Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas!!! Here’s the product of my New toy:

image

An electric cone winder! Thanks mom, dad
and Sarah!!! ­čÖé
~JoAnna

Advertisements

A little tip I picked up

A few years ago, I was reading a blog by a lovely weaver. Sadly, I don’t think the site works anymore or I’d post the link…Anyway, she posted about a workshop that she attended and one of the “jewels” she got from it was a technique for beaming a warp easily with one person.

As a weaver, you are constantly trying to figure out how the heck to do everything by yourself. You’re a one-man (woman…whatevs. I’m not super politically correct about these things) studio. You work pretty much solo. Warping a loom can sometimes be daunting.

So the instructor of this workshop did something very simple to make the tension more even while beaming a warp. A brilliant and simple thing that I can’t believe I never thought of before. When you have finished sleying, threading and tying to the back apron (I’m a confirmed front-to-back warp-er…), you remove your lease sticks (GASP!!) and toss the warp tails over the back of your loom. Then, you stand at the back of your loom and hold the warp tails on tension with one and crank the beam with the other hand. Here’s a few pictures to help explain.

20121212_101558

20121212_101523

 

20121212_104958

 

On a Macomber loom, if you’re facing the back of the loom, the brake is on the left side. So my right hand is holding the warp tails, my left is cranking the back beam and my left foot is controlling the brake pedal. I have found that the warp winds MUCH more smoothly than how I learned to wind in school.

I should note that I have not been able to duplicate this technique on a LeClerc loom. The brake pedal can’t really be depressed from the back of a LeClerc loom. I have not tried it on my mom’s Schacht Mighty Wolf, but it works great on my two Macombers and on my mom’s small Dorset loom. Try it the next time you warp. It might make your life a lot easier!

I tried it because I kept breaking ends if I left the lease sticks in and also because it was taking me 20-60 minutes to simply BEAM the warp! This way takes me about 5-10 minutes. For a 10 yard warp. (I never really do anything shorter than 10 yards) I have been doing this for several years now and it makes warping the loom SO much less intimidating! It’s also a big time saver which is great when you’re a production weaver. Efficiency is absolutely the key to production weaving!
~JoAnna

Dye Day Traditions

First of all, if you don’t know, every week I dye skeins of yarn on Saturday afternoon. Dye Day in itself has become a bit of a weekly tradition. I’m a big fan of traditions, routines, schedules and things that happen weekly. I’ve been called robotic and extremely logical, so clearly I am left-brained…The funny thing is, I always just assumed that meant you couldn’t be creative at all. It seems that assumption isn’t true in my life because I would consider myself to be both logical and creative. I think my creativity stems from my logical side…Who knew, huh?

Anyway, back to my weekly traditions. On the weekends, Ben and I usually go hang with my parents. This is always lots of fun and my parents are sweet and wonderful and completely spoil us! Part of my reasoning for Dye Day being on Saturday afternoons is because my studio is not fully set up yet. Our water system is still not finished, exactly, here on the farm. We use a rain water collection system for most of our water needs. This works GREAT when it rains! The water is fresh, clean and good for you because it has healthy minerals in it. However, it doesn’t work so well when it doesn’t rain…We don’t have enough water storage at this point and so we have to water-conscious. If you’re not familiar with the dye process, it uses A LOT of water. (Well…rinsing does…) So in an effort to conserve water usage on the farm, I rinse out when we’re at my parents house over the weekends. I am extremely blessed to have a mother who is also a fellow craftsperson and lets me rinse out at her house and use her water. I couldn’t dye anything if it wasn’t for her generosity.

I also began a brand new Dye Day tradition just last week! I use one spatula to mix all my dyes up and just rinse and dry it between mixings. I have a small cup of rinse water that is usually quite colored by the end of my dyeing sessions. Last week, I had an extra skein leftover after I had dyed my usual 9 skeins. I didn’t really want to mix up another batch of dye so instead, I wet the skein like normal and poured the rinse cup on as my dye. I really had no idea what it would look like but one of the things I love about dye work is that if you don’t like something, you can always over-dye it.

When I rinsed everything out last week, I came to my rinse cup skein and it actually turned out to be this LOVELY light gray color! A color that I probably could not have achieved if I’d been TRYING to get it. Well…Now I’m hooked. So I decided that every week when I’m done dyeing, I’ll throw one more skein in and dye it with my rinse cup. This week looks like it’ll be a reddish of some kind but kind of a pastel red. Ohhh I can’t wait! I should also mention that another of my favorite parts of dyeing is how it can be completely┬áserendipitous and surprising. I like to have some idea of what the color will look like in my mind and then be completely surprised and pleased by the results. (Not always pleased, but like I said before, over-dyeing!)┬á┬áI try not to allow myself to have expectations of how a color will turn out. You can do everything exactly the same and sometimes, the color just doesn’t look the same. ‘Tis the nature of chemistry, I suppose. ­čÖé
~JoAnna