Flax field

Flax field

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Confessions of a Former *WEAVER*

That was going to be the title of my blog.   

Several years ago, I used to work at a weaving and yarn store.  I loved that job.  I worked part-time, helped people design and weave their projects, taught classes in the evening and wove every day.  That is when I considered myself a *WEAVER*.  

But things change, I had to find a full time job that payed better and had benefits.  So that first few years at the full time job, I wove infrequently.  It took about five years before I could get myself balanced and get weaving back into my life.

After a few more years, I was able to start teaching weaving again and doing more weaving.

The reason this all came to mind, is the napkins that I am working on.  I used to be able to get my warps on in hours, instead of days.  With the job, family, my age and the fact that I have broadened my focus instead of narrowed it, has made for longer amounts of time to finish projects.  I really don't mind the longer time, I enjoy the weaving and also the warping and threading.  I think of it as my "slow cloth".  Not because it takes more time, but because I can relax and enjoy the time it takes.

It also seems that lately I have been making more errors, and causing it to take even more time.  Here is where the napkins are causing me to think.  I had woven napkins for a guild exchange and now I want to use up the yarn and get some additional napkins.  (More napkins means washing napkins less often.)  

For the napkins, I decided to use a gebrochene twill from a workshop that I had taken.  I expanded the pattern block in several ways to get the number of repeats that I wanted on the napkin.  I had been thinking about this for some time, and I forced myself to work out the pattern on the weaving program I have on my computer.  (A good learning experience...)  It took some time, but I was pleased with my ability on the program and the new pattern that I got.  

I wound the warp...It took me a couple of days instead of hours.
 I have been thinking of trying some different methods of warping to see if I want to incorporate them into my process, but mostly I used my normal method.  Instead of chaining the warp, I layer it in a bag.
 I just use a grocery bag with handles, I like the plastic because the warp feeds out easily.

The handle ties work well to attach it to the loom while I am setting up.
I have been wondering about the "kite string" method, winding the warp on a stick to keep it under tension.  You know what Jim Ahren used to say, The only  thread that will not tangle is a thread under tension.  I have also been thinking about a warping "trapeze", but I haven't gotten far enough to make up one.

So for now I just do my usual.  I put a counting thread on my warps, counting the warp ends in 1/2" groups, because that is how many fit in the raddle.

Of course, when I got to the threading part, I was 5 threads short...

When I was about half way through the threading, I started to over think.  It looked like I had too much pattern and not enough threads.  Was the program wrong, did I make a mistake on the program and the thread count more than 600?  I counted the threads in each pattern and added everything up and found that I had too many threads.  (Or am I math challenged.)   A couple of days thinking, and  I redesigned the pattern to make it less threads.  Then I started to rethink, again.  I counted the warp ends left to thread and found that the original pattern was right.  (I guess I did the computer program right!) I was only the 5 threads short.  Again, I was looking and thinking a couple of days.

Another warping procedure question.  Is it a good idea to drag the warp ends through the lease?  I usually warp back to front, so I wind the warp onto the warp beam before threading.  I like to be able to watch the cross to see if anything is getting tangled.  Is the dragging hard on the threads, this is 10/2 pearl cotton, so this thread is strong enough to handle it.

So far this process has taken me more than a few days.  I know..., enjoy the process.

I was off work today, and I had the time to put into threading and getting it corrected, if there was a problem.  There wasn't...  I did have to move heddles after I started threading, the heddle count on the computer pattern seems to be off...  (I hate to move heddles after threading, I had already added heddles so that I had the amount listed on the computer program!!)

I sat at the loom threading and listened to the Grout Dr. in the bathroom.  (He had been spending two days, removing loose tiles, repairing the wall in back that had decomposed, sanding the grout out and making everything look new again.  It looks wonderful and new.)  I got my warp all threaded and it fit the original pattern that I had designed...I shouldn't try to over-think.  

I sleyed the reed and actually got the pattern going...at least one part went with no problems.  There were no threading errors!!

I think that I will enjoy these.  I will be weaving 3 in blue and 3 in gold.  I am not sure if I will change the tie-up with each one, or make several alike.

To expand on the Grout Dr. and the ongoing house repair:  We had problems with the ice maker in the fridge.  It was making ice, but it was a solid block in the bottom of the freezer, not nice little cubes in the ice maker, obviously a leak somewhere.  We turned off the water going to the refrigerator for several days so we did not get more ice in the bottom, and we got a repair man in to look at it.  Yes, a valve was damaged and of course, we need to replace the "unit."  So, not cheap.  
While the repair man was here, I was having trouble with the water not filling in the washing machine.  He checked it out and it is not repairable...  I have been having trouble with it not filling, but he said that I should worry about it just filling and continuing to fill until the basement floor is flooded.  Not a good situation, so we need to get:  new washing machine, new faucets on the bathtub, new doors on the bathtub.  I told DH that I want to take off the wallpaper in the bathroom and repair and repaint.  His answer was we need new windows first...Wahoo, we get new windows.  It looks like house repair is ongoing for a while.


  1. Dear sis... Your weaving is always amazing to me. I think I will always be in awe of your patients and talent! Hope the house repairs go well. It's never fun until they are finished.

  2. Your napkins are very beatifull. I like the pattern very much. I know what it means to renovate (or is refurbish the better word?) rooms in a house - ours is about 120 years old. You start ahead and suddenly you have to renovate all. And rarely it is cheap.
    Liebe Grüße Silvia

  3. I am not warping through the lease sticks. I put them into the cross at the end of the warping process. Imagine your warp is a fine wool. I am sure it would couse problems to pull fine wool threads all the way through the lease sticks.

  4. I have pulled many different warps through the lease sticks. But I'm sure you're right and now I am going to finer threads. That is probably why I am thinking of changing my process.