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.
This week in weaving class I continued to work on my huck towels. I finished the requisite 33″ on the first draft discussed last week – not without an issue that was causing me no small amount of aggravation. Occasionally my shed would not open properly and I would miss threads on a pick. Ugh. The worst part was when I didn’t notice it until I had woven and inch more. Un- weaving is not something I enjoy I have to say. I want it perfect the first time.
I had a lot of trouble getting into the groove of things with the last pattern. I never really did and had difficulty seeing where I was in the draft as I wove. If I lost count or my place I couldn’t figure out where I was. This happens normally in the beginning of the project but not usually to the end. I was very happy to see that towel finished.
This pattern is huck squares and it’s very obvious where you are at any moment in the weave. Whew! The shed problem seemed to correct itself and I was really moving along with this one. I’m pleased with how even the weaving is and my edges look good so this is turning into a pretty exciting adventure. It’s not so complicated that I can’t get into my zen mode yet looks amazing when it’s woven. Just look at this structure, wow.
Once the tension is taken off of the weaving the towels will pucker – each in their own way. So it’s another project that amazes me while I’m weaving it and will thrill me once again when I take it off of the loom. What more can you ask of any craft?
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.