Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Weaving Like a Scot

It's time for the 2011 San Antonio Highland Games!  This year I decided to make a sash in the MacLean of Duart dress tartan.  It'll be a birthday gift for my mom.  Shhhh!  Don't tell her!

MacLean Sash Detail
The MacLean tartan is one of the most complicated I've ever woven.  There are 7 colors in it, which depletes my stock of shuttles!  I'm forced to use the handmade shuttle that's so pretty, but doesn't work very well.  If I had time and money, I'd probably run over to Yarnorama in Paige, TX and pick up a Bluster Bay bullnose shuttle.  Heck, I might just do it anyway!

The large sections of red (24 shots) and green (16 shots) are a pleasure to weave.  The beautiful blue areas centered in the green section are... something of a pain.  Six of the seven colors come together there, usually only two shots per color.  Working the ends in and clipping the tails takes quite a bit of time.  On the other hand, I'm in no rush to finish this, so time is on my side!

Warping was interesting this time.  With all the color changes and potential for mistakes, I chose to warp in five groups.  The three red sections and two green sections were measured separately and sleyed into the reed just after being taken off the warping board.  No problems there!  Well, not until I discovered that I had miscounted the very first red section and had 12 more threads than I needed.  I said  few choice words and measured / sleyed the rest of the groups.  At the last red group I contemplated moving the 12-too-many warp threads from one group to the other.  Madelyn van der Hoogt will probably send lightning to strike me, but I carefully untied the choke tie on the first group, removed the 12 threads, moved them to the other side of the work, added them into the last group and retied everybody's choke tie.  And it worked!  That was a happy dance right there!

And then things got interesting.  I used the pull-back-on-groups-of-warp-threads method to tension the warp as I was beaming it on... and had at least two warp threads break.  One was close enough to the beginning of the beaming that I unrolled the warp and replaced the thread.  The second was closer to the end of the work, so I just repaired it as I would any other broken warp thread.  But then, as I was tying onto the front rod, all four tails on one group broke off at the knot!  Rats!!  I think I was using the tension I needed for the cotton towels, forgetting that the bamboo is much lighter weight and more delicate.  Gentle, gentle!  Still and all, I now enjoy the warping process much more.

MacLean Tartan on the Loom
But once I got it all tied on and tensioned properly, the actual weaving went very well.  Slow, but well.  I do love this tartan.  I'm hoping that demonstrating it won't result in many mistakes.  I still cringe when I see the spot in last year's Bluebonnet tartan shawl where I missed two groups of colors in the weft.  Sigh.

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