Revisiting a couple of projects…first, an update on the weaving. After threading the loom (previous post), I decided that the sett (how close the threads are to each other) was too loose. Way too loose. Figured out where I erred in my initial calculations, but now to fix the problem.
First, I needed to wind more warp to thread on the loom. This is a warping board, used to measure consistent lengths of threads and keep them in order. A short warp could be done between a couple of chairs, or pegs clamped to something and just circling between them, but more than a few yards would be more difficult. However, with a warping board, you can just stand in place and zigzag on the pegs.
This particular board holds a max of twelve yards. On this project, my warp is six yards long, so I measured a piece of yarn six yards long and played with zigzagging until I found the right combination of pegs (notice some are skipped) and leave it there as a guide. Then I set my cone of yarn on the floor and and wound 270 more passes. Took a couple of hours.
There’s a critical alternating cross on the top row of pegs that is what is used to keep the threads in order once the warp chain is tied to keep threads from tangling and bunching up. When I spread it back out to thread the loom, I use that to know which thread is next.
Before removing all this from the warping board, with regular yarn, I put in several ties to keep everything tidy and manageable. First, a circular one that goes around the cross to preserve it (important!), a couple of tight ones near the ends, and semi-tight ones every few feet to keep the threads together. As I remove it from the board, I start at the bottom and chain the entire group with my hand like a giant crochet chain. This makes it much shorter to manage and is so common, all these threads ready to be warped are often referred to as a warp chain. At this point, I could also throw it in a box and save it for later.
Here, with Rory’s help of course, I first spent a couple of hours moving over and rethreading the first set of threads. Four more hours, got the new threads sleyed (threaded) in the reed.
Now it’s time to go around to the back of the loom and pull threads through so they’re long enough to thread the heddles at the center of the loom. The heddles are thin metal rods (on my loom) with an eye in the middle that are strung on bars on the harness frames. The harnesses move up and down when I step on the treadles and raise pattern threads. The combination of the threaded heddles, which treadles are attached to which harnesses, and the order of the treadling–all these affect which threads are raised, producing the pattern in the woven fabric.
Hmmm, before I can thread heddles, I have a new problem. My loom has eight harnesses and the last project had the majority of the heddles on the first four (they can be moved around). This project, however, the pattern calls heddles more evenly distributed on all the harnesses, so I have to move them.
On my loom, it has a high castle (that raised center part Rory likes to lay on to “help”). The floor of the castle is removable, then I can unscrew the harnesses from the treadles and lift them out through the castle.
Rory is a bit disturbed to find the floor of the castle missing. Where’s he going to lay to oversee things?!
The heddles are strung on flexible heddle bars that I can bend slightly to get the end loose from the frame and slip heddles on and off.
This is a closeup of the harness and heddles. While I’m moving them around, I’ve found a size 1 metal knitting needle (left) makes a great temporary holder.
Now that all that is fixed, it’s time to thread the heddles. This is where I’m at now.
The other project update is the fiber blending for a specific style of yarn I wanted to spin and also fiber batts I wanted to use for my spinning group holiday gift exchange (today) . Last attempt, I liked the blend, personally, but not for either purpose.
For the spinning group gift, I wanted something softer and in a color palette most people would like.
I wound up using some soft blue, purple and a bit of burgundy wool from my stash. I Love purple and brown together, so I also threw in some scrumptious brown llama. I wanted a bit of silky softness and shine but none of my stash silk roving was the right color (wanted something purplish), so I stopped by my friend Michele’s (fiberlady.com) after pottery class Saturday. I found some yummy bamboo (shiny pile in middle of picture) in a nice purple, touch of pink, and copper.
A little bit of quality-time with the drumcarder and we have a couple of very lovely batts (below).
My spinner’s group had their holiday meeting today. The gift exchange is always hilarious. It’s the kind where all the gifts go in the middle and we draw numbers, and when it’s your turn, you can pick from the pile or steal someone else’s. I wound up with 6 ounces of soft brown alpaca roving. I think it will go nice with some black and silver alpaca in my stash for a scarf or something.
Of course, while I was picking fibers to blend from my stash, Alaric found it all very entertaining.
For my other project, a specific yarn (drapey, very soft, highly textured, shades of blue), this pile of bamboo also followed me home from Michele’s. I’m in love with these colors. Great for my project, plus some. Part of it I’ll spin highly textured, and what’s left I’ll probably spin very fine (weft for weaving) which should make the colors blend quite a bit and read as a shimmer.