Saturday, August 20, 2011

Tip Toe Through the "Mind" Field

  Warning:  this blog has lots of bits and pieces...projects underway and assorted thoughts!

  So....last Saturday, Joanna at Frigga's Loom wanted to know what I meant by "throwing handles" on my tote bags.  Through trial and error, I have hit on this method for making strong, sturdy, attractive handles on my tote bags.
  After I weave the header (which will be the side of the tote bag) and the first section of my bag, I throw four separate cords (mop cord or fabric strips) that have been centered to the middle of the piece.  (These cords are 4 times the width of the warp in the reed.)  I just leave these hanging for a bit while I go back to weaving the center of the bag with my fabric strips.  This way I know that the mop cord is locked in good and tight!  Now I'm ready to braid my handles.  I use a four strand round braid.....I like the way it looks and feels....just a personal preference.  I have found that a 28 inch handle works very well.  I do this on both sides of the piece and just clip them until I'm ready to weave them back into the tote.  After the middle section is woven, I take one strand from each side and weave them back into the tote.  I overlap the cords a little bit and cut off any extra so there won't be a lot of bulk.  I also try to stagger where they meet.....I don't want a lot of build-up in one area. 

  Each strand of the braid is woven back into the bag, meeting it's partner in the middle, and then the last section of the bag is woven along with the last side section.  In this picture, you can see the handles from the two previous totes wrapping around the cloth beam.  You need to make sure that they don't get UNDER the tote bag as it goes around the beam.  And, it works well if you tuck each handle under itself so that it doesn't tangle.
  I hope this answers the question....sorry I was a bit long winded!!!!

  This is the newest small tote on the cappuccino warp.  This is actually a medium weight plaid fabric that I cut into 1/2 inch strips.....and it's weaving up to make a zig-zag pattern on the tote.  I'm always amazed when I'm weaving and these lovely little patterns pop up.  Fun, fun, fun!!!!

  And, here we have a new use for a butter churn!!! 
  They had a survey on Handwoven Today about favorite weaving tools and one about favorite weaving stores.  As for tools that aren't really tools, this churn holds large spools of thread very nicely, thank you!  And, since it's sitting there, it might as well help out!
  We were laughing at the Center on Tuesday that Home Depot and Lowe's are great weaving supply stores!!!!  (When I first started weaving, the man at Home Depot called me the Stick Lady!)  If they would start carrying Texsolv it would really be a one stop shop!!!!  And, I'm a regular at the Salvation Army/Goodwill Thrift Store.  I can usually find blinds, buttons, and novelty yarn!!!! is Pickle Day at my sister and I put the cucumbers in the crock with all the spices one month ago, and today is THE DAY.  Keep your fingers crossed for us! 

Happy Weaving!



Bonnie said...

You have become the official tote, "bag lady".

Linda said...

I really like the pattern of arrows on the latest tote bag. That is really neat!

Whenever I go to a home improvement store of a loom part they always ask, "What are you going to use it for?" When I tell them a weaving loom I get a blank look. At least there is one hardware store around here that doesn't bat an eye when I tell them.

Maggie said...

I tried pickles that way once, but I think the cheese room being next door encouraged the big pile of grey fur that accumulated on top. Good luck with yours!
Thanks for the explanation of the handles. I don't always pay attention to what's being done next to me, and it's good to have the full details.

Tina J said...

Looking good Lou Ann. I too love the zig zag pattern that is developing on that latest tote bag. You just never know what it is going to look like, do you!

Anonymous said...

I took a photo of your bags, on & off the loom, but these written instructions are great. My mouth is watering thinking about those pickles. There was often a bubbly crock in the corner of our kitchen growing up. yum. ~Marta in SF