I always love when I’ve been wondering or pondering something intensely (sometimes to the point of frustration) and God puts something small in my life to remind me to enjoy what I’m doing now.
Lately I have been feeling like my loom isn’t good enough or that it was a mistake to buy a loom that only has 4 shafts. Today I was surfing my weaving sites and I read Syne Mitchell’s blog about 4 shaft weaving. She talks about the beauty in simple 4 shaft structures and how just because you can weave something more complicated, doesn’t mean you have to. This was just what I needed to hear. I’m glad that my Heavenly Father is in control and that He watches over every tiny detail of my life. Even something as silly as frustration over something that I should just be grateful for.
It was a great reminder of why I fell in love with weaving in the first place. I love the rhythm of it. How each movement develops into something like a dance. I love that all the calculations are logical and all make sense and fit together perfectly. I love the color and texture of yarn and how exciting it is to see what you get when you combine them. Isn’t it wonderful how God gave man a desire to create? I never thought I could love or even remotely like something that was based on math. But I’m slowly discovering that if you’re an artist of any type, math is important. I enjoy sitting down and thinking through the calculations for weaving because it’s really just simple algebra and I’ve missed that. WEIRD!! I’m definitely NOT a math person so for those words to even go through my head is sort of a miracle.
Anyway, I just wanted to share this reminder. A reminder that simple things are beautiful and that our Creator is always watching and knows every aspect of our lives. What a comfort! 🙂
And for my next trick….Double Weave!! I’m trying to do things slowly…But not too slow so that I’m not challenged by what I’m doing. That would be boring.
Since I’m trying to build up an inventory to sell this fall, I want to make things that people will want to buy. (Duh…ha ha 🙂 Anyway, I got to thinking and I don’t want to just make scarves, towels, table runners, etc. but I know my sewing skills are limited and that handwoven fabric can be difficult to sew for a beginner. So I might have a few pieces that I’ve sewn, but I don’t want to depend on that.
I’m planning double weave bags. I’ve done double weave, but I need a refresher so it’s a good way to remind myself of how it works. They’re pretty simple, it’s just a big concept to wrap your head around. I think it’ll be good though. I will have to do some minor sewing. I’ll put liner fabric in them and handles, but nothing too complicated.
My problem is that I tend to romanticize everything in my mind. Like in a movie when someone is thinking about how a conversation or event will go any everyone’s smiling and all the gestures and motions they make are over dramatized….Yeah. That’s how I think about projects. I’ll have the crazy, giddy smile on my face as I dress the loom and sew the liners in each bag. It’s like a bad infomurcial…(sp?) I just have to remember to remain calm. “DON’T PANIC.” as the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy says. 🙂
P.S. I’m a sci-fi nerd. I play video games with my husband and read sci-fi books, watch sci-fi TV shows…you get the idea. I decided a long time ago that being a nerd is fun and it’s totally okay. 🙂
My most recent project was some yardage for…something…It was really more to just get used to my loom. I decided that weaving an overshot sampler using a fiber I’d never used before might not have been the best idea on a brand new loom that I’d never used before. Everything was completely unknown.
So I stepped back a little and wove a simple, plain weave plaid to get used to dressing the loom, and how the whole thing works. I experimented with using a reed sequence that would give me a different Sett than 15 or 30 on my 15 dent reed.
This yielded double the width I had calculated and very thin fabric. I wanted something that I could cut up and sew into something…(Not sure what yet…Maybe it will just be a table runner…) Thin fabric wasn’t was I had planned. I cut the 4 inches that I had woven off and pulled all the yarns out of the reed, re-dented and re-tied.
Now, the important factor here is that I had the “wonderful” idea of using two different sizes of yarn in the warp. This wouldn’t be a problem if they were spaced evenly and regularly. I had large stripes. One color was one size, the other color was another size…Beginner’s mistake…I’m still learning. But I’m discovering that trial and error is part of learning to weave.
My instructor at school is always telling us that weavers are very resourceful. Reminding myself of this gave me confidence and helped calm my frustration long enough to think about how to fix the problem. I was using 3/2 and 5/2 perle cotton. After looking at the yarns for a few moments next to each other I decided the best thing to do would be to set them at different EPI. I set the 5/2 at 30 (Double dented) and the 3/2 at 15 (Single dented). The 3/2 cotton was almost twice the size as the 5/2 so it ended up working out well. I triple dented the selvege on 5/2 and double dented the selvege on the 3/2 and that also helped fix the problems that I was having with my selveges before.
Once I had taken the time to fix all of these problems, the yardage wove up very quickly. It only took a few hours. I have one weaving mistake, but I’m not concerned about it. I’ll just have to be more careful next time.
I’m finally weaving!! Yay!! I’m learning more about my loom each day, which, is good, but frustrating because the whole “learning” thing implies that something has, again, gone wrong. The people over at Macomber did not have the weaver in mind when they designed the tie up system. My tie up rods, (can’t think of a different word…hmmm…) have been consistently falling off the treadles as I go through my treadling sequence. It’s about every….4 inches? So I’ve been crawling back under my loom every 4 inches or so to redo the tie up. Here’s where they weren’t thinking of the weaver. I have to remove the foot rest in order to be able to get to where I can even see what rod has fallen off of what treadle or what lamm. Usually in this process I whack my head on either the breast beam or the cloth beam because there really isn’t enough space to see what you’re doing when changing the tie up. Also, my loom didn’t come with enough tie up rods to even put two on each treadle in the first place. Being a weaver often causes one to become resourceful (Or so Jeanne always reminds us) so I used some of the string from the old apron system to tie up the treadles the way I needed them. That works pretty well, but eventually I would like to have enough rods to use more than two per treadle. Oh well. That’s more money that I don’t have right now and the string is free. My favorite price!Anyway, I can’t remember if I said this or not, but I am currently weaving an overshot sampler. To me overshot kind of seemed like an impenetrable fortress, but once I got threading, it wasn’t so bad. I thought, “I can do this!” Well…once I FINALLY got to the actual weaving part, I discovered that I might just not be cut out for it. (Or perhaps I chose complicated treadling sequences…or both) After much frustration and some tears, I calmed down and decided to just weave using a twill treadling pattern. It looks wonderful! It’s far less confusing trying to remember where I am in the sequence and what tabby shot I just used. I was beginning to forget what it was about weaving that I enjoyed in the first place but stepping back down to something slightly easier reminded me why I really do love weaving. I did like a few of the overshot treadling sequences that I tried, but some of them had 40 tromps for one sequence. NOT including tabby shots. I feel like that’s a bit extreme. So now I’m treadling a lovely twill and the threading patterns show up much better than with the overshot treadling. I was close to just calling the whole thing a complete failure but I’m glad that I stuck with it. I’m planning on weaving the rest of the warp with a consistent pattern and cutting the different threading sections apart to use them as bag/purse handles for later projects. Oh and possibly a guitar strap for my guitar.
Still. Not. Weaving. :(I’m still trying to put together these stupid cloth aprons. The first set I made were too stretchy because they weren’t made of canvas. (trying to be cheap+use what I have=total failure…haaaa) anyway, I bought canvas for the aprons, making sure I would have enough width, I bought 60″ wide fabric (I only needed it to be 50″ wide) That worked well. Ben helped me nail them onto the beams this time so they didn’t roll on backwards and lose another inch or two of length (Yeah, the last ones were backwards….UGH!) Now that all that was done I thought, “I’m so close! I just have to cut the slits in the aprons!” Wrong. It turns out, (I knew, but forgot) that you actually need two rods per apron or else you can’t tie onto it. Another trip to Lowe’s. Hopefully sometime this week I’ll be able to finish dressing the loom so I can FINALLY WEAVE!! Ick. I’m at the point where I almost doing want to weave the sampler I have on there because it’s taking me so long to just get set up. But I know it’ll be good for me and that I’ll learn a lot. On a happier note, I’ve been thinking more about projects etc. and I would really like to paint a warp of tencel. Honestly, I would like to paint enough to make a throw blanket out of. Maybe not my next project, but I would like to do that sometime this summer. I plan on weaving towels for my kitchen next. (Since I have none and have some 8/2 cotton that will make lovely towels.) I’m trying to stay positive and remind myself that it’s just exciting that I even HAVE a loom and the ability to weave at home. Still…a studio would be the most amazing thing ever. I can’t wait.
Yesterday was sort of frustrating. I finished re-threading the warp that was on the loom when I bought it and I started sleying the reed by pulling straight forward from the harnesses. (Yes, I was warping from back to front because we had to pull it out of the reed and heddles to transport it from Kentucky)
Anyway, I don’t know how the person had the warp in there before, but it was starting to angle funny the further I got to the middle. I think they were skipping dents to change the EPI but since I was unsure what the thread count was etc. I didn’t know how I was supposed to skip. Well anyway, I decided that this was far more trouble than it was worth so I just cut it off. It was a relief because I was already starting to feel like I didn’t want to work on it and I’ve only been working on it for a week. It ended up being a good thing that I cut the warp off because I made a few discoveries of things I need to fix. First of all, instead of cloth aprons on the cloth and warp beams, Macomber uses the strings (And I have no idea what those are actually called, so we’ll just go with it.) Well the strings have been cut or broken and re-tied and are all different lengths which makes it so that the warp rod isn’t straight. Also, the warp rod on the back is severely bent in the middle and the one on the front is pretty rusted and gross. Since Macomber doesn’t actually have a website where I can easily buy replacement parts, I went to Leclerc’s website to look and see how much a replacement apron and warp rod was. $30 dollars! For a piece of fabric!
And another $10 or something like that for a steel rod! Ridiculous!So I decided I’m just going to make my own. How hard can it be? I checked to see how the strings were attatched to the beams. It’s just heavy duty staples and at the Leclerc website they just used a finishing nail/tack thing. I measured the length and width for the aprons and plan on using canvas since that’s what the aprons on a Leclerc are made of. I wasn’t sure what kind of rod to get from Lowe’s so I asked Ben what he thought. Timmy and Ben said that it’s actually better to get a hollow rod or a pipe because it’s less likely to bend. Why? I don’t know. But hopefully it will work.I also have to buy a spring for the break. The one that’s on there is all bent and messed up. Anyway, now I’m excited to get everything so I can get my loom to where I can actually work on it. There’s still some rust on the lamms and the jacks but I don’t think it’s too much of a problem. And I can probably clean it off without too much trouble.
Hopefully sometime soon I’ll actually be weaving!! I need to do a couple of samplers of some patterns I found. I’d like to do a honeycomb, summer and winter, and some overshot patterns. Then I plan on actually building up an inventory for this fall. The summer is already seeming too short!
Saturday, May 4, was a very exciting day. Mom and I drove to Kentucky to buy a loom for me! I have only been looking for a month or two but most of what I was finding was in the New England area and the sellers would not ship. Also, I hadn’t been able to find one that was big enough or had the right number of harnesses and treadles and everything. Anyway, I found a Macomber 48″ (ww) with 4 harnesses/6 treadles (which can hold up to 8 or 10 harnesss and 8 treadles) for $450 bucks. For those of you who don’t know, this loom is around $3,000 dollars new! Normally you can’t find them for less than about $1,200. So this was a screaming deal. We drove to Kentucky, (it was a little over 4 hours) to look at the loom/ pick it up. When we got there I was a little concerned because the loom had been kept in a barn for 2 months and has a little bit of rust on the harnesses where the heddles slide. So I asked the man if he was willing to go down to $400 because of the rust. He agreed!
It took us about 2 hours to actually get the thing into the van because we had to disasemble it to make it fit through the back gate. I’m pretty sure the man did not know how much the loom was worth…The rust is really not that bad. It can easily be removed with steel wool. Otherwise the loom is in WONDERFUL condition.
The laquer is still on the wood and the harnesses still have the paint on them. It’s lovely. Needs a little cleaning, but after that, it will be wonderful!!I’m SO excited! I plan on building up an invantory this summer and possibly trying to sell my work at the Fall Fun Fest in Cookeville in September. Now I just have to find room for it in our tiny apartment…hmmm….