Thursday, December 01, 2016

loving the rainbow warp

Anything bad I said this morning, I take it all back.  I found the perfect colour weft for my rainbow.   Black!







The photos just don't do it justice.  It's perfect!


Actually, I had black in mind when I planned these colours, I just didn't have any black on hand.  While I'm waiting for the yarn to arrive, I dug out some black linen.  I suspect the linen yarn is a bit too thin for this situation.  When the Ashford Cotton gets here, I'll ues that.

While I wait, it's time to start planning the great big tea towel binge.  I am going to weave tea towels until I am happy with my cotton weaving skills.  That might take a lot of towels.

So I called up the local weaving superhero and asked her to send me some yarn samples.



I am finally on the road to becoming a weaver.  I just got my first order from Jane Stafford.  A few cones of  white cotton and this lovely card.  I'm thinking I want to make something inspired by these colours.


Or maybe this flax flower?


this is why I sample, or more to the point, this is what happens when I don't weave a sample.


Isn't that pretty?  That's a picture of the back of the loom.

My goal is to learn how to weave wider fabric.

The thing is, I have this gorgeous warp on the loom and I can't decide what colour weft to use.  I tried a few different colours and nothing really pops as 'the one'.  I'm also not very happy with the threading.  I wish I had sampled a few different patterns first.  I also wish I had tried a few samples in different setts (how many threads per inch) because it would make different densities of fabric and I could see which would be best.

All these things and more I could learn from weaving a sample.  But instead, I made a guess and wound a 4-yard warp.  I actually only need 3 yards, so I have a little bit of room to play with... actually, 3 yards was with the original math, which I got wrong.  To get two squares, I only need 2.25 yards.  This gives me lots of room to play with.  But how to play and what?



Here are a few colours I've tried for the weft.  from the bottom, red, a lime green colour, white and grey.  I don't know if I like any of them.  I can't see the pattern at all.

I don't know if I'm happy with this, I don't know if I want to continue.  I adore the colours in the warp... but everything else could have been so much better if I had woven a sample first.

What do you think?  Any suggestions on what colour to try next?

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Handwoven sweater - the first of many

That sweater I was weaving was quick and easy to make... once I decided on the pattern.  Sampling is the hardest thing and it seems to take more time than the actual weaving.  But it's also nice to take the time to be sure I'm making something I'll enjoy.

And boy oh boy, do I enjoy my new sweater.


I don't think I made any treadling errors for the whole six yards of fabric.  There are a few areas where I beat too hard, but that just adds to the charm of the piece.

The sweater itself is surprisingly light weight, but lovely and warm.

I used Ashford Tekapo 3 ply yarn set at 12epi and beat at 10ppi.  The cloth is quite narrow (14" wide on loom) and is sewn using Japanese Kimono inspiration.  I had the option to leave the centre front open with a button, snap, tie or no closure.  All looked good.  What finally decided it was my desire for another pullover, so I sewed the front shut and I couldn't be happier.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Colourful warp in the new Ashford Weaving 5/2 Mercerised Cotton


I'm still weaving like crazy.  Insomnia helps, but also, it's just so much fun!  I want to find the limits of what I can do on my little Ashford Table Loom.  Well, I say 'little', it's actually a 32" loom (which means I can weave a fabric that is 32" wide - before shrinkage).  Finally, I've found a loom that matches me!  I love it, and I secretly suspect the loom likes me too.

Today's project is sort-of-secret, but I don't think she reads this blog, so I'll give you a hint.  Let's just say it's for a bundle of joy that 'hatched' into this world on the weekend (a few weeks earlier than expected so this project got bumped to the top and quickly) and it's woven in the brand new 5/2, Ashford Weaving Cotton.



Here it is on the raddle, getting ready to wind onto the warp beam.  The raddle is the funny thing with nails in it, one nail every 1/2 inch so that the warp doesn't bunch up and make weaving a nightmare.

The colours I chose for the warp are:
46 Dazzling Blue
44 Scuba Blue
40 Daisy Pink
42 Honey Suckle
56 Radiant Orchid

I've wound enough warp for two blankets top-secret-projects.

I really like this yarn.  The colours pop and the yarn feels a lot like silk but still has that cotton quality.  Actually, I shouldn't be using this yarn as it's not technically mine, but it is an emergency and I'll buy the other person some replacement yarn next week.

In the meantime, what to choose for the weft?
any thoughts?



Wednesday, November 23, 2016

sample weaving with Ashford Tekapo 3 ply yarn


After such great success with the sweater, I've been weaving samples with the Tekapo 3-ply yarn.  I've been experimenting with colour (not my forte) and treadling, to see if there is anything I like for a second sweater.  This time, I think I'll make a hoodie.

These are all woven at 12epi.  In many ways, I like the green, but it tends to be a little bit too bright.  Maybe I'll tone it down a bit by adding more naturals to the warp.  

This picture is highlighting the plain weave sections I did.  If I choose plain weave, I think 10epi would be better.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

First handwoven towels, finally finished.


Here are my first set of handwoven towels.  Woven with a 9/2 linen warp and 4/2 cotton weft (photographed on a background of handwoven sweater - oh, the sweater turned out lovely, lofty, lightweight and excessively warm).

To be completely frank, I don't like these towels at all.  The treadling errors are okay, I guess, one can live with that.  It's just they look so bla!  Individually the colours are lovely, together they look nice, but as towels, they look dull and boring.  Except for the errors, a machine could have made these.  If I'm going to put this effort in, I want it to look better than what a machine can make.

Which means, it's time to take steps and learn about colour.  It was these towels that inspired me to try warping two or more colours together at the same time.  So far, so nice.  But I have a lot to learn about colour and design.

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Handwoven sweater fabric off the loom and ready for fulling


The 6 yards of fabric for my jacket are woven and heading for the washing machine.  Although it was quick to weave, I found it difficult to see the pattern as I was weaving.


It's like one of those magic eye pictures, where I have to unfocus my eyes and will the pattern into existence.  Things will be much better when the cloth is fulled.  I just hope it doesn't shrink too much.  But if it does, I have more yarn and can always weave more cloth.

6 yards seemed like a lot of cloth to me.  I was worried that being a table loom, it wouldn't all fit.  But my worry was needless.  Lots of room leftover.  I think I could probably get 24 yards of fabric at this weight.  Maybe more.



I have no idea if this project will work out.  I've been making it up as I go along.  But I did make a similar sweater from an old wool blanket and that's very comfortable.  This one will be the same shape.



The other thing I'm not so sure about is blogging again.  In the last few years, blogging has become a monetary activity.  Advertizing, Pinterest-ready photos, all that fancy stuff that makes blogs more a job than a journal.  Bloggers are celebrities now and I don't know if that sort of thing is for me.  It's just something to think about.  What do I want from my blog?  Do I care enough to modernize and monetize it or keep it as it is, or rebel and make it more my own style.  Then again, I do pay money to keep my blogs online.  So I should try at least to make it pay for itself... or should I?  Maybe my blogs don't add anything useful to the internet and they should just fade away.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Getting ready to weave a sweater

My hoodie is in terrible shape.  Threadbear and sad looking.  I can't find a decent replacement in the shops, so I've decided to make my own sweater with weaving.  I don't know how it's going to go, but it's fun finding out.

To start, I make a plan.


Yep, a weaving draft typed on a typewriter.  Or, actually, several weaving drafts with the same threading.  I wove a sample of what this would look like


I think these patterns are lovely.  I've sort of chosen one, but I can change my mind because all these designs take the same threading on the loom.


But for now, I have a plan and wound 6 yards of warp.

I'm using the Ashford tekapo 3 ply wool yarn in natural medium and natural dark for the warp.  The sample was done with one strand of each in the warp and random colour threading.  The weft was natural light.  For the sweater, I want something darker, so I'm useing 2 strands of dark for every one of medium.