Saturday, November 18, 2017

Threading; Sales Blog

I've completed threading the blue wool warp; and begun sleying the reed. Sorry, no photos. Once the sleying is done, and the warp tied onto the apron, I'll post some pics.

In other news, I have started to post a few items on the sales blog. More will appear tomorrow.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Threading - Halfway There

As of dinnertime today, this was my progress threading the mixed blue wool warp: 12 of 22 sections, each 30 threads. Not progress to boast about, but wool is much stickier than silk or tencel, and loves to cling to its neighbors just when I want them to separate.

Thirty epi over 20 shafts; not a big challenge compared to some of the really complex threadings I've tackled. I was hoping to finish in another few days, but we will have visitors, so completion may not come as soon as I wished.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Up Next on the Dobby Loom

The stash closet contains lots of bins of fine wool in various color ranges. I also found a cone of fine wool + nylon boucle (once upon a time, available from Textura Trading under the name of Mousse.)

I chose all the cones of blue, various shades from medium to navy, and subdivided them into 18 separate cones. As I wound a warp for wraps, for each section I picked at random 2 groups of 3 cones. Some sections are darker (more navy) some are lighter (no navy), but I hope the colors will blend well in the cloth. The yarns are mostly in the 34/2 range, so well over 9000 yards per pound. The sett will be 30 epi, and with the boucle as weft, should make an open, somewhat sheer cloth.

Here in California, wool is a hard sell. The weather is "too warm," even though we have a hard freeze almost every winter... So to sell a wool shawl means weaving a featherweight cloth.

At the point I took the photo, I still had 2 sections to beam, so that's why the section guides are still in place.

In other news, over the next few days, I'll be posting items on my sales blog that didn't sell at the Central Coast Weavers event.

Friday, November 03, 2017

Thursday, October 26, 2017

The Next Project

The new activity involves not new cloth, but old cloth. When the AVL Jacq3G loom  was new, and I was a new jacquard weaver, a lot of smallish pieces came off the loom that were not successful as  wall hangings, mostly because I was still learning about color choices. The cloth was well-woven, without significant flaws, but nobody would consider it artwork.

Fast forward to this year, and that good-but-not-spectacular cloth has found its destiny: small zippered bags that could be used as knitting tool kit, clutch purse, cosmetic kit, whatever. And small mobile phone pouches - which are easier to fabricate because no zip is required.

Here are a few examples of what will be in the Central Coast Weavers guild's annual sale. I tried out several methods of installing the zips: hidden (lapped) zips, centered-but-mostly-hidden zips, and centered-fully-exposed zips.

The inspiration for all this is Alice Schlein , as is the case for a lot of the ideas percolating in my brain. A few years ago, Alice sent me a small zippered bag, which found its purpose in life as a knitting sundries kit. It was made from remnants of several of Alice's jacquard-woven designs. I figured that other fiber folks would find a similar bag of use, and I certainly have lots of jacquard cloth that fits the bill. So, here are a few samples:

The two red pics are the front and back of the same zip bag. The last is a mobile phone pouch with crossbody strap and an interior pocket for credit cards or ID.

There's only been time to make a few, and one has already sold, before the guild sale even started!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017


Most of the towels are different designs, but the difference between them is invisible except at close range, I'm only going to show a few of my favorites. The first one has a narrow stripe near each end using a light green weft, and the second has a wide stripe of the same weft at one end only, with the twill direction changing in the middle of the stripe. The third has 2/2 basketweave in the narrowest colord stripes, and twill elsewhere. The fourth is broken twill throughout (on the rest, only the hems are broken twill).

Of the 10 towels that came off the loom, two are already sold, to a neighbor who attended Cal Poly and was a classmate of Sally Fox who developed the colored cotton. He really admires both the scientific rigor with which she tested the various crosses during the development phase, and her pursuing colored cotton farming in the face of strong resistance from the farmers in California who grew white cotton and feared (unfounded) that her cotton would contaminate their crop.
The other project I've been working on for the Central Coast Weavers annual sale the first weekend in November is small bags made from jacquard fabric that was not successful as wall hangings but perfectly good cloth otherwise. Photos to come...maybe tomorrow.

Friday, September 29, 2017

The First Wash

As I've read about the Fox Fibre yarns, they can change (either in minor or surprising ways) in an alkaline wash. Here's my experience with only one wash. I decided not to stitch the hems until the cloth was laundered, so that it would be more coherent cloth running through the sewing machine. I put a small amount of soap, and about a teaspoon of sodium carbonate (soda ash) in with the ten towels.

First, a closeup of the brown stripes down the middle of the towel:

The washed and pressed towel is at the top of the photo, and the unwashed, unironed sample at the bottom. As predicted, the brown yarns darkened a little, and the cloth shrank somewhat. It was 19 inches in the reed, and 16.5 inches after its first wash and press.

The more interesting effect of that first wash is in the green yarns:

They actually changed hue, going from a sort of khaki tan to a moss green, which I like much better.

I think that once the hems are sewn I will launder with soda ash once more, just to see what change will come with a second alkaline bath. Then they will be tagged for the Central Coast Handweavers annual guild sale, coming up the first weekend in November. If I have time, I'll photograph all the different variations. This one has natural cotton yarns in the weft; the ones with Fox Fibre green wefts have a distinctly different effect.