Thursday, January 26, 2017

Why I love my warping trapeze. Ready to weave!

I am so grateful for my warping trapeze today! (It is just two 2x4s with a copper pipe through the top, that I tie onto the sides of the loom.) If you'll recall my last post, I was really concerned that I'd have a whole bunch of tangles to deal with when I was beaming the warp this time around. I had had to do some rearranging of threads at the reed, as well as pulling some threads out of the design altogether. (I had miscalculated how many of each color yarn I needed, and redesigned on the fly when I was measuring warp chains.)

But, though I took some extra time to make sure to move yarn around to where it needed to be, having that long length up and down for the yarn to adjust itself, and having the constant weight on the threads to keep them from wiggling? Totally did the trick. I was bracing myself for a much bigger mess, and this went on with little trouble after all. Wheee!

And so now the warp is all nicely in place on the loom, and the header is woven. After a couple of weeks of work, I'm ready to 'start' weaving. Here we go!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Recalculating! (Blue and green gradated handwoven ruanas)

I'm working on a new weaving again. I'd like to make another set of my woven ruanas, but instead of doing the hand dyed stripey warp, like this:

I'm going to gradate them from one color to another like I did for a good portion of my baby wraps, like this:

 I like that gradual color change, and I'd like to be able to wear it myself.

So, I did my calculations, and ordered 6 cones of 3/2 cotton from Webs. I figured that would give me about a half a pound over what I needed. And, I have colors of 10/2 here on hand that would go well as weft colors.

Then, I got to winding the chains on my warping mill. To do the blend from one color to another, I break up the warp into sections and play with fractions. For 20 threads, I do 3/4 the starting color, and 1/4 the next. Then, 20 threads that are 2/3 the original color, and 1/3 the new one. Then, 20 threads where the colors are equal in ration. The next 20 threads have 2/3 of the new color, and 1/3 the original. Then, the next 20 are 3/4 the new color, 1/8 the original, and 1/8 the next color further down the line. This kind of using fractions to fade from one to the next has worked quite well for me in the past.

Except.... Oops. I had calculated out how much yardage I needed total. But, I neglected to calculate out how much yardage I needed of each color. When I got to the last bit of fading out the second color in the line, I found that I was 5 threads short. I ran out. (Insert cussing here.)

I took some time and re-figured. I was going to have more than I needed of the first and last colors, but not enough of the middle colors. And, by the time I discovered this, I was already toward the end of the second warp chain. I figured I had two options. I could buy 4 more pounds of yarn, which would add about $100 dollars to the project. Ouch! Or, I could recalculate and make the project a bit narrower, to use a bit less yarn. Which is what I chose to do. I grabbed the calculator, pencil, and paper, and adjusted the numbers to be 18 threads per fraction section.

Of course, I discovered this when I was almost done measuring the second of 5 warp chains. Which meant my first batch was going to have too many threads. And some of them were in the wrong order for this new configuration. I kept going, and figured I'd straighten things out when I was at the sleying the reed stage of putting threads in their order on the loom.

Which is precisely what I did tonight. I juggled threads around to new positions, and pulled some out entirely. I've got the order right now, and it is looking pretty good. But...I am really afraid that I am going to have an awful tangle on my hands when it comes time to pull those threads through the reed while beaming the warp. I am going to have to go slowly and carefully indeed.

But I think I can do it. And, I have my correct calculations for when I do these ruanas again in the future.

Weaving is definitely an exercise in constant problem solving!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Lion brand Homespun 'Thick and Quick' on the triloom follow up

I finished up the triloom shawl tonight, and I love love LOVE the way it turned out. I have finally found the PERFECT yarn for my triloom. Before, I was using yarn that was either too thin, and the weave ended up 'sleazy' (holy and unstable, kind of like cheesecloth), or too thick and the resulting shawl didn't drape well. But this is just right. I took it off the loom and tried it on, and it was like wrapping up in your favorite cuddle blanket. I had my husband try it on, and he said it was like wearing a hug. Soft, and thick, and warm, and I am sooo making more of these for the Etsy shop because I want everyone to have one!

Yes, I like it. :)

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Lion brand Homespun yarn on the triloom for shawls

I saw today that Joanns had the sock yarn I prefer on sale, so I popped over to stock up. While I was there, I found a new-to-me yarn that looked like it would be perfect for my triloom shawl making. This is Lion brand Homespun, but in a 'thick and quick' size that is bulkier than the stuff I've used before. So I grabbed a few skeins to try out.

It is working up beautifully!!! Thick enough to be a secure weave, and soooo soft and cuddly. I'll finish this up tomorrow and run it through the wash to see how it works after wet finishing. But I think I may have found the holy grail of triloom yarn finally!!