Archive for September, 2006

The weaving continues, I was trying to get all the towels done before the guild meeting on Saturday but it’s not going to happen. So I’m taking a break and doing a few other things. Including updating the website. So far, I’ve had one broken warp and one minor weaving error I didn’t catch in time to fix. Overall, they look pretty good. I want to finish this set and wash them before I decide on the next project in this yarn. Although the fabric looks about right on the loom, you never can be sure until after you wash it.

In other news, the second batch of super-discount yarn from WEBS arrived. three cones of a blue-gray 12/2 cotton and two of black 20/2 wool. For three bucks a cone, it was an amazing deal. I tried to get some black 8/2 rayon to mess around with, but an hour after I ordered it I got an email saying it was sold out. The shipping was nearly twice the cost of the yarn. The 12/2 seems to be stronger than the stuff I’ve currently got on the loom, which is a little odd since it’s all carded cotton. But that means it will make fine warp. And I’ve sure got enough of it. I’ve seen lots of samples woven for books in 20/2 wool, so I figured it would be worth a try. I’ve never used something this fine for warp and actually I’ve not woven a wool warp I didn’t spin. I’m a little concerned about it sticking together, but I guess all I can do is give it a go. I’d have to get more in a different color or think of something that will look good in all black.

I have been up to my eyeballs in loom, quite literally at times as I’ve spent far too long sitting under it messing with stuff. But the first real project on the big loom is now ready to weave. It only took 47 thousand re-dos with the tie-ups to get the pattern correct. Some comments:

I didn’t forget as much as I was afraid I had.
After five years without a floor loom (and longer since any serious project,) some skills are a bit rusty. (Kinda like the loom.) But I know what I’m doing and it mostly went the way I expected. I’m still working out the logistics of dealing with a huge loom. It’s big, my arms are short and this has been something of a problem.

Twelve harnesses have so many more ways to mess up than four.
I managed to thread my pattern without errors, but I spent far, far too much time working out the tie-up. I had a eight harness two block twill to start with and I was extending it to three blocks on twelve. Working out how to connect those four other treadles to get the pattern I wanted was a big pain. I would have saved myself some time if I had written out my design in full first rather than relying on the one in the book plus some scribbled notes. But it only somewhat helped, because when I finally charted out the whole thing, I got it wrong anyway.

I’m going to have to sort out the technical difference between shaft and harness.
I use “harness,” from the people I was around when I learned to weave. But many books and articles use “shaft” and I don’t understand why. Aside from the occasional comment on the difference, the two words appear to be used interchangeably. This never bothered me before, but now I’m reading more in the search for ideas for all those extra harnesses, err, shafts. It’s possible that understanding the difference may help me better design drafts. Or it could just be “one of those things.”

Stupid errors are still just as stupid.
I didn’t have any nice cord to tie up the apron rods, so I used what was lying around. It broke. It wasn’t a complete disaster, but it was a pain. Replacing the cord on the other end of the warp is going to be even more of a pain.

Some things I thought would be a problem were.
I had never tried folding a loom with a warp on it. But after bumping my head on the back beam a dozen times trying to fix the tie-up, I folded it up instead. Yes, it works, to a limited extent. My warp tension did recover, but only after some fiddling with it. So as a general rule, I’d say don’t do it in the middle of weaving something you care about. If you must, wait until you are ready to start the next towel.

Some things I thought would be a problem weren’t.
At the moment, I have one boat shuttle with (what appear to me to be) teeny tiny bobbins. But it turns out you can seriously over-fill them and they still fit in the shuttle, so it isn’t so much a problem as I thought. I want something larger for wider fabric, however. It’s hard to hide where you started a new bobbin.

I still can’t remember how to hemstitch without the diagram.
I copied two pages out of the borrowed copy of Learning to Weave. One was the reed substitution table, so I can figure out how to sley 40 epi in a 12 dent reed. The other was the hemstitch diagram.

The quill makes a much better bobbin winder than I expected.
That silly pointy thing I bought for the spinning wheel actually works quite well. It’s nice to have a foot-controlled bobbin winder, this
leaves you with both hands to deal with the yarn. The only problem is getting the bobbin to stay on the shaft. For these particular bobbins, a big hair elastic shoved in there works great.

This project is a bunch of hand towels from the 8/2 mill end cotton. The surprise pack of yarn included many colors I’m less than thrilled about, but most were not outright horrid. That means they are fine for gifts.

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