Last night this is what I did at the beginning of class. I had to decide how to weave my third towel in the series. What I had initially thought I was going to use for treadling was not what I ended up doing. The pattern for lattice didn’t take into consideration that I have 2 inches of plain weave on either side of the towel so I ended up with very large weft floats with them caught on the edge with a floating selvage. My brain just wasn’t willing to figure out a way around it (or even if I could) so I just switched to the lacy huck border. It was only a little confusing.
After finishing the requisite 28 inches of pattern (and 3 other towels) I’m finally getting a feel for what this is doing. I read the article about making warp and weft floats with the plain weave involved but somehow it always takes me to the end of the warp before I figure it out. That’s the advantage of a long warp I guess.
The structure of huck is beautiful but it really can’t be appreciated until the weaving is taken off of the loom. The release of tension allows the cloth to pucker in the most wonderful geometric ways. One more towel to weave next week then they will be hemmed and washed. That’s when their beauty will really shine.
I finally started to weave my huck lace towels last night. After a frustrating start it went pretty well. This is one of those projects that you don’t really see the results until it’s been wet finished. I haven’t done this fine a weave until now and I have mixed feelings about it (mostly having to do with my eyesight). I will probably be happy these are dishtowels once they are finished, the perfection of the weave pattern doesn’t matter when you are drying off your pots and pans.
I haven’t woven at all for a couple of weeks and it felt good to be back. I have been having a tough time getting back into that Zen mode, there is too much background noise. Things will settle out, like they always seem to do. Maybe not settle out physically but I will be able to move through it emotionally and find that place where the meditation of handwork can bring me peace. I often wonder how other people bring themselves back from the brink. The act of doing something with my hands is what allows me to work through the issues of the day (week or month), even if it’s just playing solitaire with real cards or folding a few cranes.
So I will work my way out of this by weaving, or knitting, or hooking. I will have some beautiful things when I am done but most of all I will have peace of mind.
Wow, what seems like months was finally finished last night. Between illness, snowstorms and other cancellations I haven’t been able to work on this at all. Finished the warp last night and am proud to say only one little threading mistake. I fixed that and will be throwing a shuttle next week, finally.
Tonight I’ll be reading up on what exactly I’m doing, try to understand the structure. Hopefully that will free me up to just enjoy the weaving next week.
The newest project in class for me is Huck lace. I was threading the warp last night with 10/2 mercerized cotton. The pattern is simple although a little time-consuming with so many ends, there are 552 in the warp. Fortunately it’s easy to stop and pick it up from week to week. I left class last night with about 50 or so ends left to thread, I stopped there because there weren’t enough heddles on shafts 1 and 2. I just wasn’t going there once I figured out there weren’t enough to finish threading.
Adding heddles isn’t difficult to do. I should have counted first and had everything set before I started threading them. Once you’re in a rhythm in threading you just want to keep going until it’s done. This is what I love about weaving, there are defined steps that are taken in sequence for the set up to be right. There are little nuances that make it better or worse and knowing your particular piece of equipment helps. It’s a long process learning this craft – there is so much information, so many ways to screw up.
Each project I do, whether on my own or in class affords me the opportunity to learn something new (sometimes many things). I think this is why I love weaving so much. Other crafts afford challenges but most of the challenges for me have to do with perfection and not actually the mechanics of the craft itself. With weaving the perfection enters a little but it is really the mechanics that I love. There are so many things that can go wrong – or right. When it all comes together I really feel as though I’ve conquered something.
Having an instructor like Pam feeds right into this for me – each project is about a different structure in the weave. I could see myself doing overshot or twill for the rest of my life because they are comfortable and there are a million ways to change the project within one of those structures. The classes push me outside of my comfort zone. It also allows me to do finer work which is a challenge in and of itself.
At the moment I have three looms with wildly different projects on them. Depending on where I am I work on what’s available. That can be a challenge in itself, but a most welcome one.
I had grand plans over the holiday break to weave some towels as gifts for family and friends. As often happens the best laid plans . . .
This is the first project I have put on the new/used loom I purchased in November. The photo above is the second towel in progress. I had some issues with the first one but wove it until the desired length anyway. It was supposed to be about 27 ppi (this is the number of weft threads per inch – it has to do with the density of the weave) but I think I was only getting about 15 ppi. I didn’t want to stop halfway through the towel so I just kept weaving. I have a thing about things being uniform and even.
Once the towel was finished I got out some tools and tightened up every nut, bolt and screw on the loom (something I should have done to begin with). I started the next towel and was relieved that the whole process was much, much better on a much more solid loom. In my excitement to use the new loom I forgot the most fundamental thing – make sure your loom is solid.
These are the first striped towels I’ve done and the colors are fantastic. The towels are a nice size too – 23″ x 36″. They are done in an M and W twill pattern. I had a difficult time getting into the swing of the treddling initially because it wasn’t making sense to me but I finally got into a rhythm and it went along fine. This is also a little different to weave because the weft threads are counted to make the design instead of measuring the piece as you weave. It’s very precise and as you know that is something I love.
Once this towel is finished I will weave the original towel again – it’s an advancing twill treddling pattern. I’m sure this one will look completely different than the first attempt. That will teach me not to lose sight of the most basic rules just to get a project going.
Wow, I have a confession to make. I wound this warp for the newest loom in what is rapidly becoming my fleet. I picked the loom up over the Thanksgiving holiday. It’s an upgrade, it has 6 treadles instead of 4 so I will be able to weave a little faster and not have to figure out all of my drafts for a direct tie up. There will be less thinking on my part. I have an overshot scarf on my other loom. I now have looms in two rooms of the house and one in pieces in the shed. It’s a little out of hand. The confession part . . . I really like it that way. I’m going to miss the older Harrisville when it goes. You see, I made sure the older one had a home before I bought the new one knowing full well that Bill would have a bit of a fit thinking every room in the house would have weaving equipment in it.
The warp I wound on Saturday and Sunday is for a set of M&W twill towels done in 10/2 mercerized cotton. These are going to be stunning. The best part is that in addition to the M&S pattern they can be woven in an advancing twill on the same threading and tie up – BONUS! I warped it for 5 towels with the idea that I could get them done in time for Christmas. Ha! That means that’s probably all I will be doing on the weekends between now and then.
Hmmmm, I may have to enlist the help of others for the decorating.