I’m going to blame it all on having the flu, or too many mojitos, or the weather, or whatever. Today was one of those days where I gave myself a headache from smacking my self upside the head too many times.
First I woke up with a panic attack. You know the kind, your to do list stretches across the desk and onto the floor and you only have 28 days to get it all done. I leave February 13 for a two week teaching tour of the southwest, and all of this has to be done before I go, plus a hundred other things that aren’t even on the list. No pressure whatsoever…
The general way things are going, isn’t conducive to getting 200 things off my to do list in that short of time. Some of the things are easy quick tasks, like Pay NJ Sales Tax. Others, like build website for Frances Irwin Guild (which I’ve promised them for over a year), can’t be done with a quick phone call.
And there are all the exhibit deadlines. No one will die if I don’t enter the yardage exhibit, or Small Expressions for Convergence this year, but it is sort of important to me. So I push myself. And of course, nothing is cooperating.
So I got myself up this morning, well enough from my flu bout to kick it into high gear. I carried my tea to my loom and sat. I worked on this fabric all day yesterday, trouble shooting, correcting crossed threads (only a couple, not bad for more than 1100 threads) but the stripes of cotton lace yarn, set in a 2/1 birds eye are giving me all sorts of grief. It is a springy yarn, and very sticky. I’m getting all sorts of skips. And that can’t happen when you are trying to blow through ten yards of fabric on a loom. This fabric has to weave like butter and all these problems need to be worked out somehow. On top of the sticky yarn, the treadling sequence I designed to simultaneously weave the three different structures is really difficult to follow. I can’t see where I am in the sequence, and it isn’t logical. So I sat with my weaving software, and re-figured the tie-up and treadling sequence, and came up with something that was a lot more logical.
The problem with the second version, was I would be lifting 5 very heavy rock maple shafts on a 45″ wide loom, every time I pushed a treadle. I’m out of shape for that, and I’ll never make it for the remaining 9 yards of fabric in a timely fashion. I need this to weave like butter. And it doesn’t address the sticky warp problem, it will only compound it. I had spent about an hour this morning retying all the treadles with the new tie up, when suddenly it was one of those aha moments, I smacked the side of my head and went, “duh…”
What I needed to do here was weave the fabric upside down. That way I only need to lift 3 of the 8 treadles, and that should also solve the sticky warp problem.
So off I went, back under the loom (how convenient that my weaving software has a button that says “change face” and it automatically gives you the inverse tie-up.) I retied everything a third time, and then resumed my sample.
In my sample, I am playing with different weft yarns, dark, light, cotton, rayon, wool, blends, thick, thin, and once I’ve exhausted those possibilities, I cut the fabric I’ve done off the loom, usually about 3/4 of a yard, and then I cut that apart into three pieces.
Now comes the fun part. I keep the first sample for my notebook. I can clearly see what wefts I used, and it is a great right off the loom reference. I stitch well around the perimeter of the other two samples, and take the second one and throw it in the bathroom sink with some shampoo, swish it around for a few minutes, and roll it in a towel, hanging it to dry. The third sample goes through the washer and dryer with a load of jeans or towels.
Here I have all of the finishing options at my fingertips, and I can really see how a yarn will perform and check my sett. I was surprised at the results, and ended up selecting a dark plum rayon weft, and yippee, a quick calculation says I’ll have enough to actually weave this puppy off.
So I loaded up a shuttle, and started weaving and I’m very happy and confident that I can weave this fabric off, get it washed, dried and photographed, by the January 31st deadline.
I still have two pieces to finish on another loom for Small Expressions…
While my swatches were drying, I went back to the website I’ve been working on sporadically for the last couple of months. The design I’m working on has these menu buttons for the navigational links, and I wanted to make them from pictures of handwoven fabric.
The site is coming together, I’m still creating in Photoshop, trying out different options, once I’m happy with everything, and my guild buddy Sally who is collecting all the data approves, I’ll move over to Dreamweaver and start to actually construct this thing. But I couldn’t figure out how to make an oval button template, I was doing it in a really convoluted way, and I knew there had to be an easier way to do this. After all, this is Photoshop, there should be six easier ways to do it. I tossed Sally, an email, something like, any idea if there is an easier way, and the response came back, how about making a Path and then just moving the path from one image to another. Paths, paths, paths, I’m scratching my head, so out comes the manual. Let me just say here, that making paths in Photoshop is probably in the beginners manual. I apparently skipped over that part. Duh… It took me about 15 minutes to figure it all out, and then I went crazy making little oval menu buttons from all the guild photos Sally gave me.
The end result is I got a site I’m pretty happy with, and now I only have to go and build it. I got a thumbs up from Sally, and I’m on my way. So today was one of those days where you sit back and say, Wow! I crossed two huge hurdles, and accomplished a lot. My to do list is still spilling off my desk, but I’m a little less stressed than I was this morning…