Sunday, December 2, 2012

Weaving Something New

Ripsmatta Towels
Sometimes things just don't always go the way you want.  I've had Custom Woven Interiors, a weaving book by Kelly Marshall, for several months.  All the projects in it are in a structure, ripsmatta or rep weave, that I've never tried before.  All the projects except this one are for some kind of interior design fabrics; rugs, upholstery fabric, what have you.  I've never done any of the above.  But the thing that really grabbed me about this book was the use of color.  I fell for these towels because of the colors and subtle patterning created by the color play.  I thought these towels would be a good place to begin this exploration.

I ordered the thread for the towels at the beginning of September.  However, I really wanted to get the Dog off the Loom (see last post) before starting anything else.  And then I really wanted to get my daughter's towels done before starting anything else.  Sadly, I ran out of the teal weft thread I was using for the last of the three towels.  I've ordered more, but it'll be later this week before the thread arrives... and there may be dye lot color problems.  Yikes!  So I decided it was time.  Get these towels on the loom!

My first challenge was simply understanding how the drafts in the book worked.  I made it harder on myself by overthinking it, but I really think that some experience with ripsmatta would be helpful before tackling this book.  I tried several times to make it work in my weaving software.  Finally, it made sense to me and I got it into the software.  However, there was still this niggly feeling that I'd done something wrong.  I figured, though, that I'd never learn until I got the warp on the loom and started weaving.

Last week saw me setting up two more shafts on the loom and getting them into the new countermarche system.  I wound the warp on Friday evening and finished it off Saturday.  I had some problems coming up with a way to wind the warp.  The colors change with every thread and most times there are four colors alternating.  I really wasn't willing to wind four threads at a time.  I ended up by winding one layer of warp in one bout and then a second bout of the second layer.  It worked quite well on the board, but not so well at the loom.  It tangled more than I've had a warp tangle in a while, but it wasn't bad.

Saturday was a marathon session at the loom.  I got the warp sleyed, threaded and beamed onto the loom.  I have to admit, it looked good.  There are few things that make me smile like a nice warp on the loom!
Nice warp on the loom
I got the weft thread wound onto bobbins for two shuttles.  I sat at the loom.  Okay, weaving the hem for the towels wasn't all that big a deal, but when the pattern weaving started I just wasn't sure.  For one thing, warp threads started breaking.  First one, then four more, then two after that.  Seven broken threads inside a foot of weaving??  Scary!  I sometimes missed locking the warp threads at the selvedges and had warp floats.  Sigh.  I wasn't sure how hard to beat and no matter how hard I beat, I could always see some weft threads.

After broken thread number seven, I gave up and went to bed.  Today, I'm more at peace with it.  I think that at this density, the weft threads aren't hidden.  The weaving is what it is.  And, quite frankly, I think it's really pretty!  I'm looking forward to trying more projects from this book.

Although I'll probably choose different colors!

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