Friday, October 26, 2012

Weaver's Delight and Tying on to the Apron

ReNee, a weaver on our Rugtalk Yahoo group just asked me a question:  "Would you please walk me through your method of tying on to the apron rod. I have always tied onto the eyelets in the apron. Do you tie overhand knots in warp and insert a rod and then lace on? I can see that lacing on the entire width of the apron improves the eveness of the take up."

She had recently visited my blog and I think she was referring to the photo of the Weaver's Delight in my last post.

ReNee, rather than answer on Rugtalk, I'm sending you back here, because photos are easier for explaining methods.
Here is a repeat of that photo from my previous blog post.

I want to mention that this is a common method of tying on to the loom.  These are my photos and written directions, but I didn't come up with the method.  I don't care if anyone uses these elsewhere, but please give a link back to this blog.
The cording is a sturdy cotton that I found packaged as a center pull ball at the hardware store.  Don't buy anything too thick, or it will make too much of a lump on the beam.   The cord needs to be 3-4 times  the width of the apron.  It has to be long enough to zig-zag.  Tie onto the first eyelet.  (By the way, I do have a rod in the end pocket  of the apron.)  Lash the cord through each eyelet like in the photo.  Too see better detail, click on the photos to enlarge them.
 Continue to the other end of the apron and tie off the cord.  Thread your rod through the loops.  Wiggle it around until the loops are even and your rod is parallel to the front beam.  If your apron doesn't have eyelets, but just a rod in a pocket, there are usually slits cut in the fabric.  You can thread the cord around the rod through the slits. 

One caution:  this photo is showing what you shouldn't do.  Keep your last loop as close to the selvedges as possible.  The right hand lashing is correct, but on the left side, I am going to drop the last loop before I start to weave.  If I don't, the lashing cord will bend the rod .  There needs to be equal pull from the lashing cords and the tied on warp.

Now, to tie on the warp, I work from the outside, from both sides, toward the center.  I do a couple on the right, then a couple on the left, etc.  I like to keep smaller bouts to tie on than the whole bundle from the section, so they are about 1" each, because the warp will spread quicker with smaller bundles.

Wrap the warp around the rod and bring the ends up on either side of the bundle.

Tie a half granny knot.  Often I will tie all of them to this point in the knot.  They don't have to be super tight, but all need keep the warp the same tension.

I was taught to never tie a knot if a bow will work just as well.  I start to tie the second half of the granny knot, but don't pull the loop all the way through.  I think it is also called a bow knot, and is similar to tying a shoelace.

Now I can tighten the loop.  If I need to make an adjustment to the warp tension, it's a simple matter of untying the bow. 

Don't forget to cover all those knots with a stick when your rug starts wrapping around the cloth beam.  Your first rug will be distorted by the knot indentations if you don't.

ReNee mentioned another method for lashing on, that can also be used.  It eliminates the need for the second rod.  Each section is tied in an overhand knot at the end of the warp.  Tie the lashing cord to the closest eyelet past the selvedge, lash through the end of the first bout, then into the second eyelet, etc.  The bouts will be thicker, since only one can be lashed per eyelet.  Adjust the cord until the tension is equal on all of the bouts.

I like the method I use better, since the knots aren't as big, and the space between bouts is smaller, letting the warp spread evenly with fewer passes of the weft.

Monday, October 22, 2012

I Love My Studio

Bob and I worked on a couple big projects recently, making some changes in the studio.  The first one was giving the Weaver's Delight a permanent spot inside.  After I finished the first warp out in the garage, I knew I had to decide where it was going to go for the winter.  We moved three of the smaller looms out of the studio, which gave quite a bit more space.

After measuring the doorway to the studio, we knew we could get it inside without taking it apart if we stood it on one of the ends.  Now, this loom is HEAVY!  Even with the shafts and cams and top part of the beater taken off, I still can not lift it off the floor even a quarter of an inch.  So, how did we move it?  We used the Forearm Forklift.  It's the best investment we ever spent for moving heavy items.  It is just two straps that go under the item to be moved, and there are slots to slip the strap onto each forearm, up by the elbows.  Your hands have to brace on the item that is being moved in order for it to work. 

Bob and I were able to lift the loom and carry it across the two car garage, through a doorway and all the way across the studio.

We spent an evening getting it warped in the log cabin pattern, using the tension box that Bob made for me.  The warp is stripes of denim and tan, with small separator stripes of rust.  My first rug from this warp is going to be for me to put in front of the loom.  The room has a cement floor under the carpet, so I need a little padding under my feet.  I've started to cut some old denim jeans into strips for weaving.
My next project was to make the space under the stairway into functional storage for all my rug yarn.  It took about three trips to K-Mart to get the cupboard units that would work in the space.  I had to wait for Bob to get home from work before I could install them, because the 3-2-1 cubes had to be held up in place while I slip the closed cupboard units underneath. 

 This is my cutting area.  The bookshelf is under the stairs and I have a pin-board on the wall that I made from 1" thick Styrofoam insulating board.  I covered it with inexpensive fabric and nailed it to the wall.  The counter top is recycled from my aunt and uncle.  It's a yard wide, and cut at a 45 degree angle against the wall.  There are four double-door cupboard units supporting it, with a little knee room under the cutting board where I can sit on a stool to work on design.
Inside the front door, facing east and the house, I have an 8' table that I use for my two sergers, and the bobbin winder is at the end of the table (not seen in photo).  Under the left windows, which face north, I have my sewing machine table.  The looms are the Artisat on the right and Fanny with the blue striped warp.  Victoria is to the left of the wall furnace.  My favorite part of the room is my little reading and relaxing area, with rocker and table, right in the center.
In the back corner, facing north, is my ancient Singer industrial machine.  Next to it is my steam press, and above it is storage for dyeing supplies.  The big cupboards are full of yarn.  On the floor, in front of the stepladder, is a tool chest my dad made for me when I was in college.  He made it so I could keep all my upholstery tools in one spot.  It has a nifty covered tray inside for upholstery tacks, and hog rings, and other such supplies.

End of tour!  Come visit sometime!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Autumn Leaves Warp for Towels

Several months ago, my weaving friend Sharon C. gave me this pattern.  It is called taquete.  She has been having all kinds of fun with it.  I finally bought some colors of 8/2 cotton yarn and got a warp for towels put on my Leclerc Jano table loom.

I'm calling this warp Autumn Leaves, because it reminds me of all the beautiful trees in my area of the country (Charlevoix the Beautiful).

I finally figured out a way to put a draft of my pattern on my blog.  I know there must be an easier way, but this is a printout that we scanned and cropped.  It works, so I'm happy!
Here is the Autumn Leaves warp all set to wind on.

Jano had a revamp recently.  She got a nice treadle stand that Bob and I designed and built.  I haven't tried it yet.  I'm looking forward to getting this project threaded, so I can test our work.  I love that the stand has shelves on either side, so I have a spot to set extra shuttles if I'm weaving with more than one.  I also like that the loom isn't bolted to the stand.  The legs on the loom extend below the crossbars, so the legs just hold the loom in place on the stand.  To remove the loom from the stand, all I have to do is unhook the "S" hooks from the levers.

I have a couple other very big projects out in the studio that I need to get photos of, but that will have to wait until tomorrow.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Weave a Tiny Paper Bag

The latest issue of Handwoven (Nov/Dec 2012) arrived in the mail yesterday.  Almost immediately, there was a post on one of the weaving boards I am on, from a weaver that was frustrated with the lack of illustrated instructions for one of the projects, a tiny woven paper bag found on page 14.  I got out some 12" square scrapbooking paper this morning and tried it.  I could understand why the other weaver was frustrated, because I couldn't figure it out either, or at least not in the time I had before church. 
When I got home this afternoon, I decided I would figure it out and photograph the process. 

First, cut 5" squares form each corner of the 12" square.

 Cut the 5" cross bars into 1/2" strips.  Don't cut into the 2" square area in the center.

Strips cut

Fold the center square diagonally.  It will form the bottom of the bag.

Fold in the four strips closest to the bottom fold, to form a 90 degree angle.  They are the start of the sides of the bag.
 Starting with the lower left corner of the bag (front or back), fold it around to interweave with the back strips, going under the first strip.  Turn it over and repeat. 
Now weave the right corner.  If you look closely at the magazine photo, you can see that the right and left weave differently.  If you zoom in on this photo, I think you will be able to see it.
 This is how I folded the sides before weaving.
 Continue with the next row.  Start the weaving with the left side, wrapping to the back, and UNDER the first back strip (on the inside of the bag).  Flip over and repeat.  Weave the other corner, front and back.
Repeat with the next two rows.
I was able to weave four rows.  Tighten the weave and finish following the magazine instructions. 

The instructions didn't say anything about securing the weave at the top before cutting, but I would use a tiny dab of tacky glue or some double stick tape before cutting.

I hope my photos help frustrated weavers!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Tension Box for Sectional Warping

My first experience using a tension box was when Bob and I wound my first warp onto the restored Weaver's Delight loom.  I didn't own one, since none of my other looms have sectional beams, so I borrowed a homemade one from a friend. 

Now, I have a whole box of rug warp, with lots of colors, and am ready to wind on my second warp.  I gave the tension box back to my friend after putting the first warp onto the loom, so I showed Bob what I needed. 

He drew up some plans, and when I came home from work this afternoon, he had most of it completed.

I found a wire coat hanger and made the two wire gates to keep the yarn from popping out of the tops of the open reeds.

Bob finished it after school.  He picked up some 1" dowel at Ace, and some wing-nuts, cut the four tension dowels and added the posts for the wing-nuts to tighten them.

I varnished the dowels, and have them drying on the box.  A light sanding of them tomorrow with super fine sandpaper, and it should be ready to try.  Now I need to decide what I am going to weave.  I did Chicken Tracks for the last run of rugs, so I will try something different this time.