Monday, March 6, 2017

MacQueen Tartan on the Weaver's Delight and Other Towels

My association with the MacQueen tartan is through my Grandpa Howard Sluyter's mother, Mary Jane MacQueen, her father, John MacQueen and his father, Hugh MacQueen.

For my 2016 towels given to my girls and my dad in December, I decided to put this tartan on my Weaver's Delight rug loom. At the time, I was teaching different ways to warp looms and also how to warp stripes. The Weaver's Delight has a sectional beam, so I decided the easiest way to do the stripes was to wind each section on the warping board, since no section was going to be repeated.

As the sections were filled, I taped the thread ends to maintain the order for threading.
 I counted out my heddles for a section and then taped that bundle of threads to my beater and carefully removed the tape maintaining the order.
Threading goes pretty quickly, since there were only about 50 warp ends per section.
Partially threaded as seen from the back of the loom.
A rod was inserted in the lashing cords and then the warp was tied to the rod. I spread the warp at the beginning with a few picks of black. I weave two or three picks before beating and then beat until they all come together. If there are still "v's" showing, I will do it again.  Six picks is usually sufficient to spread the warp and eliminate any separation between warp threads.
I wanted to take my first towel off before finishing the rest of the warp.  I wove a small section after my towel, put some Tacky Glue on that 1" section and let it dry.  After drying, I was able to insert two sticks into the next two sheds and then cut off the first towel at the glued section. I then tied onto the first stick in several places and was able to continue weaving.
The first towel looks very pretty on my dining room table.
I wove enough towels so my dad, three daughters, and I could all have one.
I believe I already showed this six-shaft towel that I gave to my daughter-in-law Rebecca. It was woven on a counterbalance loom and is a six-shaft pattern that I found on
 Wet finished and hemmed.
Except for this towel, which I kept for myself, I didn't get photos of the Cajun Inspired Towels I did in this colorway.
This pattern was a Tom Knisley design and was in Handwoven, Jan/Feb 2015, page 67. Refer to the magazine for the full instructions.

I gave the plaid one I wove (no photo) to my daughter-in-law Jenn this past December.
The plaid is pictured in a screenshot from my Fiberworks program and shows the slightly confusing threading from the pattern in the magazine.  Note the four threads periodically threaded on the same shaft but in different heddles.

The weaving also has four weft passes in one shed, so it is necessary to wrap around the outer warp threads. I didn't use a floating selvedge. The four passes in the shed leave ridges, giving the towel some texture.

I substituted orange for the red and dark brown for the white.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

More From Julie, My Ten Shaft Counterbalance Loom

After finishing my test warp out in the garage, I moved Julie, my new to me ten shaft counterbalance loom into my studio early in the fall.  It is in the front corner, by east and north windows.

I like putting a warp on this loom because it isn't necessary to get the trapeze set up.  With this tall loom, the warp just goes up over the top and I can hang weights on the warp at the front of the loom.
This second warp is to test six shafts with the counterbalance and horses.  It was a bit tedious for me because I had to keep the instruction book handy and keep referring to it with each step.
 The Big Book of Weaving by Laila Lundell was the book I used.
For six shafts, I had to use four horses on each side.
They are hooked up with a mirror image on each side.  Note the pulleys used for this configuration.  They didn't come with my loom, but I happened across a pair on eBay for a good price.
I picked a six shaft pattern to try from, # 49712.
Here is the link: Pattern #49712
I used 8/2 cotton in white and black for the warp and a dark gray and red for the weft. This is now a runner for my table.
 With the remainder of the warp, I wove a dishtowel in four different blues.
I had enough left after the towel to weave myself a sample square in blue, yellow and peach.

It wasn't until I started looking at my files to choose photos that I discovered my mistake.  How embarrassing! And I'm the big advocate of taking photos at the beginning of weaving because they seem to show up better in a picture that just looking at the weaving.  Oh well, no one has noticed it yet.

I don't want anyone telling me it is a design element because it isn't one.  Mistakes are exactly that.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A Gallery of Works

I'm just playing a little catch-up on my blog today, adding some photos of things I have done over the past two to three years.

Rya rug made for granddaughter Hailee.

One of a set of pinwheel towels. For this one, I changed out some of the green stripes and substituted dark brown.
 Daughters, daughters-in-law, and friends with Christmas towels, 2015.
 Towel choices.  I let them choose.
 Waffle weave in blue and yellow.
Waffle weave.

Close-up of Hanukkah table runner.

Below is the table set for dinner.

Full length.
Spring table runner, 2016, with close-up of Italian hemstitching.
Spring table runner.
Summer runner, 2016.
Close-up of zig-zag hemstitching and pattern.

Johanna D's No. 32 from Marguerite P. Davison's pattern book, pg. 97.
My inspiration for the pillows, on the reverse side.  They were needlepoint stitched by my grandmother, Gladys Truscott Hobbs, back in the 1970's.  The backing was deteriorated, so I wove new fabric to replace the old.

A very fine wool scarf.
Scarf on the loom.
Close-up after wet finishing and pressing.


Thursday, November 17, 2016

Progress With the 10-Shaft Counterbalance Loom

I posted back in July about my latest loom restoration, and have been weaving on this old Swedish 10-shaft counterbalance loom.

Since I didn't know anything about a counterbalance loom with more than four shafts, I decided that was where I would start.

The only tie-up cords on the loom were the ropes on the front and back beams.  I had to make and figures out the rest.

I didn't have many spare string heddles, but found enough to make a test warp with about 170 ends.
Laila Lundell's book, The Big Book of Weaving, was very helpful with all the set-up.  I didn't have any Texsolv for the tie-ups, so I just used cording I purchased from the hardware store.  I figured it was cheaper if I made a mistake cutting lengths and could always be replaced once I had the loom working properly.

This shows the stage of leveling the shafts before tying up the lamms and treadles.
My first few inches of a four-shaft goose-eye pattern.  Everything seemed to be working properly.

This was my first experience using shaft levelers, the two notched bars hanging from one of the cross pieces.  I didn't have any, so Bob made me a couple sets, one for six shafts and one for ten.  The upper shafts fit into the notches and the whole set-up starts with them being hung from the beam above and leveled.

Notice the loom is still set-up in the garage.  I decided to wait to put Julie (named after her previous owner) in the studio until I finished the first warp, since there was more room to move around the loom.  It is hard enough at my age to crawl around under a loom, but even worse if it is in cramped quarters.
Success with four shafts!
I was able to get a long and a short table runner out of the sample warp.

Lining Up Varigated Yarn Colors in a Warp

I spend entirely too much time on pointless things just to answer a question I have had in my mind.

I little while ago, I was given an ugly cone of varigated yarn. Agree?

My question I wanted to figure out was how to wind a warp a specific length and get the colors to line up.

The varigation is short, with each color only about 6" long, so the colors would look muddy if I wound the warp straight off the cone.
I determined the length I wanted for a scarf and after winding to the bottom and reversing, realized that wouldn't work because the colors were in the reverse order with the second pass back to the starting peg.

To get them in order, I needed to make a continuous warp around the board. My start is at the top right peg.
When I got back to the start peg, I determined how much excess yarn I had before the colors lined up again.

I added two pegs on the right side to wrap the excess around until the colors lined up.
I made two wraps around both pegs and one or two wraps around a single peg for each pass around the warping board.
As I made each pass, I made my cross.  After deciding how many warp ends I wanted in each inch, I used a counting cross for each half inch, just to keep track of the number of warp ends wound, and to fit in my 1/2" spaced raddle.

When I am done winding the warp, I will tie off my cross, add some choke ties at the beginning, and right before the two end pegs and then a couple along the length to keep everything stable before cutting it below the start peg.

With everything stable, I can unwind the excess at the two pegs and trim all the warp threads evenly.

I still think it is ugly.  I'll see if my opinion changes after I get a loom open and start weaving the scarf.