Thursday, December 3, 2009

Towels and Tribulations

This sure is a busy time of year! Between Christmas shopping, regular life and errands... then throw indoor renovations into the mix and there hasn't been as much time for weaving as I would like. My big loom Emmatrude has a 9.5 yard towels project that was part of my experiment to try new methods of warping my loom. I tried to simulate the Louet method and after a fashion I did manage to get the warp on and beamed. Then the second warp beam placement raised the level of the warp at the back by 3 inches. Not ideal, but I have been weaving this warp off slowly. The threads are running elevated from the back and at the heddles the threads are touching the top of the heddle eye. While I get a shed, it's not the best to work with. There is a further complication in that the tie up assist cords appear to be out of sync and so I had to raise the beater bar assembly to keep a smooth bottom edge to throw the shuttle on. Add a narrower shed and then top threads at varying heights and it made for a slow slog.

What this means is when this warp is done and off the loom, there will need to be some adjustments made to my loom before another project can go on. For the 20+ tie up assist, it means raising the treadles to their optimum height and then placing weights on them to hold them securely in place. Then, at the back of the loom, all cords, one by one, must be pulled and tugged till all slack is gone and then pegged at the 'sweet spot'. Then all the sweet spots must be marked with a tie of non slippery yarn. I used red 2/8 cotton last time so it will be interesting to see how much discrepancy there will be this time. They say Texsolv doesn't stretch, but I have found with constant use and tension that it will 'ease' by as much as a centimetre. This can be enough to cause some problems at the front end! So in short, its time to tweak and fine tune. It's all part of knowing your loom well.

Speaking of knowing your loom well, I have decided to put the sectional back on and revert to my method of warping on this loom. I would have to practically rebuild my loom to take the second warp beam off to get the warp at the right level and I have decided I'd just rather not.
So it will be part of the 'big tweak' as well.

In the mean time, I'm weaving away, albeit a lot slower than I would like. Let's take a look at the various colours and combination so far. I'll post the finished results sometime down the road, most likely in January.

So the warp is 2/10 mercerized cotton, sett 28 epi and is a simple two block twill. I'm weaving to a towel length of 34 inches with decorative bands top and bottom. Above is white weft and decorative band. It really cuts the colours intensity! Below is the steel grey and I really like it.

More of the grey and you can see the optical diamonds the pattern creates. Neat!

Below I used the red as my main weft and while it looks okay, I'm not so keen on it. I wanted to have one towel with each colour, then repeat my favourites and possibly expand on the size of the twill blocks.

So, my favourite is the black! It really makes the colour *POP* and looks elegant. The inspiration for these towels was the new modern appliances that feature stainless steel and black exteriors. I thought they would different colour wise at sales and be a hit. ( Also being mercerized, they have a nice sheen).

So as part of our coming kitchen reno in January, it seems these fancy shmancie appliances will be coming here to our place!

Gosh darn, these look like they are going to be mine.... well, most of them!


Life Looms Large said...

The towels look great! (Your kitchen will too!!)

It's interesting to see what the different colors do. Plus cool to see such a different color scheme with twill blocks. I've seen that structure mostly with bright colors.

Have fun!! Good luck with all of the loom tweaking. Good to know about Texsolv actually easing with use.


Charlotte said...

Wow, excuse me while I drool over your towel weaving! They are SO smart, and really perfect for the glossy black kitchens you mention. I love the bold colours and the pattern compliments the colours really well. Can't wait to see the next instalment!

Benita said...

I think I like the gray best!

Boy do I understand about not getting as much weaving time in due to house renovations. Our is close to being done, and we hope to get them all done by year end.

Good luck on yours, and I must say, I love that pattern for the towels. Visually VERY interesting!!!!

Delighted Hands said...

I agree-the black weft makes the best dynamics-who woulda thought?!

ladyoftheloom said...

Why look at that! It is December 3rd!

Towels have got to be my favorite at the moment and I love those!

charlotte said...

The towel pattern is really beautiful! Thank you for showing all the color combinations as well,
whan an interresting post.

Restless Knitter said...

I like the black the best too. Very pretty. said...

I am desperately trying to get Christmas presents finished. I want to make a set of towels in red, white and black (my daughter in laws choice for her kitchen) I love your towels and may steal the idea.... hope yoy don't mind. They look really seasonal as well as smart

Cindie said...

The towels are wonderful - I love your color choice. And don't you just love 2 block twills?

Trapunto said...

I love the way the color combination looks with block twill and bands.

You know, I am really glad to hear that texsolv stretches, and I am not just crazy! Back when I could still weave on my Bergman, my frequently used and less frequently used tie up cords seemed different lengths, and I also noticed a difference between old and new texsolv heddles. (Though with the heddles the tigthness of the crochet(?) is also slightly variable, so I wonder if it isn't a matter of tolerances between batches at the factory.)

I thought of you when I visited the Woolhouse tools website last week and saw that they are have stopped manufacture now (and are selling off current stock) rather than waiting for a buyer. This seems such a pity to me--and not just because I hoped to get a Gertrude one day.

I'm wondering if you had some inconveniences with your Emmatrude even before you tried the new warping method? Enough that your Louet has become your preferred loom? I'm trying to detach myself from the idea that I am missing my chance for my dream loom!

Susan said...

I posted late last night and woke to all these nice comments...thanks!

Texsolv *must* 'ease' as the heddles become easier to shift as they wear in... so why not the cords too?
I don't believe that there are discrepancies from the factory as they would be produced with computers running the process. Too precise!

DeborahBee: you go right ahead and 'steal' away! I believe that there are virtually no drafts that haven't been used before by some weaver down the ages. If I use a particular draft, I do try to alter it in some way to make it uniquely mine... but is it really?

Trapunto: Its been awhile since I visited their web page but it doesn't surpprize me to hear they have moved to a new strategy. They have had the business quietly up for sale for some time. John is a one man operation and he's in his 70's, so one can't fault him for wanting to retire.
Before I had the 20+, I had tie up cords under the loom and they worked fine. It was just getting bulky ole me(with creaky joints) under there. The 20+, when set up properly, is wonderful and I knew that in time that a reset would be needed and its time has come. It will be just fine once done... all 384 cords!

I'm sorry that in time no more new Woolhouse Tools looms will be made ... they really are beautifully made, easy to use and set up. Perhaps you could get one used in time?


Susan said...

PS. I just checked their web site and it would seem that they will keep on producing so long as they have inventory of cut parts.

Lets hope a buyer appears! Perhaps spread the word?


Lynnette said...

The tea towels are smashing! I can't wait to see them hanging in your renovated kitchen. It is quite amazing to see how different each weft colour makes the towel. I'm a huge fan of the grey....

bspinner said...

Not only does the black make the colors pop it looks so much richer than the other colors. Very nice!!!

littlegarthlochmaben said...

Hi Susan - I love the tea towels, my favourite is the grey weft !
They will look great in the new kitchen. I guess you have your colour scheme planned out already !!