Thursday, December 28, 2017

Christmas is done

We made it through Christmas, but barely.  We knew a Christmas snowstorm was on the way, so we delivered gifts before the holiday.  I finished a few things, and some things will be finished later.  Several of hubby's work friends received corn bag heating pads, and some got towels as well.  My dad got a guitar strap woven on my inkle loom.  I gave away all of my Bumbaret towels (love those colors!) as well as the blue Linked Birdseye towels.  I had not finished a hat I was knitting for my mother, so I finished off two of the Rosepath Plaid towels for her.  I used a "cut off the warp and retie" method found online (via Peggy Osterkamp's blog), and it worked well.  I also found that the Rosepath Plaid towels were very long, so I adjusted future iterations of the pattern based on that.  Instead of doing four pattern repeats, followed by a set of red stripes, I'll be doing three pattern repeats and without the last set of red stripes.

I made this fox hat for a friend's toddler, and it came out cute.

I tried to finish this Fading Strands hat for my mother, but didn't finish in time.  I finished it yesterday while knitting at hubby's work, but found it a huge disappointment - too small, and too short.  I'm going to remake it, with needles one size larger, the larger set of numbers, and one extra pattern repeat.

Now I am winding a warp for the Masters towels, in blues, and working on the rest of the Rosepath Plaid warp.

Today I received some heavy texsolv cord I ordered from Halcyon Yarn, and changed out some nylon rope on my front warp rods for texsolv cord.  The rope that was used had huge knots, that left bumps I didn't like when winding on.  This will be much smoother.

I also received a new book today, thanks to a Christmas Amazon gift card from my dad!  I look forward to learning new things in the near future!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Next project underway!

The Linked Birdseye towels have been finished.  That involves cutting them off the loom, then I stitch at the ends of each towel, cut them apart, and hem.  I use the sewing machine for hemming.  Then they go for a trip through the washer and dryer before I call them done.

I immediately started the next project.  Christmas is coming up fast!  On Dec 10 I started winding the warp (431 ends) and finished the next day.  Then I had to calculate how many heddles I needed on each harness (this is a 4-harness pattern).  I counted the heddles on each harness and made sure to start from the middle.  That leaves approximately an equal number of unused heddles on each side of the frame when I start.

Then I started threading the heddles, keeping track of which threads and which colors go on which shaft.  There is a rhythm to it that develops as you work.

I added the plain warp beam to my loom.  I don't have the configuration of plain and sectional warp beams (and their respective brake mechanisms) entirely figured out yet, but I have both warp beams on the loom and the plain warp beam has its friction brake attached and functioning.

I finished threading the heddles yesterday and started winding the warp onto the back beam.  I am using Tyvek house wrap as a warp separator.  I have the end of a roll (still a lot of wrap on there!) that I got several years ago from Freecycle.

Then I put the beater and reed in place and started threading the reed.  While doing this, I double-checked the pattern that was threaded through the heddles.  I caught two mistakes and had to create two repair (temporary) heddles from size 10 tatting thread.

Then the warp is tied to the front beam, and tensioned, so that weaving can begin.  At this point I found that I had two threads that crossed incorrectly in the heddles.  I had to untie that set of threads from the front, correct that in the heddles, and re-tie to the front.  Then I was ready to finally start weaving!

This is another one of my previously stashed kits from Cotton Clouds.  Much like the Linked Birdseye towels, the treadling and yarn color pattern for these looks more difficult on paper than it turns out to be upon execution.  This kit is supposed to make six towels, and I'm hoping to have them finished by next Wednesday.  I'd like to share these as Christmas gifts for some of hubby's co-workers.

My next project will be the Masters towels from Lunatic Fringe.

I have a Gray Matter kit to do these with, but hubby wants a set in blues, so I'll do those first.   He let me order some yarn for that project.  I got some 8/2 Maysville cotton in half-pound tubes from Great Northern Weaving in some great blues for that.  I will start winding the warp for that project while working on the Rosepath Plaid.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Almost finished!

I was able to spend a good stretch of time weaving today, and managed to finish towel #3, and started towel #4.

I should have enough time tomorrow to finish off this warp and, if I'm lucky, to pull out my sewing machine and get them cut apart and hemmed.  This will make two sets of towels - 4 pairs in all - for Christmas gifts.

I started warping up for the next project as well.

This is another Cotton Clouds kit, Rosepath Plaid.  This kit makes six towels.  I hope I can get these done quickly.

Yesterday I got a pattern from Lunatic Fringe (free gift!) to use with the Gray Matter yarns I bought from them probably a year ago.  This is called Master's towels, and I love this pattern!  Hoping to warp up for this one soon.

I showed it to hubby and he said he wanted to see what it would look like in blues.  Today he let me order some blues and some purples to try this pattern in a couple of different colorways, so I have a few half-pound tubes of 8/2 cotton coming from Great Northern Weaving.  Very excited for these to arrive!  Must weave faster!

I also finished a scarf I have been working on during my "knit at hubby's work" days.  This one is made from Juniper Moon Farm "Fourteen", in dark purple.  It is a delicious merino/cashmere wool, knit in a simple mistake rib.  Finished it in time for our first snowstorm of the season.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Warping the Loom

I have spent quite a bit of time over the last few days of November warping the Macomber loom.  I still have 8 or 10 kits from Cotton Clouds to work with, but I had started warping this one (Linked Birdseye) years ago, and abandoned it when I realized it wasn't going to work out on my Structo 4H table loom.  I decided to try again, and wound this warp  over the course of a few weeks.  I had to think about whether or not I wanted to UN-wind all the warp I had already prepared.  I decided to wind an entire new warp from the cones provided in the kit.  As it turned out, I had enough for the entire warp.  I don't know if I'll have to unwind the previous warp to have enough to weave with.  I might just go ahead and unwind that warp anyway (if I can get it all untangled) and use that for weft before using the rest of the coned yarn.

These are the Linked Birdseye towels.

I was also undecided whether I was going to warp up the Macomber or the counterbalance loom.  I chose the Macomber, because it's new (to me), and also because I have the CB loom listed for sale.  I may have it sold; someone is supposed to be coming on Monday.  Now that I'm on the verge of selling it, I think I'll be sad to see it go!  It's a wonderful loom, and I'll miss it.

I started warping the loom on Monday.  I tried to use my new raddle, and wind on to the back beam first, but it didn't work out well.  I got all the bouts tied on to the back, put them in the raddle, and capped it.  When I started winding on to the back beam, however, I found that I got them all mixed up in the raddle - I don't know how.  I untied the ones from the back beam, moved things around, and started threading the heddles instead.

The Macomber front and back beams fold down, and that makes it easy to work right up close to the heddles for threading.  (The vintage loom has removable front and back beams, for the same reason.)

I threaded the heddles, and tied the threads together in groups of 4.  The groups of 4 were the easiest way to keep track of the pattern and thread colors (4 yellow, 8 white, 4 yellow; 4 dark blue, 8 light blue, 4 dark blue, etc.).  The threads are supposed to be 20 per inch in the reed, so once I reached 5 groups of 4, I tied them together and attached them to the back beam.

This continued for a little over 2 days (including the first attempt at winding on to the back beam directly.)

Once I had all my ends threaded through the heddles (2-1-1-2, 3-4-4-3; another set of four, which contributed to tracking both threading and colors) I wound my little bundles of 20 onto the back beam.  It seems like no matter how careful I am, nothing ever goes smoothly.  I caught two threading errors as I was working, so those never got wound on.  I broke one warp thread soon after I started winding.  I tied on a new end at that point, and I'll deal with it when I get that far.  It will either be in the last towel or, if I'm lucky, in the loom waste at the end.

I got it all shaken, smoothed, wound on (rinse and repeat). Then I started sleying (threading) the reed.  It is supposed to be 20 ends per inch in a 10 dent reed.  This Macomber came with four reeds - 12 dent (dents are spaces per inch), 10 dent, and also 6 & 8 (good for the rag rugs I hope to make in the future!)  I had put the 10 dent reed in the beater before I started threading, and got about halfway through threading the reed before I had to finally quit and go to bed.  It was getting quite late.

I found one threading error so far (the threads were in the wrong order on heddles 3 & 4) and one empty heddle that I apparently missed while threading (that one shouldn't be a problem).  I hope to continue this afternoon, and finish sleying the reed when the grandson goes to school, or after his mom gets home.  Then I can tie on to the front, and start weaving!

Oh, I am continuing to tie the threads together in groups of four as I sley the reed.  Two yellow in one dent, two yellow in the next, tie those together.  One reason for doing this is that the threads won't get pulled back out of the reed if the work is disturbed.  I am also able to re-check the threading through the heddles as I go.  Threads from heddles 2 & 1 through one dent, 1 & 2 the next; then heddles 3 & 4, then 4 & 3.  As long as the colors for each group stay the same and the heddles are threaded appropriately, I am getting closer to being able to start weaving with hopefully no errors to fix at the beginning!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Very busy weekend!

I have finished a couple of things this weekend!

I finished the tablet-woven lanyard that was on my inkle loom, and even sewed it up into a lanyard.  This will be for hubby's work ID.

I also finished the bumbaret towels on the counterbalance loom!

Those still need to be cut apart and hemmed, then washed and dried.

I had promised hubby that I would finish the towels, and then move the counterbalance loom from our bedroom upstairs, to the basement.  Once I cut the towels off the loom, I proceeded to do just that.  I disassembled the loom and carried it downstairs (I think it took 6 trips, up and down two flights of stairs each time), then reassembled it in the space I spent last week clearing out.

This evening I spent a couple of hours after dinner warping up for my next tablet weaving project.  This is from a book called First Steps in Tablet Weaving by Marijke Van Epen.  I'm using my tablet loom for this project, and I'm hoping to make these into holiday headbands when I'm done.

It took me a few tries to get the pattern right, but I think I have the hang of it now.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Weaving progress!

I have spent the last couple of days putting some time in on the counterbalance loom, and have made some progress!  (I guess that will happen if you actually work on it, right?)

This was my first progress pic today - finally getting the first towel down to the front take-up beam!

I read something somewhere about beating to improve selvedges.  It said to throw, beat, leave the beater there (at the fell line) and change sheds, then return the beater to starting position, repeat.  I've been working on this all afternoon.  I'm finally feeling a little more coordinated with this change, finally speeding up a bit, and I can definitely see an improvement in my selvedges.

I bought some "ruler" twill tape last week and I'm using a piece of this to measure my weaving.  Today I also reached the end of the first towel, and wove a hem and a separator.  I believe the yarn for these towels is 8/2 cotton, and I used a size 20 tatting thread for the specified half-inch hem.  The instructions called for using size 16/2 for the hem, but I don't have any.  You can see the difference that the weft color makes!

I also managed to solve a problem with my shuttles and bobbins.

I have always preferred Schacht bobbins, but I have a bunch of Leclerc bobbins.  Those (Leclerc) are in the shuttles below.  They have flat ends, and those flat edges catch in my Schacht (top) and vintage (bottom) shuttles.  I figured out that I needed something to keep the bobbin away from the ends of the shaft in the shuttle.  I looked around and decided to try the cores from my bobbins of quilting thread.  Those are the little green things in the photo.  They work great!  It's just a tad bit more fiddly to change the bobbin, because you have to keep track of the little green bit and replace it after you change the bobbin, but it's worth it to NOT have the shuttle get stuck in mid-throw.

I also heard from Macomber today.  I emailed them Friday with the information I have on my loom (basically the model and serial number) and they told me the order date for that loom was 7/14/1969. They had no further information, but I'm delighted to find out that much!  I have also determined that it will need a new handle for the rear sectional beam at some point.  I was quoted $65 for the handle.  I'm hoping to make a trip up to the shop itself, in York, ME, at some point to get it.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

New loom!

We lost power early Monday morning, along with hundreds of thousands of other New Hampshire residents.  I woke up Monday to no electricity, and lots of fencing down, but thank goodness my sheep & goats had not wandered off.

I had three panels down in the small paddock.  I repaired those, and moved all four sheep & goats to the small paddock until that big stretch was repaired on Thursday.

On Tuesday, my son's friend (who has a pickup truck) went with me to go get the new loom!  We managed to get it into the back of his truck, and tied it down very well.  Didn't stop me from watching it every chance I got, but it never moved.

Once home, we got it into the basement, in a safe spot, until I could make room for it.

Yesterday and today (Friday and Saturday) I worked on clearing out and rearranging the area of the basement where my musical instruments sit.  Then I moved the loom into that area and opened it up.  It fits well.  I can't wait until I have time to warp it!

Yesterday I also emailed Macomber Looms (they are still producing looms, and are located in York, ME) with the serial number of this loom.  They are apparently good at providing a production or manufacture date on their looms.  I am looking forward to finding out how old the loom is!

In the meantime, I have listed my counterbalance loom online, with lots of photos.  I am hoping it sells quickly!  Hubby wants the space currently occupied by the CB loom for a desk, so he can work from home with fewer interruptions.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

More weaving, new yarn shop

I am continuing to make progress on my latest tablet project.

The end is in sight!  Tonight I have made it around the bar below the counter (small purple thing on the top peg).  I've had far fewer errors - in fact, no unweaving in the last day or so (hope I didn't just jinx myself!)

Next week I should be picking this up!  Very exciting!

This is a 10-harness, 12 treadle Macomber loom!  My absolute favorite loom makers!  I know it comes with several reeds, a sectional back beam, and a spool rack.  I don't know what else, but I can't wait to go get this!

And today we were out gallivanting a bit, and stopped by a new yarn shop in (a nearby) town.  This is Merrimack Yarns, in Georgetown, MA.  It was opened by the same people who run Coveted Yarn in Gloucester, which I love.

I picked up a sweater pattern for a child's cardigan, along with yarns to do it in shades of blue and gray for the grandson.  Also a skein of Albina yarn - super soft and fuzzy!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Next project

I started a new tablet weaving project today, learning as I go.  This is my first attempt at continuous warping, and my first attempt at an Egyptian Diagonals pattern.  This is the first pattern from John Mullarkey's "Egyptian Diagonals" book, and I am doing this on my inkle loom, in navy and white #10 crochet cotton.  This is supposed to end up as a lanyard for hubby's work ID.

I managed the warping with only one minor error.  (I included one empty round of all four threads, where I had not dropped a card.  I had to cut the threads and tie them off.)  I am using a knitting counter to keep track of which row I'm on in the weaving pattern; it has a 20-row repeat.  There are 10 different rows, and each row is done twice.

I also got some new weaving cards today!  I ordered these from Palmer Looms, and I love them!  They are a little smaller than the cards I got from John Mullarkey, and they have not only letters (on front and back of the cards!) but they also have different colors on each edge.