January 25, 2017

One of Those Days!

Monday night I wound the warp for the new blanket on the back beam.  It went on soooo smoothly that I wondered what might go wrong.  I didn't even have anything to keep it under much tension, so I was amazed.  It was wool and a little sticky to start with, but it wasn't a problem.

Tuesday, I threaded the heddles.  It was only 240 threads, so not a huge job.  But having adjusted all the shafts to work properly, they are a tad lower than before, so a bit of reaching is required, which is quite uncomfortable for me.  If I had a bench or stool which could fit over the bar which secures the treadles, I think it would be better - but I don't, so I gave myself 2 days to thread.  It only took one, in several sessions with lots of tea breaks.

Wednesday, this morning, I was waiting for a parcel which was to be shipped to my door.  Courier cost $1.30 more than postal service, plus it was faster and I didn't have to use any gas to get to town, to pick it up.   However, the scheduled time of delivery was for "before the end of the day".   Not very definitive, that's for sure.    So in the morning, I did some paperwork, sleyed the reed, tied the warp onto the front apron rod, while waiting.   I ate lunch, drank tea, played a video game - still no courier.  

I decided then that I would tie up the treadles.   In order to get close enough to the heddles for threading, I need to untie the treadles and since they aren't permanently attached, slide them back and out of the way.  This means I need to re-tie them before I can weave.    I'm going to re-think this process in the future because it is a bit of a pain in the patootie, not because it is difficult, only awkward because I am just over 5' tall.   If I were 5'4, I think it would be a totally different story ;)

Anyway, for me to get to the left side of the treadles, I need to go at it from the back.  Of course, the loom is dressed now, and because I use a roll of heavier watercolour paper for warp packing, there is this wide roll of paper hanging off the back beam.   I slid under the loom, on my back and balanced the paper on my chest while I fussed with the treadles.    It was that exact moment that the courier showed up at the door.   Go figure eh?   He couldn't have arrived 30 seconds earlier, while I was heat sealing the ends of the texsolve heddle ties.  

If I hadn't have looked up at a pivotal moment, I would have missed him, because it was one of those days when the door bell didn't work.   Regardless of my scrambling, I was happy to get my parcel and the driver was happy to be dropping off the parcel as the sleet was just starting, as he didn't want it to get wet.   I now have all the treadles tied, the warp tensioned and once I find my last colour of yarn for the weft, I'll be ready to rock and roll.

But right now, I think I need another cup of tea :)

January 22, 2017

Finally get stuff done...

The family was hit with a major virus, which slowed everything down, despite the fact that I managed to avoid the worst of it.   I kept staring at that cotton and the metre of sliver left, trying to will it to be spun.  However, after some effort, I'm finally plying up the last of the cotton.  It is a little bit finer than the last skein but I will admit to rushing most of this, in between periods of ignoring it.  It is definitely time to take a wee break from cotton for a bit.  I do love how easily it spins though.  It is well worth the effort of all those hours of practice to get reasonably proficient, just to be able to spin it without a lot of thought.

The design gamp is off the loom.   It is 9 different threadings wide, by 50 different treadlings long.  There was a little extra warp left that I could have used to experiment with some of my own treadlings, but really, I was not so enamoured with this project that I wanted to do more.   As soon as I was done the last pick of the hem, I chopped it off.  I think it would have helped if I'd remembered that I was using a jack loom and treadled the spaces, rather than the shafts marked.  Then I would have been able to see the patterns as I wove them, rather than weaving them backside up.  That made it a lot harder to catch any treadling errors.  You wouldn't think there would be any as I'd used a direct/universal tie up - but yes, I managed.

I've tensioned all 8 shafts and am winding a warp for a trial project.   It will be a blanket, woven in 2 pieces and joined up the centre.  I realized that I'd need 6 colours to get the block assortment that I was hopeing for.   That grey has blue/green undertones, so I was thinking medium blue or green, dark brown and a dark red.  I may have to put a call out for the red,  see what is hanging out in the guild room, or egads, maybe have to dye some yarn up,  since I didn't notice any on the shelf, in the quick glance I gave it.   There is yarn in a bin though, so it would be so much more time efficient, if some red just happened to be sitting in there.

I made a light box from a tutorial on the web - even without enough light coming through, it allowed for a much better photo than just using a makeshift arrangement of white bristol board.  I used white tissue paper for the sides and top.  It is way to delicate, so one day I will replace it with something sturdier.

January 13, 2017

Cotton and Ward Loom

On the spinning wheel is more cotton.   All of it is naturally coloured, commercially prepared sliver.   I'm not sure how much sliver I have left, but I'm pretty sure that I'm spinning up the last bit of the sliver.  That means the rest of the cotton needs to be carded and rolled into punis before I can spin it.   This means I may take a bit of a break from the cotton, because I'm not sure I want to spend a lot of time carding right now.

The new loom is an overhead jack loom made by Ward.   It needed a little bit of work to get it up and running.  I was lucky in that a N.A. rep from Glimakra gave me the pertinent information I needed to understand how this loom worked, otherwise, I would have struggled for a bit before I figured it all out.  (Glimakra has pretty awesome looms!)

The Ward is a really sturdy loom but it uses texsolve heddles, although I have the bit of equipment for making string heddles, which were likely the original ones.  I'm not sure how I like the texsolve yet, but they are quiet, for sure.  There is absolutely nothing on this loom which makes noise.  It is super quiet. It is also made for people just a tad taller than I am.  I'm not sure how to deal with this yet.   I'm thinking maybe a rocking loom bench would help, mainly because I've found myself rocking forward on my current loom bench - tall loom, short legs - not really the best combination.

This is my test bit to see if I had my tension working.  This wove off so quickly and so nicely.  The yarn is wool from the rug company which went out of business.  It makes fairly soft blankets.   A gal at our guild suggested a sett of 8.   I found it a bit loose, so when I made blankets a couple of years ago, I used a sett of 9 and it was perfect.   However, I only have a 6 dent reed and for some reason, the sett chart I checked, gave me a threading for 8 epi, in the 9 epi column.  Instead, I went for 10, which in hindsight was too much.  It is a very sturdy sample.   

I've only sett up 4 of the 8 shafts right now.  I thought  it might be easier to get 4 up and running first and then just adjust the tension of the last 4 shafts to match.

I had the warp wound for the gamp project for the design class.   I wound it for the Fanny loom, which I dress from front to back.  Unfortunately the Ward has to be dress from back to front, which created no end of issues in dressing the loom.  Argh, if I could have afforded the extra string, I would have trashed the first warp and rewound it.  However, instead I just pushed through all the stupid stuff and got the thing on the loom.  There is a threading error, which I have checked and checked.   From what I can tell, it's actually threaded correctly and there are no crossed threads.  I've been totally stymied trying to figure it out.  Eventually I said to hell with it and started weaving.   I'm not thrilled enough with this project to spend anymore time crawling under the loom figuring out which thread is doing something stupid.  There is supposed to be a red band between each section, but I've misplaced or used up the last little bit of red, so I'm using the end of bobbins that I had  leftover from other projects. Unfortunately, the light brown doesn't have enough contrast to actually be very visible. 

January 04, 2017

A busy start to the New Year

I've been spinning more cotton.  I've tried to do at least a few yards every day, although some days are definitely more productive than others.  The brown is the last bit of coloured cotton - I have some samples yet to spin, but this was the last 100 g bag.   It's boiled up and is more of that lovely soft brown.   I'm super happy with this yarn.  The white above it is a bit inconsistent in a few places, mainly due to lack of attention: hockey games, Dirk Gently, more hockey and the latest Star Trek movie, which was in my stocking.

This was the coveted present from my husband this year.  It's a vintage bobbin winder, which works like a dream!   It is fast and smooth.   I almost think it is faster than the borrowed drill I was using.  It escaped the water damage from the fallen tree thankfully.   I chose it - there was a new Leclerc bobbin winder there, but this one seemed faster and was definitely quieter. (Prettier too, but apparently that is no reason to purchase items like bobbin winders and cars)

New Year's Day had us out and about to pick up this.   I had to time it so that we'd be back in time for the World Junior's Hockey game.  It was tight, but we got home just as the game was about to start, so all was good.  
The rest of the week, I've been replacing worn out weird bits - like 18 yards of elastic tape and resetting the shafts because they were way too high and rushing off a test piece, so that I could adjust the tension.   Once I got it set up, the old gal turns out to have a fabulous shed.  The brake took a few minutes to get used but it holds an amazing tension for a jack loom.   I'm not sure about the texsolve heddles yet.  The move in weird and different ways than the metal heddles, but they work perfectly.  As well, they are so light that it takes no effort at all to treadle and quiet - I don't think I've heard a loom that quiet.   The test weaving was only 14 inches wide, so we'll have to see how a large piece does.   The next one though, will likely be the twill homework gamp, so I can get it done and out of the way.
Gratuitous picture of Kevin being cute -