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Weaving Again

It takes forever to get a loom set up – or at least, that’s what it feels like to me.

I have a new loom now. It’s nothing fancy, just a 15 inch Cricket rigid heddle. Rigid heddle looms are small, portable looms, built for sampling and travel.

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My first warping effort was a disaster. I didn’t take the time to be sure that the warp was even and stayed even. I tried weaving anyway, and figured out that rigid heddle weaving is relaxing and fun – when the warp behaves itself. Because I hadn’t taken the time and care to warp properly, my warp was increasingly mis-behaving.

I bit the bullet and re-warped. Now it’s copacetic.

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Ignore the mess on the dining room table, please!

I’m also finally weaving on my large loom. ¬†First I had to wind the long, long, long warp – the longest warp I’ve ever done. I took care in winding the warp, so it actually went on fairly easily. Then I had to thread the heddles. (I love the obscurity of weaving language. It’s like a secret handshake that only weavers know.) Once the heddles were threaded, the reed had to be sleyed. (Did I mention weavers have a secret language?) Finally, the treadles are connected, and it’s time to weave.

I’m using a new shuttle – a Bluster Bay end feed shuttle. Bluster Bay makes the Porsche of shuttles, and like a Porsche, it took some getting used to.

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This pic shows the yarn coming off the pirn (a/k/a bobbin – well, not really, but close enough). The yarn loops through the hooks. More hooks, more tension. Fewer hooks, less tension. Getting the tension right is critical, and took some getting used to.

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You can see from this picture that the selvedge is uneven in places. Where it shows dark blue (lower right), the tension was too high and the selvedge was scrunched together. Where you can see the white loops, the tension was too loose, and the weft sticks out on the side.

I’m getting the hang of it though!

 

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The weaving is going quickly. After the pick-up double weave, it’s amazing how quickly this weaving is going.

Happy Easter, everyone.

The 99 Percent

Sometimes craft work is just plain dull. At least that’s the way I’m feeling today. I’m working on three projects right now: one weaving, one spinning and one knitting.

For knitting, I’m making a sweater. Progress is good. The body is done and I’m well into the sleeves. Problem is, by the time I get to the sleeves, the pattern is old hat, and it’s just a matter of churning out stitch after stitch after stitch. And I can’t find the buttons I bought. Mutter grumble.

For weaving, I’m setting up a warp in preparation for a pick up double weave. Part of the pain is that this is my second attempt. My first attempt involved linen and the classic set-up for pick up double weave. Problem is, the classic set-up for pick up double weave doesn’t work on a countermarche loom. (Take my word for it. Looms are hard to explain.) One color of the linen kept breaking as well. One can do pick up on a countermarche, but it involves rougher handling than linen will take. So it was back to the drawing board. I’m now using mercerized cotton, which I’ve woven with before, and which will be lovely and handle the stress. The warp had to be rewound and the loom rebeamed. Now I’m threading heddles. Since it’s double weave, with two separate sides of fabric, there are twice as many threads as usual. So it’s one thread at a time. One thread at a time. One thread at a time.

Then there’s the spinning. Part of the homework for my spinning program is to spin 10 yard samples at a specific amount of twist per inch. ¬†Fine yarns need more twist; bulky yarns less. I think I’ve got it right, but then I check, and it’s off. I spin another sample, think it’s right, but it’s off. Slowly I’m chipping away at the samples needed, but the operative word is “slow.”

Edison was right. It’s 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.