Wednesday, May 21, 2008

New Tricks and Resources

So it seems our heat wave was a short term thing and we are back to a more normal range. Blankets off, then blankets back on the bed and there's the chilly house in the mornings. Things weatherwise are not 'business as usual'!

There have been some discussion on other blogs and chat groups about keeping track of where you are when weaving a project. I've seen pictures of tape measures pinned to the selvedges and also cash register tapes rolling along. These will mean that the weaver is weaving to the exact measurement they need *provided* they allow for take up. If they don't, it will come up short and how much depends on the grist of the yarn used, their beat and the warp's relaxation once it comes off the loom. I had a mentor tell me that if the length is critical, such as in a piece for a test program, then relax the warp on the loom and measure it the next day. That will be a better guide to what you have.

But I like to use temples! They must be moved every so often and a tape measure or tape roll in the way at the edge would be a big pain to move all the time. So I developed my own system to monitor where I am. Most weavers adapt something to suit their needs and I'm sharing what I do. Be warned that I have an 'organize gene' and so this isn't difficult for me to do. But those 'less organized' may forget to pick up a pen and have challenges. :)

I simply measure along the edge of the selvedge and place a large loop of scrap yarn in at a measured point. On a sheet of paper, which I keep in the loom bench, I have a note of how long the towel planned to be and allowances amde for things such as hems, borders etc. In the towels currently on my loom, they are to be 34 " long total. I would weave 4" for hem, then 2"for a border, then I'm weaving the main part of the towel. BUT I must subtract for the other hem and border so 6" x 2 = 12" Take 12 away from 34 and the main part of the towel will be 12" before I must start the opposite border, then hem. Each new planned section is easy to track as I go along, armed with my plan, pen and paper. I had already factored in take up into the length I want for the towel along with shrinkage after wet finshing.

Here's a picture of a towel where it's to be 34" in length and there are no borders. Simply 2/16's weft in mercerized black cotton. All I need to do is to track inches woven. I measure what I have woven new and move the cotton loop. The new inches are added to the previous total and I make a new total. As a friend says "easy peasy".

My tally sheet..... showing towel #7 and to be 34" total, with my additions. I measure often as right now I must move the work frequently to prevent me from leaning forward over the work. My physiotherapist has ordered no leaning forward and adding strain to my lower back. Since I want to weave, I do as I'm told!
I hope you give this a try and see how you like it. It will take some getting used to if you have been using other methods. Every time the cotton loop rolls over the edge of the breast beam, simply measure and move it.

Now, onto other things... In 2007 I attended Fibre Fest and had a grand time. I took a fine spinning workshop by taught by my friend Judith Glibbery. Great course and helped my spinning immensely! I wandered the vendor area and brought home some treasures: such as painted bamboo skeins from Laura Fry's booth, cashmere silk blend spinning fibre from Jane Stafford's booth and I even bought some small bobbins with the new merino wool and stainless steel yarn at Fibres Plus. Not sure what I will make with that but who knows! I'm trying to stay current with the new yarns out there.

I also bought books.... I *love* books. I keep looking for classic titles that I need for my library and also to see if any of the newer releases are worth snapping up. This book pictured below is one such book!

The ISBN # is 0-9611136-2-6 and my copy is dated 2005. I paid about $45.00 and it's well worth it. Self published by Doramay Keasbey and the address given is Eugene, Oregon, USA. It's a large book of about 300 pages and filled with crisp, clear black and white pictures, drafts and well written text. I'm finding it to be an amazing resource! Why isn't this book more talked about among the weaving community? It covers historical aspects and then quickly moves onto every possible type of pattern weave you could imagine. This was a labour of love for Ms. Keasbey! I would say it the best book I have bought recently besides Anne Dixon's new one on 4 shaft weaves. It's a keeper!

(Sorry about the two colours of font, but I can't seem to get Blogger to change it today.)


Peg in South Carolina said...

Interesting technique! My fear is that I would lose the piece of paper. ... I use white twill tape which I have marked in inches. As for measuring with cloth relaxed or taut, I think what really matters is consistency. Consistency not just in one piece but in all pieces including samples. Two of the measurements I record are length on the loom AND length off the loom. And it is usually at least a day before I get to the off loom measuring.
I love the book! I too horde books.

Leigh said...

Ha! I used to use the tally sheet method too, but frequently forgot to measure and/or add measurements. After several mess-ups I tried Peg's idea had better consistency.

Thanks for the tip about relaxing the warp. I never would have thought of that. Thanks for the book recommendation too. A little pricey for me, but I've definitely added it to my list of books to get someday.

Susan said...

hello friends,
Consistency is key! I measure on and off loom as well and after wet finishing. I have never had a problem keeping my papers and usually record the details quickly into a journal... ( I did say I have an organize gene :)

Twill tape is a good idea and I may try that one out and compare.

I understand the book is a bit on the spendy side but it's a resource that can't be beat. I gently suggest such items for special occasion presents (birthday, mother's day, and Christmas. Anniversary's we do something 'jointly' ... it's fair)

I sure enjoy visiting your pages and you stopping by here.

bspinner said...

I'm a weaver for a sheep to shawl team. I measure off a ribbon the length the shawl needs to be and mark off 10 inch increments. I measure only after the warp is relaxed, pin the ribbon and go on weaving. So far this hasn't let me down but it's usually the only warp on the loom. This method does give the team a heads up on how long the shawl is.
For towels and linens I do almost the same way as Susan except instead of using scrap yarn loop I use pins. I like her idea of scrap yarn.
I love books too. I'll have to see if our library has this one.

Jane said...

Ms. Keasbey's book is one that is in my own library and I treasure it.

Our guild has an extensive library which is very fortunate for me. It allows me the opportunity to check out books to see if I like one enough to want to purchase it. I agree, this is one of those books that was well worth the money if one can squeak it into the budget.

Thanks for the tip on measuring progress -- I'm always willing to try another way.