Friday, January 25, 2013

The Boys!

I have spent this week between putting the Cambridge rug loom together and loading a warp on one of my other looms.  It has been fun!  Tuesday, Allan brought the parts and pieces that he had been working on to get the Cambridge up to snuff.  The Sectional warp beam is now functional in good shape, the breast beam has been refurbished, and Carl the Cambridge is just almost ready for action!

That is him on the left, right beside Stuart the Studio Newcomb loom.  Don't they make a dashing pair!  I have great plans for Carl, I am planning to have a black and white rug warp on him before too long.  I think I will follow the Hollywood warp plan that I have used on placemats.  It was the warp that came on one of the old rug looms when they sent it from the factory.  Right now I can't remember if it was the Orco rug looms or the Newcomb rug looms.  Anyway, it uses an unusual twill threading.  There are twill runs and chicken tracks and all sorts of things in there.  I will get a picture when I get it on the loom.  In black and white I think it will be quite striking.

All I need now to get the Cambridge up and running is the treadle board that needed just a few more repairs and the beater bar that is still at Lou Ann's.  I also need to locate the metal thread guide to use the sectional beam.  Until I find that, I will have to use the apron that is in place.  I heard a rumor that my weaving friend Ann might have one,  I will have to contact her to see if we could work out way to borrow it when I need to warp, or maybe we can find someone to make a copy for me, using her's as a template.

I had intended to go to Lou Ann's today to pick up the beater, but there is a world of ice and sleet outside, so I think I will content myself with working on my projects in the Studio instead.

I hope you are staying warm, and busy!

Until next time, Happy Weaving, Tina

Sunday, January 20, 2013

I suppose it was bound to happen

I got an email last week.  It was from a customer that had bought a couple of Bread cloths from me when I was demonstrating at Blackberry Farm, 3 years ago.  She wanted to know if I had any more to sell.  I showed her what I had on the loom, and she asked for 3 of them.

I already had 2 on the loom, and when I had finished the third one, I noticed that I only had a couple left to weave, so I wove them as well.  emptying that loom  was actually on my list of things to do before the end of January.  So yippee for me!

Then I wove off the last Baby blanket too!  Another yippee!  I had emptied the small Leclerc earlier in the week, so that is 3 empty looms!

I was so excited to get one of the other looms back in action earlier in the week, only to turn around and have 3 more to load up!  (I already know what I am going to do next, more of the same!)  With my new goal this year of having all the looms ready to weave, and weave in production mode, it was bound to happen.

Until next time, Happy Weaving, Tina

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Messing Around with the Stash

Yesterday, I was able to put in a few hours in the Studio.  I have several narrow 100yd, 12/3 white warps, and I have settled on Swedish lace as one of the best ways to use it.  I double the width since they are so narrow, and I get a great size to do both Hand Towels and Napkins.  As weft, I have used the same 12/3 yarn as the warp, that I have on many cones, and I have used 8/4 cotton in navy, tan, and red, all with great success.

I have on the shelves right beside this wonderful, durable 8/4 cotton yarn, cone upon cone of cotton flake, that I once used unwittingly in a very small amount in a warp.  Never again!  It was terrible, even in that very small amount, it continually broke without the slightest provocation, and I as yet, had not used it again in any of my projects.  I had heard of several weavers that use it in hand towels, and that has encouraged me to try it on this project.

A couple of weeks ago, I put on a really short warp, only about 5 yards or so, as I needed to get a small order done very quickly.  I wove off those towels using a color called Currant.  They were beautiful!  (Sorry for the blurry photo, it was the only one I could find!)

Once that order was done,  I had enough left on the loom for a couple more towels, and with that I mind I selected a cone of red from the cotton flake and began to wind the pirns to my end feed shuttle.  I wasn't sure if I was going to like how the flake looked, I didn't even know if it would feed off of the pirn and thru the tension device on the shuttle, so I only wound one pirn.

It wound onto the pirn without a hitch.  I loaded up the shuttle and tested the drag on the yarn, it seemed good.  I then sat down and began to weave a sample.  The yarn came off of the pirn wonderfully, and I kind of liked the funky unevenness I was seeing in the sample.  I took a deep breath and plunged ahead.

I wove 3 inches for a hem, then a foundation pattern, Block A that puts these cool lace blocks on the end of the towel, then I weave 20.5 inches of an alternating lace pattern between Block A and Block B, I then repeat the foundation Block A, then a 3 inch hem again, and it is done!  I wove both towels in just a few hours, and I am thrilled with the results!  I will definitely be using the cotton flake in some of my Hand Towels in the future!  I have many colors to choose from, and they were just sitting there!

It will probably be tomorrow before I cut them off the loom and wash them, I will wash the samples first, before I wash the towels.  I think I will take a page out of Daryl Lancaster's book and split the sample in three pieces.  I will keep one as a straight off the loom sample, hand wash one piece and machine wash the third.

At the very end of the warp, I squeaked out a sample of a little idea I had for a napkin.  It is a lace detail for just a border near the hem, and the rest plain weave, just to add some variety.  I will do further sampling when I load on the next batch, a much longer warp, just about as much as I can load on that back beam!  Last time it was close to 40 yards I think!  Then I ran out of sticks!  I am going to leave the old warp thru the heddles this time, and try my hand at tying on the new one.  I haven't done that yet, but it makes sense and it is worth  a try.  I think I will tie on after I have wound on though, that warp is really fine and for some reason sticky, it is bad enough to pull it through the raddle and lease sticks!

Until next time, Happy Weaving, Tina

Friday, January 11, 2013

Cambridge Loom Home (mostly)

I have moved most of the Cambridge rug loom from Lou Ann's garage to my Studio B.  This room is really the guest room, but you wouldn't know it right now.  The round breast and back beams have already been taken to Allan's to get them back in working order.  At some point the large hex nut that holds the carriage bolt in place had been replaced with a much smaller rounded nut, and while it fit the bolt well, it slowly eroded away the inside of the beam.  Allan is going to glue a piece of doweling into the gaping holes, and then re-drill a hole the appropriate size.

Another problem that Carl had warned be about was the fact that some of the main connections in the frame had become loose over time, that is very common in these old looms.  On close inspection, however, it looks like the previous owners had really fixed that problem on 3 of the 4 corners, by using some really long hex screws that went beyond the original bolts, and they were holding tight.  On the fourth corner however,  there were dowels glued into both the beam and the side piece, and they had used a couple of wood screws to hold it together.

These pieces too will make their way to Allan's workshop, and hopefully within  a week or two, I will have this loom up and running with a warp running from cloth beam to warp beam!

I think, that the Texsolv heddles I took off of the 8 harness loom last week, just might fit this loom.  I hope so, since there are not very many heddles on it for a 4 harness loom.  I do expect to do rugs and placemats on this loom, and you don't need many heddles for that.  But, I like flexibility and I think  I am going to have enough heddles on this loom to do whatever I want to.  Let's see I think it will be 280 per harness, and they won't add to the weight of the harnesses hardly at all!

I was able to answer my question from last week, it seems that the treadles on this model are to be mounted on the front crosspiece and not the back.  This makes me very happy, as that is how I prefer them to be!

In the same room as the Cambridge is the Newcomb Studio loom that belongs to the Weaving Center.  This loom is already warped for rugs.  It came to me that way, and it seems like the warp that will never end!  Here it is set for another looper rug or runner.  I may do a runner this time, I need one for the downstairs hallway, I think it will really liven things up!

Moving across the landing to the original or Studio A, I pass the small light weight loom, I call the wool loom.  It has my alpaca shawl on it right now.  I wove to the midway point yesterday.  I can't wait to get it off the loom and do some wet finishing!  I think I will probably twist the fringe first, though I may have to redo it a bit after the wet finish.  I would hate for it to get messed, if I didn't!

That is it for me this week,  I glanced back at my recent posts and  I was surprised to see how few weaving post there had been!  I hope in the future to have more weaving content on this blog,  as well as the Tuesday Weavers blog.

Until next time, Happy Weaving, Tina

Friday, January 4, 2013

A little Spinning

I had a birthday recently, and my Daughter bought a 4 ounces of Polwarth Top for me.  It is a beautiful multi colored Top, in blues and greens and pinks.  Here, I will show you a picture.

The Pinks are hidden in there somewhere!

I purchased for my birthday (for myself), a copy of Abby Franquemonts video on drafting.  I have enjoyed her You Tube videos for quite some time, and I have also been interested in her fiber history.  She was taught how to spin in South America by the local artisans.  She was there with her parents, they were working, and she was soaking up the local culture.

Anyway, I really liked the video!  It explained the differences in the yarn you will get when you use  the Worsted technique, or the Woolen technique.    There are lots of close ups of her actually drafting and spinning to really show what she is talking about.  She also showed how you could combine the two techniques to get exactly the kind of yarn you want.

With the video for encouragement, I pulled out the Polwarth my Daughter had given me and I looked it over for a minute.  I decided to spin a fine worsted style.  I wanted to repeat the color sequence that this roving had several times throughout the yarn.  In order to do that I split the Top right down the middle.  I wanted half of the fiber on one bobbin and the other on a second bobbin.  I then split these halves in several finger width strips.  I got about 6 strips per half.

I began to spin using a true worsted short forward draw, then sliding my fingers back to the fiber source to draft again.  I am really, really happy with the results.  It will take a long time to get these 4 ounces spun, but I think I am really going to like the yarn.

(I need a better camera!)

I am not sure what I am going to do with this yarn yet, but I can almost see a lace cowl forming in my head!  Until next time, Happy Weaving and Spinning, Tina