Sunday, February 23, 2014

Keeping it straight

IMG_0096 by Craftsteader
IMG_0096, a photo by Craftsteader on Flickr.
One of the challenges of treadling a complex weaving pattern is remembering exactly where I am in the pattern. I tried a number of different contraptions that included paper clips and index cards, but all this was too cumbersome for long term weaving.
Enter, the humble sticky-note. I place a sticky on each side of the portion of pattern I'm weaving. I chose the portions in 3 to 4 shot increments. The stickies can be advanced as I go. The glue on one sticky will last for several repeats of a long complicated pattern, so I would guess one pack of stickies will last through multiple weaving projects.
When I am called away from the weaving--usually the dog knocking on the back door to get in or the timer in the kitchen going off--I have the stickies butt edges at the exact line where I need to start again. This saves me having to remember, which I know I won't.
I love office supply stores, so, of course, I'm always amazed at how many cool items I can retask for weaving!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Purple comfort

IMG_0123 by Craftsteader
IMG_0123, a photo by Craftsteader on Flickr.
I purchased this purple office chair for the Loomcraft this weekend. The adjustable range is perfect for bringing me between threading and weaving heights. It is nice and soft on the tush too and a great new incentive to sit and thread. I have the loom half warped with Tencel which is beautiful. I look forward to weaving this!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Olympic finish

Decorative table runners are ready for the next holiday season!
There is nothing quite like a week of sitting in front of the TV every evening to plow through a pile of unfinished objects.  I had lots of sewing and fringes to twist to get some of the items I've had lying around done.  Above are the runners I made on the 8 shaft Loomcraft I brought home last May.  They still need a hard press but at least the fringing and other sewing is done.
Another runner.
The first runner used dark green Tencel while the one you see folded used a slick shiny green rayon.  Both came out quite nice and will be nice after the press.  I kind of wish I had one of those professional presses, but I will have to fumble along with an old fashioned iron.
The runners puckered a bit after washing, and I think this is due to the giant design flaw in these seven shaft broken twill variation runners.  My design has floats 6 ends long--much too long for twill.  I went ahead an continued weaving despite the flaw and now I get to see the fruits of this weaving mistake.  They are still pretty, they just need to be handled as a delicate item.  For whatever reason, I didn't detect this problem in the draft at the time I made it on the computer--I can see it now! Next time, I will know better!
Washcloths woven on the Structo Artcraft.
I also finished up the washcloths I had on my table loom.  I'm not a big fan of table loom weaving, so my next set will be done on one of the  floor looms.  I really like the way they came out--they are excellent washcloths and I expect to make more in the future.

Weaving continues
 Despite the Olympics, I'm still getting plenty of time at my loom. I can usually weave a few inches between getting home from work and dinner, so I can make steady progress.  I'm also threading the Loomcraft again with a shawl and have plans for Canadian Snowflake hand towels, but more on that later!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Magic of sampling

These samples aren't much to look at, but I learned a lot.
Sampling has helped me feel more like a "real" weaver.  Winding that four inch warp and threading it onto my loom was a revelation for me--there is so much to learn from trying things out.  And so I move up the ladder of weaving from blundering along with newbie mistakes up to intermediate.  It's taken me five years to get here, but I have arrived.  It's time I tried something new, like overshot, and took on some new projects, like shawls and scarves.
I will be using this design in handtowels too!
I'm sampling for hand towels using that fabulous Canadian Snowflake pattern I'm making a throw with.  I will be using the snowflakes on the edge with the point twill as the main body.  I used the point twill for the sample.  I have 4/2 natural cotton for weft and 3/2 in colors for warp.  Naturally, I want to find the ideal sett for this combination.  So I tried a set of 18 and 16 dents per inch.  It is just a matter of re-sleighing the reed after weaving each sample.  I measured, washed, ironed, measured again, took careful notes on 5X7 cards and safety pinned the sample to the card.  I know have two nice setts to choose from for the perfect towel!

Pretty colors of Tencel
I have discovered Tencel!  It is so amazing and shiny!  I want it in a rainbow of colors, but I am holding myself back to put a dent in the colors I have already.  Yep, I've been shopping at the Yarn Barn again. I had a nice sized box of lovely Tencel shipped to me.  They have wonderful colors.  I've discovered that Camilla Valley Farm in Ontario has even more colors and it is easy for me to order from there.  I'll be calling for the color card.  Between the two suppliers, I should have a very colorful rainbow.  The colors shown above will be included in a shawl.  The red isn't Tencel, but a rayon mixed with glitter.  It looks AMAZING with the purple in the warp.  But more on that next week.  I have to get back to my studio!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Gorgeous Angora!

IMG_0104 by Craftsteader
IMG_0104, a photo by Craftsteader on Flickr.
Look what came in the mail today! I traded my barely touched Ply magazines for some angora from a young spinner and fiber producer. It is absolutely beautiful and of exceptional quality! Her business is called High Desert Fiberworks (just type it into your browser) just in case you are interested in angora. I think I will be sending an order in for more shortly. I already have a fleece in mind to blend it with.
Ply magazine, by the way, is an excellent publication. However, I've been spinning for 25 years and my interest has turned to weaving, so I figured it would be best to find them a new home.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Too thin for rug yarn

Too thin for rug yarn by Craftsteader
Too thin for rug yarn, a photo by Craftsteader on Flickr.
Shown is a skein of Karakul rug yarn with a ball of Karakul unintentionally spun much to thin for this super bulky rug yarn.
The wheel was set up correctly--I had it the slowest (largest) whorl on the Matchless. The problem--I treadle too fast which lent itself to making a thinner yarn. I had to force myself to pay attention and spin slowly and make sure I was getting enough fiber into the yarn.
When I started this project, I was simultaneously spinning a very fine yarn on another wheel, so perhaps I thought what I was spinning was thick enough. This mistake, and waste of roving, has me thinking I might be better off concentrating on just one spinning project at a time.