I haven't disappeared. I can't believe it has been months since I posted. I've been weaving, weaving, weaving, but not posting, posting, posting. I've been out of town a lot (including two trips for weaving classes). I'll try to bring things up-t0-date over the next week or so.
I finished the tencel scarf a few days ago and if I do say so myself, it is absolutely beautiful. It's the best thing I've done so far in my weaving career. The whole project went well for me (very unusual) and I'm really happy with the result. After washing and ironing the scarf has a great feel. I think I will do this exact pattern again using only two colors of yarn with fairly high contrast and see if I can't get the pattern to "pop" out a bit more. Here are three pictures.
A closeup of the fringe:
And a closeup of the pattern:
I also have a new rule - every time I finish a project I have to go back and finish an older project that is still waiting to be put into service. I had a few fixes to make on the bathroom carpet, so I did those and washed the carpet. It is now in its new home in Dolly's bathroom:
What's the next project? I'm not sure. I have an older table loom that was given to me and it needs to be cleaned up before it can be used. It came with a 15 dent reed and I bought a 12 dent reed but need to cut it down from 22 inches to 20-1/2 inches. I also ordered 200 extra heddles that need to be put on. I think I'll at least start cleaning up this loom before I start a new project.
Projects that I want to do are:
A few hot pads for a friend
A double weave project. I've never done double weave and I was inspired by a wall hanging I saw at the Renwick museum in D.C.
I wove for a little over an hour this morning and now have about 33 inches of the scarf done. This morning, without interruptions, I managed to weave about 12 inches per hour, or about 280 picks. This is with a two-shuttle fabric, so I expect it to be a little slower than if I were weaving with one shuttle.
This is the first time I've used the Mighty Wolf loom and there isn't as much room between the beater and the breast beam as there is on my big floor loom and my rhythm isn't as good because it's harder for me to get the shuttle out of the way before beating. The sheds I'm getting aren't always great - I may need to get under the loom after this project is off and adjust the tie-up cords so the sheds are more consistent. I'm also having a little problem with the yarn sticking once in a while when I throw the shuttle, so I'm a little hesitant when I throw. I'm sure all of this is slowing me down. But, in any case, I'll need a little more than 3-1/2 more hours to finish the scarf, not counting the final hemstitching and fringe twisting.
I got the warp beamed on yesterday afternoon and started weaving. I had to fix three problems - the broken gray thread (easy); two crossed threads that I noticed before I started weaving (pretty easy); and two threading errors that I didn't notice until I had woven four picks (pretty easy but I hate undoing things).
The pattern is coming out as expected but it's more subtle than I had hoped. I think I needed the two dark colors (the blue and teal) to be closer together. I think if I had used a darker blue it would have been more striking. I originally had a darker blue but was talked out of it by someone I asked for advice. This will make me think twice before questioning my judgment ;-)
The pattern is a bit hard to see in the photos, but here is the beginning of the scarf. This is after the end has been hemstitched (using three threads per stitch, or about 76 stitches, but who's counting):
And a bit closer view. At the time I'm writing this, I have finished about 20 inches of the scarf. It seems to be going at about 10 inches per hour which is only about 4 picks per minute - I must be going faster than that! I'm not subtracting for the times I let the dog out, get a drink, watch the birds, etc., so it's probably a bit faster. I tend to be a slow weaver anyway - I fuss at the fabric a lot to make sure it's coming out right. I also had to unwind a few picks a couple of times because I got them wrong.
And here's another piece of my homemade equipment - my $15 bobbin winder:
I made it from an old drill that I found in an antique shop for $15. I made a bobbin holder from a 3/8-inch dowel and used a dremel tool to taper it so it would hold the bobbin. I like this one so much that I sold a Harrisville Designs bobbin winder that I got when I bought one of my looms. It works just as well as the $100 bobbin winders.
Last week at the weaver's guild meeting (which is conveniently at the Manning's) I bought five 2 oz. skeins of tencel to make a scarf. The scarf is a modified version of the shawl that is on the cover of the latest Handwoven magazine. It is my first 8-shaft project - also my first tencel.
On Saturday, we went to the Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C. and saw a wonderful exhibit called "High Fiber." They have one piece by Anni Albers and another by one of her students, Lore Lindenfield. The one by Lore Lindenfield is one I want to try someday. It was a black and tan doubleweave with many sections where the top layer wasn't woven, but tied and it gave a nice open pattern against the contrasting bottom layer. Two other pieces that particularly struck me were by Richard Landis and Mariska Karasz. There were plenty of others that were jaw droppers. There are woven materials including rugs, tapestries, quilts, and other fabric art. I will undoubtedly go back at least one more time before it closes.
The exhibit will be open until July 10, 2005 and admission is free. It is worth the trip if you're in the area.
I've been under the weather with a stomach virus for the past few days but I did manage to get the scarf warped. I made two warps - one with the blue and gray wound together because most of the warp has them alternating. I wound a second warp with the mauve and more blue to fill in the pattern. I almost had to call for a mail order resupply of the blue. I looked at the yardage on the 10/2 tencel and 2 oz. skeins were 525 yards. I forgot that the blue, which is what I needed the most of was 8/2 and only 420 yards per skein. I came out two threads short! So, I just used the silver for the floating selvedge instead of the blue - I doubt anyone but me will know the difference. I just hope I don't break a blue thread while weaving.
Here are two pictures - one of the yarn and one of the warp sleyed in the reed.
I got the carpet done last night. Finishing isn't my favorite thing but Peter Collingwood's book says you need a weft protector and a warp protector. For the weft protector, I did a Damascus edge and for the warp protector I decided to do a five-strand flat braid. That braid took a long time! Anyway, here's the finished product:
If you want to see a large photo, click on the image.
Here are two closeups of the edge - first, part way through the first pass on tying the Damascus edge and then a closeup of the finished edge including the braid.
And tonight, that lovely weaver dog that you can see below almost became an ex-weaver dog. I had the new carpet on the floor in the family room and I was in the study. I heard a funny noise and when I looked out, he had a corner of the carpet between his paws and was gnawing on the braid. Fortunately, he had just started and no damage was done - just a slighty wet braid. But he's very very very sorry and won't do anything like that again ;-)
My next project is going to be a tencel scarf on the 8-shaft loom. I'm going to use a modified pattern from the latest edition of Handwoven magazine. They have a wonderful tencel shawl that I'm going to shorten into a scarf and probably change colors, too. My guild meets tomorrow morning and I plan to buy the yarn after the meeting. It will be my first 8-shaft project and my first tencel project. I hope I'm not getting in over my head.
I made lots of progress on the carpet today and hope to finish it tomorrow.
But first, why this blog is named "Sleeping Dog Weaving" (his name is Andy):
Back to the carpet. Here it is tied on to the apron rod with a little header in to spread warp evenly.
The first few inches of the carpet are a multi-pattern border. Here, the border is done:
And here is what the main body of the carpet will look like:
All seems to be going well but the border doesn't look like I wanted. I did a sample of the pattern I wanted ("railroad tracks") and this is what the sample looked like:
But this is what the carpet looks like:
Unless I'm losing my mind (which is not out of the question) everything about the sample and the carpet is the same. It just seems like the carpet is not beating together like the sample did. I'm beating hard enough to lift the loom off the floor at times, so I'm not sure why it's not making a tighter weave. Is it just because the sample was narrow? It's a bit frustrating but too late to fix for this carpet.
We spent a long four day weekend in New Orleans, so I'm just getting back to the loom. We made several trips to the Crescent City Brewery, saw Ingrid Lucia at the Blue Nile, visited the wonderful aquarium, had beignets at the Cafe du Monde, pecan waffles at the Camellia Grill, saw the French Market and adjoining flea market, did walking tours of the French Quarter and the Garden District, watched the Easter parade in the French Quarter and caught beads, and had a somewhat disappointing experience at the highly rated Commander's Palace restaurant. All in all a great fun trip.
Back to weaving. The bathroom carpet that I'm making is almost on the loom. The reed is sleyed, the heddles are threaded, and the warp is on the warp beam. I'll tie on to the cloth beam tomorrow morning and start weaving. There are 165 doubled warp threads, two in every other dent of the 12 dent reed, plus an extra one at each end to reinforce the selvedge. The threading is a straight draw. I still need to decide how to finish the rug. Here's where it stands now:
I have two floor looms in my "studio" - a 45" Nilus LeClerc with four shafts and a Schacht Mighty Wolf 36" wide with eight shafts. I've been using the LeClerc loom for about three months and am getting pretty comfortable with it. The Mighty Wolf hasn't been used yet but after I finish the carpet that I'm making now I plan to do my next project using 8 shafts.
The big loom:
And the Mighty Wolf:
I've just started a bathroom carpet. I'm using Maysville carpet warp doubled for the warp and part of the weft. The rest of the weft is 8-ply mop cotton. I'm using a trick that I learned to save time warping - I'm making the warp twice as long as I need and making two crosses. Then, when I take the warp off, I double it over, combine the two crosses and I have the right length with twice the threads. A nice time saver. Here is one-half of the warp on my home made maple warping board:
I just read about the shortage of weavers' blogs in Handwoven magazine. I have only been weaving for about three months but my projects tend to have lots of "lessons learned", so maybe someone besides me can learn these lessons, too.
The blog will be mostly about weaving but I'm also passionate about nature and public lands, so some of this will undoubtedly creep in.
I'll post some of my completed projects as I have time and I'll try to keep a running log of current weaving projects as I do them. Mostly I try to do something with weaving almost every day and I take lots of pictures, so we'll see where this goes.