Archive for the ‘weaving’ Category

Yesterday afternoon was setup day. I didn’t have to wrangle the giant knitting needles, but I had my own area to set up. I warped the rigid heddle loom and tried to guess at how I wanted to arrange my display. It will get re-done this morning I’m sure. Here’s a photo of the disarray, including the partly-warped loom:

Maker Faire display setup

The Maker Faire stuff is coming in and this week I got the loom we will be using. It’s an Ashford Knitters Loom, a small folding rigid heddle loom.

It took about 10 minutes to get it out of the box and put together both the loom and the stand. It’s clearly a beginner’s loom, plastic parts keep both weight and cost down. But it’s nicely finished and quite serviceable for small scarves, bags, table runners and so on. It comes with a 7.5 dent reed and you can get several others.

Included with the loom is a warping peg to measure warp by looping your yarn through the reed, around the peg and then the back beam, with both loom and peg clamped to solid objects. This is a simple variant of and old technique, using a warping drum to maintain tension while winding. After you beam the warp, you pull every other end out of the slots in the reed and put them in the holes (like threading back to front.) I haven’t tried it yet, but it seems simple enough.

My first thought was that I’d replace the plastic holding rods to the beams with cords as I wonder if the cable tie like things snapped into the beam might pop out eventually. I’ve had my warp come undone during weaving and it’s a whole lot of no fun. The other thing is how much warp can you actually get on it, and for anything more than the recommended 2 yards I think I’d prefer the old-fashioned way. Of course, I’m not new to this weaving stuff and someone who is just getting started wouldn’t even know to consider it. Which is just as well.

It is nice that it comes with clamps, as there is no way you will get a good warp on any tiny loom without something holding it down while you beam under tension. The warping instructions tell you to have a friend hold the warp while you beam, although if you look online there are directions for doing it on your own (which is most likely in my opinion.) Fortunately for short warps with typical knitting yarn, tension isn’t a huge deal.

This weekend I’ll try putting on a warp and report back on how that goes.

I’ve gotten farther on doing a Maker Faire demo. I am working with some folks who have a commercial booth and want spinning and weaving to show off what you can do (and, naturally, who can supply you with the materials and equipment.) They have a plan that has worked before, with CD spindles and weaving on rigid heddle looms that even fits well with the recycled them of the event. I’m fine with working on somebody else’s project if it furthers my goal of getting spinning and weaving in front of people.

This means the BFL goes to something else, which isn’t a big deal. It’s fiber that has been sitting around and the yarn I started is fine for another project. I haven’t done anything irreversible. This also means I have no deadline to finish it. More on the significance of that point in another post.

I do need possibly one more volunteer, which I will bring up at the guild meeting tomorrow. The exact details are still being sorted out but it won’t involve much setup in advance, just spinning and weaving on-site with everything provided (with the possible exception of a spinning wheel, which I’ve certainly got covered.) With commercial support we can do a better looking demo and have nice educational materials to hand out.

I’m working on another Maker Faire project. The deadline is at the end of the month so I’ve got some time to pull things together. I have fiber and one volunteer, I need a larger loom to borrow and a couple more people. Depending on what happens in the next couple weeks, I’ll adjust the scope of the project. I am talking to some people about getting educational materials to hand out.

The idea is to show the process of creating fabric from raw fiber, with carding, spinning and weaving. I have additional fiber and fabric samples as well as a simple loom and spindles people can try. I don’t intend to make it a spinning lesson, the size and noise level of the event make focused teaching difficult, but an active demo with several different stations showing the process.

Check out the project page if you are interested. If you are a Bay Area spinner and want to participate, let me know. Maker Faire is a hard event to drop in for a few hours, so I’m looking for people who can commit for at least one full day. I’d like to have at least 4 people each day, 5 would be nice so there is more time to see the rest of the event.

There may or may not be free parking but the nearby parking is not free. If you can go both days, I can collect your spinning wheel in advance and bring it to the fairgrounds. Maker exhibits get free badges, if I don’t get enough it would be nice to have people who can help cover the expense. (But we’ll see.)

I picked up the Leclerc warping mill I ordered a few weeks ago, I got the tabletop model. After a disastrous experience with a paddle and the warping board I determined it was time to have a warping mill again. I sold my old one with the loom before I came to San Francisco.

Previously I had the substantially similar Harrisville model, which is kinda nice as it has an integral brake to hold it in place while chaining off. I actually liked that quite a lot. But the Leclerc was about $50 less and comes already finished. The price was the smaller issue, more is that I just don’t have time to deal with the requisite sandpaper and can of oil. I can live without the brake, there are other options that can be temporarily installed as needed.

But now I get to assemble the thing. One difference is once this gets together, it’s not coming apart. The Harrisville was easier to put together (after finishing) because everything is held with wing nuts. That means it also came completely apart. That is a small advantage in storage as you can break it down to basically a pile of rods and the base.

The Leclerc has screws to hold the frame together. There are pilot holes but it is still difficult, I don’t have the strength to do it without assistance as it takes two hands to turn the screwdriver. I’ve got it partly assembled, and next time DH has a few minutes I’ll get the rest. And given that the screws go into end grain wood, it’s a one-way trip. The cross bars with the pegs do come off and the two pieces and the central rod come off the base, but that’s the extent of disassembly.

I haven’t decided if I want to sell the warping board, it does break down and there is something nice about having it to cart to demos or lend to students. This is what the storage unit is for.

Creative Commons License

© 2004-2007 Andrea Longo
spinnyspinny at feorlen dot org