Drowning in white…

I am seriously sick of winding white warps.  I’ve solicited the help of everyone in my family and they’ve all given up.  But, I have made exceptional progress, I dare say I am probably about finished winding a huge amount of 10 yard white warps in anticipation of spending a week or two dyeing/painting, and generally turning all that white into some kind of organized color.  Or disorganized, either would work.

I follow a couple of blogs religiously, and one of them is of course, Stephanie McPhee, the Yarn Harlot.  She is hilarious, and one of the best writers, and of course a fiber junkie.  She is a knitter, and I’m really not, but it doesn’t matter, there is always something about one of her posts I find I can identify with, and come away smiling.  Except the one today.  I came away smiling, but I also came away shaking my head.  Stephanie talks about her stash being like an archeological dig, which I can identify with, but then she goes on to talk about “a ritual tossing of the stash spring and fall.  It’s the time of greatest activity for insects and rodents.”  Huh?  She also mentions she finds stuff she didn’t know she had, like the yarn from all the way back to 2005?  Huh?

Let’s be clear here.  This is not a serious stash Stephanie discusses.  A serious stash goes back to stuff from your mother, maybe even grandmother.  From retired or deceased guild members, stuff they got from the original founding guild members.  I’ve got yarns from the 1970’s, and cloth from when I learned to sew in the 60’s.  Not too much of that, but still.  I’ve got a ton of stuff I’ve inherited, and lots of cast off’s from other weavers who were de-stashing… Weavers don’t buy a couple of skeins to whip up into a pair of socks.  We buy by the cone, or by the pound.  So unless we make a couple of scarves here and there, a ball or two of yarn is merely for sampling.  I’ve been known to buy 5 pound cones of something if the price is right and there is a spitting chance I’ll use it before I die.  Even then, some lucky recipient will inherit that 5 pound behemoth if I don’t and it will live on in someone else’s stash.  Weavers are notorious for holding onto stuff indefinitely.  Since I don’t buy a lot of wool, though there is plenty in the older stash, I don’t have insect problems, at least not that I’ve discovered.  And my studio is on the second floor, so rodents aren’t usually a problem.

Winding1winding2Anyway, my recent decision to go through the natural’s stash, and wind copious amounts of 10 yard warps in various sizes, with the intent of dyeing, made me really look at what I’ve got.  And I made a dent, at least a little one.  And the rumor is from one of my guild members, that my stash is pretty modest.

So I wound, listening on my iTouch, to Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal Vegetable Miracle, her year long experiment buying only local food for her family.  I now know everything I ever needed to know about asparagus, including the fact that I’m most likely never going to start an asparagus patch.

I wound, and wound, and stopped to shop online for Christmas presents, Amazon is a wonderful thing.  My husband has already opened the new Nikon 12 megapixel Digital SLR camera, just to make sure it all works…  🙂

Warps1Warps2I wound and wound, and stopped to make my family food.  I wound and wound and stopped to change over the laundry.  My arms ache from so much winding.  But I have warps wound and ready for color.  And the best part, the upper cabinets, where I keep much of the naturals stash, is clean and dusted, and repacked and organized, and I think I must have reduced the naturals stash by half?  This should keep me busy for the next year.empty_cones There is something very satisfying about tossing (recycling) all the empty cones.

And if there was too small an amount on a cone to really make a warp that would have enough ends to seriously contribute to a 10 yard length of yardage, I wound it into approx 2 yard skeins with my AVL warping mill.

After about the 10th skein I wound, I thought I should check that indeed the circumference of the mill was 2 yards.  I was sort of shocked to find that the circumference was actually only 70″.  I’m not sure why that is, but using the revolution counter made for some tricky math calculations, # of revolutions x 70″ divided by 36″.  Then I’d know how much was on each skein.AVLWheel Of course the first 10 skeins I wound are all incorrect.

I did keep a notebook of all the yarns I wound both for skeins and for warps.  I did a yield calculation with the McMorran Yarn Balance, to determine how many yards/lb. and then noted now many ends I wound for the warps, at 10 yards long, and assigned it a letter which I copied onto a hang tag with a Sharpie Marker, so later I’d know what the heck was actually in that warp/skein.

Anyway, I’m tired.  And I’m cross-eyed.  And I’m really really grateful I don’t do the whole Thanksgiving cooking thing.  I’ll get together with my bonus sister tomorrow (she came with the package when my mom remarried a couple of years ago), she only lives a half hour away, and we will share dinner duties, I get the easy no cook stuff, store bought pies and salad fixins, and we will have fun for a couple of hours.  I could use a break from all this white…

So, enjoy your day of gratitude, what ever makes you happy.  Sometimes it is the little things, like a stash dig.  Sometimes it is getting together with people you care about.  Sometimes it is just knowing that for today, the body parts are working and there is a pile of fiber just waiting for the swan dive into…

White Yarn Everywhere…

I actually thought I had a rather good idea when I wrote my last post.  I really do need to get all my naked looms warped, especially the large one, I fear I haven’t actually put a warp on it since I started this blog, and that was almost a year ago.  Shame on me…

Largely I need to dye more warps, I was so inspired with the last set of warps I dyed, and I spent the better part of 2007 weaving up the yardage from all the dyed warps.  I spent the whole spring of this past year sewing garments from that yardage, and I’m completely out of all my handwoven yardage (except vintage scraps) and there are no more dyed warps just hanging around to inspire me.

I am probably sitting on 50-75 pounds of white yarn.  All kinds of white yarn.  I’d say the bulk is rayon, and there is of course a lot of cotton as well.  I’ve only a couple of large cones of a loop mohair and some beautiful cashmere and something, again, all white.  All of it needs dyeing.  I also have a cabinet full of MX dyes from Pro-Chem.  I’ve been talking about doing a week of dyeing, but that would mean a week with nothing on the calendar demanding my time, where I can turn my space into a dye studio, and work uninterrupted.

Now I actually have the time, all my calendar commitments are finished for the year, and the yardage deadline for HGA Convergence Exhibit is a mere two months away.  I need to get cracking.  I decided to take advantage of the fact that my son is into me for more than $200. and put him to work.  Winding warps is basically mindless work, hard to mess up, and I’d be working right next to him making sure that there are no screw-ups.  He worked very slowly and very carefully, and I was pretty proud of how he stuck with it.

Eric helps me wind warps for dyeing.
Eric helps me wind warps for dyeing.
Using a cone holder and a paddle, I wound eight ends at a time.
Using a cone holder and a paddle, I wound eight ends at a time.

I pulled down all the white cones I thought I wanted to wind into 10 yard warps.  I grouped cones together,  If I had one gigantic cone, I gave it to my son, and he started to wind, single thread, listening to his tunes, and plodding along.  I took advantage of cones where I had multiples of the same yarn, and used the paddle on another warping mill, and we both spent the weekend winding white warps.

Some of the warps we wound, and lots of yarn still to wind...
Some of the warps we wound, and lots of yarn still to wind...

One of my readers, Diane, commented on the last post, asking why I didn’t use the AVL warping mill for this task.  I thought about it, and decided that the standard warping mill was still the best, easiest to get a cross, and put a large amount of ends, I usually wind anywhere from 250-500 ends, depending on the size of the yarn and how much is on the cone.  I’ll figure out later what I want to do with it.  And I think it is easier to be able to tie everything off before chaining, when it is on a standard mill.

However, I did get to thinking about Diane’s

The AVL mill comes in handy once again, for winding 2 yard skeins for dyeing.
The AVL mill comes in handy once again, for winding 2 yard skeins for dyeing.

suggestion of using the AVL warping wheel and thought it was a pretty good idea for winding skeins for dyeing.  I don’t think a three yard skein would fit on the umbrella swift for winding back into a ball once it is dyed, three yards being the outer perimeter of the AVL mill, but if I moved the brackets down the struts, I can get a two yard circumference, and that’s perfect for winding a skein.  So I played around with the mill, I haven’t ever moved the brackets to the two yard set up, and I was surprised at how easy it was.  I had a full skein on the wheel in no time, a lot faster than winding yarn for  skeins around the standard mill.  I just used the little reed to help guide the yarn into position on the wheel.  Once the skein was wound, I just unbolted two of the brackets and popped them out and I could easily pull off the skein.

The yarn does me no good on the shelf, so I might as well just wind.

Using stretcher bars as a frame, we warped with strips of quilt fabric, and started twining a mat.
Using stretcher bars as a frame, we warped with strips of quilt fabric, and started twining a mat.

Meanwhile, I mentioned the Frances Irwin Handweavers meeting  Monday the 9th, where member Jeri Shankler gave a lovely presentation on twining a mat.  She made little frames for everyone, with nails across both ends, and we cut 2″ strips of quilt fabrics and warped with the fabric strips.  Twining is actually a technique I use to use for texture when I did tapestry, so the concept came pretty quickly.  She had an illustration and I can’t tell you how much fun I had just twining away with the fabric, chatting with the guild member next to me.  I wanted to clear the project off my cutting table to make way for all the white yarn.

The finished mat.
The finished mat.

So I sat down the other night, and just finished it off.  What a fun technique, so many techniques, so little time…

And last Sunday, in the middle of the guild show and sale, I went to Bergen County to the opening of the Focus on NJ exhibit at the Art Center of Northern NJ in New Milford.  I enjoyed the exhibit, mostly painting and drawing, a few sculptures, but I got a shot of my two pieces hanging in the gallery space, happily living side by side with the other works.

My woven piece Big Sister is hanging in the upper center of the photograph.
My woven piece Big Sister is hanging in the upper center of the photograph.
My woven piece Watching Death Come is hanging in the lower right hand corner.
My woven piece Watching Death Come is hanging in the lower right hand corner.

It is interesting to view my work in a two dimensional context, surrounded by more traditional fine art medium.  I’m rather enjoying the exposure, and living in these two different worlds.  In the handweaving community, the emphasis is on technique, how you did it, and the complexity of the structure, are really important.  In the art community, how you did it is sort of a novelty, the tag only says, Mixed Media, but more importantly, it is about content and imagery.  The piece is judged on the strength of the image.  The technique is a distant second.  And of course, the metaphor of weaving, constructing a life row by row, is so commonplace among the handweavers, we sort of take it for granted, and it isn’t important to the visual imagery of the piece, but in the art community, that metaphor of reconstruction becomes a critical part of the voice of the artwork.

Friday night, my husband and I took my daughter and a friend into NYC to see the off Broadway show, Avenue Q, for her birthday.  My husband and I had seen the AvenueQsmshow many years ago, before it won the Tony Award, and now that it has moved off Broadway, into a smaller venue, we decided to take my daughter who has been dying to go every since she got hold of the score.  To say this show is funny and biting would be a bit of an understatement.  If you haven’t seen Avenue Q, it is an adult version of Sesame Street, with Henson puppets, and incredibly talented puppeteers, a biting  satirical score, and some wonderful poking fun at some of the stupidity of the human race.  My daughter didn’t stop laughing for the entire show.  Her favorite characters were these two overly cute bears, that popped up at the most unfortunate times, called the “Bad Idea Bears”.  They acted like the conscience of my 19 year old son and his friends, why buy a 6-pack when a case is more economical?  And of course all of their bad ideas had some wickedly bad consequences.

Anyway, after the show, the cast sold merchandise and a photo-op with the Bad Idea Bears and actress/puppeteer Maggie Lakis, as a fund raiser for Broadway Cares: Equity Fights Aids.  I think Brianna felt this was the best birthday present ever.

Tomorrow:  More warp winding…

The Indestructable Structo!

structosThis is the tale of two looms and a 19 year old who was into me for $300.  The reason he was into me for $300. isn’t important, but as he is trying to work off this rather cumbersome debt, I’m trying to think of things for him to do besides clean my house thoroughly, which he has already done.  I was going to set him to work on the outside gardens today, but alas, it has poured rain steadily through the entire day.  So, that leaves something for me to invent for him to do in the studio.  Enter two small Structo looms I acquired on my travels.  The one on the right is an eight shaft, which had been refurbished, the finish is awful, but all the parts are there and in working order, except the aprons are cut way too narrow for the already narrow little loom.  (For the non weavers, the aprons are the white cloth on the front and back beams that attach to the warp and the finished cloth.)

The second loom was also given to me, and all the pieces to it are sort of there, but many of the cross pins are missing and the loom frame had some creative copper beam replacements.  This loom also had a hex warp beam with four two inch spools that fit snugly on the hex beam, and held a lot of fine warp.  I unreeled one of the spools and pulled off about 20 yards. That’s a lot of warp for such a tiny loom.

PPSpouseI want to set up one of these looms to make more of the little Personal Post series postcards, I’ve had some luck with in exhibits.  The cards themselves are only about 6 x 4″, so having an 8″ wide loom, with a long warp on it should let me weave for awhile and see what I can come up with, without tying up my larger looms.  And the way they were perched on top of two spool racks as you entered my studio made for some dangerous snowball effects when one or both of them caught on someone’s clothing and went careening off their perch.  But I digress…

I technically only need four shafts for the structure for the post cards, it is a Theo Moorman inlay, with two shafts for the ground, and two shafts for the tie-down threads.  The problem is I need a lot of heddles.  And as far as I know, Structo heddles are no longer made.  Someone please tell me if I am wrong on this…  Between the 12 shafts I have on the two looms, I have enough heddles for the job, and I can use 4 shafts for the ground instead of two, because I can.  So enter my 19 year old.  His assignment once he rolled out of bed at noon, was to dismantle both looms, and keep the best parts, and transfer 60 heddles to each of six shafts.  Here’s the thing.  Heddles, those little wire things with eyes, where each warp thread is threaded through, all have to face in the same direction.  Or anyway in the perfect world they should.  Older looms, where heddles have been added and taken away, tend to have a mismosh of heddle directions which is a pain in the neck to thread.  So he worked for about an hour and a half, creating for me a nice eight shaft loom with lots of heddles, all going in the same direction.

avlend of warpMeanwhile, I pulled out the AVL warping mill to see if I could figure out how to wind warp on those little spools that fit on the hex beam.  First the math.  The Structo reed is a fixed 15 dent.  The thread I pulled off the spools, was pretty close to a 20/2’s cotton, which is pretty fine.  And from the quick count I did, they used that thread sleyed double through the reed, at 30 ends per inch.  What I couldn’t figure out was how to put the warp on the spools to begin with.  So I unwound each of the spools, like peeling paint off a house, there must have been about 20 different warps tied end on end.  I got to the end of the spool, and found that the ends of the warp were all glued to some kind of paper tape that then inserted into a metal flange and the way the beam was wound, kept the paper from pulling out.

I dug around in my vast archives of stuff, and found my roll of paper tape, and grabbed the two cones I bought of 14’s linen, (from my trip to Silk City a couple weeks ago), which appeared to be pretty close to a 20/2 cotton, and a small cone of brown serger thread that matched pretty well.  The serger thread is finer than sewing thread, and works well for the tie down yarns.

OK, I’ve never done something like this before, I use my AVL warping wheel for winding sectional warps.  It came with a 20 dent reed, which is really odd, who uses a 20 dent reed, or so I thought at the time.  Turns out that the actual space in each spool is 1 1/2″, and 30 dents in a 20 dent reed is 1 1/2″.  How cool is that?  (If you aren’t a weaver and are reading this, I probably lost you back on the first paragraph.  Sorry, but this is one of those posts that gets kind of technical so you may want to just look at the photos and tune in another time to see what I actually do with all this!)

beamingbeaming2So I wound my 2″ worth of linen/serger thread warp into the warping mill, using the 20 dent reed, which meant the real width here was only 1 1/2″.  Then I beamed one of the spools directly off the AVL mill, right onto the back beam of the loom, which is missing its entire castle housing because my son has it apart on my cutting table.  You can see the band of thread coming through the 20 dent reed.  Each dent has two ends of linen and one end of serger thread.

I used the paper tape and glued it over the ends to start(it’s the kind you just lick, do they even make that anymore?  It’s used for taping up boxes, you can see the little roll to the right of the loom.)  The paper tape held the ends really well, keeping the order, and slipped into the flange of the spool and I just started winding. The warp went on like butter, smoothest thing I’ve ever wound.  The 15 yard warp beamed in about 3 minutes.  I finished winding the warp by putting a piece of the paper tape over the ends coming out of the reed on the AVL mill.  That kept my thread order and allowed me to move on to the next spool.

Everything went well until I got to the last spool.  spools_threespoolsThere was plenty of linen, but the serger spool wasn’t looking like it was going to make it.  Of course it was my only one, and as luck would have it, Coats and Clarks discontinued it’s Tru-Lock serger thread, replacing it with something else, which didn’t come in that color, Chona Brown.

I had overwound the first warp for the first spool by a half dozen dents, so I had pulled it off and tossed it in the trash.  Realizing I was going to be really close, and might make it to within the last half inch of warp, where I don’t really need the tie down threads, I went into the trash and pulled out this mess…

messActually, it was a lot worse, this was what was left after about an hour’s worth of work and having the dog come cruising through the little pile I’d pulled out of the serger thread.  But perseverance is my middle name, after all I am a handweaver and that sort of goes with the territory.  Most weavers I know would take a couple hours to undo a mess like this, and after the serger thread was pulled out and rewound onto the cone, I managed to squeak out the last warp spool on the loom with only the end 1/2″ with no tie down threadsbeaming3.  Which is actually fine.  The problem is, when I wound the last spool on the loom, the 1/2″ without the serger thread was on the inside not the outside of the spool.  So I figured I’d have to do some creative threading, and maybe stretch some of the thread from other bundles, and anyway, it was time to make dinner.

My lovely creative pink haired daughter came into the studio after dinner and asked her usual, “Watcha doin’?”  I showed her my dilemma, and she said, rather annoyed, “Mom, just rearrange the spools on the beam…”

Boy did I feel stupid.  So in about 15 seconds, I popped the four spools off the hex beam, rearranged the spools so the missing 1/2″ of tied down threads is now at a selvedge edge, and all is well.threading

So, now I’m threading my loom, all the heddles are going in the same direction, and life is good.  These little looms are a pain in the butt to thread, but I can put up with anything for 8″.  I tossed out a 1/2″ of tie down threads on the opposite selvedge, so the two selvedges would match.  I’m still not sure that the sett is appropriate for this fine yarn, in what I’m trying to do with it, but I won’t really know until I actually start weaving.  So stay tuned!

If you want more information on the AVL warping mill, the AVL site has lots of information and I also cover it in my monograph, “Warp Fast”, which also covers sectional warping and warping with a paddle.  The AVL warping mill works like a dream when winding the warping spools for the small Structo’s.  And my little Leclerc Structo wannabee, that I’ve been using for the rug samples for the guild seminars, also has an additional hex beam with five warping spools on it for 10″ wide!  Yippee!  And I can more than likely get more heddles for the Leclerc.

NEWS Final!

I’m home!  It is the Monday morning after, and I’m feeling the workout of the weekend!  Surprisingly I’m in pretty good shape, I’m unpacked, and organized, the cutting table is clear, the bank deposit ready to go.  Mail is sorted, (I still have a couple dozen emails to work through), but I’m doing better than I thought, and my wrenched shoulder is mending.  I just have to be careful and not lift or reach with my left arm.  No weaving on the big loom this week!  (Not that there is anything on the big loom to weave…)

It was a very inspiring weekend, and I was grateful for the opportunity to teach some workshops I haven’t taught in awhile, ones that I think are important, but I don’t usually get asked to teach them because I’m more of the Go-To girl for sewing, and no one thinks to look at proposals from me on Multiple thread warping techniques, like the warping paddle, and Photographing your Textiles.  I’m hoping that the variety of things I taught this weekend (which was everything except sewing, which is what I’m most known for), will help get the word out that I am not a one trick pony!

Somewhere in hauling my support materials from one end of campus to the other, I managed to pull a muscle, or wrench my back left shoulder, so by mid morning, I was in a huge amount of pain, and I was struggling to focus.  During the break in the color class, one of the workshop participants did a bit of Reiki on me, and that really helped get me through until lunch!  Plus the conference sent a couple of strapping guys to haul me back across campus for the afternoon session.  That was a real treat, to be followed along by a couple of guys toting my supplies.  🙂

Speaking of campuses, Smith College, which I’ve never been to, is gorgeous!  Like all New England campuses that have been around for the last 150 years, there is an architecture, a tradition, a landscaping, that creates a gardens1gardens2wonderful environment, and community that envelopes you with a tradition and grandeur that I know I didn’t feel on the campus where I attended college back in the 70’s.    The main road into the campus takes you by the lake and boat house, and the Botanical Gardens.  I did a couple of quick inspirational shots of the perennial wall along the road, and the glass conservatory.

colorclassteaMy morning class was all about color and inspiration.  Like the class I gave last month in Iowa, I love teaching this one, because it is just a jumble of color and texture and yarns, all thrown into the middle of the table wrap2and everyone is given a couple exercises where they get to loosen up and really play, without the constraints of the loom.  These little warp wrap3wraps are like sketching exercises, and weavers don’t usually walk around sketching.  One of the final exercises involved interpreting a magazine photo into yarn, and I snapped a couple shots of my favorites, including one that used a box of tea as the inspiration instead of a magazine photo!

wrap4I had to include one additional shot, from my infamous workshop participant Leslie, who is planning a 90th birthday party during the 2011 NEWS, the same Leslie who seriously sprained her ankle on her way to my Friday class in Inkle wrapleslieLoom Weaving.  Leslie not only made it to the Color and Inspiration class, but she did a couple of beautiful interpretations, the one on the left of a honeybee in a flower, and the one on the right, a room interior, interpreted with Color-Aid strips to represent a color palette.

The afternoon class, was all about using multiple yarn ends together when winding a paddlewarp.  I started the class by giving a demonstration on using the warping paddle on a warping mill (see photo right), followed by one on Sectional Warping, and then one on using the AVL Warping Wheel.  I love my AVL Warping Wheel, though it is one pretty pricey piece of equipment.  Thankfully I bought mine when they were first introduced back in 2000.

The class was finished by 4:30, and I had some really helpful workshop participants stay behind to get me packed up and down to the basement level of the building where I could pull up with my car, waveafter retrieving it from the parking garage down the road.  I was loaded in and ready to hit the road by 5pm.  I listened to the rest of my book on tape, The Other Boleyn Girl, on the 3+ hour ride home, and once home, I got to spend some time with my fuschia haired daughter who had successfully completed her first week of CIT training at Girl Scout Camp.  We took her back to the bus this morning to start week two!

Now I need to start thinking about the next conference in Durango Colorado!  I leave July 30th!

And for Something Completely Different…

Well, I accomplished a lot today, none of the things I was actually suppose to do,  I got distracted…

I did get the scholarship applications judged, that was a tough one, all the students were equally qualified.  I’m glad I wasn’t the only judge.  And I did spent a few hours getting all the work caught up for my guild programs for next year.  But that was yesterday.  You see, last Friday night, my church had a service auction, and I donated one of the scarves I made in Barbara Herbster’s class the week before,scarves and to my great surprise, there was some furious bidding, and the scarf actually sold for $135.  I talked to the woman who bought it afterward and she told me she was prepared to go to $200.  So thanks Barbara, for a beautiful warp, but it really got me thinking…  And thinking…. And thinking…

Sidebar:  I did craft fairs from 1979 – 1989.  I’ve been there, and done that.  I have such a distaste for the whole affair, total burn out.  I enjoyed the people, and the lifestyle, for awhile, but making stuff, lots of stuff, to sell, putting a price tag on creativity, trying to figure out the market, spending every weekend of your life sitting in your booth selling your soul, well, let’s just say that I swore, no matter what happened in the future, I’d never, ever do a craft fair again….  And I also said, I’d never, ever, ever sell my work again, put a price tag on it, and some of that is sort of understandable because what I do best is clothing, and once I make a garment now, I’m largely done with it, and it is nearly impossible to reproduce what I make, even if someone where to pay me handsomely for it.  Making handwoven clothing in production is no picnic, which is what I did for 10 years, I bought huge amounts of yarn wholesale, put on no less than 30 yards at a time, (weaving  it off in one day),  spent huge amounts of money on booth fees, spent ridiculous hours making stuff to sell, filling orders, running a business, and everything else that goes along with that lifestyle.  I had no life.

However, I was so enchanted with the scarves I made in Barbara’s class, mostly because she opened up a new way to look at color and blending, and using small amounts of whatever is on  the shelf to make it work, which Barbara really does do best, and I got to thinking, really thinking…

sandstone_cutoutSo I basically got the jacket cut out, because it was laying across my floor and I couldn’t walk in my studio until I got it cut out and off the floor.  I got all the tailor’s tacks in, and played around with interfacing.  I also experimented with seam finishes and couchingtopstitching.  I tried couching with a novelty warp yarn, and it really does define the seams.  And I’m hoping it is pretty flexible.

But the whole time, I’m thinking, thinking…

So, I finally gave up, and started poking around the studio, pulling yarns and skeins, and cones, and bits of stuff, because you really don’t need much here, to put on a warp for another round of scarves.yarn Oh boy was this fun…

So I stared at the pile for awhile, and played around with a draft, and wrapped a card to see if I could get a clue how this would look.  Barbara just grabs yarn and starts winding.  I’m not nearly that confident, but I can see how after awhile, this would be a great way to warp, and I can see doing this for yardage…

I had a number of variegated yarns, and some novelties, but the wrapone thing I didn’t have was any of the flat tape yarns that Barbara used for the supplemental warp.  I didn’t want to duplicate the scarf I did in Barbara’s class, after all, that was her design, but I liked the idea of having supplemental warps in some key places, and I actually found a small swatch of a knitted tape, which I carefully unknitted tapeand washed, and then painstakingly pressed to get it to return to its flattened state.  I had about 14 yards, which would work for this warp.

I’m also intrigued by the possibility of combining doup leno with this technique, to provide even more surface texture, but I’ll experiment with that down the road…  At this point, it is about getting something on the loom…

So, I grabbed my AVL warping wheel, I figured this would be a avl_wheelperfect use for it, because I’d be unloading it onto a sectional beam.  So I could wind the warps as I had them on the card, and then every two inches, dump the warp under tension right onto the warp beam.  I love this tool, it is a shame it is so expensive.  I bought mine at a long ago Convergence when AVL first introduced it, at about half the price it is now.  I remember waiting 9 months for it to come…

beamingOnce I finished winding two inches, I carried the wheel over to the loom, and slipped the end of the 9 yard warp over the back beam and hitched it to the cord for the section I  wanted to wind on the warp beam.beaming_2

I love this tool!

So, I have 2″ beamed in my 6″ scarf warp, and this will ultimately give me four scarves, and if I like them I can

  1. give them away
  2. add all four of them to my wardrobe
  3. sew all four together into a bigger cloth and make a garment out of them
  4. have a big ‘show and tell’ at my guild
  5. give them away
  6. donate them all to my church
  7. I’m running out of ideas
  8. OK, I could actually sell them.

My guild, the Jockey Hollow Weavers,  has a fabulous sale in November.  So far I haven’t participated because, gee, I refuse to sell my work.  So, depending on how these turn out, I just might actually have something to sell this placemats1year.  Stay tuned…

Meanwhile, the placemat exchange is coming down to the wire…

Score:  Mom 7, Bri 6

Bri came into the studio tonight, and sat down and did another mat.  The front beam is groaning under the weight of the 13 mats, it is a pretty small loom, and this is the one where the warp beam cracked, so I’m crossing my finger that the front beam holds as well.  After Bri finished her mat, she had about a half hour to kill while she was waiting to leave for the High School, the spring band/choral concert was tonight.  So she grabbed my camera, and shot some pictures of her latest obsession, finger braiding.  She is making all kinds of bracelets from floss, which she keeps in a box and whenever she gets bored, the box comes out and the braiding begins.  I had to share some of the patterns she has done, these adorn her wrists at the moment, and she had to photograph them on her wrists since she can’t get them off.

bri-fingerweavingbri-fingerweaving2So there you have it, a productive day for the two of us, and one of the best High School concerts I’ve ever attended.  I didn’t work on anything I was suppose to, but you know what?  I had fun…

One more note:

I did spend a couple hours this morning alpha testing the new Weavolution site.  It isn’t up for viewing yet, but this should be an awesome web connection for handweavers of all levels and disciplines, Tien Chiu is one of the principal designers for it, and coincidently her blog is one of my favorite must reads.  She talks about the site on her blog today, and the team was mentioned in the last Weavecast Podcast.  One of the features I’m playing with on this new site, is the ability to post a project, and the draft and all the specs.  I got to thinking how I should be doing that with the pieces I’ve designed and executed since I started this blog.  I’ve been thinking about that anyway, extracting all the entries for a particular piece into one document, with the draft and yarn sources, and providing it as a PDF in the extras section of my website.  But for now, I spent some time playing with the Weavolution site, some of the early bugs are getting fixed, as we find them, but it is yet another opportunity to spend your days reading about weaving and getting inspired to get something on that loom, or if you haven’t joined the ranks of handweavers in this country, this will surely inspire you.  I’ll keep you posted when Weavolution is finally launched…