Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Encouragement, Tinkering and Training!

I ran across I picture of some of my handspun yarn online the other day.  I was shocked to see it, you see I had forgotten that we had sent it off to Syne Mitchell of Weavezine.  It will be used in her 40th Birthday Blanket, that will be auctioned off to benifit Doctors without Borders.

I was pleased however that she seemed to like what I had spun!  I am a Weaver that also likes to spin yarn.  I am self taught, which means I slugged it out with a spindle for awhile, and then went on to fight with a spinning wheel until I liked what I was spinning.  It took a long time.  I don't have a preconcieved idea of what the fiber will become, I spin with it awhile til it tells me how thin or thick it likes to be.  I really enjoy it, but I don't devote much time at all to it.  When I saw what Syne had written about that yarn  I pulled up the wheel and finished spinning the rest of it.  I am getting ready to ply it during the evenings this week, It is a yarn I have promised to my daughter.  She loves to knit and crochet, I am curious to see what she makes out of it.
Here is one skein that has been done, and waiting patiently for it's sister skein for at least 2 years!  I am excited to get it finished and out of my guilt pile.  What will I spin next?

While I was at the center yesterday with the Tuesday Weavers, I was working closely with Carl, we were doing a piece on weaving in  sticks to hold your warp tensioned and in place if you need to cut off a piece.  While  we were working he mentioned that he was having trouble with the shuttles breaking thru the shed and falling to the ground.  I have been having the same problem at home with Lillian, the Burchard 4 harness Counter Balance.  I noticed that his open shed was at least 1 inch above the shuttle race, and I wondered if that had something to do with it.  I didn't have time to investigate on his loom, but today when I was looking at Lillian, I noticed that very same problem.  I did a few adjustments and to my delight, the shuttle hasn't gone thru the bottom of the shed once since then!  Next week we will see if we can adjust Carl's Loom!

I was weaving away on Lillian happy as a clam with all my victories, when I noticed something.  I had noticed it several times before and have tried to address it each time it comes to my attention.  You see weaving is like a dance, that is particularly true with Overshot.  Your feet learn which treadle comes next in the sequence, 2 5 1 6 2 3 1 4 2 5 1 5 2 5 1 5 2 5, one foot going between treadles 1 and 2 and one foot on the other four, 3 thru 6.  That was going along swimmingly.  Even going from one loom to the other, meaning one pattern to another, only takes a few minutes of refreshing  of the new dance steps and off  I go.  No the problem wasn't there.  It was with my hands and arms.  When you weave you throw the shuttle with one hand and catch it with the other, then you  should take your empty hand and beat with the beater.  That was all well in good going from right to left, but when I would throw with my left hand to my right, my left hand wanted to take the shuttle from my right hand so that IT could do the beating!  Now I have seen this same kind of behaviour in other areas of my life, pulling weeds for example, my left hand is more than happy to hold the weeds while the right hand does all the pulling.  Well I wasn't going to put up with it I tell you.  So I purposefully made my left hand fully participate in the dance.  You would of thought it was a 2 year old the number of times I had to get after it to do what I said!  Of course while I was concentrating on that I would forget to move the temples, or miss a treadle or something, but really we all have to work together so that I don't end up lopsided after 20 more years at the loom!  Do you have an hand, arm or a leg that doesn't fully want to take part in the dance?

Back to the studio, Until next time, Happy Weaving, Tina


  1. Excuse me! How did you adjust the warp so it moves closer to the shuttle race? You can't drop a bomb like that and walk away!

    I had to train my left hand to whisk to give rightie a break, and I had to laugh at your training!

  2. Since Lillian is a counterbalance Loom, I lengthend the cords to the main pulleys holding up the harnesses, just a little on each one. That did it, the shed now rests on the race. Other looms may not be so easy.

  3. I can't allow my left arm to shirk duties anymore! It will let me know if something is too heavy, but it's time to get back to 100%. Since the fall, I've let the left side get by...but it's back to work...and I think weaving has helped a bunch!

  4. I'm pretty even about the usage. Maybe playing bass for years, but I reach equally with my left as my right. Years ago a riding instructor commented that I tend to collapse to my left side and I made conscious effort not to do that. I do have to remember to catch/throw the shuttle underhand with my left as well as my right hand, but it's now becoming second nature.