Thursday, December 16, 2010

Switch to Plan B

So if it hurts to sit on my loom benches and weave on my floor looms right now, then how about a comfy supportive chair and my Louet Jane table loom on its stand?

So I dug through my stash and found some silk/ wool blend that I hand dyed back in 2000 for a calendar project. I have been pushing the left over yarns around ever since and thinking to myself "got to do something with that' ever since. Its time has come!  I found a pin wheel draft I liked but knew it wasn't the one I had used in 2000... but close enough right?  The yarn is 60/4 in grist, 60% silk and 40% wool and is 6400 yard per pound and so quite fine. My old weaving notes say my sett was 32 epi. I used a 12 dent reed sleyed 2,3,3. Okay... and I was off to wind my warp. I decided that I would do only one scarf this time as I would be bored to sobs by the end of it and two would be a bit much! That's a lot of lever flipping. So  seven inches wide equals 232 ends all 3 yards long, and a bit later it looked like this:

The Jane is neat to wind a warp onto! If you are a neat freak, then this picture is all kinds of perfection. All that's missing in this shot is the lacings between the metal rod and the wood rod which happened right after I took the picture. ( In fact the Louet looms are all designed with ease in warping).
The front of the loom looks like this:

The levers are all down  (which raise the shafts) and this keeps them out of the way of the warp through the raddle, then there is a simple wrap around the breast beam to provide some tension. So far, so good!
Winding on started and went smoothly. I did a round of slim warping sticks around the lumps and bumps, then switched to heavy brown paper.

See? It went on so smoothly! Next, I flipped the beater up and over to the back, then lowered the lease stick ties so they held the lease sticks down lower for threading. In my comfy chair and did the straight draw threading of 1 through 8. Then the sleying of 2,3,3 in my 12 dent reed.  Tie onto the front and start weaving according to my substitute draft.  It looks a bit too open for my liking but my notes clearly states 32 epi and I recall the fabric was lovely.  Actually I'm not feeling the love for this pinwheel ...

I felt I needed to double check a few things before going any further. I rummaged around for half an hour in my studio and finally found the old calendar! I wanted to see and feel the cloth and know if the 32 epi is better after wet finishing. Even better was that the old draft and tie up was printed too!!  I had forgotten about that. So I plan to 'un-weave' this section and use the old tie up. You'll see why in a minute.....

The Ponderosa Spinners, Weavers and Fibre Artists (Kelowna, BC) were casting about for a fund raiser and  guild member Christine Kirtz came up with the idea of doing a calendar. At first it didn't get a whole lot of support, but that didn't deter Chris one bit. She put the bit between her Irish teeth and went full steam ahead. She did all the pricing and planning and while she couldn't find twelve weavers, she did find six. So one sample for every two months.
More people were coming on board and provided yarns, inspiration or  help dyeing yarns. Soon there was a buzz going and I started to wonder if the planned 100 calendars would be enough? I believe they settled on 200 copies.  I agreed to do a sample and my yarns were the one purchase they did make that I can recall and the silk wool blend was discounted by Treenway. I dyed the yarns with acid dyes to produce the violet and what I call charcoal gray. It was supposed to be black but didn't go as planned. { I had such difficulty dyeing blacks that I still buy professionally dyed black silks...  and yes, I followed the instructions!}

To see these or any photos better, click to embiggin!

January/ February was shadow weave in orlec by Lyndsay and June.

March April was a medley of alpaca woven Log Cabin style by Ellie. I believe the alpaca was hand spun so extra kudos to Ellie on this one!

May June was Christine's and featured a hound's tooth check in wools. I have done this draft myself in different colours to great success.

July and August was woven by Julia in the neat coloured cottons from Fox Fiber. They change colour and usually deepen in shade as they are washed.

And here's mine! September October in the pinwheel pattern I really prefer! The wheels are crisper and clearer... see...

There's nothing wrong with this sett and I love the swirly stars. Yup, I'm unweaving and switching to this one.

The last sample for November December was rose path/ point twill that resembles  log cabin, but not really.
If the name is familiar, Linda wrote the Magic of Linen and the recent rewrite " Linen: From Flax Seed to Woven Cloth". Yes the sample was woven in linens. (what else could it be?  :)

The calendars were a huge hit and they quickly disappeared. Christine's project raised $800.00, after expenses,  for the guild's bank account and I still recall her happy face when Chris gave her final report.  Chris and I stayed in touch for many years via email after I moved. We would usually discuss some new draft or yarn she wanted to try and once armed with some information, off she went to weave. She was not afraid to try anything and I admired that in her. She passed away a couple of years ago but two weeks before she died, she was asking me a weaving related question! Amazing lady....

So my sciatica is starting to settle down, I have some weaving to play with and a new wheel to spin on so what's not to like? I know this is a crazy busy time of year , but take time out to play as well.


Marion B. said...

That jane loom is gorgeous and I understand why you want to change your pattern. I like it better too. I do hope you can weave on your floor looms soom even though this loom is pretty too :-)

Theresa said...

It's not hard to love that pinwheel design. I have gone back and forth over doing it myself with this current towel warp. So glad to hear your back is improving. Don't over do yet though!
Enjoy the play time! I have left myself a good amount. Shopping,shipping and wrapping done, just a few more things to make and .....:)

Jabberwarpy said...

I hope you are feeling better. I have occasional back problems and they are the worst. Thank goodness for Jane!

dorothylochmaben said...

Hi there - pleased to see a warp on Jane and you are weaving once more ! the calendar pictures are very good, what a great idea for fund raising, all credit to that lady for her hard work.
Yes, I like the original pin wheel draft much better too.
Take care of that back !

Karen said...

I love the pinwheel, but especially the entire calendar idea! What fun! Christine sounds like she was an amazing lady!

I hope your back continues to improve, but in the meantime you seem set up to do some lovely work.

Lynnette said...

So glad to hear that you've found a way to weave again! You must have been having mondo withdrawal...
I've woven that 'curly twill' pinwheel in 2/12 merino successfully and the drape of the scarf is wonderful and so striking! I love, love, love the colours!

Dyeingforewe said...

I like the second pin wheel design best, the swirly bits are lovely!
Black is a heck for me to dye as well. I've been buying my black fiber because I haven't been able to get a true black that doesn't look brown or purple in large batches. I'm going to keep at my tests though!

bspinner said...

Black and violet pinwheel is lovely!!! Both the color and design. It's so much fun doing guild projects when we did our calendar we only gave it to our guild members. All seven of us.

I'm s happy your back is doing much better.