on warping reel.  Note use of "pony poppers" as choke ties.

#2 Detail of warp chain after it is taken off the warping reel. Note use of "pony poppers" as choke ties.

Warp is wrapped around breast beam in preparation of sleying dents. Loom is dressed from front to back in this case.

#3 Wound warp is wrapped around breast beam in preparation of sleying dents. Loom is dressed from front to back in this case.

Winding order of ends are preserved in a cross to maintain the correct order of threads.

#4 Winding order of ends are preserved in a cross to maintain the correct order of threads before sleying.

Each thread or end was "sleyed" into a dent of the reed.  Hook used for sleying is displayed on top of beater.

#5 Each thread or end was "sleyed" into a dent of the reed. Hook used for sleying is displayed on top of beater.

Each thread is then threaded through the individual eyes of the "heddles" from the back of the loom.  The small end of the sley hook is used for this threading process.

#6 Each thread is then threaded through the individual eyes of the "heddles" from the back of the loom. The small end of the sley hook is used for this threading process.

Ends of the warp are tied to the apron bar at the back of the loom.

#7 Ends of the warp are tied to the apron bar at the back of the loom.

Warp is wound onto the back beam using a roll of wallpaper between layers to maintain tension.

#8 Warp is wound onto the back beam using a roll of wallpaper between layers to maintain tension.

After the entire warp is wound onto the back beam, the front of the warp hangs loosely from the reed at the front of the loom

#9 After the entire warp is wound onto the back beam, the front of the warp hangs loosely from the reed at the front of the loom

Front ends of the warp are cut and tied onto the front apron bar.

#10 Front ends of the warp are cut and tied onto the front apron bar.

Foot treadles are tied up to the correct sequence of harnesses which hold the heddles.  There are 8 harnesses and 10 treadles on this loom.

#11 Foot treadles are tied up to the correct sequence of harnesses which hold the heddles. There are 8 harnesses and 10 treadles on this loom.

A header of "junk yarn" is woven to even out the warp threads and prepare for weaving.

#12 A header of "junk yarn" is woven to even out the warp threads and prepare for weaving.

Using two shuttles of alternating colors, the weaving has begun to show the design of the shadow weave pattern.

#13 Using two shuttles of alternating colors, the weaving has begun to show the design of the shadow weave pattern.

The kimono pattern is based on one in Anita Mayer’s   book, Clothing from the Hands that Weave. At a later point in the weaving, I will weave a collar in a different pattern alongside the body of the kimono fabric.  I will post the continuation of this project and some other projects I am working on.  So please do check back.  In the meantime, Happy Birthday to all of us who have made it this far!

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