Rainbow's End Beginning banner

Rainbow's End Beginning banner

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Rainbow's End!

They're done!! And I'm SO happy about how they turned out!  They have a bit of drape due to the hand of the fabric, the selvedges are woven at a more dense sett for better support, and they weigh under 2 lbs each, so they are light enough to use even in this heat we've been having!

The black weft really makes the colors POP!

 The charcoal weft made the wrap more subtle but still very colorful.

I even managed to list them for sale on my website, complete with weft options and paypal button.  Not bad for an old(er) broad!  http://www.threadbaredesigns.com/.

I've been working on these for what seems like a long time, so now I get to shift gears and weave up some other goodies that have been marinating in the back of my mind.  Hmmmm...

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Charcoal It Is!

As I came to the end of the first of two wraps on the present warp, I put out a quick poll on both my personal and business FB pages asking whether I should use the same black weft for the second wrap or go with charcoal.  Personally, I feel like the charcoal washes out the colors, and I'm a big fan of vivid colors, so I would have gone with black, but the majority chose charcoal, so here it is.

The lighter line you can see just above the bottom of the photo is the breast beam, not an anomaly in the weft.  These wraps will be nice and light, great for summer wearing!

I'm still struggling with whether to keep my website or just the blog.  I SO want the website to work, but from everything I've seen, I can only post new information at the bottom of the page, not at the top. This would mean that every time someone went there, they would see old news before the new.  My younger son, who is a programmer, said that I would have to change code to make it work.  Of course, HE could probably do it, but he doesn't like working on web sites.  Well, I didn't particularly like giving birth to him either - just sayin'.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Fixed it!!

Remember that little problem I had, with links taking folks away from the blog?  After sleeping on it, I suddenly remembered that when I opened the little window into which I pasted the link, there was an option to "open in another window".  Simple as pie to fix! Why is it that often answers come to you when you AREN'T searching for them??

I spent most of the weekend online, trying to update this blog and move some things around on my website. I'm still trying to decide if the site is worth keeping.  I have precious little time these days, and maintaining both a blog, a website, and my Etsy shop is stretching me too thin, so I think they all suffer.  I'm still toying with the idea of selling either directly from this blog, or from my website, probably using Paypal, but for now it's just an idea floating around in my head, awaiting further thought.  I would love some feedback on all of this, so please leave some comments about this site, what I could do to make it better, and what your thoughts are on my website as well (http://www.threadbaredesigns.com/).

The other day I got to stay home on stand by for part of the day, so I put the time to good use and wove almost three yards on my baby wrap.  I really felt like I was on a roll!  It was hot and sticky but our house has an uncanny ability to remain fairly cool in the summer, despite the fact that it is freezing in the winter, which doesn't exactly follow the rules of physics, I'm sure.  I still had a fan blowing on my face, and the soundtrack from Call the Midwife on and I felt like I could have woven all day! There's something about the combination of orchestral music used for background, and early crooner and rock and roll songs that is fun to listen to - it helps make the time fly by.  I ended the day with 4 yards+ of woven rainbow goodness!

The plan for the holiday was to play in our community band for the local 4th of July parade in the morning, with an outdoor concert in a nearly town in the afternoon, but a tropical storm is coming up the coast, so things are up in the air.  It all depends on the timing, of course, but it could make for a very soggy Independence Day, unfortunately.  We'll just have to wait and see how it all plays out.  I hope everyone out there has a wonderful holiday, filled with family, fun, and fireworks!!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Pages Added

Even though I have started weaving on the rainbow wrap (yay!), I decided to waste some of today getting a few pages on my blog.  It seems like I'll never have enough time to make a dedicated web site active enough, so I thought maybe I could do it all here.  For now I've placed links to items in my Etsy shop, but am thinking that I may try to sell my wraps directly from the here.  The problem is, I didn't format the links to open in another window, so whoosh! away folks will go if they click.  Does anyone out there know how to do this??

Friday, June 20, 2014


...are done!  Not forever, of course, but I just spent the better part of two days completing a big ol' list of things that required my attention, including the dreaded house-cleaning.  I hate doing it, but I have to admit, I do feel better about pretty much everything when it is completed.  This morning was the last of it, including registering my car (the online option couldn't find me this year :->(, hanging around waiting for the satellite repairman to come, and making a yummy chocolate peanut butter pie for my youngest's 25th birthday tomorrow!  Let's see, if he's half a century old, then I must be...precocious???

(Please excuse the out of focus cell phone photo!).

Happily, I can now return to my rainbow wrap warp prep ( say THAT three times fast!).  I started measuring last Wednesday, and wound four sections that day and the next, then I had to work on Friday.  The weekend was very productive, completing another 14 sections.  After three very busy and long days at work this week, I'm back at it and only have another three sections to go!!  I am SO excited!!!

Winding seperate sections on my mill and using the tension box has had a bit of a learning curve, so I'm sure I will run into some snags as I proceed with threading and sleying, but over all, it has gone pretty well for a first try.  After the first couple of sections, I realized that I needed to make sure I laid the warp in the small "reeds" on the box in the same order in which I wound them in order to make the process easier (duh!! experienced weaver here).  I hadn't made any crosses while winding, since I don't really know how to use them with sectional warping, but I finally came up with a plan to take some string, double it, and alternate the two ends going over and under sets of two warp ends.  This allowed me to keep the warp in order at the tension box and VASTLY improved the process.

One more session at the mill and I should have the entire 13.2 yd warp on the loom! I can't wait to start threading, though with the birthday boy coming home for the weekend, I doubt I'll get much done.  It can wait, though - the weather is supposed to be perfect, my older son is coming for a short visit tomorrow to see his brother, and the garden is starting to show some pick-able greens, so there is plenty to do, and I'll get to this soon enough.

The only other news is that the base of my right thumb has been quite painful for about a month.  I'm presuming it is arthritis, although every now and then I get a zing into my wrist, so carpal tunnel might be the issue.  I'm a leftie, so you would think that would be a good thing, but I use my right hand a lot, and not having the same grip strength, along with the accompanying pain has been pretty depressing. The worst is when I pinch my thumb and index finger together, as with holding threads under tension, and when I play my flute, which I do weekly in our community band.  I'll get it checked out at my next appointment in July, but am trying to keep a good attitude.

PS The new issue of Downeast Magazine has a story about our band , including some photos of yours truly and other fine band mates!  I have to wait until it hits newsstands, but those of you who subscribe can take a peek now!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Trying Something New

I attempting sectional beaming for the first time, although I do not have all of the equipment needed to optimize this technique.  Using what I have, I am winding one inch sections on my warping mill, then taking it to the loom and putting it on using a tensioning box.  So far, I've had one broken thread (in my first, and worst, bout), 2 sections go on very easily, and and 3 have varying challenges.  I think the part that is causing the tangling is "sleying" the small reeds in a random order rather than in the order the yarns were wound.  I think I've learned my lesson, though - my next bout will have a "counting string" that I will use to keep the yarns in order.  I could make a cross but can't figure out how to use that at the loom without lease sticks.

This baby wrap is going to be an eight color gradient.  I spent several hours on Sunday working out the math, and then had to work 2 twelve hour days.  Yesterday I started measuring the first bout, and found that doing it the way I am at present, I can wind two bouts and get them on the loom in about an hour.  Because the loom is in the living room, surrounded by curious kitties, I have to be able to leave it in a state where the yarns are safe, i.e. not hanging off the warp beam.  I think I may be able to get more done today, then it's back to work for me.  We'll see how much I get done over the weekend.  And a LeClerc yarn meter in on the way, so I will be able to try this using spools.

These are the colors I've chosen;

and these are the first 6 bouts;

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Available! And Opinions Sought

I finally finished taking photos of the second baby wrap, Caribbean Depths.  I'm a bit disappointed, because the colors seem a bit muted compared to in real life.

I've listed it on my business Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Threadbare-Designs/672160212806803?ref=hl) for now, where it might get better exposure than my Etsy shop.  I do anticipate it migrating over there soon, though.  Just trying to navigate the many groups and sub-groups on FB surrounding the baby wearing world makes me feel old.  I seems to take me forever to understand what I can and cannot do, and where I can and cannot be.  People are very helpful, but that doesn't make me feel any more nimble of mind.

I've almost completed the quickest project I've done in a long time.  I've had some 2/10 merino/tencel in the Ocean Blue colorway that I purchased from Webs years ago, just sitting on the shelf, waiting for inspiration to hit.  I thought I might do a huck scarf, but kept putting it off, never finding the time to decide on the pattern.  After the work of the baby wrap, I decided now would be the perfect time.  I used an 8 shaft pattern from The Best of Weaver's Huck Lace book.  I started winding on Sunday, and completed the weaving today (after working Monday and Tuesday!).  All that's left is fringe twisting and wet finishing.  It's a bit difficult to see the pattern in the photo below, because the yarn gives off such a nice sheen.

As always, I had to make a concerted effort to gently place the weft, not beat it like I do with cotton and most tencel.  I find it is much harder to get an even beat when you don't use force!

Planning has begun for the next wrap, though I may weave off some towels first.  I'm leaning towards a rainbow-like one, using my stash only. I've got to make some room for the next order of yarns!  Which combination do you prefer:

The one with the green (on the far left):

or the one with the aqua?

Inquiring minds want to now!

Until next time...

Friday, May 30, 2014

Number Two

The second baby wrap is off the loom, sewn and wet finished.  It has been a learning experience for me, no doubt, but I can't say I'm not happy to have it completed.

This is the first time that my age has affected my ability to complete a project in keeping with my usual standards.  As hard as I tried to find skips while weaving, I found a few but missed many, so after it came off the loom, I sat with the material and my magnifying reading glasses.  Way too much eye strain, so I brought in a daylight lamp and looked again.  Terrible headache developed, so I brought in a second daylight light.  Eventually, I had to wear a smallish LED lamp on my forehead to complete the task.  I must have looked a fright sitting there with all that STUFF around and on me!  The headache lasted into the next day, and I even had some trouble seeing clearly through my regular specks for awhile. I'm sure part of it was the variegated colors, plus I've found that charcoal weft pretty much disappears when used with certain shades of eggplant.  I've since ordered some lighting/magnifying gear to help in the future.

Today was washing and pressing day, and much to my dismay, I found two small areas of skips that span ~1/2 inch that I previously missed.  I could sit with it and hand stitch it, but then I would have to rewash the whole wrap.  I've decided to allow myself to put a creation out in the world that is not "perfect" in my eyes, hoping that someone will want to give it some love anyway. The structural integrity of the wrap is not affected, and the floats are extremely small, about 1/6", so I'm not concerned about them catching on something.  The few doubled wefts that I told you about last time are visible, but not really in your face, and also do not affect the cloth.

It measured 31.75 " in the reed, and I wove to 6 yards under tension, not counting the hems.  It is now 28 1/8" X 185", just over 5 yards long.  I also decided to sew in a label as a middle marker instead of weaving one while it was on the loom.  Note to self - buy some purple thread to match the label.

The selvedges, which were a huge headache for me, turned out fairly well.  There are a couple of places where I wish they were straighter, but there were no loose bits, and the waviness from my first wrap are nowhere to be seen.

All in all, a success along my journey to weave beautiful, safe wraps for baby-wearers out there!  I'm looking forward to a smaller project or two for now, until I get inspired to create another design.  I've already wound a short warp for a merino/tencel huck scarf, and I think another long-ish towel warp is in my near future.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Under Way!

So I finally rigged up some weights using two empty milk jugs and a couple of spray bottles, and with my hubby's help set up the warping trapeze.

As you can see, it was quite a rig!  I needed help setting it up, since my boatbuilder husband made the rod fit just perfectly in the holes, to the point where I couldn't get them in!  He'll have to make those holes a bit bigger unless he wants to be permanently on call.  The sections of warp didn't stay perfectly in their given areas on the sectional beam, but all were wound on with even tension.  I had high hopes that this would a) speed the warping process, which it certainly did, and b) solve some of the tension issues I had with the last wrap.  This, unfortunately, didn't happen.

I followed Anne Dixon's "recipe" for reinforced selvedges, since that seems to be requirement in baby wraps.  That meant threading the first and last four threads 1-2-3-4, but threading the next 8 threads 1-1-2-2-3-3-4-4.  All 12 threads on each end were sleyed at twice the density, so 4 per dent in a 12 dent reed, while the rest of the warp was sett at 24 EPI for 10/2 cotton.

Right off the bat I had issues with the selvedges, even after spreading the warp and weaving a bit with waste yarn, including taking the yarn around the front apron rod to diminish draw in, .  The 20/2 cotton weft I used for the hems would not pack in at all, and caused the dreaded "smile" at both edges.  After trying to fix it with each shot, I wove another header with waste yarn and tried again, this time using a temple.  Where do you weavers put the temple when you first start weaving?  Do you all weave enough of a header to give it purchase?  If so, how do you keep the header from drawing in?

Even after I started weaving with the 10/2 cotton for the body of the piece, using the temple only helped a smidge, so I've added extra weight to the four outer most threads.  I've still had to "beat" the yarns in with my fingers every now and then to try to pack the weft in as tightly as the rest of the weft.  Does anyone out there in weaver land have any advice on how I can fix this next time?  I know other people weave with dense selvedges at times, and I'd love to know your secrets.  The last wrap also had double the density in the reed, but no doubling in the heddles, and that didn't work well either.  I lashed on instead of tying directly to the apron rod this time, but that didn't seem to make a difference.

I also made the mistake of starting the shuttle on my right, which is not my usual practice.  Sure enough, I have a couple of doubled wefts that I didn't see until it was too late to fix them.  I'm using charcoal weft with this warp, so it's much harder to see than my usual black.  AND, I'm using UKI yarn for the first time, which seems to have a very lively twist in it.  Every now and then a weft shot has not completely entered the shed, and I've had to unweave to pull the little loop left behind.  This happened even though I'm using an end feed shuttle.

Here's a photo of the offending wefts:

As you can see, this baby wrap project has thrown a lot of issues at me.  I'm trying to look at this as a learning opportunity and just do the best I can with it.  Plain weave shouldn't be this difficult, but if it is, then all I can do is accept it and keep moving forward.

So, how about some thoughts on a name for this wrap?  I originally thought "Caribbean Shadows" for its beautiful turquoise and eggplant hues, but then I thought about "Emeralds and Amethyst."  What do you think?  I'm open to any other suggestions!

Last time I told you about my painting foray on my porch and promised photos.  Of course, it has done nothing but rain since then, so today, on my way to get groceries, I snapped a quickie with my phone so you can see the effect.

Just imagine all of that with weathered wood, and you'll get an idea of what an improvement that is.  Soon we'll be off the to gardening center to get some flowers for those boxes!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Such a Slacker

At least in the "literary" sense.  No blog for how many weeks?!?  Believe me, I haven't been sitting on my...laurels and doing nothing.  Lots of work at work.  And a fair bit here at home.  Both have been partially to blame for the delay, as has a bit of indecision.  But more on that later.

The Iris tabby scarves were woven off with little fanfare.  I now have 3 scarves ready for my shop, or any consignment shops that need inventory.  It is always amusing (and a bit exasperating) to measure them after they've dried and see the wild differences in length, given the same measurement they all had on the loom.  I wove them to ~78," after easing off on the tension to make sure that the final size was an unstretched 78 inches.  What I ended up with were 66, 68, and 68.5 inch scarves.  I assume that the warp relaxed to different degrees, but a 2.5 inch difference?

While working on these quick weaves, I was still mulling how to proceed with my next baby wrap.  I got the custom dyed yarn, and thought I would use my sectional equipment to manipulate the colors, but the older yardage counter that I have won't mount on the LeClerc tension device (the one attached to the electric bobbin winder) the way it is supposed to.  Instead of mounting to the left of the tensioning piece, it will have to be screwed onto the horizontal surface in order to get the measuring wheel oriented correctly.  It will attached to the tensioner that mounts onto the loom, though.  So I hemmed. And I hawed (what the heck does that mean anyway??). And I finally admitted to myself that the only way to get the kind of handpainted effect I was looking for for my second wrap, is to measure out the yarn first, then dye it myself. Since I'm not set up for that yet, I chose to just wind the warp on my mill and let the colors fall where they may, instead of doing it sectionally.  I feel a lot of anxiety when trying new things, and sectional warping is no exception, but I WILL warp my next project on the big loom that way.  I think I'll make it monochromatic, so I don't have to think about yarn placement, although I will still have to solve the counter issue.

So, here is a shot of the last bout on the mill.

Beautiful turquoise and eggplant tones - just not the design in my head.  Now to find some kind of weighting thingies so I can use the warping trapeze that Hubs made me to ease the process of dressing the loom.  I have one empty milk jug saved - he crushed the others - so I need 3 more things I can attach to the warp.

And here are a few shots of the tabby tencel scarves.

I also happen to be on vacation right now (thank goodness!), so I spent the better part of two days staining the railing on our porch.  It was one of those things that we always thought we'd get to, but so many years have flown by and nothing's been done, so the railings got REALLY weathered.  I decided that staining them a solid, French vanilla ice cream shade would make them match the painted trim.  I also am going to paint the flower boxes a rich shade of red.  Our house is such a wreck anyway, what with 2 different kinds of siding and a bunch of incomplete projects, I decided I needed to do a quick job that would make me feel better about the house every time I went out the door.  I'll be sure to post a photo once the boxes are done, but right now they need sanding before I can paint them.

I hope everyone out there had a great Mother's Day!  Mine was spent painting, with a long walk thrown in there for good measure.  Hubs and Son #2 got the garden dug up, so it was a productive day, which is a great day in my book.  Let's see how much more I can get done before I return to work.  Who said vacations were for relaxing, anyway?!?