Sunday, June 19, 2011

Making Blue

The tie up on a countermarche loom is fully double that of a jack loom but oh, so worth it! The large shed and easy treadling is a delight. For a twelve shaft /12 treadle project, that's 144 ties. Even a healthy back may have an issue or three by the time you waded through that! So, I decided to make the most of my projects by leaving a tie up in place and reworking the project and loading on another warp. First project was three scarves and this project will be three table runners, all woven in the gebrochene hind und under pattern.

I was inspired by Dorothy's runner (also shown at the link above) that she sent me for my birthday and so went looking for a fine 16/2 mercerised cotton in cream. I was more than a little stunned to find that I have none! How did that happen? In fact it always makes me laugh that I have a stash the size I do and still need to buy more. So I decided to see what I did have that would work and found a mercerised deep midnight blue 16/2 that might do. So I wound a 6 1/2 yard warp of 537 ends, for a width of 14.92" in the reed. I plan to sett the project at 36 epi, using a 12 dent reed.

Beaming a warp on the Louet Spring is a breeze and it goes quickly. Here's a review of the process. Here's the current project ready to load on the loom:

The bubble wrap stops the ends from slipping into the raddle slots on top! After a bit of work slipping the ends through the rod and lacing on, and filling the raddle, you have this:

Slip in the brown paper and wind on, tweaking the threads at the raddle every so often. The warp didn't give me any trouble winding on but it was another matter when it came to threading! Mercerised cottons have been treated to be smooth and shiny... right? They should behave.... right?  Well, no!

Every single warp thread did this (above) as I tried to thread. They clung to each other like they were mohair!
I like to pull my heddles across in an easy pattern, in this case one through four and then take four warp ends slotted between my fingers and then reach through with a hook to thread. 

Some times the thread pulled free of its clingy siblings and other times, they knotted. I kept a needle handy to open snarls. This meant the threading took far longer to do and my patience ran thin at times. Air got a little 'blue'  :)

I also took many breaks as it meant being hunched over far longer than I planned on. I wanted to use a natural beige 40/2 linen and so wound six pirns tightly and then dampened a clean new dishcloth and rolled the pirns into it, then slipped it all into a zip loc bag and placed in the fridge. In 24 hours they should be evenly damp and easier to weave with over the dry wirey linen straight off the cone. {but once you start a project with damp linen, you must continue till you finish and not switch to dry weft. This may mean winding  new pirns and having to wait till the next day to finish. } Its also best to allow the new cloth to dry before being curled up on the cloth roll.  If you are not able to weave with the damp pirns, store in the fridge. If you can't get to weaving for a few days, then slip the pirns into the freezer. Why all this fuss? Linen is susceptible to mildew if left damp and warp. Defrosting pirns only takes 15 to 20 minutes ahead of resuming your project. I just leave mine in a spot of sunshine and its ready in no time.

This is the first runner underway and I wasn't sure if I liked it or not. Its a busy pattern and that's why I was looking for softer shades of cream to play the greyed beige linen off. I thought it wouldn't hurt to complete it as someone would love it and buy it for their home or as a gift.  Its never failed to amaze me how something I have woven that I didn't like becomes someone's absolute favourite!

These two pictures are of my second runner in a 'tone on tone' approach to use a play of light to show the pattern to a good advantage.  Click to enlarge and you'll notice that there are 2 shades of blue: the lighter shade is the 16/2 cotton warp and my weft is an approx 'skinny' 8/2 orlec. Yup, a synthetic yarn. For one, it was a gorgeous shade of deep navy blue and it also means the runner will be more hard wearing and easier to iron.  {Orlec comes in 90+ colours and is super for day to day table linens such as placemats, napkins and such as today's households can't fuss with specialized laundry. I have alternated end for end with a good quality cotton as well and the table cloth turned out great!}

Runner number three is due to start and I have no idea what the weft will be! It will be from the stash though as Canada has a nation wide postal strike going on right now. Can you imagine it? Being cut off from yarn orders like this?
Oh, the horror!


Lynnette said...

Wow! Looka like you've been weaving like mad... I'm so glad that you're feeling better and can sit and create such lovely things....Can't wait to see all three table runners complete.

Linda said...

It's always such a treat to see what's being worked up on your looms. I look forward to seeing these off the loom and finished for a better look at the pattern. Having just finished one, I found that I would just not be sure of how much I liked it until I was half out the door and the light turned out. It was only then that I could see the full effect of the beautiful pattern. Your work is always such an inspiration!

Anonymous said...

Lovely! Now I am thinking about orlec....maybe I need to try this yarn. Horrors, what do you mean postal strike! Yikes, hope it is over soon.

Unknown said...

I love your second runner!
In a few days I will have a Louet Spring. I think I will visit your blog often for technical details as it is my first Louet. Until now I only used "traditional" countermarche looms such as Glimakra, Oexabaeck or Arm.
Thanks for your inspirations!

Sandra Rude said...

Show me a weaver, and I'll bet you're showing me somebody who knows how to turn the air blue. We've all been there. Yarns can be angels, or devils, it just depends. A yarn that is an angel one day? Tomorrow is another story. Your runners look wonderful. What an interesting draft!

dorothylochmaben said...

I like the blue one with the natural linen weft, it shows the pattern up really well ! The tone on tone one is softer though and not as 'busy'.
You can't afford to be interrupted when weaving that draft !!
As always your hem stitching is an inspiration !