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wonder woven LLC

P.O. Box 5873

Santa Monica, CA 90404

 


90405

Exquisitely crafted handwoven wraps for wearing your baby or toddler.

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Indigo v.1

Tracy Bromwich

I have a fascination with indigo. The long history of this plant-based dye and the deep, rich shades of blue drew me in. But the mysterious process by which it is fixed to fiber without the use of a mordant intimidated me. My love for the color was not enough for me to take the deep dive into learning how to create a vat. Until I had some motivation!

For the last several years I've enjoyed working with the students in my daughters' classes each spring on a project to be auctioned in support of the school. The classrooms are named for colors and I like to use the color as a starting off point for the project. When my older daughter learned she would be joining the Indigo room, I knew I had the inspiration for her class auction project and I set out to learn how this dye process works.

We began by taking a workshop with the talented L.A.-based artist, Graham Keegan, on block printing with indigo. The year prior, we had really enjoyed his workshop on Shirbori dye methods using indigo. This one promised a new resist technique and discussion on how to build and maintain an organic indigo vat.

I took what we learned in the workshop and ran some experiments of my own over the Christmas break. I wanted to find a recipe that would yield good results and be easy to create with 23 3rd- and 4th-graders. I made the cold iron vat that we used in his workshop but I also tested three other vats - each with a different reducing agent: henna, fructose crystals and madder root. As suspected, the colors varied in each and I ended up with skeins of yarn dyed in a variety of blues. Happy with the results, and clear on my recipe, I set this yarn aside and continued preparations for the school project.

the indigo vat - you can see the coppery film that forms on the top.

the indigo vat - you can see the coppery film that forms on the top.

skeins of yarn dyeing after their initial dip

skeins of yarn dyeing after their initial dip

I dipped some several times to get a full range of colors

I dipped some several times to get a full range of colors

The School Project

The class auction project was a big success! Each student measured their own skein of yarn. A small group worked with me to create the vats we would use. Each day we would attend to their temperature and check their pH, making adjustments as needed. I worked with groups of 6 children at a time to tie their skeins and dye them such that each would be unique.

measuring the yarn

measuring the yarn

dying the yarn

dying the yarn

the vats we used

the vats we used

The yarn was arranged on the loom in a striped pattern so each child could identify their work. With this warp, I created a throw blanket and set of pillows in a pointed twill weave. The weft I used was a natural cotton yarn.

The wraps

I still had 3 lbs of indigo-dyed yarn at home to play around with. It remained in a bin until a sweet mama contacted me with a custom she had in mind. She mentioned loving blues, special hand-dyed fibers and images of splattered paints. I wondered if this might be the warp for her and she agreed!

all the blues

all the blues

Along the way, she sent me this inspiration image. To create something with the same level of delicate detail, we chose to work with an 8-shaft crackle draft.

The skeins were wound and sorted by color. We wanted to create a gradation of blues from one rail to the other. 

the concept for the warp

the concept for the warp

I set about beaming the loom.

The warp!!!

We knew it would be a short warp - just 15 yards - and we hoped it would yield two wraps and possibly a ring sling piece. She chose a sister for the second long piece and we looked at wefts, including a number of natural yarns and one dark blue tsumugi silk. In the end, Egyptian cotton and seacell/silk were chosen - in addition to the tsumugi for the third piece.

the natural yarns

the natural yarns

the tsumugi silk

the tsumugi silk

Egyptian cotton weft

Egyptian cotton weft

seacell/silk weft

seacell/silk weft

Tsumugi silk weft

Tsumugi silk weft

So 15 yards did not get us as far as we had hoped. But we did end up with one 4.8 meter wrap with Egyptian cotton weft, one 3.6 meter wrap with seacell/silk weft and one lovely shawl with Tsumugi silk weft to add to my collection!

indigo v.1: three little birds ec weft 4.8 meters approx 250 grams/m^2

indigo v.1: three little birds ec weft 4.8 meters approx 250 grams/m^2

indigo v.1: three little birds seacell/silk weft 3.6 meters approx 230 grams/m^2

indigo v.1: three little birds seacell/silk weft 3.6 meters approx 230 grams/m^2

indigo v.1: three little birds tsumugi silk weft shawl approx 225 grams/m^2

indigo v.1: three little birds tsumugi silk weft shawl approx 225 grams/m^2

I find it so crazy that such beauty is derived from the muck in these jars!

the lovely vats <3

the lovely vats <3

I'm calling this one version 1 as I know I'll be doing this again. It is slow, slow work. The indigo vat is like a living thing. It needs to be crafted with care and attended to. It must rest between use and requires patience to maintain. But it's a very rewarding process. I'm hoping to be diving back in again soon.

Weave 2 Together

Tracy Bromwich

silk sea cell weft

silk sea cell weft

THE CHALLENGE

For The Great Competition of Weavers - Special Edition - IBC 2016, we were asked to design a wrap based on the theme Wear Together, Grow Together. It was required to have a monochrome or ombre component and we were provided with the following inspiration image:

THE CONCEPT

The concept for my competition entry is to represent visually the purpose of a wrap- which is to bring together a mother and child and to restore the unity experienced in pregnancy. Toward this end, I chose to work with two warps - each hand-dyed and beamed separately- interleaved in two separate sequences of advancing twill. The two warps are woven together in an echo weave, which allows each warp to be perceived as separate and as half of a whole. The variegated portion of the warp represents the mother, who is consistent but complex. Her character is revealed through an interplay of color that sometimes yields surprises. The child is ever-changing, growing. Change and growth are represented in the monochrome portion of the warp through a gradation of color from left to right. 

Above, the variegated warp. Below, the monochrome gradation

Above, the variegated warp. Below, the monochrome gradation

THE PROCESS

Both warps are made from sustainably grown Acala cotton, grown and spun in the U.S. I chose the yarn for it's soft and squishy feel - which I thought would complement the fluffiness of the weave. For the multi-color warp, I created four separate colorways with varying shades of blues/purples/plums and turquoise. Because I wanted this portion of the warp to be consistent and complex, I beamed all the yarn together in each section. This allows the variegated portion of the warp to read as a single element and for the gradation of the second warp to read more clearly.

hand-dyed cotton warp #1

hand-dyed cotton warp #1

The second warp was dyed in a manner similar to the first, but with one single blue-green color that varied in concentration for each of 10 skeins. In beaming the second warp, the varying values were mixed to ease the transition between light and dark and to provide an additional layer of complexity.

hand-dyed cotton warp #2

hand-dyed cotton warp #2

THE WEAVE

The two warps were brought together in a structure that employs each in an alternating sequence across the width. It is treadled in a manner that advances and reverses, pivoting on advancing intervals to form the shape of curves that resemble the curving elements in the inspiration image. The advancing and reversing is a process that is experienced in the weaving as a literal reversal of the dobby bars and is analogous to the development of a child, which often brings advances and regressions. The overall pattern develops in absolute symmetry where the exchange between the two warps is reciprocal - much as the process of wrapping is soothing both to the mother and to the child. The wrap restores wholeness to two separate individuals and the weaving creates a whole from two separate warps.

I used as my inspiration for the weave a pattern by Bonnie Inouye found in the January/February 2008 issue of Handwoven called Two Patterns for Two Scarves. Adjustments were made in the threading, sett, yarns and treadling to adapt it to the purpose and make the project uniquely my own. I had tested the weave structure on a shorter, separate warp of two colorways of hand-dyed merino/silk. This is currently being made into a pair of cowls and pillows. The two cowls will be made available as giveaways - one at the IBC booth and one in the Facebook chatter group, Wonder Woven Love.

One tube cowl packaged for gifting at IBC!

One tube cowl packaged for gifting at IBC!

The wefts

Three pieces were created using three different hand-dyed wefts in superwash wool, silk/sea cell blend and mulberry silk. All wefts play on the blues of the first warp, each highlighting a different tone.

The Superwash wool weft wrap

The weft for this wrap is Madeline Tosh Lace - a 2-ply, lace-weight superwash merino yarn. The darker color of the weft yarn sets off the pattern very nicely and the wool adds a lot of texture. It is a bit thicker than the others at approximately 365 grams/m^2. The length is 3.3 meters. I think this piece is going to stay with me. 

Madeline Tosh superwash wool weft

Madeline Tosh superwash wool weft

Madeline Tosh superwash wool weft

Madeline Tosh superwash wool weft

Madeline Tosh superwash wool weft

Madeline Tosh superwash wool weft

The Sea Silk lace weft wrap

The weft for this piece is hand-dyed 70% silk/30% seacell 2-ply lace weight yarn. In terms of density, it's in the middle of the three pieces, at approximately 330 grams/m^2. The length is 5 meters. It has a beautiful softness and is wonderfully supple. The color is a bit more soft and subdued than the others. This piece will be available through my Facebook chatter group.

silk seacell weft

silk seacell weft

silk se cell weft

silk se cell weft

silk seacell weft

silk seacell weft

the Mulberry silk weft wrap

I hand-painted the weft for this piece in brighter shades of blue with highlights of iris, violet, green and turquoise. The weft has a lovely sheen and lends a lightness to the finished wrap, which weighs in at approximately 315 grams/m^2. The length is 5.2 meters. This is the piece I have submitted to the competition. It will be available for purchase in person by silent auction.

mulberry silk weft

mulberry silk weft

mulberry silk weft

mulberry silk weft

mulberry silk weft

mulberry silk weft

mulberry silk weft

mulberry silk weft

mulberry silk weft

mulberry silk weft

Both wraps together...

silk seacell weft above, mulberry silk below

silk seacell weft above, mulberry silk below

Hyacinth

Tracy Bromwich

I've been wanting to create a warp with Venne organic cotton for some time now. When I saw the new colors available, I could no longer resist! The colors call to mind spring-flowering perennials and include sherbet orange, magenta, cloud, the mysteriously-named Anemoon, green-turquoise, raspberry and apple. These are sprinkled with other Venne colors and a bit of Egyptian cotton, as well. To maximize the floral effect, I chose to weave this in an intricate 8-shaft crackle structure.

The warp

The warp

The Wefts

Two pieces were made with cottolin wefts (Neptune and Greenish-Grey) and two were made with cotton wefts (hand-dyed pima cotton and silver). The Pima cotton was dyed by me in tonal variations of Sea Glass.

Neptune organic cottolin weft

Neptune organic cottolin weft

greenish-grey cottolin weft

greenish-grey cottolin weft

Sea Glass Pima cotton weft

Sea Glass Pima cotton weft

detail of Sea Glass Pima cotton weft

detail of Sea Glass Pima cotton weft

silver cotton weft

silver cotton weft

The Wraps

Weights for the wraps range from approximately 280 - 330 grams/m^2, depending on weft. They have a textured feel, are nice and grippy with a good amount of cushioning. 

Hyacinth with Neptune organic cottolin weft - SOLD

Hyacinth with Neptune organic cottolin weft - SOLD

Hyacinth with greenish-grey cottolin weft - SOLD

Hyacinth with greenish-grey cottolin weft - SOLD

Hyacinth with Sea Glass Pima cotton weft - SOLD

Hyacinth with Sea Glass Pima cotton weft - SOLD

Hyacinth with silver cotton weft - 4.5 meters approximately 330 grams/m^2 $513

Hyacinth with silver cotton weft - 4.5 meters approximately 330 grams/m^2 $513

Plus a cowl!

There was one section that ran out of yarn before the rest, reducing the weaving width for the final meter. An error in beaming yields this lovely cowl! It features selvedges along the top and bottom rails. It stands 16" high and is sewn to form a loop 32" around.

Hyacinth with silver cotton weft cowl $120

Hyacinth with silver cotton weft cowl $120

Conservation of Matter and Energy

Tracy Bromwich

The Spring 2016 Competition of Babywearing Weavers brought us the theme "Under the Microscope". This was my fifth competition and by far the most fun for me! In this competition, I discovered the world of photomicrography - a world rich with imagery and color. I also found a love for painting silk - a technique I had not previously tried. And I finally used all 16 shafts on my loom - something that took quite a bit of tinkering! 

The Inspiration

My inspiration for this wrap was a polarized light micrograph of the rhizome of the cup fern, created by Dr. Stephen Lowry for the Nikon Small World photomicrography competition. Some qualities I tried to capture in the image - along with the colors - were the sheen and the intricate, linear texture of the plant structure. 

The Process

To best represent the sheen, I chose to create a hand-painted silk warp. 

The silk skeins

The silk skeins

My set-up - this was a fun day!!!

My set-up - this was a fun day!!!

I painted 10 individual skeins - each with one dominant color (at full concentration and diluted to produce a tonal effect) and highlights in contrasting and complementary colors.

The skeins were then steamed to set the dye. This part was messy and caused my husband many headaches trying to fix the stovetop that I broke in the process. 

drying yarn

drying yarn

Ready for the loom!

Ready for the loom!

The skeins were organized on the loom as a gradation from primarily purple tones through blue, turquoise and green. The effect is one of a smooth gradation across the width of the wrap with subtle variegation along the length that offers up the occasional unexpected change in color.

beaming the warp

beaming the warp

The full warp on the loom

The full warp on the loom

A 16-shaft draft was chosen for the linear quality produced by the subtle diamond pattern in the cloth. The draft can be found in the book 2500 Armature - Intreccio Per Tessuti Di Lana, Cotone, Rayon, Seta by Eugenio Poma.

Eep! Almost ready to weave!

Eep! Almost ready to weave!

One last thing to do before weaving - dyeing of the weft. I chose to dye Pima cotton in a brilliant Sapphire blue. Immersion-dyeing is not my favorite thing in the world (more on that below) and this one took 2 tries to get the depth of color I was after!

After the dyeing and rinsing and washing (and rinsing, rinsing, rinsing) and tinkering with the loom...the weaving begins. This is about the time I named the wrap - it's meant to be ironic considering all the work that went into this one single wrap!

The weaving at the fell

The weaving at the fell

The weaving at the cloth storage beam

The weaving at the cloth storage beam

The Wrap

It is important to note that all the photos above were taken pre-wash. The wrap required more washing to completely discharge the dye than I would expect from a wrap woven with commercially dyed yarn. The type of dye I used on the silk is highly wash fast and light fast and the heat-setting method worked really well to affix it permanently to the fiber. It was the weft (dyed with fiber reactive dye) that caused me more trouble when I was wet-finishing the wrap. The result of the washing that was required to discharge the dye is a loss of sheen on the silk yarn. The weft also has more of a washed appearance than in the pre-finished photos. It is still quite lovely (and oh, so soft!) but be aware that it has the look of cozy cotton with little sheen on the silk. I think the weave structure still reads very nicely in the finished piece. It is a flat weave that has a nice amount of cushioning. The selvedges are un-hemmed  as I prefer this simpler finish. As one might expect of a more experimental weave, there are a few missteps that may be noticed on close inspection. These are minor, cosmetic in nature, and do not affect the integrity of the wrap.

This is representative of the colors of the wrap.

This is representative of the colors of the wrap.

Shown here with a sample of the painted silk to show the difference in sheen

Shown here with a sample of the painted silk to show the difference in sheen

The wrap is 5.1 meters long, 70.5 cm wide - it is approximately 280 grams/m^2. There will be information on how to purchase the wrap in my chatter group - wonder woven love - on Facebook.

Pinky Promise

Tracy Bromwich

After a series of calming color ways, I felt it was time for an infusion of happy excitement! A long time in the works, this project has come together precisely at the time of year when I need a little boost. The joyful yarns will bring warmth and brightness to my chilly studio in the days ahead. The warp combines lipstick reds and reddish oranges with plummy purples, transitioning through corals and pinks with highlights of tangerine and light peach. It is comprised entirely of my favorite fluffy cottolin. For the weave, I chose the same draft I previously used for the Darwaza Serrure 1. It results in a dense, thick weave that is lush and cushy with a subtle geometric interest.

DSC_0174.jpg

A new weave and warp fiber combination, I chose to sample it at full-scale before opening this up to semi-custom spots. I am really loving the results and am happy to make the rest of the warp available now!

The sample wrap was woven with a very special hand-dyed merino/silk weft. I have chosen several colorways dyed by the incredibly talented Brenda of Phydeaux Designs that pair wonderfully with this warp. I think you will appreciate the artistry of her yarns. She has a remarkable eye for color and she works with luxuriously soft base yarns. 

Sample wrap with Phydeaux Nectar merino/silk weft

Sample wrap with Phydeaux Nectar merino/silk weft

The above wrap is spoken for but there is room on the loom for more. It is a 50 yard warp (30 woven meters) with specific wefts available. Please see below for the options. I will hold a random draw for the semi-custom spots and will draw as many as my warp length will allow.

A closer look at the cotton wefts

From the bottom of the woven sample and left of the pirns: Magenta cotton, Plum organic cotton, light peach cotton, raspberry Egyptian Cotton, mercerized Egyptian Giza cotton

From the bottom of the woven sample and left of the pirns: Magenta cotton, Plum organic cotton, light peach cotton, raspberry Egyptian Cotton, mercerized Egyptian Giza cotton

cotton wefts

cotton wefts

The merino/silk wefts

From the bottom of the woven sample and left of the yarns: Phydeux Mulled Berries, Phydeaux Nectar (not available), Phydeaux Desire, Phydeaux Pomegranate,&nbsp;Mullberry 50% merino/50% silk

From the bottom of the woven sample and left of the yarns: Phydeux Mulled Berries, Phydeaux Nectar (not available), Phydeaux Desire, Phydeaux Pomegranate, Mullberry 50% merino/50% silk

merino/silk wefts

merino/silk wefts

Other wool wefts

second from top of woven sample and on the left is Phydeaux Bougainvillea superwash wool; top of woven sample and shown in shuttle is Mullberry organic merino wool

second from top of woven sample and on the left is Phydeaux Bougainvillea superwash wool; top of woven sample and shown in shuttle is Mullberry organic merino wool

Price per meter as follows:

cotton weft: $105/meter

organic cotton or Egyptian cotton weft: $110/meter

Mulberry 50% merino/50% silk or Mulberry organic merino weft: $120/meter

Phydeaux 80% merino/20% silk or superwash wool weft: $125/meter

To enter the drawing, please complete the following form. I will accept one entry per person and winning entries are non-transferrable. Entries will be selected randomly. However, as specific wefts are allocated, I will be selecting based on weft preference, as well. The drawing will remain open for 48 hours. After this time, I will contact those whose entries were chosen to confirm preferences. A 10% deposit is required when I am ready to begin weaving. All wraps will be finished and ready to ship within 6 weeks.

*THIS DRAW IS NOW CLOSED.*