Saturday, January 31, 2009


This treadling is more complex than the original and makes an interesting large pattern. The X and O are still there, but elongated. I like creating curves in my fabric and while the raindrops were nice curves, they were a bit static. This pattern is more interesting to my eye. Such ornateness isn't to everyone's taste, though, so I'm only doing 4 of these.

Once again the hem is woven in a point progression.

I like to do hems like this for a couple of reasons. As mentioned yesterday, the draw in is more similar than when using plain weave as a hem for one thing.

For another, when working with rather large patterns that may - or may not - fit into the dimensions I'm aiming for, I can make the hem area longer or shorter to compensate.

For this towel, I increased the repeats in the hem. The next towel, which will have a much simpler treadling, I may decrease the repeats in the hem area.

It is one of the beauties of using weaving software - I can make changes, sometimes quite drastic ones, with very little time invested. I have a library of different treadlings that I can mix and match, or with about 10 to 15 minutes of input, come up with something completely different than what I've used before.

Twills quite fascinate me. I've been weaving various twills almost exclusively for several years, and I don't seem to ever run out of something new to try. :)

More Tea Towels

This is the second treadling on the current warp. I simplified the sequence somewhat and now have 'strings of pearls'? The red line is a cutting line so that I don't have to guess where to separate the towels when they come off the loom. You should be able to just see that I've woven the hems in a point twill progression. I prefer to do this rather than plain weave as there is less tendency for the hems to be a different width than the towel proper.

Also checked the area I wondered about in terms of a sleying error, but it is, indeed, a section where several of the very fine 40/3 darker threads are grouped. No mistake - this time! :}

Got four towels woven yesterday, and even managed some transcribing. But I'm also very behind on doing WeaveCast - new episode posted today - so I'm hoping to start on the last one before I leave on my next trip. I'm anxious to hear the interview with Tom Beaudet, who has been very kind to me. :)

Duck to Water?

Anna Marie sent this photo of what Christa Mae has been working on since the Bobbin Lace Show and Share last Sunday. :D

The bracelet at the top was made at the SnS. She then went on to make 3 more, then found this website: and is proceeding to learn new stitches and make some bookmarks.

Way to go Christa Mae! :D

The bobbins have been made from spindles they found at a local hardware store. We hope to see more of Sue, Anna Marie and Christa Mae.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Double, Double, Toil and Trouble

Well, hopefully not the Toil and Trouble when you use a doubling stand!

I'm trying to use up this extremely fine singles linen Lynn gave me last fall, and the only way it will work on the fine cotton warp is to double it. Yes, it's that fine! :O

However, as I mentioned in a previous post, trying to wind two strands of yarn together can produce less than desirable results. When I need to double a yarn for weft, I use this handy bucket arrangement as a doubling stand. One cone is inside the bucket, threaded through a hole in the lid, then through the centre of the cone on top of the lid. This yarn is so fine, you may not be able to actually see it in the photo.

You can use any number of things - there are purpose built gizmos, but the one I have is too small to handle these large cones (nearly 4 pounds each!) - and another simple solution is a plastic milk crate or wire file bin. Set the cone on the floor, then tip the crate over it and run the thread up through one of the holes in the crate. Then thread the yarn through the bottom of the second cone (I use a long threading hook to fish the yarn up through the cone) and set the second cone centered over the first cone. If the crate or bin has smooth sides, you can also set it on the side so that you don't have to lift it up to get at the bottom cone.

I've found that the longer a length the two yarns run together the better they wind onto the bobbin, so my bucket is approximately 6 feet away from the bobbin winder. The yarn goes straight up to a hook in the ceiling so the length the yarn travels before winding onto the bobbin is probably close to 15 feet.

When winding, the hand that guides the yarn onto the bobbin is held about 1 inch away from the bobbin. The closer you hold, the less likely the yarns will split apart as they wind on, and the more evenly they will load.

I've got 3 of these almost four pound cones. I don't know how much I can use up on this 40 yard warp, but I'm hoping that most of the two cones I'm using will go. There is still a little of the very fine cottons left, so those pale blues will get combined with bleached white for one more warp - which will hopefully use up the very fine cottons, and most of the very fine linens. :)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Holy Snowball, Batman!

I expected this design to be more of an X and O, but the O's definitely seem to dominate!

I'm not sure if the pattern should be called snowballs, or raindrops keep falling, or.....?

The lines in the cloth are due to cramming the threads in the reed, although in the picture I see one area that looks particularly wonky so I'm going to have to look at it more closely in the morning and see if there is a sleying error there or just that a few of the darker threads got grouped together. The stripes should even out during wet finishing so that it doesn't look quite so streaky.

I had delusions of finishing this warp before I left on Feb. 9, forgetting that 32 ppi is that much slower than 24 ppi. :} Not to mention the somewhat unco-operative linen weft. So instead of trying to rush through this warp, I decided to leave some of it on the loom for when I get back on the 23rd of Feb., and concentrate on some other things that are beginning to reach critical mass in terms of deadlines.

There is a load of wet finishing to do, a beginning workshop to organize (March 7/8 if anyone wants to come to Prince George during spring breakup - not the best time to visit!) transcribing, the workshop in Grand Forks to finish getting ready, Fibres West to get yarns labelled and packed, etc., etc., etc.

Spent part of this afternoon teaching an 8 year old to knit. Hopefully she can continue on with help from her mom.

The weather forecast says warm (above freezing) for the next week or so with colder weather returning on Feb. 9, the day I leave for warmer climes. :D

Currently reading Halo - The Fall of Reach by Eric Nylund

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Pressing Matter

Or perhaps I should say, a matter of pressing?

I've mentioned my industrial steam press in previous posts, and since I had my Blackberry with me (I'm finding a camera phone amazingly handy!) thought I'd take some pictures. :D

So here is Puff.............

Doug installed Puff in my 'annex' which has two areas. The front, which has no windows, is where Puff resides. The other area has one tiny window and is crammed to the rafters with stuff!

Here is a shot of the drying rack with some of the tea towels I pressed this afternoon.

I don't mind doing more than one of an item. I find that customers buying placemats or even tea towels, quite often want more than one of the same design.

My goal is to use up as much of the yarn in the background of this photo as possible in the near future. The yarn to the right is a high quality acrylic and I've been doing throws, using it for weft. But I've got an awful lot of it...........

Here are some photos of the tea towels that I gave a finishing press to today. They are now ready to be tagged, priced and sent out for - hopefully - sale. The natural linen looks a bit green in this photo - it's actually much more beige. I think it's partly that the blue is coming through from the other side of the fabric. I wove these towels in August/September and finally got the last of them hemmed.

The following towels were woven in Nov/Dec/Jan. I've been lagging behind on my hemming, so it felt really good to get these dealt with today. The blue and beige are cotton and linen, the blue and white is all cotton.

Yesterday I cut and serged the last warp and those are the towels on the drying rack above. Well, some of them. There's still another load to go into the washer/dryer, but probably not until later in the week, now.

Today I got a phone call from a gal I met in December at a craft fair. She does surface design using embroidery techniques. She called to invite me to a drop in for craftspeople every second Wednesday. The next drop in just happens to be tomorrow, so I'm going to go and bring my tub of hemming. ;)

One of my goals was to be less of a stick-in-the-mud and try to develop more of a social life. The call felt like an invitation that I really wanted to accept, even though I'll miss the next one as I'll be out of town.

Monday, January 26, 2009

I Love My Fanny!

Leclerc Fanny, that is! :)

Finished the warp on the loom this morning. Here's a picture from the front.

While I don't recommend weaving this close to the reed generally, on this loom and with these yarns I can push beyond the 'sweet spot' in order to get the woven length I need. At this point if I start having a problem with stressing the selvedge threads I'm nearly done, so it's worth the risk in order to get the length I need for my project. :}

And here's the reason why I really love my Fanny - you can see how close to the apron I can weave if I have to. Tension isn't great, but again, worth pushing the equipment and the yarn in order to get the length required to finish my project. :D

It's also good to know just how little loom waste you can get away with if you are working with very expensive - or scarce - yarn...........

Sunday, January 25, 2009

More From Lace

Here's another picture from our lace day - me to the right, Crista Mae working on her bracelet and her mom Anna Marie to the left.

We really basked in the sunshine while the temps were about -19C outside.

Making Lace

Today we had a bobbin lace Show and Share day at the local weaver's guild room. We had 3 enthusiastic newbies show up. Jennifer (far right) is overseeing Anna Marie who is next to her daughter. Sue is sitting at the table in front of Anna Marie, and way in the background is Anthony.

Anthony has been coming with his Gran Karin for a couple of years to make lace with Karin, Jennifer and me.

We provided the equipment and yarn and in a little over two hours all three of the newbies finished a lace bracelet. :)

Even though it was cold, the sun was shining, so we had a very pleasant day all in all.

Now I'm about to head to the studio and see if I can strip the last warp off the AVL and start putting the next one on...........

Friday, January 23, 2009

Stash Reducing

Finished the last of the doubled fine cotton warp tonight. I could have woven on this warp for a long time, partly because I still have so much more stash that would have been perfect as weft on it, partly because it was just so dern purty. :^) But all good things come to an end, and so has this warp as of 8:30 pm tonight. Hooray!

I'll get Karena to cut and serge the towels on Monday and then I can wet finish a batch of towels in preparation to hemming etc.

Since I brought a bunch of towels with me to LA/Tucson and managed to get them all hemmed while I was away, I'll probably do the same on the next trip. ;)

I didn't actually get very much done today as I spent a good chunk of the morning waiting around at the lab to get blood drawn, then a meeting in the afternoon sliced a good portion of the rest of the day away as well.

However, I did do an article for WeaveZine I promised, (if Syne likes it, it may appear this spring sometime - watch for changes in WeaveZine's format) prepared some handouts for the bobbin lace Show and Share scheduled for this Sunday and made the proto-type bracelet the students will make for themselves, and last but not least, pulled some more warp yarns for the Boise Magic in the Water part II workshop. All that's left for that is to wind a couple of warps, write the intro letter, make a list of the warps and the equipment required (table or floor loom, how many shafts, how many shuttles/bobbins), pack it all up and get the box into the mail on Monday. If you say it fast, it hardly sounds like anything at all. :}

While I was staying with one of my hostesses in Tucson, we had a talk about cholesterol and it turns out she can't take any of the Rx medications but she can take a dietary supplement called plant sterols and has been having good success with those along with a good diet and exercise. I did some research when I got home, found an interesting article published by what looked like a reputable medical journal and brought that in to the doctor with me yesterday.

He had been concerned because after I got home my bp had spiked again, but when I told him I'd used my ashtma puffer to try to control the inflammation in my lungs (due to a severe allergic response during my trip - the good news is that it worked - whew!) he told me that the blue asthma puffer will definitely spike bp so I'm going to stay on the same regimen that I've been on since Dec. 22 as that seems to be keeping things pretty much under control (except for those dratted allergy response spikes). :(

At any rate, I've also added a supplement with the plant sterols, so in addition to checking my liver (still tenderness under the right ribs, more annoying than anything else), he decided it would be a good idea to check my cholesterol level and monitor to see if the plant sterols help. My goal by using the plant sterols is to keep the Rx medications at as low a dose as possible.

I was a little bit leery when I found out the plant sterols are also called plant 'statins', given my body's response to Rx statins, but decided to try them and see if I can tolerate them. So far, so good, so we'll see how things continue.

The weather here has gotten cold again, so I am really looking forward to my trip in February to Birmingham, Tampa and Columbus, OH (although Columbus could also be cold.......) Can hardly believe that January is nearly over!

currently reading: Tony Broadbent - The Smoke

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Ergonomics = Efficiency

This is a photo showing how I catch the shuttle as it exits the shed. The point slips through my index and middle finger, and my thumb acts as a gentle brake on the bobbin so that it doesn't over run and let off more weft than required. I catch and throw my shuttle this way regardless of the width of the warp I'm weaving.
I know it's hard to relearn muscle memory if you have been doing something physical another way, but working ergonomically is much kinder to the body than working akwardly. The other bonus is that ergonomic motions generally mean increased efficiency.
The last few days I've received a couple of emails from people that have warmed my heart.
Elaine R writes:
I've been weaving on the shawl on my Kessenich and practicing your technique. While I don't have it down pat yet, I certainly got a lot more woven in a short time than I have before on such a wide piece.
With each bobbin change I try a different shuttle, and I think I've figured out which one works the best. I will have to have Rick flatten out the end a little to get rid of the point so I can push it better with my finger, but that is easy. One of my goals this year is to do more weaving and use up many of these cones of yarn. I mainly do scarves, shawls and table linens, and with
your good guidance, I should get a lot done.
A good shuttle will encourage the holding and throwing of it in this manner. There are many shuttles available that are awkward to catch and throw this way due to the shape and size of the point of the shuttle. What I recommend to people is that they try holding their shuttle this way and if it is awkward, try different styles until they find one that does feel comfortable. My shuttles are all Leclerc boat shuttles. I use the regular ones with my Fanny and the low profile ones on the AVL because the shed on that loom is smaller.
Sharon S writes:
Laura, I have dramatically increased my speed of dressing a loom thanks to your CD Weaver words and videos.
After winding a couple of longish (for me) warps back to front I did a 4 yard warp front to back and even though it went fairly smoothly I still had a few popped threads while beaming and it wasn't nearly as relaxing. So I'm thinking I'm becoming a back to front warper, at least on the standard loom but maybe on the Baby Wolf, too.
But the biggest thing that got faster was my threading. The last threading i did was an 8-shaft lace weave that was threaded 1-8-1-2-7-2 1-6-1 2-5-2 1-4-1 2-3-2. The method you show in CD Weaver was much faster than what I did before but I noticed tonight that you mention the method is best for 4-shaft threadings that are basically "in order" (not so much for the block weaves). I agree with that assessment.
My question, though, is what do you do for block weaves? Is it just slower and I should accept that or do you have some lovely tricks that work in those situations?
I've gone from taking a week of working a couple of hours each night to thread 320 ends to threading 450 ends in two sittings - maybe a couple of hours each? That's nowhere near your speed but it's still a substantial increase in my own speed and I'm enjoying my weaving a LOT more because I'm getting to the cool part quicker. I guess I'm sold on getting better!
Thanks again for the CDs, for your blog, for being so willing to share.
I use the Harrisville brass hook that has the threading hook on one end and the sleying hook on the other.
While threading block weaves is slower than twills if you hold the hook like a pencil, you only need a tiny hand movement to thread. You don't need to move your entire arm and shoulder. This method of threading requires less physical effort on the part of the weaver and is less tiring.
Using the hook in much the same manner, you can sley the reed the same way. A small flick of the hand passes the thread(s) through the dent - no large arm/shoulder movement. Again much less effort required, and less taxing on the weaver's body.
I'm all in favour of working smarter instead of harder and accomplishing more by doing less. :)

Monday, January 19, 2009

AVL Production Loom Maintenance/Repair

Let's face it - I weave a lot. I mean, I really do weave a whole lot - every day, mostly - apart from last year when I was too sick to weave for most of the spring and summer.

In my heyday, I was weaving between 9,000 and 13,000 picks on an average day, pretty much every day. As such, we very quickly found the wear points in the loom - points that the average avocational weaver will likely never have a problem with in their entire weaving lifetime.

Doug fixed those wear points - generally metal axles through wood - so that I have had no further trouble with them since they were upgraded. He has also modified the loom significantly in order to get it to perform more effectively for the things that I need it to do.

There is one wear point, however, that really can't be upgraded as such - just repaired when it breaks - and that is the area beneath the shafts where a chain and spring runs from the right side of each shaft and attaches to the left side. The hook that attaches the spring/chain to the shaft is a wire that pivots on a small metal pin at one end and hooks into either the metal chain, or the spring at the other end.

Eventually these hooks wear and break.

Tonight one of the shafts made a peculiar jump and wobble and sure enough, when I checked under the loom a chain with spring was laying on the floor beside the web. You can see the broken end of the hook on the very bottom right of the photo and how the wire wears thin enough it breaks.

Since this happens infrequently, but routinely, Doug made a bunch of the hooks so that when they break all I have to do is reach for the peanut butter jar they are stored in, wriggle my way under the loom and reattach the spring/chain to the shaft and continue weaving. A fix of less than 10 minutes, including wriggle time.

Although you can still weave if a hook is broken, it can also cause problems so it's just easier if I have replacements ready to hand so I can deal with it immediately.

I don't know what AVL used originally - the original hooks are long gone. Doug has used coat hanger wire (the one on the bottom) which is pretty much identical in grist to the original. But the last time he made more, we didn't have any hangers to spare. He managed to root through his workshop and found some wire he had on hand that was ever so slightly thicker than the coat hanger wire, but which still fits into the slot.

He made a jig to bend the wire and generally makes a couple dozen at a time. They don't have to be 'perfect' as the spring will accomodate a slight variation in length. As they break, I replace them until I've got 4 or 5 left and then ask him to make more.

It's so nice to have replacement parts on hand. I managed to finish towel #6 for the day. Not bad considering I picked up a bug on my trip and have been having problems with coughing and sneezing......


I hesitate to admit that the following photos, which show primarily one wall of my storage area are the after shots!

The first photo is looking from north to south.....

...then looking from south to north.

In this photo, you can also see on the right a shelving unit that sticks out east to west from the east wall.
The first photo is one of the sections Karena worked on when she came this morning. It's primarily my cotton inventory. She was very impressed at how much I'd used up and how much room was emptied so that she could move other things onto the shelves and off the floor.
The second photo is the wool section, which we haven't touched yet. Behind the metal rack to the right hand side is the bamboo and Tencel and other odd things like linen and novelties. The back wall, which you can't see very much of holds mostly the woven textiles.
The boxes on the floor contain a variety of things - painted warps, surplus loom parts (mechanical dobby bits and pieces), booth curtaining and draping, display props. All the detritus needed for the various facets of my micro-business of producing and selling textiles.
What you don't see here is the whole other off site storage unit I have for the steam press and the overstock yarn, the rest of the copies of Magic, Weave a V, CDWeaver samples, etc., etc., etc.
What people don't realize right away about being organized is that you have to have sufficient room for your stuff. If your stuff over runs your space, being organized becomes a constant dance to juggle boxes and bags of your stuff so you can get at what you need, when you need it.
Which is one reason why I am on a mission to reduce my stash. I can't get rid of the loom parts, booth props and display stuff, but I can use up some of my yarn!
Besides, if I can use up enough of the old stuff, I can justify buying some new stuff! :^)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Spring Colours

My preference for a colour palette is generally the rich vibrant reds/purples/blues commonly referred to as 'jewel' tones. Either that or tone on tone, generally variations of natural/bleached whites.

That said, every once in a while I find myself working with paler colours with yellow undertones. This warp didn't start out with the intention of using this pale celery green linen as weft, but what a pleasant surprise it's turned into.

The warp is the same greyed blue/green with a little lavendar that I used up the last of the fine white chenille and the singles linen on before I left for warm weather with no snow. Perhaps the touch of spring (summer for us, if truth be told) left a deeper imprint than expected. :^) Let's just say I tried the yarn as a whim, and have been so delighted with it that I'm going to try to use up the whole 2 pound cone on this warp. Because frankly, I don't know when I'll do another warp that would be so perfect for it!

I still have a small tube of a golden yellow, and a much sharper yellow green to use up. But neither of those appeals to me - or at least, not on this warp - so they will patiently await another time, another warp.

Once this warp is off the loom, I'll be re-tooling my set up in order to go back to using the rest of my fine yarns one at a time instead of doubled. This will mean a return to 30-36 epi/ppi. I still have about 6 pounds of the extremely fine white linen to use. I'll have to check grist and see how closely it matches the fine cottons that are left for size.

In the meantime, there are still 15+ yards left on this warp to weave, a workshop to update, a proto-type or two to construct, skeins to wind and dye. Somehow burying myself in work in the studio seems particularly appealing as I look out the window at the ice fog that descended last night and never went away today.

More warm weather in February? Take me to it! Birmingham and Tampa, here I come - soon!

I Got Presents!

After the gift of respite from snow and cold, I even got presents!

The Tucson guild has lovely aprons with pockets, and this year they produced a calendar as a tribute to and in memory of one of their guild members, Harriet Rein. I'm not sure if they sell both, but if anyone is interested I'm sure the info is available through the guild website:

Now if I could only get myself organized to the point where I could fit spinning back into my schedule, I have the perfect apron. :)

It was delightful to be in California and Arizona. I'd visited the LA area previously, but had never been to Arizona. The cloudless sky on the flight between Burbank and Tucson allowed me full overview of the landscape, and awesome it was.

After a delightful stay with Anne and Bruce in CA, I was hosted by two weavers (Elaine, then Dianne) in Tucson. Elaine took me to a rug study group Tuesday morning, then to a museum in the afternoon so that I could see some very interesting exhibits. Wed. saw Rick, Elaine and I heading south of Tucson to visit the St. Xavier Mission, then over to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. We had a lovely lunch there then watched the free flight demo in the afternoon. They were flying 4 Harris hawks. These birds have been compromised in some way such that they can no longer live in the wild, but every effort is made to keep their habitat as natural as possible.

Both the LA and Tucson weavers were delightful - open and receptive and very encouraging and welcoming to this Snowbird. :D

I nearly didn't make it home as the Prince George airport began to fog up after the plane left Vancouver, but the pilot was able to set down after all -albeit with a bit of a bump! - and I'm home, looking forward to getting to the loom and using up more of my all too large stash. Of course I do still have to unpack and get the orders ready to mail tomorrow, but that can be done on my weaving breaks. One does have to have their priorities! :^)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Road Trip

Well, I'm nearly ready. Still have a few personal effects to pack. And I fit everything into one suitcase, albeit a very heavy one. I may wind up paying an overweight surcharge when I get to the airport. :(

There are things left undone because this past week I have been reveling in the fact that I am now able to weave like I used to. :D

After the angioplasty, so many medical professionals took care to assure me that I would be 'good as new'. And I wasn't. And I wasn't for so long that I began to doubt that I would ever be able to weave again without struggling and pain. So for me to be able to weave without that has been just - well - I can't think of a good enough word - wonderful? glorious? stupendous? None quite convey how I have been feeling this week.

And so I have been ignoring all except that which could not be ignored, and simply weaving.

A trip to the pharmacy today to pick up some essentials for the trip, and one of the pharmacists made a point of coming to ask me how I was doing. She has been keeping track of me for the past few months. I told Doug that you know you're sick when the pharmacist starts worrying about you! :^) It felt so good to tell her that things finally seem to be on the right track. Since a couple of days before Christmas, my blood pressure has been just about as perfect as one could hope for - other than a couple of days when I appear to have encountered an allergen. Even then, it wasn't particularly high - just higher than target - and an 'extra' anti-histamine seemed to do the trick.

So I am more than ready to head south in hopes of warmer weather, sun and NO SNOW! :D

I'll be back late on the 17th. Will no doubt have a road trip report on the 18th.

In the meantime, I hope everyone has a great week and finds a little time for fibre work.



Towel woven of 2/16 cotton for warp and a cotton slub for weft.

In August of 2007, I finally did something I'd been wanting to do for a long time - a test of absorbency of different textiles.

The following is a report I shared with members of a study group.

"I've just finished a rather rudimentary absorbency test on the towels
submitted for the Challenge, plus some samples of my own.

I weighed the dry sample, floated it on some warm water to which
detergent had been added for the surfactant effect (breaking down the
surface tension of the water) for a count of 10, removed the sample from
the water letting the water drain until the stream of water was just a
drip, and weighed the sample again. Then calculated the % of increase
in weight for each.

Towel #1 10/2 organic cotton warp and weft 28% increase

Towel #2 16/2 rayon warp, cotton novelty weft 16%

Towel #3 8/2 cotton (US standard, not warp twist) plus a slub -
probably rayon 28%

Towel #4 10/2 merc cotton warp, 16/2 unmerc. cotton and cotton flake
weft 18%

Towel #5 8/2 cotton (US standard), cotton flake, weft of cottolin 32%

Towel #6 10/2 unmerc cotton warp, 16/2 cotton and cotton flake weft 30%

Towel #7 10/2 Perle cotton warp, 8/2 Tencel and 5/2 Perle cotton weft 38%

2/16 cotton warp and weft 40%

2/8 (warp twist) cotton and singles linen 38%

2/16 cotton warp, cottolin weft 50%

2/20 cotton (merc but not Perle) 25%

2/16 cotton warp, single linen (tow) 20%

Strictly speaking, the absolute absorbency numbers still don't tell the
whole story. There is also the fact that some fabrics, while being
thirsty, also feel wet very quickly.

There are also some fabrics that, once wet, are slow to give up their
moisture. They take a long time to dry, and if you live in a humid
climate, they can take a *very* long time to dry.

Last, but not least, there is the issue of texture. I have some towels
made of 2/16 cotton and 2/10 Tencel. I don't like how they feel on my
hands - they feel very slick and even a bit "cold".

After all this, perhaps it becomes a lot more understandable that when
people ask me questions about what is "best", my first response is
inevitably "it depends". :)

The people involved in the towel exchange will receive these numbers as
part of their evaluation package, plus they will receive samples of my
textiles tested above (where available) for them to study.



Bad things happen. Threads break.

It's especially annoying when they break during sectional beaming, because I don't always notice right away. This is what happened here. I'd wound on several turns before I twigged a thread had broken. :(

What I do in this instance is re-thread the offending end through the tension box, loosely coil about a yard and a half or so, tuck it into the warp and continue beaming.

When the broken end surfaces, I pull the coil out, tie it onto a repair end and hang it off the back of the loom.

The repair end goes from the bottom and up the centre of the cone. The cone is then run under the tension box rail, and over the rod in the ceiling that doubles as my warping valet.

It is but a matter of a moment to grab the loop at the butt of the cone and pull off a yard or so and then let the cone down to about an inch or so off the floor.

As I weave, the cone automatically rises. When it gets to within 6 or so inches of the bar in the ceiling, I go round to the back of the loom, yard off some more yarn and drop the cone down to near the floor level.

The flare of the cone prevents any more yarn from coming off than I deliberately pull off, and if I pull too much it's an easy matter to wrap a few coils around the butt, shortening the length.

When the original end is long enough, I then tie that onto the repair end and pull the knotted end through to the front.

When I'm doing short lengths like here for towels, I just wait until the original end is long enough that I can pull the knot through at a cutting line and I don't even have to needle weave the end into the cloth, just pin it into the already woven towel so that the join happens at the cutting line. :D

What can I say? I'm lazy!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Gone, Gone, Gone!

Well, I finally finished another yarn! This time it's the 3000 yd/pound rayon chenille.

Unfortunately there wasn't quite enough of it to do the length I wove the others so since this one is technically a 'second' I guess I get to keep it. :)

The greens and lavenders show up much more in this photo than they did in the photo of the warp itself, and I think it's really pretty so I'm pleased.

The treadling was a simplified version of the larger threading.

The next treadling will be the whole threading as treadling, done in twill blocks. Each towel will be 4 repeats of the pattern with about 3 inches at each end for the hems. Over all the towel length in the loom will be approximately 34". The width in the reed is about 19". Since the linen won't shrink much in the wet finishing, I expect the finished towels to be approximately 18 x 30" or a bit less.

I've also got some green linen in two ply, so I'll try a couple of table runners using that yarn after I've finished off the last of the singles 12. Whatever warp is left after the linen is woven will be woven off using the singles 6 cotton for weft.

This warp is, once again, 30 yards. I'm sorry to be leaving on Friday as this warp is so pretty I'm going to enjoy every inch of it. :) However, that does mean I've got something to look forward to when I get home. :D

Snowflakes Keep Falling....

....or the further adventures in wonderland......

This the threading I chose last night, shown woven as drawn in. This shows two repeats in the treadling as well as the threading. The warp is just over two repeats wide; the textiles will be several repeats long, of course.
I'm well over the half way mark in threading but I also need to start filling my suitcase, so I may not start weaving tonight. OTOH, I'm pretty excited to see how it turns out, soooo.....
The good news is that it stopped snowing, and the snow removal crew came by and cleaned our street. Trying to avoid the graders and get into my driveway before they came by, I actually wound up getting stuck in the road and one of the grader drivers had to push me! When I found myself stuck with the big machines coming up rapidly behind me, I knew I wouldn't be stuck for long. Or at least I hoped they wouldn't leave a damsel, er, lady? - in distress, and I was right. :D Sometimes having grey hair is useful!!!! (The lead driver got out when he saw me trying to dig the snow out from under the van's wheels.)
Back to the loom and drawing in (the old term for threading).

Ah, Winter!

After a record breaking 24 hour snow dump, this was the view from my front window this morning.
For those of you who don't have to deal with snow, the wooden stake attached to the fire hydrant is to alert city crews removing snow as to the where abouts of the hydrant, as well as fire fighters, in case of need.
As you can see the wooden stake is rather taller than current accumulated snowfall, and yes, there have been times when the snow has been much deeper by this time of the year. What we usually don't get is 20 cm (about 8") in 24 hours. We've had steady snow for several days - in fact Sunday we had an official blizzard! - and the roads are a mess because the city removal crews simply can't keep on top of it all. (A 'blizzard' is snowfall accompanied by winds of a specific velocity, making visibility next to nill.)
The dragonfly lights in my window were a gift from my brother a couple of years ago. I've kept them lit all winter, in memory.
The other dangles are gifts from friends. The stained glass was made by Allan. The little wooden filigree angel is sideways on in the photo and was a gift from Allan and Sheila.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Last of the Fine Stuff?

It took longer than I would like to get this warp beamed because I kept running out of yarn on the spools and having to stop and wind more. But this warp pretty much took care of the rest of the 2/40's mercerized cotton. I still have some fine yarn, but it's 3/40's and much stronger so it can be used on its own mixed in with the 2/20's yarns for another warp. Maybe even my last 2/20 warp? If not, it will be very nearly the last. :)

So although I'm not quite done my fine yarns, the really fine stuff is history. Yay!

This warp was beamed from the centre out. It was a mixture of blues from fairly pale to a darker mid-range greyed blue, some greyed green in a couple of shades and some blue-purples/lavender in several shades. There was just a little bit of a darker purple, so those were cut in last and make a bit of a border on the two selvedges. Not sure if the colours will show up very well on the blog.

The plan is to finish off the last of the rayon chenille (3000 yards/pound), the last of the singles 12 linen, and then use up as much of the singles 6 cotton as weft as I possibly can.

Once again I simply wound the warp without thought to which threading I will use. So now I will dip into ARS Textrina again, and see what captures my fancy. Probably another 12 shaft fancy twill. :) Not sure if I will do borders down each side, pattern down the centre, or overall pattern. Much will depend on how the chosen pattern 'fits' into how many threads I wound.

Since we've continued to have snow, perhaps I'll look for a snowflake pattern. Gee, I am so going to miss this weather when I get to Los Angeles and Tucson this weekend.


If, that is, I can even get there. Keeping fingers crossed there will be no travel delays due to the weather............(heading off to anxiously check the Weather Network website)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Rolling On...

Here is a towel with a twill sequence, showing the hem area leading into the beginning of the pattern.

This is the cloth as it looks rolling onto the cloth storage roller. The towel here was done with a twill block tie up giving more areas of 'solid' colour than the twill lines shown above. Both were done with the same linen as weft, but the light reflects differently so one looks lighter than the other. The twill block towel is about how the towels will look after scouring.

The rayon chenille is nearly used up. Since I'll be doing one more warp like this with the 2/20 and 2/40 doubled at 24 epi, I saved the last of the chenille to do one more Big Scarf on the next warp.

I'm eyeballing how much of the 2/40's is left, trying to figure out how long/wide a warp I can make and really use up the last of it! The problem is that the yarn is so very skinny it's hard to judge how much is left. I may weigh an empty spool to find out approximately how much one weighs then weigh the remaining spools in order to better estimate how much is left, and therefore how many yards there are on the spools.

The boxes for the Birmingham workshops are in the mail, and I'm working on the Columbus, OH warps and will mail those before I leave this Friday. It's been a while since I taught the Magic in the Water workshop, so it needs some serious updating to include some of the new yarns that have become more readily available the last couple of years. It's going to take a bit longer to pull that topic together. The good news is that I'll be doing it twice this spring, so the Boise, ID workshop will be pretty much done by the same effort. :D

Karena is coming in on Monday so I'm trying really hard to finish this warp off so that she can cut and serge it as one of the tasks she can do for me. Running photo copies might be another, if I can get the workshop updates done tomorrow evening. We'll see how it goes. Nothing like deadlines to keep one focused and on track. :}