Friday, October 3, 2008


I really hate it when I make a threading mistake.

Partly I hate it because my nice, tidy approach to threading gets all messed up. Partly I hate it because when I beam sectionally I don't use lease sticks. Partly I hate it because the potential to further mess up while re-threading seems to grow exponentially when you have to pull part of the warp out and re-do it.

So when I make a threading mistake, I will twist and turn trying to figure out how to "fudge" so that I don't have to re-thread.

Therefore, when I got to the end of threading the shawl warp on the AVL, I tried really hard to figure out a way to salvage it so that I didn't have to re-thread, but after several days of procrastination, I finally bit the bullet, inserted lease sticks, and started re-threading.

In the meantime, I wove on the Fanny because I do some of my "best" thinking while I'm picking my way through a warp. When everything is going well and only surface attention is required for the physical act of weaving, my mind is free to roam through the highways and byways of my neurons, turning the mirrored ball this way and that, looking for possibilities in terms of problem solving.

Because in a way, designing a new textile is a series of problems to be solved.

First question - what do I want to make?

Second question - what fibre do I want to make "it" from? Now is when I start to look at those different facets - cotton, linen, wool, Tencel, bamboo, and so on. How does the inherent nature of each fibre match the requirements of the intended textile?

Third question - what weave structure?

Fourth and onward questions - dimensions. And how those dimensions will "fit" with the number of ends and the required density? How will it be "ended" - hemmed? Fringe? How will those treatments affect the dimensions?

And last, but certainly not least (in my book!) - how will it be a) wet finished and b) cleaning instructions to be given to the customer?

Or, in the case where I've made an "oopsie" - can I fudge it and how?

In the instance of the shawl warp, the chosen weave structure and colour design meant that there was no fudging - and so acceptance set in, and the re-threading accomplished this morning.

Now to sley, tie on and - hopefully - start weaving tomorrow. In the meantime, I've got towels to weave on the Fanny. :D

p.s. Interweave Press has information on Judith Mackenzie McCuin's new book The Intentional Spinner posted on their website - due out in November - a must have for weavers who want to really know about the properties of copy is already on order!

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