Saturday, November 28, 2015

Next Steps

The reed is sleyed, and the warp lashed onto the apron rod. I tensioned it and will leave it overnight before tensioning to its final state. 

When lashing on, tensioning is just a matter of tugging lightly on each loop of cord until the entire warp feels as if it's at the same tension. I usually pull the beater forward, and pat across the width of the warp with my palm behind the reed to verify the tension is even.

This warp was very difficult to get threaded and sleyed correctly. Part of the problem is that the two warp colors are quite close in both hue and value. Plus, I haven't been feeling quite up to par, and made a number of really stupid errors.

In any case, I'd like to put in a plug for Sally Breckenridge's handy-dandy tablet-based weaving software, iWeaveIt. It runs on both Apple and Android tablets or smart phones (although the small screen size makes phones less useful as weaving tools).

I found it really great for going into an already threaded warp (in which I knew there were errors) and using the threading tracker to verify the threading, all without the hassle of starting up the computer dobby system and physically lifting shafts one by one. The stylus is faster, when all I'm doing is saying to myself "red on 18; purple on 3; red on 19; purple on 4" etc.

After several tries, by golly I think it's correct; the proof of the pudding will come when I begin to weave tomorrow.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Complex Weaving

Interesting textiles sometimes crop up in the most mundane circumstances. For example, these labels from a set of newly purchased towels.

DH (who has been well trained) looked at the labels and exclaimed "That must be double weave!"

He's right. On one layer, there's a logo in gold (a satin structure) on a white (also satin) ground. On the other layer, black text on a white ground (same satin, but mirror-image, that is, the slight diagonal running the opposite direction from the logo side).

Because I'm the investigative type, I wanted to find out more about how it was woven, so I slit one label open along the selvedge with scissors. The labels are going into the trash, so nothing lost...

Lo and behold, two completely different methods of placing a design on a ground.

On the logo layer, there is a white warp and a gold weft. On the face, the lion and its text are weft-faced, and the ground is warp-faced.

On the text layer, there is a white warp and an always-working white weft. The black weft is supplemental, and only weaves when it's needed for the lettering; otherwise, it's just floating merrily from selvedge to selvedge. (If you click to enlarge the first photo, you can see where the supplemental weft engages at the selvedge, very unobtrusively.) This method prevents the ground from looking grey, with a scattering of black pixels in amongst the white. Clever designer!

In any case, analyzing the process kept me entertained for a few minutes!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Sleying the Reed

The threading is done; now, on to the next stage - sleying the reed:

With Thanksgiving Day tomorrow, this won't be completed until some time over the weekend.

Warm wishes to everyone who celebrates Thanksgiving Day, and to those who don't! I hope you all are able to spend time with family and friends this weekend, without too much waiting about in airports.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Chugging Along

The threading is moving along slowly. I've done 6 sections out of 10. Because the nonparallel interleaved threadings are typically too complex for me to thread sans computer, I use the "treadle your threading" method. It isn't fast, that's for certain, but it usually gives more accurate results (which may actually speed up the entire process by avoiding going back into a warp to fix threading errors).

See what I mean? Feel like threading that without electronic help? Not me. On the other hand, if I tell my weaving software to make a new file with an identical threading, but where the treadling is  "tromp as writ," and change the tieup to a single diagonal line going from shaft 1 to shaft 24, the loom is perfectly happy "weaving" this draft:

Every time the loom lifts a shaft, I pull one heddle on that shaft out to the middle area, thread it, and push it over further to the right to approximately the right place for sleying later.

Mind you, this draft can't be used to weave real cloth - it's a single-use file only intended for threading

Here's a look at progress so far. The fun continues tomorrow. Thank heavens for books-on-tape and MP3 players!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Warp is Beamed

All 10 sections done.

There is just enough warp thread left over to repair knots/breaks.

Tomorrow, threading begins.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A New Warp on the Dobby Loom

It's an interleaved threading again, using 60/2 silk warp dyed with the leftovers of the dyes I mixed to paint the shibori silk shawl for Connie Rose. The two colors are Connie's red and plum:

Oddly enough, the blend of the two hues might have been inspired by the Japanese maple I wrote about in my previous post! It's remarkably similar.

The wefts have been dyed, too:

From top, Connie's red (with a fair amount of black added), her bronze, her orange (with some lemon yellow to brighten it), and her plum (with some royal blue added). The leftover mixed dyes are now all used up.

The top 3 yarns are 100/2 silk, and the lower is 80/2. Love that luster!

Gracie, however, is unimpressed. Now that the temperature is dropping below freezing at night, she thinks it's hibernation season. Those eyes are open only about an hour a day - long enough to eat and use the litter box!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Fall is Here

The rainy season has started - not much yet except gentle showers on and off for the past couple of days. However, the season change has affected the little Japanese maple tree in the courtyard, which turns a gorgeous shade of rust red:

The Fuyu persimmon tree has a ways to go before the fruit is ripe. Usually, the leaves fall before the fruit is deep orange and ready to pick. The tree bore heavily this year, and almost all the branches are reaching toward the ground with the extra weight.