April 29, 2009
Posted by Wanda J under Weaving  Comments
Sampling is good. Had I been too lazy to sample the wedding stole would have been a disaster. Even though the two samples looked great on the loom the lurking problem would not have been manifest until thrown into the washer and dryer. Which is one reason a weaving should be washed or go through some form of what’s known as Wet Finishing. A woven piece isn’t truly fabric (of course there are always those exceptions) until it’s been wet finished – the method used (washed or gently dampened or…) depending on the end use.
Aurora wants to be able to use the stole and wear it whenever she’d like. I prefer to give items that can be tossed in the washing machine without worries about shrinkage or felting.
I wasn’t sure which treadling pattern or color(s) I wanted to use with the weft so played around with different sequences in the two samples.
I used the five colors in the sample warp and played around with using both a white tencel, my white handspun singles (shown in the bottom part of the picture) and the green tencel. One suggestion for this pattern was to place a tabby shot between each pattern shot to help stablize the cloth so in the first sample I used green tencel for the pattern and used handspun white, tencel white, and green in various tabby sections to see which looked best overall. Some sections I worked just the pattern without the tabby shots between.
All warp is individually threaded through heddles which are divided between (and held in place by) four shafts on my loom. The four shafts are attached (tied to) treadles which will raise the shaft when that treadle is stepped on. I tied my treadles so that each of the six treadles are tied to two shafts will gives me the ability to raise six different combinations of pairs. (sh 1&2, 1&3, 1&4, 2&3, 2&4, 3&4)
Tabby is also known as Plain weave: Two treadles are used with every warp thread attached to one or the other of the two. I have every other warp thread on shafts 1 & 3 which are tied up to treadle #1, the other half on shafts 2 & 4 which are tied up to treadle #2. When #1 treadle is stepped on every other warp is raised and I throw the shuttle taking the weft yarn through that shed, then I pull the beater forward and very gently push the yarn in place. Then #2treadle is stepped on and the other group of every other is raised. It becomes a walking rhythm. All the pattern is worked by stepping on a treadle that will raise two adjoining warp threads at a time.
Using two shuttle sticks to separate the two samples I then reversed the colors using white tencel for the pattern shots and green or white as tabby, and no tabby in some sections.
See the middle section of the variegated yarn? It’s the one that had quite a bit of sparkle shown in the previous post. It was a tencel/wool/rayon blend that had a bit of stretchiness to it. Well, it shrank – considerably. Horribly. Not good. It caused a vertical pluckering that wasn’t nice to behold. The white handspun also shrunk. The horizontal pullin was reminiscent of smocking. Makes me suspect that someone at sometime has intentionally used the method for a fake smock effect. Sorry, no pictures of the finished samples.
The sheen of the tencel is wonderful and the hand of the finished fabric is light and soft. I decided to go with primarily green for the warp, with only 2 inch sections of the other colors. Only an inch of the apricot since it’s soysilk and doesn’t have the luster of the tencel but I still wanted to use some since it’s one of Aurora’s wedding colors. I was able to get the warp on this past weekend but only managed to finish tying it onto the cloth beam and weave the first 3 inches this evening. Our business has continued to bring in orders at a steady clip and I’m not getting to the loom during the day as I’d intended. Monday evening was a fun bridal shower for Aurora and last evening she’d scheduled me for an hour long facial. umm, nice! My skin now feels quite soft.
Returning home last night we were treated to a sunset full of her wedding colors. The days are too swiftly counting downwards to the 23rd. The calendar is filling with appointments, scheduled “must have ____ done by” dates and life is feeling rather stressful! I’d love to shut down business for a week – ignore phone calls, emails and items to be packaged and just weave! Poor Ed keeps getting further and further behind with all the orders, a good deal are store orders some which are huge, and almost all have some type of deadline to meet. We’ll get through the next three weeks!
Driving home from an appointment the other day. Springtime in Oregon! Taken about 3 miles from our small village which is towards the left middle of the picture, at the base of the closest ridge.
April 20, 2009
Posted by Wanda J under Weaving  Comments
Son Justin called last Thursday morning asking if we’d like to have Feather spend the night with us.
Our pleasure! She is such a pleasant child when she’s alone with us. She rarely ever makes a fuss: cheerfully eats what’s put in front of her (for the most part); plays with her toys; gently pets and talks to Old Cat, who in turn loves her. She will sit quietly “reading” books, or playing in a sink full of water. She’s helped me dye silk and make play dough. I’ve always been surprised at how well she goes to bed with nary a fuss or stall tactics. When she wakes up in the morning she steals into our room and climbs into bed with us for morning huggers. Yep, being a grandparent is great – rarely do we have to deal with the tantrums or her very stubborn will.
Warping was postponed a couple of days. Thursday was spent catching up with work put aside on Wednesday, and after Feather left on Friday I scrambled to get out one large, “Must be shipped ASAP” order. Aurora and I had set Saturday aside for wedding shopping and planning. It was great to get some major items ticked off the lists! I’m beginning to fill stressed with all that there is still to be done. And this was supposed to be a simple wedding!
The sample warp was finally put on the loom Sunday afternoon and now there’s about 6 inches of sample weaving. No picture yet, I want to wait until daylight to get decent pictures of the true colors. Dusk had fallen this evening by the time enough had be woven to warrent a picture.
In the mean time… I’ve been having a super hard time resisting spinning. Recently two different fibers came in the mail:
Today’s showcase is a Merino/tencel mix from Limegreen Jelly , Jo of Freestyle Fibers/Limegreen Jelly has an educated eye for colors and textures. I’d been wanting to sample some of her rovings for some time and finally in a fit of compulsion ordered “Precious” :
Aren’t the colors nicely balanced? I can hardly wait to see what this is going to look like spun into sock yarn. It’s taken a great deal of control not to dive right in and spin this colorway. Must have patience and wait to spin Precious after the stole is finished.
Jo was extra sweet and included a puffy white cloud of merino/cashmere/silk that I haven’t even tried to resist spinning. (I haven’t managed to capture the sheen and beauty of the white fiber – the camera turns it into a blob.) The singles are coming out at 50 wraps per inch. Originally I thought it’d be nice to add it to Aurora’s stole but the energy in the singles is slowing the weaving process. The singles were being used as plain weaving between the pattern picks (a pick is one throw/shot or row of the weft) to give the pattern stability. I need to carefully watch and handle each throw to prevent the single from plying back on itself, as I pull the beater forward, and create little worms to poke through the warp. I rarely sample but this is one time that it’s well worth the extra time and material!
April 15, 2009
Posted by Wanda J under Weaving  Comments
It’s one way to work off some calories and firm some muscles. Not exactly what was in my mind for the evening but it feels good to have it done, for now.
Ed needed to pick up some supplies from town after work which made for a later than usual supper. He finished eating and headed outside, I assumed he was going to visit neighbors. Getting a start on the dishes I was happily planning out an evening of finishing the last details with weaving design for the wedding stole, blogging and spinning, when the rhythmic thunk of wood caught my attention. Plans dashed, dishes stacked, I went out to help Ed move wood.
On the way home from picking up maple wood for making hooks and needles last Friday, Ed passed a small wayside park where he noticed a huge pile of free wood. The park people had cleared a section of oaks and left the wood for whoever wanted to haul it away. Eager to lay in wood for the winter Ed made two trips on Saturday.
The past two eveings we moved and consolidate last year’s supply of wood to make room for the new wood. Doing vigorous, purposeful work felt good, and rewarding. The new wood is still moss covered and water logged but it’ll dry by the time we go through rest of last year’s wood. The wood that still needs cutting and splitting to fit in our firebox stayed outside the woodshed waiting for Ed’s chainsaw.
These leather gloves have served me well for twenty years. I first bought them when I first got my horse. Wearing soft leather gloves hauling hay, mucking stalls, grooming and tacking a horse saved my hands from damage and drying out. They also preserved a finger that got caught in a rope when I was training a fractitious young gelding. I was able to quickly slip my hand out of the glove just as a loop of rope snagged a finger, pulled tight. The horse charged to the far end of the corral, glove firmly ensnared in the rope whipping along behind him.
Today we hauled the loom from the storage/weaving room. In the past several months the room has become a catchall for supplies, as well as the sleeping room when the grandkids are here. I’d been dreading trying to warp the loom within the confines of the dwindling space. The loom is now set up between the living room and kitchen (one continuous space). I took the afternoon off from office work to clean the loom and thoroughly rub it down with Wood Beams. I normally use equal amounts of lemon juice and olive oil to give the loom a good cleaning as well as moisturizing but didn’t have any lemons. (Lemon juice cuts grim.) Tomorrow I hope to be able to get most of my work done in the morning so I can warp the loom and weave a sample by this weekend.
MC and I bought the tencel over a month ago at Woodland Woolworks but I still hadn’t settled on a pattern. In an email exchange with Valerie I mentioned two patterns I was considering but couldn’t wrap my mind around the threading. Valerie has been most helpful with sending pictures of similar items she’s woven using the pattern I was leaning towards. And then, bless her heart, she sent me an article from Handwoven with just the information I needed to get me totally excited about the possibilities. I am in debt to her knowledge and superb help. Thank you Valerie! Now finally, after weeks of looking at the yarns and picturing different combinations and amounts, the plan is settled in my mind. I was tempted to start warping this evening but my body is tired and I want a fresh mind and eyes when tackling the warping process, especially threading the heddles.