Going boldly into the unknown

So I’m doing it. I’m winding yarn off for the 20/2 sampler. I’m not sure I can, in good conscience, call this stuff yarn. It seriously is like sewing thread. I could probably buy serger cones of thread and it would be the same thing. Actually, I think I remember reading somewhere of someone (Maybe Sharon Alderman?) USING serger thread to weave with. So I’m a bit intimidated. Also, probably if the tension is uneven in the SLIGHTEST it’s going to show up.

The first time I wove with 10/2 cotton, it was the same thing. The tensioning part wasn’t so bad, but I had to learn how to beat in all over again. You can’t just beat the crap out of it. It makes the fell line (where your last weft shot was) all wiggly. It’s more like placing the weft shot.

Well anyway, I should really be altering cloth or paper right now. I just don’t have any idea what to do with this assignment. I’ll probably try to get a few pretty cool looking pieces instead of a ton of them. I just really don’t want to do it at all. It’s frustrating. It’s supposed to be helping my creative process but I just feel like it doesn’t relate to weaving at all. Ugghh!! Well I’m going to try to be productive.
~JoAnna

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20 Miles of yarn!!

I forgot to mention something!
A friend from weaving class and I decided to go in together and order 30 pounds of the 6 ply rayon from Webs. We’ll each get 15 pounds. It’s all white so we can dye it if we want/need to. We definitely nerd-ed it up in the weaving studio yesterday. We were oggling over Weavolution together and talking about weaving books and structures. It’s so nice to be around other nerds of the same type. 🙂 haha. It makes me feel less weird about my nerd-dom.
~JoAnna

Waffles in my future

I’ve been trying to come up with ideas for what I want to weave this semester. I sat down with the Handweaver’s Pattern Directory and Mastering Weave Structures last night and went through both of them looking for different structures, projects, etc. that I’d like to learn how to do.

First of all, I eliminated the things I DON’T want to do…At least not yet. I skipped over most of the twills and the tabby section in Pattern Directory. I’m trying to focus on structures that are a little bit more complicated.

The first one I’ve decided to work on is Waffle Weave! (The Brits refer to it as honeycomb) Here’s a picture of what the structure looks like.

I borrowed this photo from the Schacht website. I’m pretty excited about it. I’ll probably just start with a 8″ wide, 3 yd. warp. I’m still trying to figure out what sett to use. She uses a sett of 10 on a rigid heddle loom. (Which means she was probably using thicker yarns) I’m planning on using a 5/2 perle cotton. It’s on the larger side, but still much smaller than knitting yarn. It’s about the same size as lace weight knitting yarn. It’s actually a pretty simple structure. It uses a basic twill threading. (I believe) Anyway, that’s what I’m going to put on the loom at school. I’m still not sure what’s going on Mac (at home). I may put the 20/2 sampler on him. I’d like to test the yarn before I put a whole 8 yd. warp on there. It’s just really intimidating because the “yarn” is basically sewing thread!! I’m hoping it makes for really soft cloth. I’ll probably just do a simple plain weave on it. I may put in some white stripes of 10/2 perle cotton to add a little texture and interest. 🙂 I wish I were home so I could get to work!!
~JoAnna

Getting Cable

As in the knitting pattern. I’m currently working on my first cable project. It’s a beret. I had a few minor problems with increasing (also a first) but I think with practice I’ll be fine.

Note: I need to change how I knit my knit stitches. Frustrating! But I think it’ll make my stitches look better when I use purl stitches with knits.

I’ve printed off a bunch of different patterns to try. I’m excited. Still on a quest to find the perfect cable knit hat that I can mass produce and sell.

I’m going to try knitting a scarf pattern that I tried previously and ended up pulling out. I stopped because I hate regular knitting needles. But now that I have the circular needle set, I can use the flexible needles. That’s the plan.

I’m looking forward to lots of knitting and learning!
~JoAnna

A slower paced day.

I love Tuesdays and Thursdays this semester because I only have two classes Tues. and one class on Thurs. And weaving happens to be on those days. 🙂 I felt pretty chill in the studio today. I’ve got quite a few projects I’d like to try. Most of which have come from the Jan/Feb Handwoven.

Idea #1:
Ruffled scarf/sampler.
By using stripes of wool in the weft, I should be able to get an interesting looking ruffle when I wash the sampler/scarf. If it goes according to plan, the felt stripes will shrink and felt and the other fiber will not. My original idea was to try this with some lace weight wool and Tencel. The colors are almost exactly the same and it would be the coolest thing to take before and afer pictures.

Idea #2:
Weaving with wood inserts.
Another idea that came from Handwoven. With this one, you cut pieces of wood in curved shapes and use them as your weft. You use a sett that gives you a warp faced weave and it creates interesting shapes within the warp. Super cool looking.

What I’m currently doing with the sampler on the loom at school is testing wool as weft and cotton as warp. I want to see if it shrinks in horizontally. Jeanne said she doesn’t think it’ll do much because there isn’t a lot of room for the wool to move around. But I figured I should try right?

I have a lot of other projects in mind right now that I’d like to try. I really need to get another rayon scarf warp wound off. I may skip the 20/2 cotton idea for now. After weaving with this “big” 5/2 cotton, I don’t really want to go to something sooo small!! I like how quick I can weave a warp off the loom. And the rayon is on the larger side.

Jeanne wants us to experiment with altering fabrics. I’m not really sure what that entails. She said she wants to see what we think altered means. At this point, altering kinda means destroying. I guess I’m partially thinking in HEC Textiles mode where you put a fabric through all sorts of tests in order to test the stability and other characteristics of the fabrics. What could I use as altering tools? Some of my thoughts have been sand paper, bleach, exacto knife, weathering effects. I think it would be cool to leave fabric out in a tree or something and see what becomes of it. Hmm…Perhaps that could be an idea. She said to consider time as an altering tool.
I have lots of thoughts running through my head right now. But that’s a good thing. I want to plan more projects to try out.
~JoAnna

A bit overwhelmed

I have a lot of homework this semester. 😦 It’s really frustrating. And I’m trying really hard not to freak out. I had a minor meltdown last night. I just have to remind myself that I just have to get C’s. That’s a low goal, but I can pretty much make C’s without really trying. I just gotta pass so I can graduate!

On a happier, more exciting note: I finished the napkins for my culminating project!! I’m pretty happy with how they look. I took some pictures last night, but I forgot to upload them. I’ll try and do that sometime this week. I have to wash everything and hem all the edges. I’m still debating whether or not I want to have one of my glass major friends make some glasses for the set. I kind of wanted everything to be made by me except for putting silverware on the table. But perhaps Ben is right and it would look better if I had the glasses. I’m going to have to figure out how to take professional pictures. I’m getting better, but I don’t know if I’m up to it by myself.

As for weaving, I’m planning on weaving with some 20/2 cotton. It’s the smallest gauge yarn I’ve ever worked with. It pretty much looks like sewing thread on the warping board. I’m a bit intimidated, but I want to keep myself challenged and try lots of different yarns. And since this was one of the cones mom and I bought from the loom guy, it was cheap and I don’t feel bad sampling on it. I really should probably put an actual SAMPLE warp on first, huh? I’m currently winding off an 8 yd. warp. But I’m not sure what sett to use. I was thinking 30 epi. From what I’ve read on various yarn info pages, the sett for 20/2 cotton should be somewhere between 24 and 36. Somewhere even said you could go as high as 40. So 30 should be somewhere in the middle. I don’t want it so close that it’s stiff. But I’m hoping because it’s so fine, it will have more drape than a 10/2 cotton. (What I wove my scarf set out of…Not pleased with the drape) I also really want to design some Tencel scarves. (Since I have 6+ pounds of it!)

So anyway, I guess I really just want to experiment and see what kind of cloth I get from weaving with this tiny yarn. In the book Mastering Weave Structures (Sharon Alderman) pretty much all the cloth is woven with 20/2 cotton. And the drape seems better than with thicker cotton yarns. That could be part of the trick of the photo though. I guess I’ll find out! And hopefully soon.
~JoAnna

Different looms

Being in the fibers studio is strange and not strange. It feels almost like I never left. Everything is familiar and comfortable, but it’s strange that it’s the same…

I was hoping to be able to get on one of the 8 shaft Macomber’s that’s in the weaving studio but Jeanne wants us to work on the 4 shaft LeClerc’s because we don’t need more than 4 shafts for a plain weave sampler. 😦 Haha. I thought, “Okay, well I like LeClercs. So it’s no big deal.” …Wow. I can’t believe how different it is from Mac. After weaving on a Macomber for close to a year now, I just can’t get used to the way the LeClercs work!! I can’t believe I ever wanted one. *lol* I mean, it’s a good loom, it works and it weaves fine cloth, but I’m beginning to agree with the review I read when I was first looking at buying a loom. LeClercs are like your average car (Let’s say Chevy) and Macs are like Mercedes. Or at least something a little nicer than a Chevy. Mine’s a little old and beat up, but I think it’s somewhere like 20 or 30 years old. It still needs some minor repair work and DEFINITELY needs new heddles. That might have to be my next loom repair purchase.

The looms at school use wire heddles and the ones that were on my loom when I bought it were these weird, flat heddles. They’re a lot louder, heavier and less flexible. I think I’d like to try and get some wire heddles. I think I said I had been considering switching to Texsolv heddles, but I just can’t bring myself to use string heddles. I think they would frustrate me. I haven’t used them so I can’t really say. But I do know that it wouldn’t be a bad thing to have lighter shafts. Since Mac has metal shafts they’re a bit on the heavy side anyway. But perhaps if I had lighter heddles it might be less heavy. When you’re treadling, there’s a fine balance between tromping and pressing. You have to treadle with some force or the shafts won’t lift, but you really can’t tromp too hard or the tie up rods jump off and you have to craw under there and fix them. That may be something else I need to invest in. I need more tie up rods. I have just enough to use two rods on each shaft. And they’re all wonky and different heights which is bad because your shed isn’t even all the way across.

Now I’m so used to Mac that the LeClerc shafts are SOO light! It’s a light loom in general. Macs are sturdy beasts. I’m really glad I ended up buying Mac instead of a LeClerc. I’d never even used one I just felt like I wanted to try this thing that everyone was raving about. And when it came up on Craigslist for $450 (I talked him down to $400) AND in Lexington, KY (about 3 hours away) I couldn’t pass it up. Ben, as always, was sweet and supportive. I’m so thankful that he’s patient with me and puts up with my loom taking up about half of the living room in our little apartment. True, I have been able to make some money off the scarves I made on it, but he totally didn’t have to let me get it. Anyway, I’m thankful for my sweet Mac, my sweet Ben and being able to weave at home. 🙂 Speaking of which, I’ve got some napkins that I need to weave up!
~JoAnna