Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Weaving, and More Weaving!

Oh, argh!  I haven't posted since August?  (And I honestly had to be sure it wasn't August of LAST year!)  I admit to neglecting the blog for my Facebook and Pinterest pages.  Which probably isn't a good idea.

So!  What's going on?

Mostly weaving, which I'm sure is a huge surprise to everyone.  From most recent to oldest:

The MacAskill Tartan
MacAskill Tartan On Loom
Demonstration season is upon us again!  This year's offering for the Austin Celtic Festival is the MacAskill tartan.  It's being done at the request of the Festival organizer.  Although it's not the oldest tartan - and remember, almost all tartans are less than 200 years old - it's one of the prettiest.  We're using a new thread this time, JaggerSpun's Maine Line 2/20 wool, which is much finer than we've used before.  I'm very pleased with how it's weaving up and am looking forward to getting it off the loom and finishing it.  I think the hand and drape will be very nice.

Rugs and Upholstery
The Rep Rug On Loom
I swore I'd never weave a rug.  I had no interest in rug weaving at all.  When we bought the Glimakra, we bought it from a woman who used it to weave rugs.  Included with the loom were several shuttles specifically for rugs as well as several spools of rug warp.  I almost sold the shuttles, thinking I'd never use them. Fortunately, I didn't.  I recently bought Tom Knisely's master weaving e-book from Interweave.  At first, I couldn't even think of a good reason to buy the e-book.  He specializes in rugs and I had no interest, right?  One of the rugs appealed to me, mostly because of the colors.  I've also been interested since I wove the rep towels from Custom Woven Interiors.  I liked how her rugs (and towels) had an overshot feel to them.  Since I've had so much fun with blocks, I decided to use Tom Knisely's colors and adapt an overshot pattern to rep weave.

I took the Snowballs section of the Wahoo Blossom and Snowballs draft from Marguerite Porter Davison's A Handweaver's Source Book, entered it as a profile draft and then converted it to rep. I admit to making a few mistakes in it, but it's working and I love it!  I warped on enough to get a nice-sized rug and enough upholstery fabric for bench pads for all my looms.

George took this photograph.  He loves the look of the project from below the loom.
You're seeing the underside of the rug wrapped around the beam, the rug border just above the beam and the right side of the upholstery fabric angling down toward the knee beam.

Breaking All The Rules
Breaking All The Rules Christmas Scarf
Schacht Spindle Company just came out with a little goodie for their rigid heddle looms.  The new Variable Dent Heddle (they call it a reed, which it isn't) allows the use of multiple thicknesses of yarn in the same warp. I grabbed one of those at the beginning of the recent Hill Country Yarn Crawl.  I also grabbed a skein of La Boheme in Christmas colors.  La Boheme is an interesting yarn.  It's two strands used as one and one of the strands is mohair.  Now, mohair presents lots of challenges in weaving, when used as a warp thread.  Mohair is very fuzzy and wants to cling to the threads next to it.  There are ways to get around the fuzziness, but if you decide to use the mohair in blocks, as I did, prying the warp apart is something that has to be done in almost every shed.  Slow, but workable.  Then I chose a red sock yarn with an almost velvet look to it.  The red is so rich.  I don't even like reds, normally, but this is a gorgeous sock yarn.  However, sock yarn has lots of stretch and the La Boheme has none.  And I mean NONE.  So tensioning the warp is a challenge.  And I figured that if I'd come this far, I might as well go for broke.  I chose a white, fine laceweight silk/mohair blend in white.  And yes, it has all the mohair fun.  The green and black accent yarns are sock yarns, but they didn't add to the challenges.

But I thought, what the heck, if I'm breaking rules, let's don't stop there!  I left about 18" of warp unwoven in the beginning, then wove the scarf, then used the beginning warp as the weft to weave off the end of the scarf.  All well and good, but how to you put tension on a warp if you've disconnected the beginning of the weaving?  Sew the fabric to the apron rod of the loom about three or four inches from the fell line, tension the warp and go for it!  This gave me a scarf with no beginning or end.  It's not exactly a circle, but it's all connected.  What a fun technique!  I'm very happy with the resulting scarf
The End As The Beginning
Weaving for the Kitchen

I finally did some weaving on the rigid heddle loom to be cut and sewn into items - in this case into two potholders and an oven mitt. My assignment this time was to produce fabric with a mixed warp and not to buy any yarn for it.  All the yarn was hanging around the house, either leftovers from other projects or yarn bought for projects that never happened or something.  There are four yarns in this project, a dark green cotton, a light green cotton, a green/purple variegated chenille and a lavender cotton/wool blend.  The lavender cotton-wool had the most yardage, so I used it for the weft and for a few threads scattered throughout the warp.  All the others were used in the warp.  I'm very pleased with how the items turned out!

Weaving on the Antique Loom
Norse Kitchen Towels on the Sabina Loom

Remember the entry about restoring the old Loomcraft Sabina?  The post is here: The Sabina Weaves Again.  Well, the poor Sabina has been put away since that time as I had no room to unfold her and use her.  At long last, I've started working on the upstairs - converting it into studio space.  We cleared enough room for the Sabina to be brought upstairs and unfolded.  She's in the same room with the Glimakra.  I decided to put a pretty overshot set of towels on her that I've been wanting to weave for some time: Norse Kitchen Towels from Marguerite Porter Davison's A Handweaver's Pattern Book.  I decided to use a 16/2 cotton-linen blend that I will probably NEVER use for warp again.  It's a little delicate and very sticky.  The Sabina has a somewhat anemic shed and warp threads are breaking.  However, that's not the loom's fault and I have another project ready for her whenever I finish these towels.

And that's it for now!  I will TRY to be better about updating my blog!