Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Pinwheels

A few days ago I warped my loom with a quick project, this pinwheel twill scarf in a Bamboo/Silk blend yarn. This was another one of those situations that I had heard bad things about the warp yarn, that Bamboo breaks easily and sheds from the friction of the reed, but I decided to forge ahead anyway because I wanted to do a project that used 8 shafts.



Thank goodness the threading and treadling are simple because I'm having a heck of time keeping the two shuttles straight and interlacing the second color threads along my floating selvedges. I'm ending up with lots of lumps and bumps on the right hand side. Also my sett seems a little loose even though I had wrapped the yarn on my sett gauge and it came up 9 epi and I went with 10 just to be sure. Now it looks like 12 might have been a bit better. I've had to really lighten up on my beater and the blocks are still not coming out square. Also this yarn is too slippery for the 4 warp floats and it bumps up distractingly. Also I think I could have gone with two colors that contrasted more and that would have helped some. But this is all a learning process. Next time I weave this pattern I'll also start threading on shaft #5 and end on #4 since that would put no warp floats on the selvedge and would eliminate some of those lumps and bumps you see there. Onward!


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Making Socks

Socks in 'Radiant Lime'


About two months ago I decided that I really wanted to learn to knit, but all I've wanted to do was make socks. Many people told me that socks were hard, and that I really had to have some experience with knitting to make them. So I've been busy making swatches of different kinds of stitches and playing around with yarns. I even make a rather large mobius cowl using seafoam stitch which came out pretty well. Anyway last week as I was lamenting my desire to make socks, a friend in my spinning group gave me some instructions from a class she used to teach on making socks. She also helped me select needles and yarn to make the socks. But most importantly, she offered to help if I got stuck. Well after a week of knitting like a crazy person (it has been at or above 100°F all this week--perfect knitting weather) I finished my first pair of socks and boy am I chuffed about them! Making the socks was a paradigm shift for me...so many things about knitting clicked into place with those socks. So expect to see more socks in these pages....another thing to do with my handspun yarn!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Rosepath Table Runner - Finished!


When I purchased my Ahrens loom, along with the usual loom parts, I was also given a large box containing about 50 cones of linen thread. The thread ranged in size from a sturdy 10/2 to hair fine 40/1. The colors were mostly unbleached, half bleached, teal, pink, yellow and blue. In the box were receipts and notes dated from 1945 with names and projects outlined for some of the different threads. I can only guess that this loom was originally owned by someone who was a production weaver. 

After testing the yarn to confirm its strength, against all advice I decided to warp and weave a table runner in linen with some 10/2 white cotton for accents. I had heard all the advice about how linen is a nightmare to weave with, must be misted and kept damp, will snap in low humidity (which is us!). etc. etc. but I decided to fly in the face of convention and give it a try anyway. I figured I had 'free thread' and if things went south, well, then I'd know.


The half bleached linen had a kind of sizing on it that made it somewhat stiff and wiry, so I think that helped. The warping and weaving was straightforward and I only had one broken warp end when I got near to the end of the warp. I used a floating selvedge and my selvedges did not come out that straight since I decided combine both plainweave and a rosepath threading. Inspired by an old 1954 copy of Malin Selander's book Weaving Patterns from Sweden and by the work of Susan at Avalanche Looms, I set to weaving, throwing in bands of color in different treadlings of rosepath on the plain background. This was an amazingly fun project and I learned so much about my new loom, including the fact that it has much less loom waste that I had anticipated! 


One of my favorite details is a band of the 40/1 unbleached linen which I used in a double bobbin boat shuttle. It adds a subtle accent and I'm now thinking that another project featuring just the two natural yarns together might be really neat. After twisting a few of the fringes on one end, I decided to save my hands and ordered a battery powered fringe twister which worked great! Washing and ironing the linen really softened it up, but I expect that it will get even better as time goes by. I'm really glad my first linen experience came out so well as I love it as a fiber. I'm even planning to try to spin some flax before summer is over. We'll see how it goes....





Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Dying

With temps hovering around 100° for last couple of weeks, I am really longing for a getaway to the coast. Since it is not possible right now, I decided to start an ocean themed project. So I dyed up these threads to make a start. All are thrift store cottons with the odd linen and nylon thrown in.




The table runner is off the loom, washed, blocked and I'm very happy with how it turned out. Anxious to get started on this next project! Hoping that we get some relief from this hot, hot weather soon...

Saturday, May 10, 2014

New to me -- F.J. Ahrens Loom


After much contemplation I decided to make the jump from a table loom to a floor loom (mostly for ergonomic reasons!). We found this beauty on Craigslist where it had been sitting in a garage covered for almost 12 years. After the dust was cleaned off and new coat of wax applied it is ready to go! It's an F.J. Ahrens loom, 10 shaft, 10 treadle, 40" weaving width. Built of solid birdseye and tiger maple. It was built in Oakland, California I think in the 40's but info on this loom is really hard to find. I was only able to locate one other loom like it on the web. So if you have any info, please leave a comment...now on to warping and weaving!





Saturday, February 22, 2014

Friday, February 21, 2014