Monday, April 28, 2008

Case of the crossed heddles

Well my current warp on my floor loom has been very instructive. It started off great with a reed sleyed in 2 days. Threading went very smoothly. Beaming while time intensive due to use of weights, went relatively well. There were a few crossed threads but easily fixed by resleying with the gal next door. It wasn't until I actually started to weave that real issues came up.

Not sure why I did not have the problem until about 1/2 inch into weaving (and after the header was in too) but all of a sudden shaft 15 would not cooperate at all. I did finally figure out that the issue was when the evens were up for tabby. Problem seemed to be with the cables as the cable for shaft 15 kept getting slid over with 14 on the right side (as facing) of the loom.

Hum, I thought maybe this has something to do with my issues with 14 not rising, an issue I've been trying to solve for over a year. I took a good look at the cables and discovered that they were further forward on the left side than the right. As I bought the loom used, these came that way.

So I managed to get them moved back and way more in line with the ones on the left. Working at the top of the castle is not fun but it got done. I fired her up and tried out some tabby. Noooooo, and other choice words were soon to be heard. It was late and the issue was still there. Back to the drawing board so to speak.

I finally dug back there and looked at the heddles on the left side. Wait a minute, that looks like one from shaft 14 is on 15. I folded up the loom so I could get back there and straighten them out. Not sure how that happened other than when I shifted some outside the cables to even out the weight. Got these straightened out and fired her up again. Yippee!! Now my loom was working again.

But the tale is not fully told. Remember my issue with shaft 14 not rising properly. Well it was not just 14, 10 and 2 were also big culprits. Next day I start weaving. The shafts did not usually start dropping until 10-20 minutes into weaving. Eleven minutes in and all is well. Twenty-one minutes in and all is well. Wait a minute, 30 straight minutes of weaving and no dropped shafts. A miracle has occurred.

Next day, 30 minutes of well behaved loom. I begin to think that the shifting of the cables on the castle fixed the dropping shaft problem. Midway the second tea towel, I am beginning to think I really have solved the problem. Now I hope I have not jinxed it by telling you it was fixed. My towels are looking great and hopefully will be done next week.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

One finished another begun

My SoySilk (tm) Chenille scarves are now completed. I love the way they turned out. Such a beautiful mix of colors - real eye candy in pastels. The feel is so soft and cuddly I want to curl up and snuggle them. Thinking this might make a good stuffed animal yarn if it is sturdy enough. The picture above is the final product.

Meanwhile I got a warp going on the floor loom for some nice "German Birds Eye" towels. Good old Margurite Davidson comes through again. I get more inspiration and use out of that book of drafts. The towels are in production but not enough good light to get good photos. More on that later.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Soy Chenille Fun

Oh boy is this ever fun. I am weaving up some Soy Silk Chenille. It is in a glorious color way which has all the colors of the beach. It in no way feels like sand on the beach. It is so soft and cuddly. I'm in love and cannot wait to get them off the loom and wet finished. This is what weaving is all about for me - soft yarns and marvelous colors. More on this when the scarves are finished.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Some Flowers On Silk

My experiments with dyeing silk have lead me to do a bit of painting. Up until now I have been just doing small additions to scarves with painting. My first ETSY sale was a rose scarf I did in this manner. This was a real learning experience but it came out really cool.

Basically I dye the scarf using a resist technique. Then I find white spaces to fill in with my chosen pattern. These are then painted using the Serti Gutta technique. This means my background is dyed before the pattern. Pictured here are the rose and an upcoming scarf with violets.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Dye Day Adventure

Last summer I attended my first "Dye Day". I was introduced to dyeing silk scarves. A new love was born. It is so much fun to see what happens when the dyes are applied. How will they mingle? What shapes will form? What actually happens is dependent on the technique, the amount of dyes drizzled on, the air bubbles and folds in the scarf. Each one comes out different. Each has it's own beauty. Some samples are shown here.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Tiny Looms

After weaving the "Ohio Star" patchwork throw, I did a lot of looking at quilt blocks and trying to figure out what I could make with my 7 inch looms. I really wanted to do some clothing but the looms were pretty big. So I asked the vendor to make me some that were half the size (3.5 inches). They are great. I have used them for many items but the biggest one so far is the poncho pictured here. This is alpaca and one yarn in an alpaca silk blend. Most of this is squares but there are some triangles too. It took about a year and a half to weave and put together. They loved the idea so much they made this size loom part of their standard product line, along with 14 inch looms.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Yarn Swap 2007/2008

My guild did a yarn swap this season. November 2007 we brought in our yarn. It was placed in paper bags. We each picked a bag that did not contain our yarn. We made something for the person who's name and yarn were in the bag. The swap happened at the February 2008 meeting last weekend.

It was a fun challenge. My bag was empty as the person forgot her yarn. I got it a week late. My looms were pretty tied up at the time, well all but the frame looms. I got a slew of single balls of different shades of green wool and a request to use one specific yarn. Turns out that one yarn really did not go with the other colors so well but was the only one that was not totally scratchy. The various shades reminded me of a vest I had done a while back using the Wind Blown Star quilt block. Initial thoughts to do a vest turned to a pillow due the scratchiness of the yarn. Pictures of the final product are here.