Thursday, February 13, 2014

Experimenting With the Weaver's Delight Wooden Yarn Shuttle

Last spring, while visiting Ole' Lou and his wife Betty down in Arkansas, I shamelessly begged an old wooden shuttle off him.  I thought I had seen it during another visit and was pretty sure he didn't use it.  I didn't know of anyone else with a Weaver's Delight loom that had one, and also never talked to anyone who had woven fabric on their rug loom.

I brought it home along with a few pirns for winding on yarn for the shuttle.  This is a big shuttle, about the same size as the cast aluminum ones for the rags.  It measures about 16" long and is 3-4" high.
It has a patent number stamped on the top.  Last fall, my dad took a look at it and did some repairs.  One of the pointed cones came out and needed gluing again.  We got that repaired and Dad turned a couple more pirns, using the old ones for a guide.  I brought it all home and put it away until recently. Other things like cancer treatments got in the way of my doing anything with it. I  got it out last week and decided to clean it up and try using it.
I sanded all the wood and found out most of the dark color was just dirt.  After a coat of stain, I put a couple coats of polyurethane on everything.

The wire fits in two holes inside the shuttle and loops around the pirn in the groove.  Pushing on the flat end of the pirn bows the wire enough to give some tension to the pirn and holds it in place when seated in the shuttle.

I had my dad make the new pirns about 2" longer than the original ones.  I wasn't sure if there was a reason for the original ones to be shorter, so I thought I could start out with them a little longer and cut them off if they didn't work.

There was a reason for them being shorter!  The longer one worked fine until there was just about 1" to1 1/2" of yarn left on the pirn and then it started to get caught on the tip.  It caused some broken warp threads from being tugged off the shuttle race.

Well, isn't that what experimenting is all about?  I know how to fix broken warp threads and will show some photos of the process in another blog post.

Here is the shuttle all loaded with yarn and threaded and ready to go.  The thread is exiting under a spring steel tension clip.  I am thinking bout replacing it with something else that may let me change the tension a bit and have a little more control of the yarn pulling at the selvedges. (Or not pulling!)

Stay tuned for winding a tartan warp to put on the WD sectional beam and repairing broken warp threads.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Another Type of Homemade Weaving Temple

This is part of my experiment with weaving fabric with my Weaver's Delight automated fly-shuttle loom.

My regular temple that came with my Weaver's Delight rug loom is too wide for what I needed.  I needed something to spread the warp to the width in the reed, so I devised a floating temple, unlike the paperclip temples I use on my other looms.

With the flyshuttle, I was unable to run a cord from the front beam to the back beam to drape the weight cords over, like on the other looms.
This is what is working for me.  I saw something similar quite a while ago and looked around for something I could use to try it.

I used a yardstick, two clamps, two paperclips and some linen rug warp.  I had my husband cut the yardstick a little shorter and narrower and drill a hole in each end. 

I attached the rug warp to the end of each clip and another couple pieces to each end of the stick.  I attached the paperclips to the cords with enough tension to bow the stick when the clamps were attached to the fabric.  Alligator clips could also work, but I just used what I had in the studio.
 So far it has worked pretty well.  It does ride on the shuttle race when I beat but is not on the race when the shuttle flies across.

If I need more tension to the temple, I can reattach the clips so the stick bows a bit more.

The fabric on the loom is the start of a towel I am weaving with the Michigan Tartan colors.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Prayer Shawls, Blankets and Lap Quilts

When I had my heart attack back in 2012, I had a dear friend give me a crocheted prayer shawl (the green shawl in the photo).  So, what is a prayer shawl?  I found out it was a shawl that someone makes and while working on it, they pray for the recipient.  It had a big impact on me.  It is hard to describe the feeling while wearing it, but I could FEEL the prayers that went into it.  I had one particular day when I was feeling especially bad.  I took the shawl, put it around me and went to bed.  Almost immediately, I started feeling better.  What an amazing thing to experience. 

When I found out I had cancer, another friend sent me a prayer blanket (the lavendar one with the cross).  Both the blanket and shawl went with me to the hospital when I had my surgery.  I must have said something to Dr. Michelin about the shawl, because when he came to check on me after my surgery, I had it on and he asked if it was my "prayer sweater".  I thought that was kind of funny, but he remembered it and what it was about. 

While undergoing my chemo treatments, my church presented me with a prayer lap quilt, signed by the church members (the quilt is on the back of the chair).  I don't know how I could be so blessed so many times.  The quilt goes with me every time I go for chemo because I get cold sitting so long in a cool room.  It is just the right size for covering my legs.  I was given two other gifts of love, the heart quilt and the lovely red and grey wool shawl by two other good friends.  They are all loved and I will cherish them.  As you can see, our kitty, Schwarz, thinks they are pretty special too.

Since all those blessings have come my way, I wanted others to experience God's love and prayers.  The shawls I have been working on are woven on one of my looms.  It is a restful, relaxing time when I get to talk to God and hopefully impact someone else that needs to feel God's arms around her or him.

This is the first shawl I made.  I love how the stripes turned out with the variegated yarn.
  This is the type of yarn I have been using. It is a giant skein from Joann Fabrics.  I chose it because of it's easy care properties.  It can be washed in the washer and dried in the drier.  The loom was warped at 16 ends per inch in a 12 dent reed with a width of 18" - 20" for a shawl.  I use 8/2 size yarn for the warp.  The warp is about three yards long, and I wove shawls a bit over two yards long.  The fringe is twisted and knotted at the ends. 

I had a friend try using the boucle yarn for the warp and she couldn't get a shed open to weave.  The cotton warp is best, since it isn't sticky.  I beat gently while weaving and it made a nice warm but lightweight shawl. 
This skein is for my third shawl.
This is the start of my second shawl.  It is a variegated yarn with just three colors.  I didn't know who it was going to be for so I prayed generic prayers for the recipient.  As I wove more, I kept thinking of my neighbor.  She had taken such good care of me and Bob while I was getting chemo and now she was having some difficulties.  I started praying more for her and decided this shawl was hers.
I wanted this shawl to reverse colors so the ends would mirror each other.  I kept track of the colors and length on the paper tape to the left.  When I got to about the center of the shawl, I had to wind the yarn on my swift first so I could get the right colors on my shuttle in the reverse order.  The tape helped me do that.

The tape is on top of a wonderful sheepskin my son Edwin and his wife Rebecca gave me for Christmas this year.  How nice it is to sit upon, with it draped over the rocking top weaving bench Bob made me a while ago.  Since getting both gifts, I have had no problems with pressure to the backs of my legs while weaving.
I was able to give the second shawl to my neighbor at our Bible study a couple weeks ago.  She had the same experience I did when she put it on.  It is such a good reminder that God is there when we need him.

I would like to encourage anyone with needlework skills to take on a shawl, blanket, or quilt project.  Knitting, crochet, weaving or quilting can be a meditative occupation.  Think of the blessings that can come from your hands. 

May God bless you in your endeavors.