Saturday, April 25, 2009

Better photos

The pictures from the last blog post, while showing a certain amount of enthusiasm and optimism, were pretty bad pictures. I got a hold of the real camera this morning and took some better ones. Since I am flying out tomorrow, it seemed to be a better idea to take photos of what I have rather than try and start something new that I wouldn't get back to until next Sunday at best!

So, first photo is a long view of the sampler, taken on top of the loom where it was woven.

That big picture doesn't do the details in the piece justice. You can't see the plain weave versus the twill or any of the other strange things I was messing around with!

All of this is done in an 8/2 (short hand for "size 8, 2-ply") cotton on a 10-dent reed. The warp was structured so I had 10 light colored threads alternating with 10 darker colored threads. This helped me keep track of what I was doing and made some mistakes more visible as I made. It made other mistakes more visible after, but hey, it's a sampler!

Some of the texture you see below came from alternating plain weave with twill every centimeter or so.

The mixed color parts I did two different ways. The mixed color strip towards the right of the photo was done by sending a light-colored line from one side and a dark-colored line from the other side through the warp so that there were two threads in the warp for every treddle change. Other than that it was just a plain weave, nothing fancy. It made for a nifty, almost mottled pattern. The very distinct pattern of color towards the left of the photo was done by sending through a light-colored line, doing a treddle change, then sending through a dark-colored line, and so on. The treddling was done as a basic 2x2 twill - I got it to do the V by just reversing the order of the treddling halfway through.

Besides the weaving, I'm finally getting some spinning done - yay! I finished up a sample of a 3-ply black alpaca yarn earlier this week, and today finished up a sample of a 2-ply black shetland. I am a firm convert to the belief that doing spinning samples is as important as doing knitting gauges or weaving setts! I learn so much from it and get to decide early on if that's a yarn I want to work with. I'm really looking forward to doing some spinning and then weaving with it - weaving hurts my hands less than knitting!

This is the shetland...
And this is the alpaca...

That's it for now. Unfortunately there will be a distinct lack of fiber fun in my immediate future. My right hand _still_ hurts from over-knitting! ARGH! I'm going to see about taping two fingers together to see if that helps. I can't imagine a couple of cross country flights without some kind of knitting. Ah, well, we'll see!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

My first sampler

So what if it's full of mistakes? It is my very first woven item, and I love it! I finished it up this week, and I haven't had a chance to take good photos of it. So I took bad photos of it and I'll go ahead and post those in the meantime. You also get to see what's on my book shelf in my office, since that's where I took the photos.

Yes, there are monkeys holding on to the top of the sampler...

And yes, I'm in IT and manage geeks.

The different patterns possible by raising or lowering the threads in different orders just amazes me. I had a great time making this, and I will start on the next sampler when I get back from the East Coast next week. And then, it's going to be tea towels and place mats for a bit, and from there, shawls, scarves, and eventually some pretty cool jackets!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

No more naked loom

Today was spent learning how to warp the loom and actually starting to weave. It's going fairly well, tho' I'm having a bit of a problem with the warp strings at the very edges breaking. I'm not sure what might cause that, tho' I have a theory it's because of the drawing-in of the woven fabric that's making the cotton rub against the loom too much and causing it to break. It's a good theory, anyway, but I've asked some more experienced weavers for advice.

Here's what the loom looks like with the warp tied on and under tension:

The warping, including measuring out each strand, took about 4 hours, maybe a bit more. The color coding of the heddles (picture below) definitely did make life easier:

Once I actually got started with the weaving part, I was amazed by how quickly fabric can be made! So far I'm through about a foot of fabric at about a foot wide. I'm following the sampler lesson in Deborah Chandler's _Learning to Weave_, a fine book for anyone who wants to learn how to weave on a 4-harness loom.

Pictures of the sampler will be posted as soon as I'm finished with it. I expect to make 2 or 3 samplers, just to get the hang of everything. I can see a lot of tea towels, pillow covers, scarves, and anything else that can be done with rectangles in my future!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

It's here! It's here!

I went and got the loom today! My sweetheart came with me to help get it loaded in the car, and he was quite impressed with the sheer density of stuff at Carolina Homespun, a.k.a. Morgaine Wilder's garage. We got the loom home shortly after lunch, and of course the cats assisted with the minor assembly required.

There was a lot to unwrap, but I did not mind - everything is in great shape.

I filled up four of the eight harnesses with heddles (200 each) which I color-coded for ease of threading later (Morgaine's suggestion). I'll post pictures of that and a fully dressed loom tomorrow. Tonight, I'm going to re-read some information on how to warp a loom!

Also acquired today: a boat shuttle, a bobbin winder, a couple of pounds of practice 8/2 cotton yarn, and a book "A Handweaver's Pattern Book" by Marguerite Porter Davison. I forgot the blasted warping board, but I can make due with something else for a while. I'll pick that up when I go back for the bench she had to order.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

And I shall loom over the cats

OK, so maybe I have more fiber than time. Maybe I have more spinning wheels than I can use. Maybe I can't keep up with my knitting. What in any of those statements says I shouldn't try to do and learn more? MORE MORE MORE!

Next week I shall be picking up a new loom from my favorite local vendor, Carolina Homespun. It will be an 8-harness (since she has them and I am going to want to go there eventually anyway and it actually costs less in the long run to go ahead and get 8 now instead of 4 and add more later) Schacht Baby Wolf and it shall go in my bedroom. I can't wait to see what the cats think about it!

I'm just counting the days, and telling myself what a good consumer I am for putting my tax return right back in to the economy. ;-)

Here is a picture, as seen on the Schacht website.

Are we there yet? Are we there yet?