While I and my family were soaking up the sun and splashing in the water at the Lake House, my daughter proposed that we work on a fiber project together. The family lake house, which was built in the 1950s, contains random pieces of furniture and what nots from several decades. The object of attention is a floor lamp with a silk shade that had disintegrated completely. Used in its present condition, the unshaded light got into everyone’s eyes. She thought we could solve this problem.
Of course, the Lake House Challenge is to make it work with limited materials and tools. After a bit of brainstorming, during which we rejected piecing panels together and shirring or gathering fabric, we came up with a weaving concept. We had on hand a few bed sheets and a ball of cotton blend yarn.
Fortunately, Daughter had brought her sewing machine.
I took on the task of warping the yarn over the lamp shade frame and she hemmed and turned the strips of white sheet. They were about 2 inches wide. We thought we would need six rounds. Here is the shade with the warp in place and the first round of weft weaving.
It took a few days because it was possible to work only while the baby was sleeping. She sewed together the two ends of each strip and trimmed up the yarn.
We agreed that it was pleasing to the eye in a bohemian kind of way.
I finished up the weaving on the button loom yesterday. Today I spent a fair amount of time making a backdrop for the weaving. I used silk triangles.
After sewing together enough triangles to cover the frame backing, I attached the silk to the backing with spray adhesive. In retrospect, I should have used non-woven interfacing behind the silk before attaching it. Wrinkling was a problem.
And here is the finished object. I call it Escape from the Tower. In case you are wondering about the story behind the title, rest assured that everyone was able to get out. It’s fortunate that the artist thought to attach a coppery rope to the tower. Those on the top floors used it to get to safety by rappelling down the wall.
So I have been weaving on the button loom for the past two days. I thought that I would have finished today, but it is not to be. I did take of photo of my progress after the first day of weaving:
After day one, I was happy with the way the piece looks. I chose a color scheme of dark red, turquoise, pale blue and ivory white. It seems to go well with the black frame and the brass and silver buttons. The weaving pattern is pretty basic, but I did use a basket weave effect with the white yarn, to show off some of the warp threads.
If all goes well, I will have a finished object for you by tomorrow.
When thinking about all things fiber, I occasionally ponder the role of objects associated with fiber. Buttons come to mind very quickly. Who doesn’t have a handful (or jarful) of these tiny essentials? While they are often mundane adjuncts to your cardigans, coats and jeans, is it possible for buttons to step out of the ordinary? Let’s make something that gives them a stellar role. I am designing and building a button loom. This loom won’t handle the work of any serious weaver. But it can hold the warp threads for a modest tapestry. If positioned artistically, the buttons can become a key design element of the finished object.
Among my collection, I have two dozen metal shank buttons that were saved from various worn-out blazers and jackets.
If I sew them very close together on sturdy upholstery fabric, and then wrap the fabric around a wooden frame, it could start to become a loom.
The button-covered fabric rectangles were wrapped around the short sides of the black frame and stapled in place. I used the glue to prevent fraying.
Here is my finished frame with warp threads in place. I have used cotton and acrylic yarns for the warp, pulling and tying them together at the lower edge of frame.
I’m staring at this really ugly wire basket which has been pressed into use in my studio. You may know the kind – available through Container Store. While it is commodious, it isn’t pretty.
Poking around in my linen closet, I identified several cotton woven placemats that are refugees from the eighties. We really liked these colors back then – peach, mint green, mauve and pale blue. They haven’t seen the light of day since I moved them sixteen years ago to our present home.
I decided that the wire which ran the length of the basket would be the warp, and the cut-up placemats will be the weft. The opening between wires are 1 and 1/4 inch.
I cut up the placemats parallel to the warp, and across the weft. It is my hope that the full-length warp threads will keep the strips from fraying. I sewed two strips together so that they stretch down both sides and across the bottom of the basket. Here is the color sequence that I settled on:
After a bit of sewing and weaving, my new Boho-style basket is finished. Here it is, put into service holding yarn:
I like this . And it feels good to re-cycle stuff that’s just taking up space in a closet. However, I must admit to you, dear reader, that this project produced a bunch of lint!