Baby wrap warp

Baby wrap warp

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Let's Do The Twist!!

Fringe twisting, that is!

I managed to weave off the three tencel "heart" scarves in what seemed like record time for me, so now it's on to the drudgery of fringe twisting.  My handy battery-operated device helps speed the process along, for sure, but I would so rather be doing something else.  I think it must be related to ergonomics.  I do the twisting at the kitchen table, and even though it feels perfectly fine when we eat, when I use the table as a work surface, it feels too high to me. Sitting in my chair I get the feeling that I am three years old again and trying to sit at the grown-ups' table!

Above you can see the twisting in progress.  I used to pin the cloth to a foam board that had been carefully measured into one inch increments, but that got lost in the room redo awhile back, so now I use my fabric cutting board and some old (VERY old!) encyclopedias to keep the fabric in place.  With the way that information dessemenation has changed recently, that's about all the encyclopedia is good for these days!

Here's another shot of the scarf, although I just cannot seem to get the red to look the correct shade.  It is deeper, and more rich, so that the contrast is a bit subtler but very dramatic.

I'm hoping to complete the finish process for these this weekend.  I have to work 4 out of 5 days next week (12 hour shifts), so there won't be much time for weaving until next weekend.  One of the pediatricians that I work with has asked to purchase one of these scarves for his wife, so I'd like to get it done and in his hands soon.

I also received my custom-dyed yarn for my next baby wrap.  It needs to be wound into balls so I can wind in on the spools...a very drawn out process.  I've tried to capture the colors correctly, but again, they are much more vivid in real life.

My first wrap arrived at the first tester's house today, and she posted some photos on our "secret" little group on Facebook.  Her 2 year old looks very comfy in it, and she seems pleased overall.  What a relief!  Hopefully I can figure a way to capture on of the photos to share here.  Any advise?

Never mind, I figured it out.  This just makes me so happy!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Next Up

While I wait for my next baby wrap yarn to be hand dyed, I've started a run of three tencel scarves in the striking heart pattern that I've used once before.  The colors are a wonderful contrast with each other, with a distinct, deep, rich red tone on black. The pattern is quite complicated, especially after doing a big tabby weave, and yet I've already memorized it, surprisingly.

I've yet to capture this particular shade of red correctly.  It is not nearly that bright. Hopefully once the scarves are done and on the mannekin, I can figure it out.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


I finally finished the baby wrap, and am going to be sending it out to testers this week!  Of course, there are definitely things I will do differently in the future.  The selvedges are a bit wonky, since A) it was my first time using a temple and it took a bit of time to get the hang of it, and B) I blindly decided to follow some advice I saw on a baby wearing group that indicated basketweave selvedges were preferred. Unfortunately, I was weaving tabby, so now the selvedges are a tad wavy.  Live and learn, right?

Using a mini end feed shuttle worked great, except I had to change pirns every 6-8 inches, so there were lots of overlaps to trim.  One of these days I'll invest in a full sized one.  I do like how the color progressions came out, though.

It's hard to see all of the colors because it's so wide, but at least you can glimpse them in that photo.  I also tried to take a photo of it laid out length-wise

but ran out of space on the longest rack I have!  Ironing it was also interesting, because I didn't want it dragging on the floor, so I had to wear it around my neck several times and lay it on the rack after ironing.

Another area that will be different in the future is the middle marker.  I thought I would weave a small area with different yarn and in a different color, so I chose 8/2 cotton (the body of the work is 10/2 mercerized cotton).  I also decided to try clasp weave for the first time - at least I think that's what it's called.  Two shuttles, coming from opposite selvedges, passing around each other before heading back from whence they came.  Unfortunately, that also presented a problem.  First, it's really difficult to choose the exact middle of a long cloth while still on the loom, even if measuring is done after letting up on the tension.  It's close, but the middle marker is, well, just off the middle.  And where the two wefts intertwined has left small bumps. Definitely sub-optimum, but here it is.

You can see how stretched out the temple made the cloth.  Someone pointed out that that is a temple meant for rugs, so I have purchased a kinder, gentler one for future use.

And the great label that my son designed, sewn securely into the hem!

All in all, a great learning experience.  You can see that I'm pretty critical, but it will be good to hear the opinions of others who have experience using wraps.  I already have my next one planned, though it may have to wait a bit for the yarn to come. Meanwhile, I have started another warp for more tencel scarves on the eight shaft loom.  Just not enough time in the day!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Aah, Simplicity

After my early travails with my baby wrap warp, I decided to do something I've been meaning to for a very long time - weave with my hand spun.  I have several yarns available, (and many, many more bumps of fiber), but I've always put off weaving with some because I was afraid it wouldn't hold up to weaving.  Being self taught, I'm never fully confident in my finished yarn, so I've knit with it, knowing that I can easily correct a problem encountered while knitting, while also acknowledging that knitting does not put a strain on the yarn like weaving under tension does.  But I was desperate!  I needed something simple, yet beautiful; something to lift my soul quickly and easily.  So I took the plunge.

I chose 4 ounces of a merino/silk blend that was a Christmas gift one year from my hubby, and my first spin on my Matchless.  One of the main reasons I chose to try my first handwoven with this particular hand spun was the color - a beautiful turquoise, with small flecks of yellow and white.

It spun up into this yarn, a 2 ply lace weight totalling 723 yards, a first for me!

I used a reference from a weaving magazine to determine the sett (or density on the loom) - wraps per inch divided by 2.  That magic number was 12 ends per inch, though once on the loom it seemed quite open.  This presented a new problem, er, learning opportunity once I started weaving.  After spreading the warp, I began to weave, happily beating the weft, until I realized that if I continued on this path, I would end up with A) a very weft-faced cloth, which would keep it from being drape-y, and B) an extremely short weft-faced cloth, since I would run out of yarn very very soon.  It's not like I could run to the store and get more, either.

So I spent the next inch or so adjusting my beat, until it was no more than placing the weft carefully with each pick.  You can see in the photo above that I went from a very tightly woven material to something much more open and loose. Another lesson learned with this project was learning to weave with a very stretchy yarn, since cotton and tencel, my two standbys, don't stretch at all.

As loose as the weave was, I figured I could tighten it up a bit in the washing/drying phase, so I continued on in that matter, ending up with a 74" X 7.5" scarf with an additional 5" twisted fringe.  It also became incredibly soft during fulling, which was very gratifying given how soft the original fiber was.

And a close up to show the subtle color variations;

I'm sure the silk really helps with the softness and sheen.

The project took me parts of two days, not counting the spinning.  It was just what I needed to feel good about weaving again.  This scarf, along with most of my other projects, can be found in my Etsy shop (  Unfortunately, it's back to the beast of a project for me for now, but I'm planning on some 8 shaft goodness to commence soon!

My website is another non-starter, at least for now.  I've managed to insert some banner photos and text, but only in the most rudimentary way.  I fear that is how it will stay, given my time and knowledge limitations.  Maybe not the best thought out plan...

Monday, March 10, 2014

Begun, but...

So, after my woven towels, and my woven hand-dyed scarf, I was all excited to start by first baby wrap.  Winding the  warp went surprisingly well, and I had my 700+ threads done in record time.  I decided to use both the sectional parts of the loom and a raddle/non-sectional dowel.  After a very slow beaming process, where I would make half a turn of the beam, then make sure all the yarns were in the proper sections, I would then go to the front and give a yank on each section, and repeat. It.Took.Forever.  I would not recommend this method if you are beaming alone. That having been said, I did get the job done in one afternoon, and had much wonderful color on the loom, ready to thread.

The next time I was at the loom, I got most of the threading done without any issues, and finished the following day.

Sleying also went well, so I was thinking this project is going to be a breeze, since the actual weaving is just tabby.  Wrong-o!

I spent the better part of 2 hours yesterday weaving and unweaving, cutting and reweaving, unweaving again...  You get the picture.  All I ended up with was a one inch hem woven; the rest is still waiting to be born, as it were.  Very very frustrating, as you can imagine.  I've decided it just wasn't meant to be, at least not yesterday.  I may attempt it again today, but I'm on call at work and having just come home from there, I could easily have to turn around and drive back any minute.  My commute is 1/2 hour each way, so 2 hours in the car.  No big deal to some, but for me, that's a lot.  And we don't get mileage reimbursed, either.  Not sure if more aggravation should be toyed with right now.  Perhaps I should just grab my knitting and think calm thoughts.

There's been no progress on the website either, unfortunately.  I've placed a couple of photos, but that's all.  What am I thinking??  Who has time for all this stuff?

I hope by my next post there will be some sort of show and tell. Thanks for your patience!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The next big step?

After much mulling over a long period of time, I went ahead and registered a domain name!  It is as you would expect,, but don't go there yet, as I haven't had the time to even activate it yet.  Now I'm faced with the daunting task of building my own website.  Really???  Why did I think I would be capable of such a feat?  I fear this endeavor will use up the little time to weave that I now have. Who knows, the site may languish and never appear, given my increased time commitments at work.  Even if I can put a basic link on it for now, pointing to my Etsy shop, I'd be happy.  I think...

I did manage to finish my one-off tencel scarf last week.  I think it came out well, and may collaborate with the dyer to get enough yarn to weave more than one at a time.

The colors are quite a bit more vivid in real life, and, as always, it drapes like silk. I really love the multi-colored fringe. It's available, along with other new stuff, in my Etsy shop! (

I've started winding a warp for a baby wrap,  Over 700 ends, which is a first for me. I'm using 10/2 cotton in a very bright plum turquoise, pink and blue.  There are a lot of hoops to jump through before any sort of baby carrier product can be sold, so this may all be for naught, but I'm excited about the journey.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

One and (almost) done

Look what jumped onto my loom today!

I purchased this dyed tencel from a vendor on Etsy, and I finally have a moment to get it on my big loom.  I'm still trying to find the best and fastest way to load yarn on that loom.  For now I've stuck with using one of the sectional pieces as a raddle, and trying to wind on keeping all of the sections in their correct places.  Doing it by myself was a miserable failure, and I had to pull all of the yarn back off of the warp beam to try a second time.  Needless to say, there were many tangles to deal with.  I managed to get the yarn back on the loom with hubby's help, keeping a constant tension, but I want to be able to do this myself! (She says, stomping her foot like a two year old).

Once on the loom, it was only a matter of an hour or two to thread and sley the reed.

These colors look like Easter to me.  If only the weather looked that way too...

This morning I managed to tie on and spread it on the loom.

  I wove to 56" before lunch, which is pretty good considering I had to unweave for several inches to correct a misplaced weft.  This is how it looks right now.

I can't wait to finish this and get those fringes twisted!  After all, I've got to have something to do inside while yet again more snow falls.

And here's a gratuitous shot of a peacock feather that we found on our truck bumper a while ago.  Beautiful colors, though the picture doesn't do it justice.  It's amazing what Mother Nature is capable of.