Sunday, November 28, 2010

More Stash Reduction

I know I am calling it stash reduction, but when I look at my stash after completing a project, it doesn't look like anything has changed!  I suppose others experience the same thing.  I can say though, that the recent projects did not involve buying anything new, and some of the materials were given to me.

The first project was a set of six placemats that I started a while ago.  I have a huge cone of fairly heavy cotton yarn that is dyed a varigated dark blue to white.  I have used it a lot, and the cone still looks big.  When our son Edwin told us he was getting married, I set to work finishing the placemats for Rebecca's bridal shower.  Her favorite color is blue, so it was perfect for her.

The weft yarn was from my vast stash of fairly heavy cotton yarn that was given to me a couple years ago. Both yarns used in this project have been used many times for teaching children to weave. It's a great weight for making a project weave quickly, and still end up with something that is usable.

My eight year old grandson, Davey, spent a few days with Grandma after Thanksgiving Day.  He had been doing some weaving on a rigid heddle loom, and was quite meticulous with his work, so I thought he was ready to move on to a four shaft loom. 
There was warp left over on the placemat loom, so we looked in the Davison book for a few choices for him.  Since it was already threaded 1-2-3-4, he decided on a 2-2 twill that reverses direction with color changes.  We decided that some white yarn and some different colors of green yarn that I had left over from another towel project would work well. 
 I only got videos of him working on the four shaft table loom, but I did get a couple pictures of his work.
His selvedges look great and he is being pretty consistant with his beat.  He was easily distracted though, so he only got a little bit done.  Guess Grandma will have to have him over again soon!

While Davey was weaving on his project, I finished up a rag throw rug made with wool fabric strips that a friend gave me.  It was a design as I go type rug, with the stripe width being determined by the amount of a particular fabric.  There were several different plaids and a few plain fabrics.  I decided to seperate the different plaids with plain strips.  To add a little interest to the plain fabric area, I twisted two colors together.  That was ok for a couple rows at a time, but I wouldn't want to do a whole rug like that because the twisting takes too long.
I am pretty happy with how it turned out.  After putting it down on the floor, I thought the colors would look nice in our bathroom, since the colors are similar to the colors on the "rustic" shower curtain.
 With the rug done, I got back to the linen warp and wove another towel.  This is still from pg 39 of Davison's book, weaving version II.  It is a single shuttle pattern, and goes very quickly.  Since I used a cotton varigated yarn with slubs, the pattern isn't real distinct.  It shows better on the closeup photo.  The yarn is varigated blue, turquoise, green, and lavender. 
Hopefully I have enough warp for at least one more towel.  I think I will do this version again with a solid color yarn.

All in all, I think I had a pretty productive last few days.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Question About Threading Front to Back (F-to-B)

Sharon asked me why I used a raddle to thread my linen warp if I was threading F-to-B.

Actually, I didn't use the traditional method of threading because all I had was a large bundle of warp threads, about 4 yards long.  It was cut at both ends and there was no cross.  This would definitely be considered slow cloth!

Sharon, this threading was kind of a hybrid of front to back.  I used a raddle because I started with threading the heddles first from the center out to each side.  I put lease sticks in behind the heddles and threaded a cross with it as I was threading the heddles.  I tied the warp to the bar on the back beam, and then counted the correct number of ends per inch in the lease sticks and placed them in the raddle.  I did that from the center out to the sides also.

 I didn't sley the reed till I was all done beaming the warp, so the raddle was used to keep it the correct width.  The tow linen was so sticky, I didn't want more than one thing for it to catch on.

I don't usually thread f-to-b, although that is how I originally learned (from Deborah Chandler's book).    The multicolored warp with lots of pattern changes that I did for towels a while ago needed to be threaded that way.

If you haven't finished threading your loom f-to-b, find a way to weight your warp as you wind it on the back beam.  You can weight it in several bundles, as long as they all have the same amount of weight.  Stretch the warp out a ways  from the front of the loom to keep tangles to a minimum. Slap the warp to seperate any tangles.  Don't pull on individual warp threads.  Good luck.  I'm looking forward to seeing pictures once you get going on the weaving. 

To see Sharon's blog, go to: In Stitches

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Linen Towel Project

This week, I have been working on using more of my stash.  I purchased quite a lot of yarn at an estate sale a while back, and one of the things I bought was a large bundle of linen that was a cut off warp with no cross.  It was about four yards long, and a mix of a plyed smooth linen singles and tow linen singles. 
It's a good thing I am not a production weaver, because it took forever, or so it seemed, to get it on my Leclerc Artisat loom. 
Because the tow linen was so sticky, I decided to thread front to back so I could control the tangles better.  I worked with small bundles of pattern units and threaded the heddles first.  I wanted a cross, so as I threaded each bundle, I put the ends over and under my lease sticks attached to the back beam.

Once I threaded the heddles, added two floating selveges, and tied onto the backbeam, I was able to put some weights on the warp ends.  I moved the lease sticks to the front of the loom and worked it slowly toward the end of the warp.  The yarn was soooo sticky, and I was beginning to hope I wouldn't have to ditch the project.  Patience! 

It paid off!  But very slowly.  No warps broke while winding on the back beam. 

The warp is spaced 25 epi in a 15 dent reed.  It is sleyed 1-2-2.  The first dishtowel I am working on is mainly plain weave, with a border at each end.  The threading came from Marguerite Davison's book, Twill Miniature, on pg. 39.

 I'm using the first half of treadling #1 for the borders, with a little bit of plain weave between them.  With no tabby for this version, the weaving is going quickly.  So far, with tight tension, I have had minimal warp sticking together, but have had one broken warp thread so far. 

The weft is a turquoise blue 6/2 cotton, and seems to be working perfectly with the sett of the linen.  I love it when my guess turns our right the first time.  I wasn't planning on a towel with borders, but as I was spreading the warp and testing for correct threading, I kind of liked the look of it.  It is pretty typical of me changing the pattern in some way after I get started.

I use the Golden Ratio to determine the length of the towel and then use adding machine paper for a weaving guide to my towel length.   I can mark where the first borders are, and then mark where they should be on the other end of the towel.  Once the towel gets wound onto the front beam, I can't look back at what was woven.  I tend to get interrupted while weaving, and then forget what I did at the beginning, especially since I'm not a cookbook type of weaver.  My adding machine paper has saved me many a time, since I write a lot of notes on it, along with the inch marks.  It gets pinned to the edge of my towel while weaving with two pins.  It is kept loose, so I can see the whole length of the tape.  I use it again for the next towel if I am weaving something similar.
I'm hoping to get 3-4 towels out of this warp.