Thursday, November 29, 2012

I removed two rugs off the looms today.  One was on Fanny, and the other on the Weaver's Delight.  Both were woven with the same fabrics.  I started cleaning out the old fabric stash, and found some polyester double-knit, that I already had cut into strips.  The rug on the left was woven first, on Fanny.  I had leftover strips after completing the first one, so evaluated how many strips I had left, and started designing the next rug.
The rug at right was woven on the Weaver's Delight.  I decided not to unweave and fix the two sleying errors.  I like how different the rugs can be with different colored warp and weave structure.  The above rug was threaded in a twill, and the one on the right was plain weave, threaded in a log cabin rug pattern.  I doubled the warp threads in the rust colored stripes, but the rest are threaded 12 epi.

I prepare for hemming my rugs in a couple different ways.  When I finished weaving the rug on Fanny, I spread some Tacky Glue on the last 2-3 rows of weft, and let it dry.  If you click on the photo, you can probably see it.  After the glue is dry, I can cut the rug off without worrying about it unraveling.  If I am going to immediately start weaving the next rug, I wouldn't use the glue, and would just weave a few extra rows of hem, to allow for unraveling.

I did that with the other rug, and then ran it through the serger to secure the last 2-3 weft rows.

I don't worry about the little bit of glue that gets folded into the hem.  It is water soluble, so will eventually wash out.
I fold the second part of the hem so it partially covers the first fabric pick.
I don't use sewing pins.  I have been poked too many times, so I switched to clothes pins.  Avoid buying them from the dollar store, because the spring isn't strong enough.  I found mine in my local grocery store.
Five clothes pins on each hem is plenty.  I start my hem by closing up the end, turn and stitch the hem, then close the other end.  It helps to stretch the hem while stitching.  I don't use a home machine for the hems, because I own an industrial upholstery machine.  If you have to use a home sewing machine, follow my tips to avoid breaking needles while sewing heavy fabric.  It was published on my blog on 10-20-11.
I took a little time last night and this morning to fix the sleying errors, using one of my current favorite tools.  It is a slick little sleying hook that I picked up this past spring while on my trip to go get my Weaver's Delight loom.  The blade is super thin, but strong.  I have caught myself with the hook a few times, when I wasn't being careful, and it can draw blood!

The reed hook is available from The Woolgatherers, in Wisconsin.  I'm glad that Sara, the owner, suggested it. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Various Projects in Progress and Finished

UFOs.  Those unfinished objects that get set aside and never get finished.  I think it is a rare crafts person that never has any.  I came across one the other day, and decided it was too nice to not be finished.  This was a project that I think I saw in the Weaver's Craft magazine.  The yarns are fairly heavy, but a good weight for a bag.  The warp is a turquoise 3/2 pearl cotton, and the tabby weft is a heavier yarn, similar in weight to Sugar and Cream in a bluish green color. 
The weave structure is called Monk's Belt.  The weft used to weave the pattern is actually a thin, loosely woven plaid fabric, cut into bias strips about 3/8" wide.

I had the outer part of the bag done, and this photo shows how I formed the bottom of the bag.  The seams are on the sides.  With the bag inside out, I stitched across a triangle at each side.  When the bag is turned right side out, the triangle seams are at each end on the bottom. 
After a couple years on the shelf, I got it out and decided what still needed to be done to make it usable.

First of all, I needed handles, so I dug around in my yarns to find what I used for the tabby.  I threaded up a narrow warp on my floor loom and wove a strip long enough for two handles.  Then, I had to search my fabric stash to find the fabric I used, so I could cut the lining.  After sewing the lining on the regular sewing machine, I did all the finishing on my heavy industrial machine.  It was too thick to get under the presser foot on the regular machine.  I sure am glad I have that heavy old machine.
Click on the photos for more detail.
This rayon chenille scarf was completed in a few days, between other things I was working on.  The warp is a variegated reddish orange, and the weft is a dark red.  The weight is 1300-1400 yards per pound.  I used a 10 dent reed, and originally sleyed it at 20 epi, but that was too dense.  I resleyed at 17 epi (1-2-2) and that was just right. 
 The scarf is plain weave, but I did a short sample using 2-2 twill that also looks nice.
I am still working on my Autumn Leaves warp, and have four towels completed, and the fifth one is almost done.  I think I would like weaving it a bit better if it was on one of the larger looms.  I warped it the full width of my table loom, and ended up taking out one stripe on each edge. 

I am using eight colors in the warp, so I wound a warp long enough to make eight towels.  It was a bit too long for the loom, and I had trouble weaving the first couple.
The current towel is woven with light orange.
This rug is the first one on my second warp on the Weaver's Delight.  I set it up to weave log cabin using the plain weave cams.  My first attempt was weaving denim, but I couldn't get them tight enough with the plain weave, so I unwove it and tried the remainder of the polyester double-knit that I had cut.

That took some trial and error also, but I finally got something that I liked.  After I wove about a foot, I realized the error I saw earlier, but couldn't figure out what I did wrong, was very noticeable on the dark section.  I finally had to work the mechanism till all the warp threads were at one level, and then could see that I had sleyed two threads in a couple dents.  It's a good thing this rug is for me, or I would have unwoven everything again.  I can live with it.  Once this rug is done, I will cut it off and resley the reed to correct the errors.
I weighted my last four threads on each selvedge with 2 pound weights, because I think it helps me get an even edge, and the last rugs were nice and flat on the floor.  I do fiddle with the edges, because I don't like big fabric loops at each edge.  I get them snugged in tight to the selvedge by pulling on them. 

I have one more section of the dark to sew together and weave, and the last light section and the hem and this rug will be done.  Maybe I will complete it after work tomorrow.  Now it's time for bed.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Choosing Warp Colors for the Taquette Pattern

I was asked about the colors I used in my Autumn Leaves towel warp.  These are the pairs of 8/2 cotton colors I used.  (top to bottom)
Lipstick and lt. orange
Plum green and rust
Wine and maize
Antique gold and dk. red (which is actually orange)
This is how they look on the cones.  The colors are pretty accurate, at least on my computer.

For anyone else that wants to try the pattern (on a previous post), make your warp uniquely your own.  I would suggest using what you have in your stash, unless you have an urge to add to it.

The fun is in the design.  For my warp, I obviously used the gorgeous autumn leaves as my inspiration.  Look around for other color combinations that look amazing.  The colors in the desert are going to be different from what I see around the Great Lakes.  City colors will be different from out in the country.  How about the colors on your dishes, or your walls and counter tops?  Or maybe colors from a favorite painting.  Have fun with choosing!

At least four colors are needed, two for each block, and two for each stripe.  Use multiples of two, and each additional pair of colors will make another stripe.  I have eight colors and four stripes that get repeated across the warp.  I played around with the colors in a weaving program until I got the look I wanted, and after doing that, I still changed out one of my colors, and the threading order was changed.  Most of my pairs are reds contrasting with yellows.

I wanted to weave a towel with each color, so I put on a long warp.  I wish I hadn't, because it is on a table loom, and it is too much for the loom.  I'm having issues with the fell line curving because of warp tension issues.  The next warp will be on one of my floor looms.

This is the second towel, woven with the plum green.  The towel is actually greener than in the photo.