Tuesday, January 24, 2017

12 Shaft Crackle Shawls - The Beginning

I developed a 12 Shaft crackle pattern for what I thought was going to be a table runner but the pattern was too ornate and busy to do well as a table runner.  But as a shawl it is going to be stunning.
The warp is 2/30 cotton, I went with a fine warp so that I could get more pattern repeats across the shawl to give it balance.  There are 852 threads, and I of course made a threading error!  I had about 50 threads left but I had run out of heddles on shaft 4.  I had help from Mum, she sat at the computer marking off the threads as I called out the threading sequence looking for the mistake.  It was at near the end, thankfully.  The picture is of the 2/30 cotton and below it is cotton sewing thread, not much difference.
The weft for the first shawl is black Tencel in 2/10.  After weaving 4 inches I stepped back to take a photo and I realized that the pattern I am weaving and the pattern on the draft isn’t the same!

I had forgotten that I tied up my treadles backwards (left to right instead of right to left) by mistake. I had intended to fix the treadling sequence before I started weaving, but I forgot in my anticipation to get weaving!  So, back to the computer and with a bit of fiddling I changed the tie up and found that I liked the new pattern configuration just as much, so I could keep weaving, thank goodness.
Disaster averted, I continued weaving for another 1 ½ inches and that was when I noticed an area that looked like a double pick.  It runs in both the warp and weft and is in six places in the pattern.  I looked at my draft and saw that I hadn’t completed an entire crackle block; I was missing a single thread six times.  I remember when I was threading that I thought it was weird how the threading sequence went but I didn’t follow my gut and check it out: lesson learned.
I have to un-weave the 5 ½ inches, unpick the hemstitching, untie from the cloth beam and pull out from the reed so I can add the extra 6 threads, which sucks!  I have to make extra heddles to add to the harness which I have never done before.  I looked at our Tips and Tutorials section to see how it is done, but we don’t have information posted!  My next post is going to be about how to make and tie on extra heddle!

Final Garden Shot is Heather with the first of the January blooms.  I took the photo this morning after we had a heavy frost.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Black Tea Towels - Eight Shaft Broken Twill

A very strange thing happened, Mum and I wove the same item, tea towels, using the same pattern!  Mum’s were white and can be seen here.  Mine were 2/8 cotton in black, purple, blue, red and yellow.  Sorry for the blurry photo.
The pattern is a simple broken twill that only used 4 treadles, the weaving was quick but really effective.
I did a plaid border at one end of each towel in red or yellow.
To make the hemming of the tea towels easier I add a single pick of sewing thread at 1 ½ inches at the beginning and end of the tea towel.  The sewing thread has about a 2 inch tail at each end, this comes in handy later.  After the tea towel is washed and dried, it is time for hemming.  The first fold is pressed into the tea towel at the line proved by the sewing thread, the fold is straight and it is easy to see.  The sewing thread is then no longer needed at can be pulled out.
I also ran out of warp for the last tea towel, I needed about 6 more inches.  To extend the warp I tried to add a shorter warp beam that could fit past the last four shafts.  I found a piece of wooden dowel that was a little rough so I wrapped it in a piece of tissue paper.  It was a little thick but I thought it could work.
When I added the tension to the warp there was a SNAP!  I had used 2/8 cotton to tie on the warp and under the tension they had snapped.  I then tied on with some cord that worked much better.  Again sorry for the blurry picture.
The finished tea towels have a really graphic punch!  Here are the three yellow plaid tea towels.  For Sale.
Here are the two red plaid tea towels.  For Sale.
Final picture is of a Anna’s Hummingbird that is over wintering here on Vancouver Island, we actually have three hummingbirds coming to the feeder this year!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Annual Loom Maintenance ~ Louet Spring Loom

January is a time when I feel very optimistic.  The days are getting longer and for some strange reason I think it’s Spring even though I’m reminded that it’s really the beginning of Winter.  I have this driving need to clean and organize things, so loom maintenance leaps to mind.

My Louet Spring loom is my primary loom, so Lily Louet gets lots of use and frankly I should do my cleanup more often.
I like to start from the bottom up, so lifting the loom onto a table in my studio was my first step.
 Wow, when it’s at eye level you sure could see the black marks on the treadles from the bottom of my slippers.  A bit of Vim took it right off!
I have noticed that the tie up cords to the treadles were getting quite loopy as they have stretched over the years.
This caused enough slack so that the long tie ups from the upper lamms would occasionally catch on an adjoining treadle making my weaving come to an abrupt halt.  Pretty scary looking while it is in the relaxed position.
To fix this problem I removed all of the tie up cords and lined them up with the end that attached to the treadle facing in the same direction to see if they had stretched out unevenly; they looked the same length, so I marked the opposite end with black felt on the second button hole.
 I will put them back onto the lamms reversing them end for end and button them to the treadle screws one hole tighter.
Now that the cords have been replaced, you can really see the difference.
My next job was to pull out the breast beam and to check that it was still balanced.  You can imagine my surprise when I found out it was not just a little out of whack!  On the Louet Spring the apron cloth is replaced by three doubled over texsolve cords which are snitch knotted onto a metal rod.  The rod is 36 inches long and there are 3 sets of cords, so there will be 4 spaces between the cords; 36 divided by 4 gives 9, so there should be 9 inches of rod at each end and 9 inches between the cords. When I measured mine they were off by several inches.  I think this was caused by my nudging the knots to one side or the other when I was tying on my warps. I think this would make the cloth beam pull the newly woven fabric onto the beam unevenly. A fairly quick fix to mark these spots and re-centre the cords; this is one thing I’m going to make sure I check more frequently.
I went around with a screwdriver and wrench and tightened all the screws and bolts I could reach while it was up on the table and again, I was gobsmacked at how loose some of them were.
After putting the loom back on the floor, I did the same process of straightening out the apron cloth on the back beam.  It was about 1/2 inch off, as you can see in this photo of it lined up against the back beam.  Frankly, I’m amazed that my weaving has been as even as it has been considering that it was pulling off the back beam and pulling onto the front beam with that much discrepancy.

I took a level and had a look at all the lamms and shafts to ensure that they were level and thankfully, they were still in balance, so I didn’t need to do any fixing on them, just a quick dust off.
Now that the loom has been tightened within an inch of its life, it’s time to put on a new warp and I have chosen to do another Crackle Weave project for the Guild Study Group.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

What is on the Looms at the Start of the New Year

On Mum’s loom is a 2/8 cotton tea towel warp.  It is a striped warp in shades of green, purple and blue.  The pattern is Crackle and the weft is green, she has used some other colours but I’ll let her tell you more later.

On my loom is a 2/30 cotton shawl warp.  It is almost 900 threads in the warp and a lovely cream colour.  The pattern is also Crackle and the weft is black 2/20 Tencel, I’ll be telling you more later.

These are both projects for our Study Group with the Qualicum Weavers, hopefully they will be done before the next meeting on the 19th!
The final picture is of my knitting angel that I made in May sitting on top of my pink Christmas tree.  Adorable!