Weaving Wednesday – Round Robin 5

131023 Undulating TwillI arrived at weaving class 2 hours early on Tuesday with the idea that I would catch up – I was a towel behind in the Round Robin.  I decided to start with this undulating twill pattern. I remembered being told it would weave up quickly.  Sometimes it takes me quite a while to figure out what color to use for the warp but the person that wove the towel before me on this warp used the same color.  I love the way it looks, it reminds me of vintage fabric.  It took a little less than 2 hours to weave the 27″ for the towel and I wasn’t so fried from a complicated pattern that I moved on to another loom.

131023 Point Twill with HerringboneThis is a Point Twill with Herringbone pattern.  I have to say it was really fun to weave.  The results are . . . interesting.

Both towels are made in 8/2 unmercerized cotton making a nice weight, absorbent towel – isn’t that all your really need?  I am now caught up with 5 more towels to weave.  I can’t wait to have them all off of the looms and start hemming (not).

A Weaving Weekend

131020 Green Crosss

Although it wasn’t totally planned I spent most of the weekend doing something related to weaving (in between cooking, cleaning and loads of laundry).  I make the mundane more pleasurable by rewarding myself with loom time.  I finished the blue and white and moved onto a green variegated version of the Maltese Cross and discovered something in the process.  Being a newby to this craft I didn’t realize what a HUGE difference yarn would make in how the pattern looked.  (Apparently I’m paying too much attention to other things while I’m throwing a shuttle).  The last two throws I have woven in this pattern I used Bartlettyarn Maine Wool for the weft with a warp of Jaggerspun Maine Line 2/8 wool.  I love the feel of the wool when it’s been fulled and finished, it’s a warm, heavy blanket but . . . the crosses in the pattern were more elongated than I had thought they would be.  When I started weaving the green version of this I was using Noro Boku, a wool/silk blend.  Both of these yarns are worsted weight but one is thicker than the other and the less hefty of the two brought the pattern into what I had expected.  Yes, I continue to weave with the variegated yarn even though the judge didn’t like it at the Big E.

Sunday I spent a good part of my afternoon at the weaving studio helping Pam put together a new Harrisville 36″ 8 Shaft, 10 Treadle Loom. The latest addition arrived in two boxes and reminded me of something I might have picked up at IKEA.

131020 (1)Parts, parts, parts, tools, instructions.

131020 (2)More parts.

131020 (3)Okay, I’ve built IKEA before – Harrisville should get some advice from them on their instructions.

131020 (4)Pam’s attaching the treadles.

131020 (5)You have to be fairly flexible to get this job done ( at least be able to get up off of the floor).

131020 (6)About 3 hours later here she is ready to go – well, with four shafts ready to go.  After 3 hours we were fried, so opted to add the other four later.

131020 (7)Set in the new spot with the other looms.

This was a great experience.  I now feel as if anything that happens to my loom I will be totally prepared to repair.  The maple that the loom is made out of is quite beautiful.  I also learned why Pam asked me for help – it is virtually impossible to put this together without an extra set of hands. I also think it was an extension of my weaving education.







Weaving Wednesday 15 – Round Robin Week 1

130917 Weaving (1)I had lost track of time and realized (yesterday) that I was a week off in getting my loom ready for the class round robin. I left work early to get the loom slayed and tied off.  I have to admit I always love the way the loom looks at this point.

It is warped in a 5/2 unmercerized cotton. Once that was done I had 3 hours to weave my 27″ before I could move on to the next loom. The pattern is called “Crooked Check” from Margaret B. Windeknecht’s Color and Weave II.  It’s a straight twill and was fun and quick to weave.

130917 Weaving (4)I kept getting a little confused using two shuttles in a different way than I do with the overshot. With overshot you use two different shuttles for every row you weave, with this it was 4 rows of white, 4 rows of blue. That may be the inherent problem in weaving two totally different projects at the same time.  About two hours into it I was getting the hang of it.

130917 Weaving (3)I did my 27 inches in the alloted time and was very pleased with the results.  This pattern is so cute, it looks like little snail trails.

The round robin project is perfect for me.  I love hand-woven towels, they get better each time you wash them but I find them insufferably boring to weave.  I was a little tired of this by the time I finished it.  I would have been able to weave a second one but by then I would have been done with it.  Next week I will pick another loom, another project without having to warp it.  Sweet!




And Now for Something Completely Different

130824 Warp


Last week my weaving instructor put out an APB to her students that she needed help winding warps for the upcoming session.  Up until now most of the students were at different points in their weaving journey.  Each of us would work on samplers or projects that would teach us something in particular about weave structure and be something we wanted to make.  This session we are doing a round-robin of twills.  I can’t tell you how excited I am about this.

There will be eleven of us participating.  Pam is in the process of beaming the warps on eleven looms, some 4 shafts, some 8.  Each one of us has to go into the studio before the beginning of the fall session and thread and tie off one loom in the pattern that has been set up for that particular loom.  Once the session starts each we will be weaving a different twill pattern on a different loom each week.  By the end we will each have eleven different dish towels.  How fun is that?

I picked up a cone of 8/2 cotton at the studio and brought in home to wind.  I was a few yards short so I just brought my board to Brimfield to finish it.  Pam was beaming the warps when I got there.  She wanted the tension to be the same on all of the looms.  What a project (for her).  I will be going over sometime before the 17th of September to thread and will be waiting anxiously to get started.

Meanwhile I have four weaving days to finish that scarf for the Big E.  I’m almost there but am at a point where I’m wondering what was I thinking?

Weaving Wednesday 13

130812 Weaving (2)

I managed to warp the loom this past Saturday and wove some on Sunday and a little on Monday.  After splitting wood I was less than enthusiastic, I really just wanted a nap.

This has a tencel warp with a verigated wool sock yarn for the weft.  It is really quite lovely – the tabby warp in tencel looks like little glass beads when the light hits it just right.  Speaking of warping and weaving I made another mistake threading – can you see it?  I didn’t until I’d woven about 6″ – and that was my point of no return.  It is what it is.  I don’t find it glaring and it wouldn’t stop me from wearing it.  Another exercise.

I have 10 days to finish this.  Barring any unforeseen crisis I shouldn’t have a problem doing it.  It’s nice to be weaving a more complicated draft.  I really love doing overshot.  It reminds me of knitting an Aran pattern in a way.  You have to knit many rows before the pattern appears, then it keeps you interested.  Once you’ve repeated the pattern 5 or 6 times the piece you’re knitting is done.  This does much the same thing, by the time you are in a rhythm with the treddling the piece is nearing completion.

When this is done I will probably weave another wool overshot throw, then I have a striped twill throw in mind.  Christmas is coming.

130812 Weaving (1)


Gamp Progress

130724 (1)


I thought I’d post a couple of photos of the progression of the gamp I’m weaving.  This is in Harrisville wool.  The weather finally broke and we are back to tolerable temperatures.  I did a lot of weaving this past Sunday and a little on Wednesday.

I have to say that this project has taught me a lot more about weaving than color interaction.  I’ve had a couple of issues with the tension on my warp (which I’ve corrected) and I also broke a warp thread the other night.  That was a bit more of a challenge figuring out what would work and what wouldn’t.  It broke between the heddle and the reed.  I thought I could knot a new thread in – not.  So I just put a new thread from the back to the front and weighted it like I’ve done with a broken floating selvage.  It worked I’m happy to say.  The best part was the lack of panic on my part, I just figured out how I could make it work.  Six months ago that might have been a problem, I would have had a more difficult time figuring it out.

I hope to have this off of the loom this weekend.  As beautiful as it is I’d much rather be doing overshot, plain weave is just so boring.

130724 (2)

Weaving Wednesday 12

130714 (1)

Half the yarn on the warping board.

Although it’s been very hot and humid I decided that I had to get another project on the loom – I needed the meditation. This will be a color study in Harrisville Shetland wool. There are 18 stripes of 18 colors.  Each color intersects every other color, answering that question of how the colors work together.  It’s also the first time I’ve done a multi colored warp.

My weaving instructor kept telling me to do this with the materials that I have but since I really didn’t have any I got this little kit from the Yarn Barn of Kansas.  I love, love, love the Harrisville wool so I figured this was the safest way to go.

130714 (2)Warp on the lease sticks.

I wound 24 ends of each color then proceeded to the loom.  I love how bright these colors are but with the heathered overtones that Harrisville is known for.  This was very easy to thread into a standard twill -1,2,3,4 over and over with all of the numbers coming out even (my OCD loves this kind of project).

130714 (3)Heddles threaded.

I love the way this looks as it progresses. A friend recently asked me how I could work with wool in this heat but you really don’t handle the fiber a lot while you are doing this – well, you do but it’s not like wrapping yourself in a wool blanket.  Once the loom is warped and you start weaving you aren’t really handling the fiber that much.  I also have a fan blowing on me from the back of the loom, that helps.  I truly think weaving is much more of a summer craft than knitting or rug hooking because you don’t have to hold anything in your lap.

Next up slaying the reed.  I should be able to do that tomorrow night and start weaving.

Weaving Wednesday 10

130616 Orange Peel ScarfI finished the cotton towels I was weaving in Rowe on Saturday and was desperate to warp a new project. I decided on an overshot scarf in the Orange Peel pattern.  The warp is fairly short and only has 146 ends.  I was not ready to do a huge warp for another throw just yet so I made a little trip to Metaphor Yarns in Shelburne. They have some really beautiful yarn – really beautiful.  I was looking at a draft before I left that used tencel as the warp with sock yarn as the weft.  After poking around the store I found some fingering weight alpaca blend and figured I would change the sett if I had to (pretending I actually understand what I’m doing well enough to do that).  The warp color is called potting soil and it’s lovely.  I chose a red alpaca worsted for the weft.

Sunday morning I was on fire – I warped that loom in record time and am proud to say not one mistake – woohoo!  I like the way this overshot pattern is going.  The scarf will be 70″ in length with a twisted fringe on either end (since I know how to do that now).  The fabric is fine and will have a nice drape.  Best of all , it will be warm!

This is when I truly am thankful for the lessons learned this past year in my weaving class at Firewatch Weavers.  I am able to plan out my project. I know how much fiber and of what weight I will need to create what I have envisioned in my head.  I know how to read the draft no matter how it’s written because truth be told not all drafts are created equal.

It is amazing to me that I can follow these steps – by myself – and have results like this.  The problem I have now is this is what I spend my days dreaming about – sitting at that loom and throwing a shuttle (or two).


Dreaming of Possibilities

130606 Overshot

Last night I finished my overshot throw and took it off of the loom.  I’m amazed at how quickly the weaving went.  I will post a photograph of it once it’s finished.  I still have to sew, wash and do the fringe (twisted I think).  It’s quite beautiful and I’m pleased with the way it looks.  This was a lot of fun along with the frustration.

Taking this project off of the loom in class marked the end of weaving lessons until the fall.  After we took it off the loom Pam spread it out and said “Well, it’s beautiful, now you’ll just have to come to weave for fun because there is nothing else I can teach you.”  Yeah, right.  I have to say I have never taken a class where I learned so much in such a short period of time.  I’m excited at the prospect of the many, many new weaving projects ahead.  Every time I take something off of a loom the next project is rolling around in my head.  I haven’t really got the Maltese Cross out of my system yet so I will probably make another one on the loom at home in another color.  I’m also looking at other overshot drafts.  I figure since I’ve done one design it shouldn’t be a problem doing another, just read the draft.

I have a 40 minute drive to and from weaving class.  It always seems like it takes forever to get there in anticipation of what new thing I’m going to learn.  The drive home seems like it takes much less time.  I go over and over what I’ve done in the last 3 to 4 hours.  I think about the structure, the colors, the process.  I think that’s the sign of a good fit in craft – you dream of the possibilities.