Sunday, June 7, 2009

What doesn't kill me will make me stronger...

The Bay Area Spinners and Weavers are doing a study in advancing twills. I love twills, so this is the perfect project for me. They are providing all the looms and materials, so this should be a snap. Just follow the instructions. Right? Wrong!

When I arrived, I had to untie and retie the treadles on the small 8-shaft loom. That took about an hour, but I learned something new since my loom only has 4-shafts and you do all the combinations with your feet. Now it's time to start weaving. Yea! The weft is a beautiful slubby linen and I'm using an end feed shuttle. The first throw comes to a screeching halt. The little slubs are catching on the tensioner and making my selveges pull in like crazy. Arrggh! And the skinny treadles are hurting my feet. And since the sides are pulling in, I can't beat the weft in completely. What a mess! Then I notice a broken warp thread. Our instructor comes in to help and decides that the warp was sleyed too wide and is causing part of the problems. So she cuts off what I've struggled to do and I move over to the 4-shaft loom. After I go get something to eat and chill out for a while.

So I come back, fed and happy and ready to start again. This should be a snap. I'm weaving on a loom that's almost exactly like mine. So I'm going along and get almost to the end of the first pattern when I notice 3 broken warp threads on the right side. Our instructor fixes them and I continue. Two more throws then 3 more broken threads. Being the optimist that I am, I take this as my opportunity to learn to tie a weavers knot and repair broken warp threads. So we practice with a small rope until I get it down pat, and I move back to the loom. I tie a knot, and snap! It breaks again when I snug it down. So I try again, and again, and again... Now I'm getting frustrated again. I see the cone of warp thread sitting by the loom. I wind off a piece and pull. It snaps in two with hardly any force at all. Ah-ha! This loom is warped with weak thread. I give. Weaving gods - 2, Theresa - 0.

Although I didn't get any actual project finished, I did learn a lot today.
- Never assume that someone else has set up your work properly.
- Check tension frequently on loom and shuttle
- Always use good quality yarns for your warp since it has to hold up to strong tensioning and frequent abrasion.
- I can now tie up treadles on a 8-shaft loom.
- I tie a mean weaver's knot.
- I finally really understand how to read a pattern draft.

Since I have yarn here at home to do this study, I'm just going to warp my loom and do it here. I need the warping practice anyway...

Tencel Scarf Project

Just finished the prototype for the shawl I want to weave. When the Lone Star Loom Room closed it's storefront, I bought some 10/2 Tencel in a beautiful lilac. I had knitted with Tencel before and it has a wonderful drape, so I thought it would make a really nice scarf. And I was so right! Here are the specs and pictures:

Project: Scarf
Materials: Warp and Weft - 10/2 Tencel (Lilac)
Pattern: 2/2 horizontal herringbone twill (p.34 of Handweaver's Pattern Directory)
Dimensions on loom: 11 3/8" x 72"
Dimensions after finishing (not including fringe): 10" x 68"




I'm learning a lot with each project, mostly things not to do or things that could be done easier in a different manner. I'll be glad when all those things are burned into my brain and projects will move along faster. This was my first attempt at warping from back to front. I thought for a while that it was going to go in the trash, but thankfully, it straightened itself out. And James was home so I had an extra set of hands for tensioning. Overall, it was slow going because I'd read a little and do a little, check my work, and do some more. But the end product certainly justified the time. I wish you could feel through the screen. This stuff is soooo soft!