Big loom decisions and messing around with color

With #studiofridays in full swing now, I have loom decisions to make.

On my first Friday of the year, I warped my Leclerc loom. To be honest, I don’t have a concrete plan for what to weave on this loom. I do have a consultation client who just purchased one and had some questions about warping. So I cut off the two holiday pieces you can see on it here and set about putting a useable warp on it.

Years ago I had warped the loom all the way across with a fairly long warp and I realized after I cut off the holiday pieces that much of that warp was still useable in large portions. It is true that I had lost the cross on the warp so getting it fairly orderly again was not easy, but with the help of a 60 inch reed from Schacht, I managed to get weavable warps tied up again.

I have a few ideas of things I want to try and mostly intend this loom to act as a practice loom. It is a great place to experiment with color combinations, techniques, and small pieces. Plus diving into loom warping on the first Studio Friday of the year seemed like a good way to get started.

It is also a great place to practice my finger picking. I started tapestry weaving on a Rio Grande walking loom and do hope to own another one some day.*

I’m focusing my next #studiofridays on finishing up projects I’ve started and working on the design for my Harrisville rug loom. This loom is my absolute favorite piece of equipment. It has a warp extender and worm gear which give me outstanding and even tension and the overhead beater makes me a fierce selvedge monster.

I’m working on some designs that are big. I’ll have to weave them in panels because this loom is only 45 inches wide. I have visited some quilt shows lately and was reminded of the statement a very large piece can make. So until I get a bigger studio and if I want to weave on a horizontal loom, panels it is. Of course I could use the 60 inch Glimakra or make an even larger pipe loom, but I would really miss that tension/beater combo of the Harrisville. When I get a bigger studio, Harrisville will make me a wider loom.

Last week I spent Friday weaving color samples. While this does follow the “studio time on Fridays” rule, I can’t help but feel that doing work for teaching is not quite in the spirit of the thing. I will admit that my experiments were surprising to me at times and any day I can stretch my own understanding is a good day.

I started out easy. **

Rebecca Mezoff, basic color experiments for color retreats 2019 underway

Most of my experimenting has a lot to do with value so I take a lot of black and white photos and use the filter on my phone to view yarns as I’m choosing. I love to follow trains of thought that go something like this:

“Let’s see if I can make orange by mixing fully saturated red and yellow.”

Red and yellow make orange, right?

You already knew what the answer to that was going to be, right?

The yellow is too light a value to mix well with the red which is fairly dark even in full saturation (see bottom stripe in the photo below). Mostly we just see the dots of two separate colors, though I suspect in a large enough piece it would work.

Color Experiments with orange, red, and yellow.

“Let’s look at the value of those colors… I bet I need a darker yellow which will make it olive-colored, but let’s try it.”

Values of warm colors.

The resulting mix was the top stripe in the weaving above. Not really orange. I’ll try again Friday.

Of course the purpose of all of that messing about is to find ways to help students understand color better. I recommend using some thin singles yarns and playing with what happens when you mix them together. I don’t really care if I can make a bright orange from other yarns bundled together (this isn’t actually possible because of the dulling effect mixing the other colors has). What I do care about is what happens when various hues and values are mixed and how can I use that to my advantage both to decrease the number of yarn colors I need and to increase the interest in the artwork.

Stay tuned for more of my ideas as I spend my Fridays weaving.***

*My walking loom was made in a college class by myself and my dad. It had great tension, but the beams were uneven and so every time I rolled the warp forward, my warp tension was off significantly. This I could not stand and I sold the loom. That is the loom in my studio in Velarde, NM sometime in 2008 or 2009.

**All yarns pictured are by Weavers Bazaar.

***Don’t forget to check Instagram for my #studiofridays posts.