Friday, December 25, 2009

Winter Scarf

This week I have been working on getting my loom dressed with the warp for a winter scarf.  The warp is Silk Noir and the weft is Alpaca/silk.  Having never worked with Silk before for the warp, I found out very quickly that it is not as strong as the 8/2 cotton I worked with on the towels.  Only 2 broken warp threads so far and that happened when I was dressing the loom.  The scarf will have a 6 inch fringe on each end and the scarf itself is 7 1/2 inches wide.  The pattern calls for a total woven length of 72 inches.  It will be a while before this is finished.

As you can see,  12 inches so far...lots to go !

Fringe at the beginning with cardboard insert.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Towels are Done !

The towels are finally done.  What an experience!  The total were 3 towels, 1 small placemat, 2 samples for my sample binder.  The first two towels were using just the variegated weft, then I got bored with the one pattern that I added a solid Egg Plant purple in the weft at each end of the towel.  This allowed for a balanced look with a horizontal stripe for some color.

This was a quick post and will add more detail this weekend.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Making Progress - and then some !

Now the count is up to 3 towels on the loom.  I will have just enough warp left to make a dish cloth or two and a sample.  One of my friends (who shall remain nameless - you know who you are) told me to start a binder with samples and information of the pieces I do.  That is such a good idea,  so along with my blogging I will have an actual sample of the project that was done.

Lot's of weaving.

They are almost ready to come off the loom.  A couple more passes with the shuttle and this project will be done.  

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Beautiful Results ~

More progress and beautiful results at that.  The variegated yarn is making a beautiful pattern of stripes, much to my surprise. 

Just starting to see how it will look.

Wider than I thought it would be.

Enough for tonight....back at it tomorrow :-)

Monday, November 30, 2009

The War Has Been Won !

The war is finally over !!  I have been fighting tension since I rolled my warp onto the back beam.  Just keeping things even was a chore.  After much fussing with it, I decided to unwind it all to the front beam and then beam it back onto the back beam.  With alot of luck and "my sword" I was able to keep the tension on, little by little getting it back on the beam.  This is my first time warping Back to Front so it has been a challenge.  Since I have done 2 samplers and one project all warping Front to Back I was learning things all over again.  It did prove to be more tangle free, but I think more tedious.  Leaning into the loom to get the heddles threaded from the front proved painful (my arms) but very organized.  Below are some pictures of my feat.

"I think I got it !! "

Looks good from afar.....

Warp from the back side with the lease sticks still in.

The Sword - life saver - sanity saver.

So I am ready to weave in a header tomorrow and get busy with these towels.  Can't wait to see how the Mixed Berry weft will look with the Eggplant warp.  Surprises around every corner!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Waffle Weave Towel Project

Starting another project to learn the waffle weave pattern.  At the studio, I have been assigned to a wonderful teacher that I call the "Obi One Kanobi" of weaving.  She is a complex accomplished weaver, so needless to say my brain
is working overtime to keep up.  My project at the studio is waffle weave kitchen towels.  I am duplicating this home so I can practice what I learn on the same exact project.  Might end up with alot of towels, but they can always be used :-).

The colors for this project at home are an 8/2 Eggplant warp (not brave enough to bring more than one color for the warp yet).  Then am using a variegated 8/2 Mixed Berry for the weft.  So here it goes.....

Warping back to front with the raddle...mysterious device but sure organizes things well.

It spreads the threads out to start tensioning nice.  This is a very easy was to get your warp on the loom without alot of effort.

From the inside of the loom it starts to get busy again and in clumps but the next step is combing and tensioning each section out to start beaming (winding the warp on the back beam).

Friday, October 30, 2009

Ta Da !!!

My first official project is done !!  The samplers towels are off the loom, hemmed and ready for use.  Though they looked better on the loom, because of some errors I discovered early on in the weaving process.  Oh well,  that is part of the learning process.   They are very heavy towels, compared to the 8/2 and 10/2 cotton towels I have seen in the past.  Overall, I am very pleased with the outcome. 

Now on to the next project.  I have no idea what it will be, but I have enough 8/2 unmercerized cotton to create what ever I want. 

Below is a picture of the sampler towels from Weaver's Craft Magazine. This was my goal. Think I got pretty close.

These are the towels after hemming, before washing.

This is a look at all the towels on the loom before I am ready to take them off.

Towels in progress on the loom. More color and lots of counting!

Towels in progress.....

Now, time for some research on what I would like to do next.  This might take a night or two.  Then back to the warping board for me !

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Just signed up for mobile blogging!  So now when I am working and wishing I was weaving, I can post my thoughts. This could be dangerous!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Color !!

Finally, after much anticipation about getting the loom dressed as best I could it is time for some color !

I am starting with a sampler towel kit with a 5/2 Pearl cotton.  The warp is a Natural 5/2 Pearl and the weft is a variety of colors, all in 5/2 Pearl.  I started with a normal knitters yarn to get the header (if that is what you call it) started for about 1 1/2 inches.  Just to get a firm straight line.  Wow, that worked great.  There is a huge difference in the Mighty Wolf loom and the small table loom when it comes to the way it weaves.    

So, after weaving a couple of hours last night I was able to get almost 3/4 of a towel done!  I expect to finish it this morning and then on to the next one.  There are three in the sampler kit.  After finishing the towels, I will have to stitch them and wash them up.  I am intensly curious how they will look after they are washed and pressed. 

The colors that I will be using are a Deep Lilac, then Kelly Green and finally Malay Purple, which looks more like a blue.  The band color is natural. 
Concerned about tension and learning how to use the brake in conjunction with moving the warp forward was a small challenge, but I got the hang of it.  Not having used a foot brake system before on a loom, that idea was new to me.  It worked and my towel is nice and tight. 

Taking pictures is going to be a good way to look back at my progress.  Also, it will help me to see my weaving improvements the more projects I get done.  My camera is not a high end fancy camera, but I did find a "flower" icon on it.  This will allow for some closeups so pattern definition can be seen. 

Monday, October 19, 2009

An Evening With My Loom

In continuation from earlier, I got my loom dressed.  The warp is on the back beam and the front is tied off on the apron rod for the front beam.  Yippee !!

If you look closely...really close, you will see that I forgot something.  The paper that goes between the threads when it gets rolled onto the back beam.  Not sure how I am going to get myself out of this one.  Beginner's luck.

Then tieing it on the front apron rod.  That was tedious but eventually got it done.  My back did not like sittting so long but can't be a wimp about this.

So, it probably isn't the prettiest nor done correctly but it is a start.  Tomorrow night I will see what I can do to get the paper on the back beam without destroying my warp.  Then ready to tie up the treadles and wind some bobbins!  Can't wait to get weaving!!

Finally Back At It Again !!

This weekend I didn't get to play on my loom due to family visiting.  My loom called me every morning and I felt like I was ditching my new best friend.  But family first!! 

After the busy weekend, I was able to verify my work on the sleying the reed and then last night I was able to thread the heddles.  It is a simple 1, 2, 3, 4 thread pattern but it is a start.  Tonight, I will check my threads for any that are crossed.  Also, this pattern calls for 2 threads per dent.  So keeping all of that straight too.  I hope to get it beamed tonight and tied up tonight to be at a good starting place tomorrow.

Well, back to my friend.  More later!

Monday, October 12, 2009

It's Been A While - :-(

Time has just flown by for the month of September.  October is half over and I am just getting comfortable with dressing my new loom.  September was a time for vacation (away from computers, cell phones and anything associated with technology).  Then when I came back, I got the flu.  2 weeks of misery to say the least.  Now I am back full force and ready to weave.

My first project just got sleyed (if there is such a word).  Just got done checking the thread count and number of threads per dent (2).  I am just trying a sampler kitchen towel project.  Hope to make 3 towels.  So far the pattern says 14" wide in the reed and I have 14 inches !!! 

The secret for me is music (ipod).  I have always enjoyed music and would prefer it over TV anytime.  Also, having the TV on in the background makes me lose count.  I have not been a math fanatic so I need all the help I can get.  The music is perfect for warping on the warping get a rythum going and time goes by so fast.  The same goes for sleying the reed. 

Lease sticks are also a life saver !  I have tried to dress the a loom in the past without lease sticks and had mess that eventually got cut off the loom.  Well, it never really got on the loom. 

Tonight, I spent my time double checking my threads so I can move on to the heddles tomorrow night.  By sticking with it every night and reading all I can get my hands on I am retaining alot more and things are getting easier.  I am sure I will have stumbling blocks along the way but I love a good challenge.

My goal is to have the loom completely dressed by the weekend so I can start the actual weaving process.  Then there will be another set of things to learn.  Hopefully they will look like towels in the process.

Enough for tonight....tired and works starts early. 

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Learning From The Experts

Today was an exciting day!  I was able to get to the studio to work on my sampler piece that I have on my loom.  It is a basic sampler with 4 shaft setup.  The piece is about 72" long and 10 inches wide.  The goal is to weave about 50 different 4-shaft treadle tie ups.  This will help me get familiar with the tie up process and the look of the weave because of the new tie ups.  The colors I chose were not the best either, but they will do for a sampler.  I used a Natural 8/2 unmercerized cotton for the warp and the weft started out with a Sunflower yellow, then switched to a Moss green.  The green is a better contrast choice.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Beauty - To Each Their Own

My new Mighty Wolf loom is beautiful!  It is the natural maple wood and it sits so proud in my office that is day by day becoming my "loom room". 

I was able to get my smaller loom to the weaving studio last week and get setup to start my Friday sessions. Excitement is a good way to term this adventure.  I can't wait to be able to produce quailty weaving projects, along with explore the different possibilites that weaving can bring into my life. 

I haven't gotten too far on the setup of the loom, just because life gets in the way.  The strollers are on so what is left is floor work with the tie ups.  Then the heddles which I already think I will need to order some more.  The loom came with 1000 heddles but with 8 shafts that is only 125 per shaft.  We will see. 

Another yarn order came today.  I splurged and ordered a scarf kit with Alpaca fiber that is dyed in beautiful blues and purples for the weft and then black silk to use for the warp.  I am saving that for when I get good enough to produce something that would look like a scarf when I get done. 

Winter is coming and not soon enough for me.....spending time inside with my loom and learning as much as I can appeals to me very much!

Well, enough for another night.  Until next time.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Back on Track....

It has been a while since the last blog entry, but I am back on track again. My life this last few weeks has been devoted to finishing a major house project and a bathroom renovation. They are done and now to more important news.

The last post was about getting my new spools of yarn. Well, since then I have ordered even more yarn but the BIGGER news is that I purchased a Mighty Wolf loom (new) and it came this week !!! It is beautiful! This will allow me to take my Leclerc table loom (with treadles) down to the studio and get busy with learning how to weave from the professionals. The Mighty Wolf will be my home loom with full intention of becoming a professional myself someday.

The loom came mostly assembled but I have a few things to still attach to it. At the recommendation of my girlfriend who has a Baby Wolf, I bought the stroller kit so that needs installed along with the tie ups for the treadles and also the heddles. There are 1000 heddles, WOW!!! Also, bought a Wolf Trap which will be handy too.

I have discovered that I will need another weaving bench to put at the studio. Currently hauling one back and forth until I decide I want to fork out another couple hundred for another bench. They aren't cheap but they are nice and comfortable. Speaking of comfortable, I want to make a bench mat for my current bench and hope to be able to do that before the year is up. I don't have the right type of yarn for it but I will gather more things over the next few months.

My concern now is finish setting up my new loom, taking my other one to the studio and getting on with my weaving classes. There is a teacher assigned to work with me and that will start in October. Now better get back to setting up the loom and planning my first project on it.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Plenty of Yarn

Well today I was anxious because I knew my yarn was supposed to be delivered. It was there on the front porch when I got home. I had ordered about 15 cones of various colors of 8/2 unmercerized cotton. My thinking behind getting lots of colors is that I should never not have a color combination to choose from. Since I am a beginner weaver this is a good yarn to work with and inexpensive compared to others. After I am able to master the basics with the 8/2 cotton then I would move onto other types of yarn and some of the fancier fiber to make special things.

I don't want to spend too much time blogging tonight because I have to pick out a pattern/sampler to get measured out on the warping board. If I can get that done tonight then I will be fresh in the morning to start dressing the loom.

So not much more for now other than my yarn shelf looks like spring flowers with all the colors mixed together.

Off to the warping board !

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

New Loom in my Future !!

I know this will sound weird but I bought a Mighty Wolf loom today ! I haven't even gotten my first completed project off my first loom. This is a crazy move on my part but that is what makes it fun. It won't be here for a couple of weeks so I have time to get at least one project done on my other loom. The Mighty Loom is about as big as I can go without adding on another room to the house. I would love to have a "Studio" of my own that isn't just office size. Someday.

So in summary, I am crazy but am trying to be prepared but excited all at once. My yarn order is supposed to be here tomorrow, so I can't wait to see all the beautiful colors. I am well on my way !

Getting Educated

Over the last couple of days I have been reviewing my DVD's and trying to wrap my head around the concept of warping correctly and dressing a loom. What I am learning is that there are alot of different ways that weavers do things to reach the same goal. I just need to find what works for me and I am sure as I progress I will discover new ways of doing things. Tonight I will spend a little more time reviewing some Deborah Chandler books I have and take some notes to try to get started this weekend if at all possible. I am so anxious to get started but don't want to run into a rat's nest for my warp like before. Trying to cover all my bases.

Also, this weekend I went to an Art Festival and ran into a fellow weaver that had a booth with handwovens for sale. She specializes in towels, scarfs and other items. She has been weaving for 30 years and her work is beautiful. I was able to visit with her and it was wonderful. I purchased a couple of her towels for more inspiration and something I can look at every day to guide me.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Weaving Has Caught My Eye !!

It has been a little over a year since I became interested in weaving. My friend of 20 years has been weaving for about 5 years. I have always admired her projects and thought how beautiful they were. I didn't think it was something that I would be interested in but over time my curiosity got the best of me. As I visited with her more and more about her craft my interest grew and I decided to start acting on it.

Last summer I bought a used Leclerc Nilus table loom with stand and treadles from the local guild. Excited was an understatement. I then began collecting all sorts of things to help me get my supplies built up to be able to handle the new projects that I wanted to try. The art of building a stash of things is something that I have been very good at over the years with my other hobbies. 

Deborah Chandler's video on Beginning Four Harness Weaving was were I started. I also have her Learning to Weave book so I was on my way.

Warping my first warp was fun and educational. I had chosen a sample to make that was 10" and approx 36" long. I followed the book and made various types of weaves so I could get the hang of throwing the shuttle and treadling.

Towels are my first goal. I decided on a simple plain weave towel pattern and thought thing would be a good start. Quickly, I learned that it is not as easy as it looks. My hang up seems to be with the dressing of the loom so I don't make a mess of my warp. Needless to say my towels did not go on as I had planned due to many glitches which are due to lack of knowledge and experience. I also found out about lease sticks and how valuable the are. I didn't have any. I do NOW !!!

At the point that I realized that the loom was dressed but was missing a few things and my warp was a rat's nest.....I cut off the warp. (I had been messing with it for a week and had had it). Since then I have been looking at a bare loom for the last 6 months. Feeling guilty and finally feeling brave enough I have decided to pick up where I left off.

So since I have gotten my loom I have also collected alot of books and DVD's from various sources to enrich my library and knowledge. My yarn stash is growing and I have another order on it's way!!! Still no finished product but I have to drive and passion to see this through.

Yesterday, I met with the local weaver's group to see about joining their group and setting up my loom at the studio. My goal is to get one on one classes this fall and winter so that I can carry on with my own projects without making a mess of things. The social interaction and knowledge that being part of this group will be invaluable. I look forward to meeting with them each week and observing and learning their craft.

Last night I stayed up watching some DVD's that I got about warping and loom prep. These are tremendous help for a beginner. This just helps me get more excited about dressing a loom successfully and seeing my project grow.
My goal is to get a bigger loom for my home. The smaller loom is going to the studio with me. It will be small next to some of the looms there, but the purpose is to learn how to do things with the experts there and not have the biggest/best loom in the studio.

My excitement is building just writing this blog about getting my new hobby started. This hobby will also be my release from my daily routine which is very tech intensive. I view this as my relaxing but challenging therapy. It will be my escape but also my chance to be creative.