Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Brrrr!

There is no doubt that this winter will be one for the record books, I am sure!  While I know that NYC didn't get nearly as much snow as predicted, the weathermen were spot on for this area of the state.  It started snowing Monday night, and for an entire day it fell, sideways.  Temps were in the single digits to teens, and very strong winds, near hurricane force in some places, made for an almost surreal landscape when we woke up this morning.  This is a shot (from indoors - it's cold out there!) looking towards our garage and driveway, after plowing and snowblowing.
You can see the sizeable pile against the house.  Some areas were waist-deep prior to the clean up.

And here is the other side of our house, the side that was more exposed to the winds.
Bare ground!!  Of course, the piled up snow near the street is another issue all together!  Since we live near the coast, most of our snowstorms tend to be on the wetter side, with heavy, sticky snow.  This one was all powder, hence the drifts and differing depths.  It's nice to be able to move it without a back ache!  More snow on the way for Friday and Monday, both of which I work, so creeping along in my car is definitely in my future.

In weaving news, I finally finished the custom baby wrap! 

I decided to go with a textural middle marker, so I hand wove in some doubled 10/2 warp colors on one edge.  It it fairly small, so I hope that's not a problem, but I didn't want the marker to be a part of the design. 
It is all packaged up, waiting to hear from its future owner. 

My next project is going to be a first for me.  I've been interested in rep weave after seeing some gorgeous projects on Ravelry, so my first rep project will be a set of placemats in red and white.  I'm not really drawn to this particular project in a huge way, so if I mess it up I'll be OK with that!  If it comes out well, I want to weave a kitchen rug.  So far, I'm having my usual problems with using a warping reel.  It is apparently beyond my abilities to use one correctly, because I always end up with terrible tension/tangling problems, despite doing everything I can to keep the tension steady.  You know there's an issue when putting one section on a sectional beam takes longer than winding it.  I've asked for advice, read books, watched videos, but cannot find what I am doing wrong.  I'm close to selling the reel, I think.  That would leave me with my warping board, which comes with its own issues, but I do get better results winding individual sections on it.  It is a frustration that I cannot fix!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Folly's Progress

The warp is on the loom, and the weaving is coming along nicely!  I really love the bright, random colors, especially with winter playing so rough this year!  Frigid and gray has been the rule of the day lately, so spending some time at my loom helps brighten an otherwise dreary morning.




I love the way the warp comes around the back beam so evenly.  Hard to get a good photo of it, though.

The other day I walked by it on my way through the living room, and seeing the warp on the sectional beam from underneath almost took my breath away.  Of course, I got my trusty camera, but the photo doesn't do it justice.  It also looks a bit too yellow.  You get the idea, though (and a glimpse of my late father-in-law's cat!).


So neat and tidy!!  And then you look at the long shot, and that all goes out the window!!


All kinds of things on the loom, near the loom..  tools of the trade, I guess!

I've woven 2 yards so far, so over one third done.  More work days coming up, though, so no more progress for a few days.


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

"Sley" Ride!!

Yes, I know - a bad pun, but how could I not??

After a few weeks of little to no weaving activity, I finally had some time this morning to start sleying the next baby wrap.  I attempted to speed up the process by using the method advocated on Laura Fry's new video, "The Efficient Weaver."  Basically, it amounts to bringing a number of warp ends forward and holding them between your fingers in whatever configuration they are going to be sleyed - for me, it was 8 ends, held 2 together between fingers.  The reed is horizontal, supported by two loops of string.  Take the hook, bring it up through a dent from underneath, catch the first two dents, bring the hook back down through the same dent, and without pulling those threads all the way through, bring the hook back up through the next dent, catch the next set of ends, and repeat. When the loops of all the ends in your hand have been brought through their respective dents, pull the hook and bring the rest of the ends all the way through.

At first, this felt very awkward for me.  The reed could swing a bit, and I'm still getting used to texsolv heddles, but after a few minutes the process really moved along.  I sleyed 8 ends at a time, and after 24 ends, or one inch's worth, I would check that 2/dent happened correctly throughout the entire section by spinning the reed around so that the side that had been downward was now facing me. Easy to check, then lay it flat again and start the next section!  All 748 ends were done in about an hour or so.



Sorry about the photo quality, but it is really cold here today, and the living room has an old picture window that is very very drafty, so we keep it covered with a quilted window curtain.  The only light available were from lamps.

After that speedy bit of work, I just need to tie onto the front beam, tie up the loom itself (which is still a bit of a challenge), then I can weave!!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Quick Catch Up

I'm very excited right now, because I just sold my Leclerc counterbalance loom!  This is the one that's been for sale since getting my Glimakra CM in September.  It has been sitting against our fireplace in the living room ever since, which is also the room where the big Glimakra resides, so it has been crowded in there, to say the least.  Anyone that knows me knows that clutter makes me anxious. so except for when I'm weaving, the "living room" has been handed over to the cats.  They sleep on the couch in there during the afternoon, and run through it regularly when they're not.  While I don't see us taking their lair away any time soon, it is such a relief to give that loom to someone who will use it! The buyer is from New Brunswick, and they drove down today (4.5 hour drive) in their Honda CRV.  I don't know how, but the loom somehow fit in the back, and they are on their way home.  She's never woven before, so I'm sure she is in for years of learning and having fun!

Because the Glimakra is so huge, and the Leclerc hadn't been sold yet, I thought I would bring the tiniest bit of holiday cheer into the house, so I did this in lieu of a tree;



Other than that, I've been chipping away at the baby wrap warp.  I managed to finish winding the warp, one bout at a time, and loading each one onto the sectional beam.  I learned a lot from that experience, and each bout went on better than the previous one did.  Unfortunately, now that I'm threading the heddles, those early bouts are showing their ugly side.  Some of the ends are crossed, so threading in order is a nightmare, and I'm sure that I will run into other issues along the way because of it.  I love the colors, though, and it is definitely going to be a bright, fun wrap!


My vacation is coming to a close soon, so all things weaverly will be coming to a crawl.  I wanted to take this opportunity to wish everyone a wonderful holiday, however you celebrate!  I hope it is filled with family, fun, joy, and much laughter!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Woven Poinsettia and English Garden

Do you detect a theme here?? Maybe it's all the rain we're getting, or the unseasonably cold temperatures, but my mind is seeing these scarves in terms of plant coloration.  It's probably just wishful thinking!

The "Secret" scarf wove up even better than I thought!  It still needs fringe twisting, so no finished photo yet, but I can't help but love the gentle pooling of color along this warp.  It reminds me of an English garden, yes but more like a watercolor of an English garden.



Those reed marks should lessen in the laundry.  I plan to twist the fringe this afternoon.

The Poinsettia scarf encountered all manner of problems, mostly from the sectional warping process. One section ended up shorter than the others, plus the scarf is more narrow because I ran out of yarn before I could wind the final 2 inch section.  Thus this scarf is more narrow than I usually like to weave.  Setting up the Glimakra totally flummoxed me (again!), so I had to haul out the books and redo everything, which took the better part of yesterday.  This morning I finally got to begin weaving, and that went quickly - that loom may be a bear to prep, but it is a dream to weave on.  Right up until one of my section "cords"came untied from the rod on the warp beam.  I tried to retie it, but could not attain the correct tension.  Luckily that happened close to the end, so with every pick I had to put the shuttle down, reach over the reed and tension that section by hand.  It worked, for the most part, but there will be a few wonky slevedges, I'm sure.



I plan on hemming this today, then into the wash they both will go!  Finished photos next time.

I've also finally gotten back to my hand spun sock knitting. Last summer I spun this Panda fiber (merino wool/bamboo/nylon) from Fat Cat Knits, entitled "Moxie."


It became these 3 ply skeins;


It always amazes me how different the yarn and the fiber can look!

I then started my sock and got this far


before life got in the way.  A month or so ago I decided that I really should get back to knitting the sock, so I picked away at it, never very happy about the project.  I think it was because the yarn felt a bit hard, which hopefully will mean it will last, but it took a lot of the enjoyment away.  As always, I used mill spun for the heels.  Last night I completed the first sock!



Isn't it funny how the beginning and end (toe and cuff) are the same color?  The abrupt change for the cuff was unplanned - it is just the way the colors mixed in the spinning.  I would have preferred a more subtle change, but it is what it is.

Here's hoping for a break in this gray, drab, cold weather!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

English Garden

That's what comes to mind when I look at this yarn that I purchased from Tammy at Yarntopia Treasures on Etsy (https://www.etsy.com/shop/YarntopiaTreasures?ref=shop_sugg).  She does wonderful work and has a great sense of color.

This tencel is called "Secret;"

I wound it into a cake:
and quickly warped it on the Baby Wolf for a tabby scarf.

I'm in love with this scarf already, and I haven't even started weaving it yet!

I was trying to come up with a good color to use as weft for this project, but failed, so I asked Tammy what she would recommend, and she dyed a skein of yarn to match the rose color in my warp.


I love the subtle differences in this yarn as well.  I think it might be hard to let this scarf go!

I also purchased another skein from her, this one is called "Poinsettia.

"


This went on the big Glimakra, using spools, rack and a tension box.  There was a glitch putting it on, so this scarf won't be as wide as I usually make, but I do think it will be lovely nonetheless.

My last project, the turned twill towels, came out quite well, I think.  I just love how geometric the pattern is.
As always, they're available in my Etsy shop! https://www.etsy.com/shop/ThreadbareDesigns



I'm attending a small craft fair tomorrow at the hospital's holiday party.  I've yet to attend any of the holiday parties they have had in the past, which used to be quite swank with dinner and dancing.  I've been told this one is more family friendly, and is pure "mayhem."  I'm a bit worried about that part, but it will probably ease some of the tension I usually feel at this things.  AND, they say I will be given a "special plate," meaning that I may be able to eat something that is gluten/dairy free and vegetarian and not just a salad!  That would indeed be festive!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

"Looming" Deadlines!

C'mon, you knew I had to use the pun, right??

The holiday craft fair through work is coming up very soon - Dec 5th, to be exact.  I'm trying to weave a couple of towels a day on my days off, and am awaiting some hand dyed tencel for a couple of scarves.  I think that will be my limit, so any time left over I will use for tagging, creating signage, etc. I'm glad I chose to use a natural colored warp, as opposed to white - it seems to give some of the towels an antique-y feel.

So far, I've woven 5 towels on the 8 towel warp, and these are the colors:

a mid-range red:




a bright blue;

and yes, I didn't see the sleying error until I was well into the second towel, so it will just have to do!

A lovely dusky purple, which is hard to capture;


and a mid-tone green, for which I've only taken an underneath photo that doesn't show the color well;

My plan is to weave another green, and then maybe use something bright for one or both of the remaining towels.  The pattern is very easy to do, but I've been quite distracted lately, so there has been a lot of unweaving, which is so time consuming with an EFS.

Is it just me, or is time flying by at an unbelievable rate??  It's almost Thanksgiving already, and it feels like we said goodbye to summer not long ago.  Having this winter-like cold and snow doesn't help, I guess, but relatively speaking, I know that time will indeed seem to go by faster the older I get.  I need to remember to stop and appreciate the small moments along the way, or it will all be a blur.

And just as a reminder, I'm still trying to sell my Leclerc Fanny loom!  45" wide, counterbalance, with a bench and all sectional equipment. Asking $600, and we can drive up to an hour to deliver/meet you.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

A Break

No, I haven't fallen off the face of the earth, not yet anyway.  As always, life keeps poking its head in the way of keeping you informed of my latest weaving pursuits.  The latest interruption was the surprise winter storm that pounded our part of Maine last weekend.  We were supposed to get less than "a slushy inch on grassy surfaces."  What we got was a foot of wet, heavy snow, along with strong wind gusts, some of which reached 50 mph.  Trees were damaged everywhere, landing on houses, streets and power lines.  We lost power, only for 30 hours or so, but our furnace was broken in the process of trying to hook it up to a generator, so we only got heat and hot water yesterday, after 3 days without them.  Boy, did that first shower feel great!  (I did wash up at the sink, you cynics!). And late last night the final piece fell into place - we got our phone and internet back!  So, dear readers, you can see that unless you wanted a blog from my phone, which I certainly did not, you had to wait until I could get back online.

Over the last couple of weeks, I've gradually been making friends with my Glimakra loom.  I finished all the tie ups, and warped her with a cotton warp for some simple twill towels.  Initially I struggled to "find" the treadles without looking, since they are hinged in the back and can move quite a bit. Even taking that into account, I felt like the weaving was going terribly slowly.  I would weave and weave and weave, and discover that I'd only completed a few inches, which compared dismally to any other weaving of similar types.  I could not figure it out, until it dawned on me - the overhead beater is very heavy, and using the same force as I have with my other loom, I was packing the weft in very densely.  Once I adjusted for that, the weaving went much more smoothly.  There were a few sleying mistakes, but overall the last two towels came out well enough to be gift-able.



No official photos yet as they haven't been ironed, but the colors make me happy!

I've just wound 9 yards of 10/2 merc cotton on the baby wolf for some Drall towels, and as always, I ended up with tension/tangle issues from winding on my mill.  I cannot understand what I'm doing wrong, but it is happening so frequently that I'm beginning to feel like it is going to be standard operating procedure for me.

I did plan on dressing the big loom next with more random stripe towels, since I love making them and I think they would be popular during the holidays, but I also have a custom baby wrap order to start.  I promised the start would not be any later than the first of the year, so I have some time, but I'm hoping to warp sectionally, and since I haven't done that with the Glimakra yet, I want to give myself some wiggle room.  The design encompasses 9 vibrant colors, so I have been spending some of my meager time off writing out the thread by thread colors for all 748 ends.  Not my favorite thing by far, but I think the final product will be stunning.  I'm keeping it under wraps for now, so you'll just have to wait to see it when it's on the loom.

Someone I corresponded with hinted at a way of sectional warping without having to create all of the tie cords for each section.  She said that the Glimakra site had info on this, but I still don't really understand it. http://glimakrausa.com/glimakra-products/loom-accessories/#3 is the link which shows the tension box with a brief explanation of the process.  Does anyone out there weave sectionally on a Glimakra, and can share this information?  I'd be most grateful.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Busy Busy!!

Where has the time gone??  I can't believe it is already mid-October, although the tempurature is reminding me nicely.  I've been busy trying to get the first project on the Glimakra, as well as plan and begin some tencel shawls for the Etsy shop.  All of this precedes the co-op ad in the November issue of the Downeast magazine that I took part in.  I'm hoping it will drive more people to my Etsy shop.  If it does, it would be good to have it stocked up, right?

For the Glimakra, I chose a simple straight twill for a quick set of 4 cotton towels.  At first I was leaning towards Christmas colors for obvious reasons, but I just couldn't get excited about them, so instead I went with two of my favorite colors - purple and aqua, separated by 4 picks of black.


I don't know what it is about purple, but several women of my (ahem) age group say that they love purple as well.  Perhaps there is something to be said about menopause being adolescence in reverse, since I LOVED purple in junior high!

I decided to beam the warp non-sectionally, figuring it would be faster than having to set up all the ties necessary for sectional warping.  I did find that I don't need a trapeze arrangement to do it with this loom - the frame works great!


I had my usual tangling issues, but worked through them.  I wish I could figure out where I am making all these mistakes. Another shot...


My next adventure was threading the heddles.  This loom came with string heddles, and I wonder if they are all the same size, or whether some have stretched, because the bottom heddle bar is not hanging in such a way that all of the heddles are taut.  I'm sure this will lead to a shed that could use some improvement.  I removed the breast beam to thread, knowing that the bench fits inside the loom. However, with both legs of the bench inside, I can't sit straight because the cloth beam is only inches away.  I compromised by having one leg of the bench inside and one outside.  It worked, but was not the best.

Last night I started sleying, and really ran into a road block.  On my other looms, I've always been able to sit on the bench and sley with the reed in the beater, but this beater is HUGE. I can't see over it, and can barely reach the heddles.  So I sleyed standing up for awhile - not fun.  Then I put the bench seat very high and did some sitting - again, not fun.  Finally I smartened up and asked for help on Ravelry, and as always, folks jumped in to help.  Apparently, the best way to thread the heddles with this loom is to move the shafts towards the warp beam, so the bench fits inside comfortably.  And several people recommended placing the reed horizontally, either on sticks or suspended with string, and sleying by having the hook underneath, reaching up for the ends.  It was awkward at first, but it definitely worked better.  I managed to get the whole warp sleyed before bed.



Here is how I suspended the reed;


Today I will be lashing on, and hopefully spreading the warp.

I also spent a bit of time this morning winding another tencel warp for Snowflake shawls.  I tell you, after fighting with cotton lately, there is nothing nicer than winding tencel.  It just flows through your fingers!  I got all 398 ends wound in no time.



The warp is red-purple, and the weft will be eggplant. Purple again, anyone??

I've also been in contact with 2 folks online who want me to weave them custom baby wraps!  There are still a lot of logistics to work out, and the weaving won't happen for some time, but I'm excited to dive back into design work.  I just have to figure out my big loom before then, and maybe buy some texsolv heddles to make sure I get a good shed.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Learned Something New!

The last time I posted, it was to tell you that I had to measure another warp in order to complete the set of eight placemats ordered.  The warp went on with tangles, despite being wound under even tension on my mill (I really must find out what I'm doing wrong there!), but it went on none the less.  Threading, sleying and tying on happened without a hitch.  I wove another placemat with 6 repeats, following my notes from the previous warp.  Once completed, I wanted to do the finish work on that one mat before weaving the rest of the warp, so I decided to try a method I had read about.  Peggy Osterkamp has published a method for being able to cut something off the loom and tie the rest of the warp back on without having to resley, etc.  There had been some talk about it recently on Ravelry, so I took notes and dove in.

At the end of the piece that was to be cut off, I wove a couple of shots of tabby, then another inch of tabby in a contrasting yarn.  I then placed two sticks, one in each tabby shed, then wove another inch of tabby.  Steadying my nerves, I then cut the woven mat off, and this is what was left;


Then, I folded the sticks on each other, which gave me a finished edge to tie onto the front of the loom.


I used doubled 3/2 mercerized cotton for the ties.  I think my sticks were a bit too thick, though, because they wouldn't lie aligned with each other.  Next time (and yes, there will be a next time - sigh) maybe I need to weave a bit of tabby between the sticks.  Because they wouldn't align, it was harder to place the cotton ties against the wood without grabbing some of the tabby weave.  And, as you can see, the fell line was not exactly straight afterwards!


If you can believe it, I had yet another surprise after I hemmed and washed the newly woven eighth mat - it was too long. Not by a little bit, but by 4 inches!!  Somehow, despite following my notes (I thought), I wove one pattern repeat too many.  I swear, I do not know where my head is sometimes.  I was supposed to deliver the finished products two days later, but I had to work those two days, so there was no time to weave another.  I brought the runner, the 7 matching mats, and one of the slightly smaller ones to the recipient, explained the situation, and gave her a choice.  She could A) give 7 matching mats, B) use one of the smaller ones to make up a set of eight, or C) have me try to weave another mat to match.  The wedding is not until Oct 11, so there would have been time.  She chose to take a smaller one, stating that no one would notice.  Of course, to me it is a glaring difference!  She was very appreciative, for which I was so thankful.

So today I sat at the loom again to weave however many smaller mats I can get off of this warp.  It wasn't long before I thought I felt a 'pop.'  Then another.  Yep, the ties were breaking under the strain of a tightened warp.  I fished out some nylon cord, and had to lash the sticks on from under the loom, which is no easy feat when the loom is a Baby Wolf, which is pretty small.  So far, it seems to be holding!

And looky what came home a week or so ago:


Sticks!  Of wood!  That is slowly becoming...


a Glimakra Standard countermarche loom!! 47" weaving width, 4 shafts for now, but room for 8.  It is so very different from any loom I've used, that I see a HUGE learning curve ahead of me.  Which is great, because, you know, my brain has been great at keeping track of things lately!  And it is so enormous!  It takes up almost half of my living room.  Ideally I'd love to get it upstairs, and since it comes apart and goes together relatively easily, it can be done, but my little tiny loom room would be a bit overwhelmed.  I just really like having a weaving space where I don't have to worry about kitties getting mischievous, and the living room is their playground.  Any words of wisdom about these kinds of looms would be great.  I have to come up with an easy, smallish first project to put on her, to work out the kinks.

Anyone know of anybody out there who would like a Leclerc Fanny 45" loom?  It comes with a sectionaly beam, tension box, spool rack, and a shuttle, located in midcoast Maine. Asking $650, local pick up only.