Thursday, August 20, 2009

Patiently Waiting

You know, looms are so incredibly patient....even when you neglect them for other looms. Try that with a husband! I'm sure mine would claim 'friendly neglect' in this house due to loom affairs from time to time ... (like dinner time. :)

I started a snowflake runner project on my Louet Spring loom 'Lilibet' some time ago but it somehow stopped moving ahead about the time Lynnette came for her visit and then other stuff intervened. Well, I'm participating in the Guild of Canadian Weavers weaving exchange again this year and since Lynnette is the exchange coordinator, I wanted to have the runner ready to travel when we go to the Okanagan in early September. We'll be visiting my MIL and will most likely see the new fire damage to our old neighbourhood first hand. I'll be at Lynnette's for a few days as well and I'm sure that we can find some mischief to get into and friends to visit.

Back to the home front and the studio.... no vacation just yet....
To refresh:

  • 2/16 mercerized warp in cream, sett 30 epi, using a 15 dent reed ( two per dent).
  • first runner woven with 2/30 natural linen, pre-dampened pirns.
  • woven with a temple to reduce draw in.
  • two runners woven to approx 38" in length, plus fringe.
  • third runner woven with medium grey 2/16 mercerised cotton to approx 42"
  • fringe twisted, so completely reversible.
  • pattern from Weavers magazine #18, page 20. Draft by J. Evans, GCW masterweaver.

Here are a couple of pictures of the linen runners on the loom.

I've done this pattern a number of times before, most notably five runners as gifts to the weavers in my old guild who lost their homes to the big inter-urban forest fire of 2003. I have noted that this has been another bad fire year and I'm weaving this pattern again. Maybe I should retire it?

This picture below shows the grey 2/16's well under way. I had just about finished the hemstitching. Not as subtle as the linen runners. (Also it is not as dark as this picture shows)
The linen runner going to the exchange was first up on the styrofoam board and the twisting went quickly. I used all three clips and made a rounder, firmer mini cord. (full how to's are here)

The grey runner is on the board now and I'm just about finished the first side. Using three at a time makes it go faster. The last linen runner will most likely wait its turn and be done after we get back from our time away.

So time to 'fess up to a failure. I tried a different weft before resorting to the grey cotton. I have some lovely 2/40 white linen from Ireland that I wanted to use as weft. I wound my pirns and dampened them a day ahead. It started so lovely! I wove for a time, then left it to make dinner. Started again the next day and had to stop to make a call. Then I noticed a line, then another where there was a visible change in not only beat but density of weft. It was nothing that laundering would fix! So I cut away about 10 inches of this lovely linen and choose the cotton instead. So, the 'Lesson Learned' : I can still use it for weft but I *must* weave the entire piece in one sitting. I put what was left of the linen into a marked bag and its now in my freezer waiting for that project. ( It better be soon as my bobbins are running low!)
Here's a close up detail of the 2/40 linen and two other pictures where if you look closely you can see the streaks:
Let's end on a happy note! Here's the finished runner for the GCW Exchange.

I'm leaving Lilibet naked (*gasp*) for now. I have a scarf warp to be wound and beamed on there next. Now I can concentrate on the balance of Elena's shawl.


barbara said...

Oh My Gosh ...... your runner for the GCW Exchange is BEAUTIFUL!!! Between you and Laura, I learn so much each time I read your blogs - you two inspire me just to dream .... if not weave some of these projects. Too bad about the white linen and the streaking; fortunately you discovered it when you did. One of these days (weeks? months? years?) I would like to try a fine linen for a table runner - so I might be looking for suggestions on where to purchase linen warp, or I might use cotton warp and linen weft. Thank you for sharing your talents as a weaver. All the best, and I believe looms are like people, they like a rest from time to time and don't mind being undressed!!!
Weaverly yours ...... Barbara

Dorothy Stewart said...

Susan, the pictures are lovely ! Do you do anything special with the selvedges when using tencel and the snowflake pattern ?

Lynnette said...

How lovely! I can't wait to see the runner in person; but I already know it will go to a very lucky weaver!
Amazing how fragile some linen can be...the faint line would really detract from the lovely pattern; what a shame!

Life Looms Large said...

Gorgeousness.....I haven't even started reading your post, but I'm already loving it due to that nice picture right at the top!

The runners look great!!!

I always hear people talk about problems with keeping an even beat....and I never realized what could happen. Thanks for sharing pictures of something that didn't work. Now I finally get what people are talking about.

I wonder if the high humidity here this summer would make linen weaving easier. It has to be good for something, right?? (Of course, that would mean weaving in a non-air-conditioned room and my studio is HOT so that's not happening!)


Renee said...

The runner is exquisite. Thanks for sharing your learning experience with the linen weft, always much appreciated.

charlotte said...

The runners are just incredibly beautiful! I love the snowflake pattern, it looks so exquisite.
I wonder: why do you dampen the linen weft and why do you freeze it? I have woven quite a lot with linen as weft, and I just use the yarn as it is.

Susan said...

Thank you for all your comments!

Dorothy: tencel and snowflake, well I do use a floating selvedge and a temple as drawn in could fray the edge threads. I might even set the width on the back of the loom slightly wider by 1/4 to 1/2 an inch so it flows better through the heddles and reed.

Sue: higher humidty is better for weaving with linen! So if you feel inclined, give it a try.

Charlotte: I use pirns and the wirey linen can coil off the end of them. I have used linen dry but let it sit on the bobbin at least over night and its better behaved. Linda Heinrich ( author of The Magic of Linen) was a guild sister and she recommended winding carefully, then lightly moistening a clean cloth and rolling the bobbins in it, then into a plastic bag over night. The moisture tames the linen and it's becomes much better to weave with. You must use a damp linen weft for the entire project though. Linen is suceptible to mold and mildew if left 'wet' at room temperature, so for short times, put in the fridge. If its to wait longer, then slip in to the freezer where it will wait endlessly!

There are so many different ways of weaving and while all of it works, some works better for others.

India said...

I love the snowflake pattern. So beautiful!

Elena said...

Susan, your runner is absolutely gorgeous--i just love your work! thanks for the tutorials. weaving is serious brain exercise, isn't it?
Apolonia and i just got back from camping on Cortes Island up by Campbell River. Walking pristine beaches and swimming in a turqoise lake during the heat was heavenly. i can't wait to wear my shawl....