Friday, February 26, 2010

Show No Fear

There really are no knots. If the threads sense fear, then all is lost. But if I approach a seemingly impossible tangle with courage and optimism....

It's really not as bad as it looks, but it looks pretty bad. What caused the mess on this side is the series of adjustments I made in the raddle. The tangle occurred after I had wound back about 4 yds of a 6 yd warp. I usually put on a short 4 yd warp which always goes smoothly warping back to front. But the upside is I will have 2 scarves---one for Paula and one to sell.

I timed it. Winding back took me an hour, not too bad. The satisfaction of creating order from chaos is one of the best parts of this step. I always feel powerful when I have completed the winding back---like I can do anything. (Of course having the Olympics playing in the background helped )

The rest of the process is a breeze. I'm through the heddles in no time. I had this done yesterday, but I couldn't get my computer to deal with my images and had to give it a rest.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Designing in the Raddle

My talk about the Fudge Factor has come back to bite me. I am working on a Woven Words project for Paula (who sent me 10 cashmere sweaters). Her selected words are LAUGH OFTEN, LOVE MUCH, LIVE WELL. Since she wanted her weaving to be 18" wide, I knew that I would need 5" of ikat to make up the difference.

When I say ikat, I am using my Turned Weft Ikat technique but using commerical space dyed Bambu 12 doubled and sett at 24 epi.
I wound all of the words and the ikat sections separately and put them in the raddle and dropped the bar to the ground, so I could see the warp design (for the first time)

I have to say I was not thrilled with look at all, not the least of which the fact that the ikat sections didn't line up.

I decided to sleep on it, and when I woke up I had a plan. I objected to the 1" ikat stripe between each word, but felt that there should be something to separate LOVE and MUCH. I took out 20 of the 24 ends and created an ikat border. Then I pulled the crooked ikat stripes so they would line up.
The whole process took about a half hour, and made all the difference. I love it now!
Now to wind back. This will be tricky because the bouts have been split and moved around. Stay tuned for the next step.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Best Effort

I am calling this good. Bear and blanket will get shipped off tomorrow. Gary is waving goodbye. (for now)

Tomorrow I will present was is going on Gary the loom, who has not been idle for a minute.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Getting Cl;oser

Just a few tweaks, and I think I'll have a picture I will be happy with.

In this one, I altered the color and contrast a bit, but I don't know if it really is an improvement. Irene, of Cotton Clouds suggested I straighten Gary's bow tie. It's funny the things you don't notice when you're focused on fringe.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Gary Visits Gary

The Great Gary Grr Bear has flown up from Arizona to do a photo shoot. Before I could turn around, Gary the Bear had leaped up on Gary the Loom. I decided to wait until daylight to attempt to take some enticing pictures.

The picture below is NOT one of those pictures, but it is a good example of The Fudge Factor. (and it makes me smile) Notice how the blanket hangs. (not flat). Since the blanket will not be hanging on a wall, I don't fret about such things.
This was my best effort for the day, although I don't think this is the best I can do. I will give it another try tomorrow. Now that I look at it, I think I will chop off the bottom inch.

I don't think I see enough of the blanket in this one, and the white border is very distracting.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Fudge Factor

I have always believed there are an infinite number of mistakes to be made in weaving. I also believe there is no mistake you cannot fix (if you will take the time). Plus, there is something I like to call "The Fudge Factor". Simply defined, some "mistakes" you can fudge and some you just can't. The trick is knowing which you can fudge and which have to be laboriously repaired.

After 50 years of weaving, I just made a mistake I have NEVER made before! I was so stunned I laughed. This is what I did. I don't know why I decided to begin sleying the reed in the first dent, but I did. Once I was through the reed and had adjusted the tension, I went to add the floating selvedge only to discover I forgotten to leave a couple of extra dents. (duh)

Do I completely un-thread and move the whole 36" warp to the left 2 dents? I don't think so! Employing the Fudge Factor, I pulled out 4 warp ends causing the borders widths to not quite match.

Below is a mistake I make far too often. I forget to center the metal rod I tie the warp onto. Then as I weave, it sticks out too far on one side to advance as I weave. I was lucky this time. I had just enough clearance, so I didn't have to re-tie the warp.

This always happens to me. I pull in a little bit in those first couple of inches before I even out. I used to go crazy about this, but I finally discovered, it really doesn't make enough of a difference for me to try to make it any better. It is true that when you take the finished baby blanket and line up both edges---there is a one inch difference.

I usually don't talk about the fudge factor and how much I use it in every step of my weaving. (and in every weaving)

I have weavers complement me all the time on how perfect my weaving is. If you only knew, oops, now you do (grin)

Mistakes I always fix:
Threading errors in heddles and reed.
Knots in warp
A missed pick

Warps I will cut off the loom: (I haven't had to do that for many years now, but I can tell you that I have done it more than twice.)
Warp threads that break every inch of weaving. (I can take about a foot of that!)
Warp threads that stick so I can't make a shed.
Mixed warp threads that have different tensions.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Bear Hunt

Now that the baby blanket is all ready to ship to Cotton Clouds (except for creating an enticing picture of blanket with teddy bear). Who has a teddy bear? It turns out that my neighbor down the hall has one, although this adorable bear just isn't right. The perfect bear is flying up from Arizona, however, so further photo shoots will be put on hold.

Bear is posing with my new pastel rainbow palette. Over the weekend I will be working out the yardage needed more exactly, So when you purchase a Bonnie Tarses Astrological Baby Blanket Kit from Cotton Clouds, you will be sure to get the right amount of yarn for your project.

Warp width: 36" Sett 20 epi
Warp length: 3 yds

Blanket dimensions: Before laundering 35 1/4" x 72"
After laundering (warm, medium wash---medium temp dry) 31" x 62"

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Floating Selvedges

For the first 20 years, I never added a floating selvedge. I don't remember what finally got me to give it a try. Once I did, though, I have never looked back---although I have tried several different variations on the theme. Currently, this is what I do, but this is not to say that my method is set in stone.

I won't go into all the different variations, but now I wind an end that is the same yarn as the warp and double it. The color I select is the color I will use for my weft (if I know what color that will be). If I don't know what color I am going to use for the weft, then I match to the warp (especially if the warp is a different color on each edge). I wrap the double end around any handy cone of yarn (leaving a couple yards), and place the cone on the floor in the appropriate place. I take the loose end, bring it through the loom next to the last (or first) warp end (but not putting it through a heddle. You can see in the picture below, I skip one dent (I have skipped 2 dents in the past, but currently I am playing around with a single skipped dent), and tie the end onto the bar with the other warp ends.

Once the floating selvedge is secured in the front, I clip weights (which are easy to adjust as I weave) to selvedge thread in the back. The red weight is 6 oz. The orange one weighs less, so I added the ever popular film can with pennies to equal 6 oz.

Presto, you are ready to go!

Jury duty is over.

You can see that I am already weaving. Pictures will arrive later.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Wonderful Place to Be

I do love being at this point in a project---on the verge---so full of possibilities.

I have jury duty tomorrow morning (very early), so I have to retire early now and not weave tomorrow day.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Wound Back and Through the Heddles

I'll get some pictures with better light so you can see the lovely pastel BAMBU 7.

I can't wait to see what the wide planet stripes look like woven.

I am actually through the reed, but I will wait until daylight to take anymore pictures.