Posts tagged ‘guilds’

The towels are progressing, I’m not sure if I’ll get two more out of this warp before I reach the end. It’s starting to have tension problems, like some ends are slack and I keep catching them with the shuttle. It’s not huge, but enough to be annoying. I’m not sure if it’s something about the yarn or some lousy technique on my part. I had another end break, although fortunately this time it was on the very edge and it happend between towels. So it won’t be a problem at all once I get everything finished. I’m not so thrilled with this 8/2 yarn. It’s ok, it’s not like I’m not going to use it for warp again, but it’s not as strong as I’d like. I’ve used much finer mill ends as warp and didn’t break a single end, so to have this stuff break is a pain.

Now sticking open when I release the treadles, that’s annoying. I’m still having problems with that, sometimes two harnesses are stuck up at once. It’s the lamms, the bar across the bottom the treadles are attached to, that is actually causing the problem. I may have to go at them with the file again. But I’ve solved the skating across the floor problem. The loom was slowly creeping backwards towards the wall, so I got some wood to put between the front and the baseboard. One of these days I’ll properly finish it rather than just wrapping it in a scrap of cloth, but it works.

I went to the local weavers guild meeting yesterday, I already know several members so that was nice. I got a lot of helpful suggestions for online resources for design ideas and weaving design software. I downloaded a demo of one, the only one I could find that ran on OS X. It’s hugely expensive so I can’t afford to buy a copy, but I’ll play with it for a while. I’m sure there’s a temporary way around the time limit for now. All I really need is something that will generate cloth diagrams but it does all this fancy stuff I’ll never use. I don’t have a computer-controlled loom and I don’t expect to have one for a long time. It will generate semi-random patterns from your design, but I quickly noticed that only some of them would actually weave stable fabric. Some had big blocks of no interlacement between warp and weft or huge floats, things that make for no fabric at all, not just poorly-made fabric. So it can do some interesting things and let you play with design ideas, but you still have to know what you are looking at.

Back from Petaluma with a pile of laundry and a bunch of newly-blue yarn. I’ll put the rest of the pictures on their own page soon, but here is one of the coolest:

gray-green yarn

This is the huge skein I made from the cone of so-so white single. I did put it first in the walnut pot, but wasn’t thrilled with the color I got. It was a yellow-brown that many people admired, but I was not one of them. The natural dye expert in attendance hinted that indigo was a great way to recover from a walnut experience with which one is not entirely pleased (having done so herself on several occasions.) So into the indigo vat it went, which soaked up half the pot and required maintenance every time. But after some hours of dips, it came out a greenish gray. I’ve decided I need to use it for pattern weft on something in a traditional coverlet design.

I’m heading off today for another trip to the farm in Petaluma. It’s a bunch of people from my spinning guild, we go to sit, swim, eat, yak and generally hang out and be fibery. There will be dyepots. With luck, somebody will be able to explain what I am still doing wrong with this sock knitting thing. We will eat way too much food and hang out with the sheep.

There will be an indigo vat, as usual, and I made huge skeins out of a cone of baby pink cotton yarn. With luck, it will turn out blue with purple bits and make for interesting weaving. The chemistry of the indigo process actually strips the fiber reactive dye out of cellulose material, which is very interesting. It doesn’t happen all at once, so you get a range of colors between whatever the original was and blue and can tie areas of the material to act as a resist. I have a t-shirt that started off bright yellow and is now blue and this odd greenish-yellow alien glowing stuff where the original color comes through. This amuses me because it’s almost exactly what you see when something first comes out of the indigo vat, before it hits the air and turns blue. (Indigo is not soluble in water, you have to reduce it in an alkaline solution before the fiber will absorb the dye.) But the synthetic thread used to stitch it together is still yellow.

My other dye experiment is going to be walnut hulls, kindly given by an online spinning friend. Without adding any other chemicals, simmered hulls give a dark brown. I’ve never actually used walnut hulls myself, so I’m completely guessing on how much to use. I stuck 100g of it in a nylon stocking to soak for a few days and the water is good and black. I’ve got about 750g of wool yarn and no expectations.

The hats are back safely, so now I have my regular hat to wear again. And I went to Goodwill this morning and found not only a spindle case (wine bottle carrier) but a jar of Procion MX and a bag of soda ash. Somebody must have dumped excess tye-dye stuff, with as much as most people know about dyes it’s a wonder they even ended up bagged together. Can’t beat 99 cents.

I started back up on preparing fiber for the sock yarn. I have to find a new place to put the comb pad because the current location is killing my wrists. I need to be able to pull straight out but the shelf I have it clamped to is too tall. My arms don’t work that way, and trying to pull down is putting my hands in a weird position. I’m wondering if a low stool and the second shelf would be better. I still have some things to work out with this, but it’s coming along. I may even get enough finished by next week for the fair.

My hats are on their way back from Convergence, I should have them early next week. I was concerned at first because I got a call from the shipping place wanting to know how I was going to pay for return shipping (HGA was supposed to cover it.) But when I called back later with my FedEx account number, it had all been sorted out. The person I talked to said Convergence package handling had been disorganized, but at least now I’m getting my stuff back. So everything is ok.

I’ve been thinking about this county fair thing and I can’t see how it’s going to happen. I just don’t have enough done to feel comfortable having it finished in time. I could just send off the entry form and if I don’t make it then it would just be a waste of $4 or something, but I really don’t see it having any chance of happening. I’m not much interested in competing, but a friend asked and I figured it would be good to give it a go at least once. Oh well.

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