Ketchup

Catch up continues. Mostly domestic stuff, but there has been some craft. Let me see…

I finished weaving a chenille scarf. What chenille scarf? Well, I ikat dyed two skeins of chenille at the Kay Plus Fun workshop a year and a half ago, but then couldn’t decide whether it should be warp or weft. Eventually I bought two more undyed skeins. Some weeks ago (Pre-Lucy’s House?) I warped up the Knitters Loom with an undyed skein and started weaving with a dyed one. I was hoping a weft ikat pattern would form, but all I got was a random speckled pattern – and not an attractive one. So I unwove the dyed yarn and wove with the second skein of undyed yarn, figuring I’d dye the finished scarf later. So not a finished project, as such, so no photo yet.

Of course, that leaves me with two ikat dyed skeins to figure out what to do with. But for now, there’s more important things to weave.

Because I agreed to run a rigid heddle workshop at the Guild’s summer school. And being a glutton for punishment, I decided not to pick one weave structure but TEACH THEM ALL! Well, not all of them. I’m putting together a range of samplers and instruction sheets, so students can pick something they haven’t tried before. Most use the same basic warp, and there’ll be a double weave and vari dent version (if I get the samplers and instructions sheets done in time).

Last Saturday was a double destash market day. First up was the Open Drawer, where I bought a ton of mostly 8ply yarn and a sewing box footstool. Next was a CWA destash market where I helped a friend man (woman) her fundraising stall, selling off mostly craft stuff from Lucy’s house for whatever donation people wanted to make. We made a surprising amount to send to the Women’s Property Initiative – crafters are generous! I added to my ton of 8ply yarn there and bought a beautiful kimono.

The third 4 shaft weaving class was held on Sunday. I was tired from the market, but I’m enjoying this course and being around other crafty people so much it wasn’t long before I pepped up. And Project 2 is about colour theory and rosepath – both which I am familiar with. Lots of homework, which I’m amazed to find I’m really pleased about.

Craft is usually pretty slow this time of year thanks to having an acre’s worth of garden to weed and prune and feed and plant and water and harvest and rip out for the compost, but at least I don’t have any large projects lined up. I’d like to get some sewing done. I have both refashioning and sew from scratch summer clothing projects I’d like to do. And to weave something other than course and workshop samplers. Maybe something to sell at the Guild.

And then, of course, there’s preparing for and running a vintage/craft stall my friend and I are holding at our local market at the end of this month.

Right now, though, I’ll be content to just catch up and keep up with the things I’ve already got on my plate.

Catching Up

Things are slowly settling down here. Lucy’s house is nearly empty – the last contents just have to be put out on the nature strip for the hard rubbish collection. I’ve finished the proof of my book and sent it off to the publisher. Project One of the weaving course is done and I’ve warped the Katie ready for Project Two. And a dozen other things have been done, organised or planned for.

I’ve been feeling bone-achingly tired for weeks now. I figured all that work at Lucy’s place was to blame, but I never quite recovered. Then last weekend was very busy and on Monday I was so tired I felt like I was coming down with the flu. I wasn’t, but at the moment no matter how much I sleep and rest I can’t seem to shake the fatigue. I’m a bit worried I’ve triggered another bout of chronic fatigue.

There shouldn’t be much more work to do on the book, so I’m proscribing lots of rest through October. That means no party for my 50th birthday. My heart’s just not in it. I’ve been saying the best birthday present might be to not have to organise or be a peppy hostess at a party.

Of course, I’m not very good at resting. For a start, if I sit around a lot my back gets worse. And Spring has arrived with it’s constant unending weeding. I’ll be involving myself in my parent’s lives much more now, and I have the weaving course and homework to do. And I’ve agreed to run a rigid heddle weaving class at the Guild’s summer school.

Yeah. My first weaving teaching gig. Yikes.

Between now and then I want to weave up five demonstration samplers, and make some instruction sheets to go with them. I’m also going to provide some tools. My idea is to give a small number of students five different choices of sampler to do, so that the intermediate students get to try something within their ability, and the advanced ones have something challenging to try. It would be easier to teach one kind of weaving, but that might restrict the students to only those that haven’t tried that particular kind yet.

Or I might be making too much work for myself, teaching five different techniques at the same time. I’ll just have to wing it and see!

Learning, Teaching and Fixing

A few weekends ago I started the four shaft weaving certificate course I signed up for. The first class was both fun and interesting. Though I know most of what was covered I also learned several new things – and got an answer for something that has puzzled me for some time.

Once at home I finished warping my loom and got weaving, finishing most of the exercises and leaving a few for the next class, as requested. I also typed up my notes and sourced articles and books that covered the topic (twills). I’m not entirely sure how to approach these notes. Do I just type up what I copied down from the board in class? Do I add more to that, based on the articles and books I found? Do I comment on what happened when I wove the sample? It’s been decades since I did anything resembling notes for a course, and even then the classes and subjects I studied required very little in the way of written work.

The student next to me was pretty new at weaving, having only done the Introduction to Weaving course prior to this one. I offered to tutor her if she needed it, and she came over yesterday for guidance on warping up her loom. She also brought an old Dyer and Phillips loom she had been given. Paul replaced some missing and rotten pieces of wood and I re-stringed the shaft-to-lever mechanism. It should have been useable at that point, but I found the shafts kept getting caught on each other. A closer look revealed that the shafts weren’t the original ones. They were aluminium rather than steel, and while the design was clever they were 1 1/2 times the thickness with protruding bolts – the source of the problem. So Paul and I brainstormed the problem and he decided to get larger screws, cut a thread into the holes and countersink the screw heads so nothing would protrude.

In the meantime I cleaned and oiled the loom. It had a warp on it that had been separated with newspaper – nowhere near thick enough for the job. We had to remove the shafts to fix them, which meant removing the warp. When I smoothed out the newspaper much amusement was gained. And I didn’t feel bad about cutting up and tossing a dusty, nearly 40-year old warp into the compost!

The Lotas Position

One of the looms Kay had recommended to me was an eight shaft Lotus loom. I was going to try the one in her studio and see if it suited me. They don’t come up for sale very often, however, so when one did a Facebook group I was pretty excited.

Only trouble was, it was in Western Australia.

I almost let it pass by, but I’ve heard about people having looms shipped interstate before and wondered how hard it could be. Looking into it, I quickly worked out that furniture moving companies were the ones to call. They can ship single pieces of furniture whenever there’s some room left over in a truck. I got a few quotes, proposed the idea to the seller, and she kindly agreed to prep the room for transport. I made the arrangements and then had to sit back and wait.

About a week later it was delivered in a very large cardboard box. We unpacked and partly dismantled it so it would fit through the doorways here, all without remembering to take photos. I gave the whole loom a rub down with Danish oil, then reassembled it in the former guest room, now known as the Loom Room.

Now, assuming I have no issues weaving on the Lotas, I have to decide whether I will keep the LeClerc jack loom or sell it.

All I need to do now is buy or make a loom bench. Sitting on a carpentry horse works, but isn’t exactly comfortable.

Sakiori Runner II

After finishing the sakori runner, I had more kimono rag strips left over than I anticipated. So I considered how I could use them up. Placemats? I did the math and found I’d only be able to make four. Another runner? It wouldn’t be as long, and I didn’t have any more of the light blue warp in the centre of the last one. But I knew it would weave up fast, and if my friend didn’t want a third runner, then I could sell it in the Guild shop.

So I wound the warp, dressed the loom and got weaving. I had it woven in two days.

And my friend said “yes, please!” to another runner.

Spot Bronson

Well, I was able to cut most of the blue stains off the ends of the napkins before hemming. I have four mostly matching napkins:

One is a bit shorter than the rest. I think I was beating harder at the beginning. When weaving the fifth napkin I accidentally did an extra repeat of the pattern, so that has become a table mat.

The last piece is the first napkin, full of mistakes, which has become a sampler.

Just two weeks to go before I start the four shaft weaving course. I’m looking forward to it!

The Sakiori Runner

Among the fabric my friends donated for the Memories Rug was a kimono that I didn’t end up needing. So, of course, I’ve been wondering what to do with it. I found a kimono-to-vest sakiori project in an issue of Handwoven, and decided to rip up the kimono to make it. But in the weeks since I did, it kept bothering me that I really don’t need another vest. What else could I weave? The idea of a table runner appealed. When the 40 Hour Fun Runner came off the loom and proved a bit short, I decided that I’d make another runner out of the kimono fabric and give it to the same friend.

I used up some 8/2 cotton winding the warp, and when that ran out I added a darker blue to the edges.

The weaving was easy – and so much faster than weft-faced clasped weft. Good for podcast listening. And something happened that hasn’t occurred with my floor loom before. I was able to release the spring holding the tension brake from the front, and crank on the warp, without any threads snapping. I still had to stand up, reach over the loom and press the brake back in place afterwards, but it was so good not having to crank from the side of the loom.

I wondered if the runner was going to be a bit plain, but when I took it off the loom I found it looked great. It was 3 metres long pre-washed.

After washing, I finished the ends by sewing on a strip of the kimono’s collar. It shrank a little, down to about 285cm. I have quite a bit of kimono rag left, so I’m thinking of weaving some placemats to match it. Not exactly, as I ran out of the middle colour. But I have a slightly different blue that will do perfectly well.

Spotty Napkins

When I named these napkins it was just a silly reference to spot bronson, the lace structure I used. But when I washed the fabric, the name gained a new, less fun, meaning.

The colour of the blue threads I’d added to mark where to cut the napkins bled. And not just to the nearby threads, but all over the napkins.

After zig zagging next to the blue threads, I cut the fabric to separate the napkins and bleached them. It wasn’t 100% successful. I also bleached some dishcloths without great results so maybe the bleach has gone off. Maybe I’ll try again with fresh bleach. Or maybe I’ll just hem and added them to the Indigo dyeing pile.

At least this means the Katie Loom is free, ready for the 4 shaft weaving course starting in a month.

The 40 Hour Fun Runner

It’s done!

It’s rather hard to get a good photo of it. This is three photos stitched together:

The division line between the two blues is the horizon as seen from the recipient’s balcony. The grey stripes represent rain squalls coming through.

Though it was a slooooow project, it was perfect weaving between work sessions, and for listening to podcasts. Not too mentally challenging, but getting the clasp to land where I wanted it and the wandering line of the horison stopped it from being boring.

Technically, some problems surfaced after it was washed. The runner should be 3 metres long. It’s 2.65. Since the weft weaves around the warp threads, not distorting them, I didn’t need to stretch the cartoon to compensate for shrinkage. So the shrinkage that did happen must be from the warp shrinking when I washed the runner. That’s 18% shrinkage just from washing, and I didn’t even use warm water. I’m wondering if rug yarn is supposed to shrink, to help tighten up the fabric of rugs, but it has shrunk widthwise even more. From 30cm to 24. That’s 20% lost. I’m nots surprised that it came out narrower, but I am that it shrank that much.

I can live with a shorter, narrower runner. It’s not what my friend asked for, but it’s not far off. The flaw in the runner is that one side seems to have shrunk more than the other, making it a little bit ripply. I’m hoping that will sort itself out through use and further washing and pressing.

This combination of weaving methods was entirely new to me, and if google is any indication it’s pretty rare. Maybe the above issues are why. Still, the finished piece works for the purpose it was made for, so I’m pretty happy with how it came out.

Rigid Heddle Honeycomb Scarf 1

In Syne Mitchell’s book Inventive Weaving on a Little Loom she has a formula for weaving honeycomb on a rigid heddle loom. Intrigued, I warped up the AKL some months ago and wove a scarf.

A wash let the yarn relax into the honeycomb pattern.

From the start, I wondered if it was possible to turn things 90 degrees and have the feature yarn as a supplemental warp. After I finished the first scarf, I immediately started exploring. I warped up the loom with the same yarns. And warped it again. And warped it again. And warped it again. And rethreaded the supplemental warp another time. After all that faffing about, I seem to have a working honeycomb happening.

I learned quite a bit about designing on a rigid-heddle loom. The tricky thing with rigid heddles is that the warp threads you manipulate with pick up sticks have to be in the slots, not holes, of the heddle. The supplemental warp threads sit next to threads that need to manipulatable, so to make both manipulatable I had two choices: spread the warp out by skipping two holes, or putting the supplemental warp threads into the same slots as their neighbours. And then I still had to rig up a separate ‘heddle’ of loops on a dowel for the supplemental warp.

Though the set-up is a little more complicated, the weaving is no more time-consuming and slow than the weft honeycomb – and no wrangling of two shuttles.