Flax field

Flax field

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Weaving for the Film World

As I said in the last post, I took another commission to weave for an upcoming film taking place during the New Testament period.  The weaving sounded interesting and I am always in need of money.  You saw the first warp on the last post, but now I'll show you some more.
 The second warp is a lighter weight.  It is LB 1878 sett at 12 epi.  I had never used this yarn before, but I was pleased with it and will probably use it more.  This piece could be used for a period robe for the show and it would flow very nicely.  I wish the yarn came in more colors.
 I had wanted to use the stripe sequence in an old shirt that I like, but it turned out to be too complicated, so I simplified it to make this fabric.  I thing it worked out well.  Thanks Fibonacci! 

The last fabric is my homage to Dorothea Hulse.  She wove the original for the movie Ten Commandments, I checked out pictures on the "net" and came up with this sequence.
I think the red is too intense, but I had to use what was at my LYS at the time.  We found a rust to use as the weft, I hope it tones it down some.  I want the stripes to stay as pure as possible, so the ground (red) is in plain weave at 8 epi and the stripes are broken twill at 12 epi.  Hope it works.

The weaving on the third piece is taking a little longer than the first two.  I've been traveling.  Last weekend I spent 2 1/2 wonderful days at a spinners retreat.  (I did have to leave Saturday because I could not get out of working at the regular job...but it pays the bills so I have to comply.)
This is a yearly event that I used to attend regularly.  My DD has been on my case for the past couple of years that we need to go again, so this year we made it.  (She had attended several times before...of course she is also a spinner.)  It was so fantastic and so relaxing.  I realized how much I had missed the event and these people.  There were many spinners that I had know from before and new spinners for us to meet.

The weekend before, I had spent at IWC.  It was a great conference and for the first time in a long time, I experienced weave structures that I had not know before.  I took Robyn Spady's workshop of unusual and different weaves.  I had read about most of them, had previously woven a few of them and enjoyed weaving all of them in the class...especially the velvet.  I now have plans for weaving a couple of  pieces using several of them...I don't even have to buy yarn because I have projects that were just waiting for the perfect structure!

But I won't be weaving those too soon.  I am going again this weekend and I am tied up with the last part of the film work...Warp Weighted Looms. 
I have read about these and tried one at a museum, but I had never set one up.  It is easy to come up with the generalities of the equipment, but the details are giving me trouble.  The film company made the looms from pictures, so there are a few things I think we will have to alter to get them to weave.  That is usually the case when we are flying blind.
I wove a band for the first loom, leaving 3 yard strands off one side for the warp.
The band is on my inkle loom on the left and the wefts (that will be warps) are measured on a small warping board on the right.  
I am mostly using yarns in a natural sheep colors, with some accents in the stripes with dyed color.  I figure during that period of time, undyed yarn was common and dye stuffs were expensive so they used less of them.  
I tied the band to the warp beam and you can see the warp hanging down.  
I hung the warp on the loom in my garage and am trying to figure how to tie the heddles so that we can weave on it.  I have scoured the "net" and asked several places, but am not sure exactly how I will do them.  I use individual doubled heddles on my Inkle loom, and I have tied continuous heddles when I have done back-strap weaving, but what will work best and hold up with others weaving during the filming.  The weavers in the net use "knitted heddles" but they seem to slip and I need something anyone can weave on without previous experience.
Also the heddle rod supports (the U shaped piece sticking out.) seem to be too small to get a shed.  I think they will have to be replaced.  I think that the rod needs to be at least six inches from the upright.  The heddle rod is resting against the upright now (I guess that is referred to as the natural shed.)
The film company had some pottery donuts made for my weights, here you can see them in action.
Here is another picture in the garage.  I will try to pull the thing outside so I can step back and get a picture of the whole thing.  I am sitting and staring at it trying to decide how to do the heddles.  That is today's challenge.  I will be leaving tomorrow, so I really want to get the heddles done today.
I have also started the band for the second loom.  I decided for blue as my color, maybe not so good for the period, but I think it will look good and I like it.
Here you can see the warp as I weave the band.  I try to bundle groups of twenty warp ends so I can keep them somewhat under some control.

This whole thing is growing in time and space.  I really want to get it done next week, but I think that the fourth loom (still at the shop where they dropped it off) is going to be a challenge.  It is a ground loom and I'm not sure what I want to do with it.  I think I will have to use cotton for that warp due to the stress on the warp...it is more like a back strap warp.  And with different people working on it, I need to make it "fool proof" also.  I want the looms to look good in the background of the film and to have the actors look right when they work on them.


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