Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Linen Table Runner

Ok, so I've got a new loom and I need something for a first project to break it in and get familiar with the loom. I find some linen yarn in my stash that I bought a long time ago when the Lone Star Loom Room closed it's storefront. Now I've never woven with linen for the warp and weft, but I do know that it is pretty unruly unless it's damp. No problem. I have my trusty spray bottle to keep it damp. But I had no idea how stiff it is when dry, and that it has absolutely no stretch. One thing to be mindful of is to not pull it off the top of the cone when winding the warp! It adds twist FAST and will quickly become unmanageable. Thankfully, I'm fairly consistent in winding the warp, so when I beam it on, it's nice and even. I used Jane Stafford's warping method that we learned at weaving boot camp and it was fine. I sett it at 20 epi, which in retrospect I would make a little tighter at 24.

Here it is as I'm starting to weave...

And here's a closeup of the fabric after it's off the loom.

My biggest issue is that it's really stiff! Like plastic! So I get online and see what I can learn about wet finishing. Everyone talks about needing to use a "mangle". I saw one of these when I was at the Guild House for a workshop. It's REALLY heavy! But wow does it make a difference! The fabric is now more supple and has a beautiful sheen. Here's me doing the mangle thing.

It took me a while to decide on how I wanted to finish the edges. I settled on a simple hemmed edge with a knotted fringe. I've put one on my Etsy shop for sale, and have saved the other for me.

My Etsy Shop has Gone Live!

After accumulating a lot of weaving, and mustering up even more courage, I've opened my Etsy shop, GrammaKnits. I have to admit that it does take a leap of faith to put your work out there and hope that others appreciate it as much as you do. When you make things by hand, you invest so much more than just your time. Sure there are MANY hours spent planning a project, then executing it. It's your design, you chose the colors and materials, and you spent many more hours spinning, weaving, or knitting. Being so intimately involved in a project, a part of you is always connected with it. I suppose there are people who can just churn things out with the only goal being to sell them, but I think that visibly shows in the final product. Or maybe I'm just sentimentally attached to the things I make. And it is even harder to put a price on your work! I can spend an entire day just planning a woven dishtowel; tinkering with the design, choosing a yarn, playing with the colors, then doing the calculations to fit the design into the towel in a balanced and pleasing manner. Then add in another day or two to wind the warp and dress the loom, depending on the complexity of the pattern. I'm now 3 days in and just getting ready to weave! Then after weaving, there's another day for the finishing process. Selling them is like selling part of your life. I think that's why I just gave things away for so many years. But now that I've retired and materials are getting so expensive, I'm going to try and have my hobby pay for itself. I can still enjoy that creative process, and now I can share it with even more people.

Right now my shop is stocked with a lot of extra items that I've made this year. I need to get busy and make some baskets since I've had some special requests. Plus, Easter will be here before you know it and there's something about a handwoven basket that makes that candy taste extra good!