Friday, July 22, 2011

Inkle Weave Pick-up

I recently ran across an article in Handwoven, J/F 1996, pg 50, showing the pick-up technique for weaving patterns on an inkle loom.  I liked the designs, so I got out my homemade inkle loom and warped it up after modifying the pattern a little bit.  I added four more pattern threads to make a slightly wider band.  I used a thick crochet yarn for the base and edge yarns, and a thicker, slubby rayon/cotton blend rainbow varigated yarn for the pattern warp.

This shows my modified design and the first six inches of the weave.  I can see that I need to work on getting the weft pulled tightly when I first start weaving.  The weft shouldn't be showing and the band shouldn't be getting narrower.   

The pick-up is easy, but time consuming.  I numbered the pattern squares.  One shed has the even numbered squares and the other shed has the odd numbered ones.  I used a  pick-up stick to lift or lower the appropriate pattern threads, so that all the red squares in one row are on the top, and all the others are on the lower part of the shed.  Then I use the pickup stick turned on its side to hold the shed open for weaving.

The thicker pattern threads create a raised design.  The weaving is done with the same yarn as the edge warp threads.

This will make a nice portable project.  I think I will take it to the Fiber Festival at the castle in Charlevoix, Michigan this Saturday and Sunday (July 23-24).  Hope to see some of you weavers and spinners there!  I will be there with all five of my granddaughters.  Bring your spinning for the spin-in!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Baby's Breath Photos

I couldn't resist getting some pictures of the baby's breath in the garden.  When I went out to shut the sprinkler off this evening, the light was shining just right on the plants.  The water droplets looked like jewels.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Empty Loom

Fanny is empty again.  This strip of fabric is the first run of Teddy bear fabric straight off the loom.

I serged them apart with great difficulty, since both of my sergers were acting up.  One kept breaking the outer needle thread, and the other wanted to keep sewing even with my foot off the pedal.  I had to get fast with the on/off switch!  Guess a trip to Traverse City will be on the books soon.

All five fabrics, and one sample were fulled together in the washing machine.  It was filled half full with hot water and some Dawn dish soap, and then the the fabric was pushed down into the water. It soaked for a while till the water started to cool a bit, then was agitated on the delicate cycle for a couple minutes.

The water was a bit dirty so I drained it and ran the spin cycle (no water spraying on the cloth).  It wasn't fulled enough, so the above steps were repeated with slightly cooler water and Era laundry soap this time.

I agitated it again on the regular cycle for about 2 1/2 to 3 minutes, drained, spun out the water, rinsed with slightly cooler water, spun again, straightened each piece and hung them to dry.
There is always such a difference in the fabric after wet finishing!  For feel, the best ones for Teddys will be the turquoise mohair and the one with white angora mixed wool.  The mohair has such a beautiful halo of fuzz, and the angora is soooo soft!  It is the lighter fabrics in both pictures, showing both sides.  I think I like the tiny spot side best.

The light orange fabric is also showing both sides.  I will probably use the upper one, since it looks less like a stripe than the bottom one.

The orange, burgundy, and the one to the side, woven in black, have a bit harder finish, but aren't bad.

None have been pressed yet, and that will also change how they feel.  I'm not real sure about the pressing of the mohair and angora.  I will probably ask some advice of more experienced weavers before adding the iron-on interfacing to the backs of the fabrics.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Potholder and Teddy Fabric

Well, my opinion is in:  22 loopers are too many to get into a 7" space.  I ended up taking out the ones on the end pegs, leaving 20 and still have a very stiff mat.  It will be great for a table protector for hot dishes.  It finished at 7" square, and a bit bigger than I prefer for a potholder.

The other potholder in the photo is one that my daughter Becky made years ago.  It is still one of just a few that I grab first, and it's pretty, too!  It  has only 13 loopers per side.  If I make another frame, I'll make it so the loops stretch 6 1/2" - 7", and have 16 pegs per side.

The pegs worked great!  No loopers slipped off accidently, as it seemed to do when I was a kid.  I used a  size I/9 crochet hook to pack in the loops, and then to hook the edge loops together to finish it.  I think an afghan hook of that size would work even better, because it could be used for the weaving also.  I used a bent coat-hanger.
Here is the final Teddy fabric for this warp.  It took the photo for me to notice a big mistake.  Since I will be cutting small pieces from this fabric, I will probably  be able to work around it.  I'm hoping I will be able to get enough woven.  Hope I don't have to start weaving with a stick shuttle at the end!  It's going to be close.

The weft yarn is a light orange 9/2 wool (90% wool, 10% nylon).  I need to get out to the studio to wind another bobbin and get it finished.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Homemade Potholder Loom

I was reading somewhere today about sock loopers for potholders, and it reminded me that I had a bunch of old holey socks out in the studio.  I didn't have a potholder loom, so after I cut a few loopers from the socks, I figured out how far they could stretch, so I could decide how big to make the loom.  My loopers stretch about 8". 

In the basement in Bob's shop, I found some scrap wood and cut the four sides for the loom, assembled them, and gave the frame a bright red coat of paint.

I marked out the placement for the pegs, (22 per side), and then headed for Ace Hardware to see if I could find anything that wasn't too expensive to use for them.

I found a box of trim screws, with a nice small rounded head, and the box included the correct size star bit.  There are probably enough left over to make another loom.  I couldn't find anything shorter than 1 5/8", though, so Bob helped me make the loom thicker to accommodate the length.  He was helpful and set up the drill press and drilled all 88 pilot holes for me.  What a sweetie, and that was after being on his feet all day at work!

I'm testing it out with a log cabin layout.  If I make another one, I will probably put fewer pegs on a side (maybe 20).  I'll see if I have trouble weaving 22 rows first.  I can always cut the loopers a little narrower.  I cut this batch 1" wide.