Monday, May 16, 2011

In Which We Actually Weave Something!

This project has been a long time coming. I have woven it before and chose it again knowing it was what I call 'mindless' zen weaving, great for listening to music or podcasts  while you treadle one to eight, and one to eight again and again, occasionally  measuring for length or mix matching colours for the borders.  No, this warp has sat patiently due my bad back and then again while I worked on a new seat to weave from.  Rear mounted treadles make for lighter work but the whole leg must depress down almost to the floor which in turn pulls on lower back muscles.  So it waited and rather patiently too. I even thought about selling this loom (which I really do not want to do) but now with my new chair, and well rested back, I'm weaving there again. Mind you I'm not breaking any speed records but I don't want another three month time out again for a cranky back if I can help it.

I'm not certain when the warp was wound but this warp was already on the loom when Lynnette came for a visit last September. Yup, that long. in my defense, I did keep my Louet Spring, 'Lilibet' busy as best I could!

So let's start at the beginning: The draft is # 47 'Breaks and Recesses' from The Weaver's Book of 8-Shaft Patterns by Carol Strickler (Interweave Press). Sorry but I don't have a draft to post but this book is so common in guild libraries, if not your own collection. Here's a great post on this same pattern. At weaving Carol and wood working hubby Craig's Studio Tupla you can see that even more complex versions are possible. It is a simple straight draw threading and all the pattern is in the tie up. Then you treadle a simple run of one to eight.  It produces nice tidy little boxes with a clear plain weave line all around the squares. Little thirsty squares and so perfect for kitchen towels. There are no long floats and its completely reversible. My last effort was in 16/2 finer cottons and they sold quickly. The idea was to use 8/2 cottons this time and do it as a stash reducer ( and I use that term loosely). My sett is 24 epi so there are three squares to one inch. It sure makes planning stripes easy. If you do a single rows of colour, then you get diamonds as shown in the Studio Tupla link
Here are my colours:

 It would seem my planning last fall worked out nicely for spring! They are very Easter like, although I'm even late for that now! White, plum, celery green, salmon pink and a yellow. All are from Brassards in Quebec.  I wound them in one inch bouts and beamed them onto the sectional beam in my hybrid method. It looks  neat all wound on the back beam! The warp is twenty five inches wide. I like big towels.

Then I suspended the lease sticks from the upper castle and started threading, followed by sleying my 12 dent reed, two per dent:

Time to start winding pirns! I'll be using  my Schacht 15 inch end delivery shuttle and it uses the longer black pirns:

My loom has a tie up assist and it makes it possible to sit on a stool at the back of the loom and pull the cords I need. Since it's at the back I must reverse the tie up on a new grid, and then since treadle one is now on the right instead of the left I must reverse the treadle order as well! Its easier than it sounds and I save the new 'flipped and reversed' tie ups and reuse them. Here's my grid in use:

I isolate the row being worked on and you can see everything is clearly marked so I know where I am at all times. Here's the reason why!

The long cords hanging at the bottom are for shafts 9 through 12 as they are not being used in this 8 shaft draft. The other cords are pulled and clipped depending on either upper or lower shaft (or x's or o's) on the tie up grid. It takes me roughly ten minutes to pull the tie up above. Now that's a vast improvement over lying on the floor with the foot beam in the way and craning my neck up to do fiddly tie up's for lord knows how long.

As you can see in the picture above, I tied on and have my temple ready to go. I tried out some different colours for wefts as I wove in my header.

I'm weaving six inches for hem allowance, plus a short section of the towel that is plain solid colour, and then do a coloured border which is approximately two and half inches, then weave seventeen inches for the main body of the towel and then reverse my start. This adds up to  thirty four inches per towel. I weave a separation  between towels using scrap yarn of one repeat and then it starts all over again.

This shows the cloth making it's way down to the cloth beam. You can see the tail end of a green towel and the start and first border of a salmon pink towel......

In my next post, we'll be working on finishing and final show and tell.... in between showing our house, housework,  looking for another home and even having company for a few days! I should wear my Super Woman cape but I'm too tired to look for it!


Valerie said...

Thanks for this post and the link. I've been looking at that draft for towels for quite sometime...and now you and Carol have done some "sampling" for me.

That will be my next project for the 8 harness loom.

dorothylochmaben said...

Hi there - another great post with lots of teaching points in there ! I am a bit worried about six inches for hem allowance though - that seems more than your 'usual' maybe. The colours are beautiful and very 'fresh flower' looking if you know what I mean ! Just great to see you weaving again after all that time off with your back !

Susan said...

Hi Dorothy

I should have said that its hem plus a section of the towel that simply plain ahead of the fancy border.

Words can be so tricky some days!

:) Susan

Anonymous said...

Susan, So glad that Lillibet is getting her fair share of weaving! Nice to hear your back is feeling better and you are up to the challenge of weaving again. I am looking forward to seeing these towels wet finished - they are going to be spectacular, the colors are lovely. Hope you and Bruce are having some fun while keeping the home front show room ready. Pet Miss C for me.

Amanda Cutler said...

Beautiful!! I can see and feel your zen! I am going to add this to my "to do" list! Thanks for the inspiration!

Evelyn said...

The tie-up assist on the loom looks like a back saver too! What a great draft -love how the pattern seems to change when all the threads move around after wet finishing.

Sandra Rude said...

Those towels look wonderful! Please post a photo (or 2) after wet finishing? And a third question: that image of the hellebore a few posts back looks to me like it would make a beautiful jacquard weaving. May I have permission to give it a try?
sandra at 3springshandworks dot com

Susan said...

Thank you everyone for your comments!

Sandra: I'll be posting pictures and a post shortly of the towels. They are being hemmed right now (by hand)

I have sent you an email and forwarded my last email to you! I hope you get it okay. I would be thrilled if you used my hellebore picture!

:) Susan