summer flowers

summer flowers

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Oh Where Has the Month Gone

So much of the month has past and I have not published.  I want to try to publish more often, but I spend my computer time reading all the other great blogs.  

The past couple of weeks, I feel like I have just been putting heddles in order.  A slow and often painful job.  I finished the work on the folding Gilmore at the Pioneer Craft House and when the students cleared the warp off the Gilmore compact, I decided to start on it.  I have a soft spot in my heart for a Gilmore compact, it was the loom I learned to weave on.  Way back when, this was the main loom type that was in the university weaving studio where I first learned to weave. I really wanted this kind of loom for my own, and when I called Gilmore to order one, he had a 48 month waiting list.  I moved to a different loom, but I still enjoy weaving on these.  You have to finesse the back brake a bit, but you get used to it.
Gilmore compact
This loom is in better shape than the folding Gilmore, but once the warp was off, I found several things that need replacement.  I was concerned about the apron bands, they did not really fit well, but they were working fine and I decided not to order any when I sent the order to Gilmore for parts.  However, when the warp came off, I could see that they were worn much more than I thought.
Gerry-rigged apron band
The back beam bands obviously need replacement, so I might as well get the front replaced also.  Then the loom will be in much better working condition.
One part I don't think I will be able to repair is the tracks for the shafts on the castle.  We have a broken piece.
See the broken piece between shafts 3 and 4?
I don't think I want to have a piece made and try to glue it in.  The loom was working fine, I asked the weavers who took the warp off, so I guess we will have to just live with that one.

My big problem was the heddles.  I like to have my heddles in order.  The "eyes" all face the same direction, and there is less chance for them to tangle.  However, on this loom they were going every which way!
Heddles all mixed up!
Here is the top on one shaft.  There are even a couple of different types of heddles...there is no way these will all line up and nest properly.  
Here's the bottom of the heddles.
If the "wavy" opening is on the top, the straight opening should be on the bottom.  You can see in the second picture that quite a number of the heddles are upside down.

I know that mixed up heddles are not a problem for everyone, but I hate them.  And anyway, when the heddles are in the right order, it is faster and easier to thread them.

So I have spent about a day on each shaft (there are eight shafts) and since I spend three days a week at the PCH studio....that is a little over two weeks to get the heddles in order.  Right now I have several groups of 50 heddles in order and on safety pins ready to put back on the shafts after I get the loom washed and waxed.  I think this will be a great loom to have ready for students to work on.  I know it is in good working order, so I will probably not put a test warp on it. 
I do need to cut some more texsolve cords for the tie-ups.  I decided to keep the texsolve on this Gilmore and I put the "old style" snitch knots on the folding Gilmore.  I like to have a variety of looms, and methods in a teaching studio.

My weaving has been going slow, but I have been making progress.  I put the pillows on the Baby Wolf and have finished one and a half pillows, which is good--that is half way done.  But I needed to take one of the ski shuttles downstairs to the Big Mac. 

 I have put on a warp for 2 rugs that need to be finished next week.  
Half way through threading.
In the picture, you can see the next six heddles waiting to be threaded.  I like to weave these rugs in the in a six thread, four shaft pattern from Meany's Rag Rug Book.  I figured that I could thread a straight draw on six shafts and if I do a straight draft on 12 shafts, I can do several different patterns on one warp.  This works well because I usually put on about 20 yards when I thread this loom for rugs.  I can treadle the "chicken foot" pattern, or rosepath, or twill, or plain weave, or whatever I want.

I would like to get the rugs off this loom and then put on the yardage that I tested with the hand-spun. 
Do you remember this yardage from way back?

 I received the yarn, and I want to get it on, but since I will be threading full width with 24 or so ends per inch, I will probably need to put some extra heddles on this loom so that I will have enough.  But that is next weeks problem, for now I need to get back to the loom and weave those rugs off.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

New Year Update

It has been an interesting couple of weeks.

First the weather, we had lots of snow and very cold temperatures.  I know there have been  worse weather in some places, especially in the Northeast, but I have not enjoyed the cold and I am tired of the snow.
Poor bushes---will they make it?
 I really worry about the bushes that got the sever trimming (butcher job?).  These are broad leaf evergreens, I think they are marginal in this climate and with their hatchet job this fall, they may face a tough recovery in the next year.  

Then the electronics...I have been without a keyboard for about a week.  The old one had several keys with no letters (worn right off!), and was not working as well.  DH found a clean keyboard in the garage and hooked it up.  It was so old the driver messed up the computer and then no keyboard would work.  DS suggested (strongly) we just buy a new one and he would come to put it in.  After a backup on the computer, we now have a keyboard working, there are not crumbs in it and I am getting used to the action...a few miss-keyed words.
But the big embarrassment today was my phone.  Yes, I finally got a smart phone.  Unfortunately, it seems smarter than me.  It took me a couple of days to get it turned on...and today I could not get it turned off!!  I charged it last night and had it sitting on the loom.  Someone called and the phone rang, but the screen froze and I could not answer it.  And it just kept ringing....for 20 minutes...I finally called the service provider and got some help...
"Did you try to turn it off?"   "You have to hold the off button down for several seconds!!"

Why didn't the information that came with the phone say this...did I just not read it?...or was I not smart enough to understand it??!!

On to more interesting things... weaving.  
After several restarts, I have all the looms working.  I bounce from loom to loom weaving and not getting anything much done anywhere!...

On the Dorothy table loom, I put it away for a while so I can get fabric to weave some panels for a bag.  I have been checking my sewing books and I have almost decided on the style and size.  At least the idea and project is proceeding. 
On a side note, I bought an eight shaft Dorothy table loom, so I can combine them to make a 12 shaft loom.  Yes, it was interesting explaining what was in that big box ("You need ANOTHER loom?") to my (long suffering) DH.

On my Baby Wolf, I have the pillows weaving well.  This weft is the core-spun yarn and I decided to weave the front and the back of the pillows.
Here it is again on the big loom
Yes, after I put it on the Big Mac, I realized that it was designed for the Baby Wolf and the warp on the Baby Wolf was 10 shaft and needed to be on the Big Mac.  I guess I was in such a hurry to get the warps on I switched them in my mind and put them on the wrong looms.  Luckily, I had not cut anything and was able to switch them back.  
Here is the weaving proceeding well.
Here is #1 in a point twill.
I like the way the color changes on this weft.  I think the rust, browns and blue with look good with the living room rug.

And the other "moved" warp...
Here is the warp on the Baby Wolf.
When I sat down to thread the shawl, I realized that it was on an eight shaft loom and  is a ten shaft pattern.   I was pretty upset with myself.  I need to remember not to hurry through projects...and maybe I should concentrate on one warp at a time!  
Handspun Crosses
I do like the way the pattern is working.  The half the crosses show up on the top and then half are on the underside.  It makes a nice reversible fabric, perfect for a shawl.  I hope the color change in the handspun yarn shows up well over the full piece.  It mostly looks green here.

The yarn for this fabric was a problem.  When I first pulled it out to warp, I realized that it was so over plyed that it looked like little springs.  First think I thought..."Was I drunk when I spun this?"  It turns out that I may have been!!!  The roving was a prize at a spinners retreat (it was not my usual color purchase) and I know that wine can flow freely at that event!
I found this picture of the original yarn

I had decided to tone down the orange and darken the greens.  But after the dye job, it looked and felt like corkscrews, so I ran it through my spinning wheel to "unply" it slightly.  Because the weave structure contains the yarn well (no big floats), I figured that it would be fine.   And I am pleased with the color of the shawl.  I like to rust ground and the greens are not too bright..  I think that I did the "chain ply" or Navajo ply to keep the colors pure in the finished yarn and the technique is easy to over-ply.  

The fabric is weaving slowly, but I am enjoying it.  I started using an end feed shuttle for the ground fabric, but I switched over to a regular boat shuttle and I am getting better selvedges.  I think the wool yarn "hung up" more in the end feed shuttle.

The last thing that I have been spending time on, is getting some new cabinets in my house.  I have been wanting to replace the hutch that I pulled out of my dining area some years ago.  I finally found something that will work.
New Hutch with some of the dishes put in.
I needed to pull everything out of the pantry to find the boxes of dishes that I had put away when I got rid of the old hutch.  I washed the dishes and have started putting things away.  I still have some empty shelves and drawers as I rearrange my kitchen.  I like the shelves, they do not take up too much space by the table and I have access to my old dishes again.  I also put some favorite cookbooks on one shelf (I removed the cabinet in the living room where the cookbooks and sound system were).  I brought out the mugs and wine glasses that my DH and I collected in the first few years of our to look at some of the old things.  I also got rid of some of the items that I had stored away...don't need them now and they didn't have any sentimental value.

I also put new shelves in the livingroom.
New table in front of the window.
When we got the windows replaced, we lost a couple inches of window sill.  Unfortunately, that is where our cat loved watching the world go by.  She is so old now that jumping up in the window is hazardous, so I put a table there for her to sit on.  I may need to pull the stack of books out of the bottom shelf and put them on the floor next to the table to give her a step up!

Here is the replacement shelves in the living room.
I also put in some shelves to replace the old hutch bottom  that was holding the sound system in the living room.  The middle section needs a glass front unit to hold the system, but I have not found the perfect one yet.  I love having the floor open, before the hutch was mostly enclosed on the bottom and was hard to clean under.  I think this will work better.  
I did have one accident when putting these up.  I wanted a felt pad under the speakers on each side, and cut one out with the rotary cutter.  The felt was so thick (it was some that I had made trying for a saddle blanket), and I sliced off a thin layer of my index finger.  I hate it when I don't pay attention.  Maybe I do need the protection gloves that you can get when you use that tool!!