Sunday, February 07, 2016


At pick 1400, a face was visible:

The original photo was taken by my stepfather while I was home from my senior year at college for Christmas. He was a genuine character, and I never could keep a straight face when in his company. My mother didn't fully appreciate his sense of humor. "Oh, Willard!" she'd say, shaking her head at whatever we were giggling about.

The living-room window in their house in Olympia, Washington, looked straight out at Mt. Rainier. Best view in town...

Friday, February 05, 2016

Next Up on the Jacquard Loom

I'm now 800 picks into this image, which is actually being woven sideways:

The image is based on a photo of me (aged ~20), reduced from a grey-scale image to just two colors (black and white, which then became just black and transparent) and then layered among the colors of one of Connie Rose's paintings.

The pale blue-grey  border is a placeholder for an equal blend of color B (blue) and color C (pale grey). The strip of color chips at the bottom of the image was cropped off the file before weaves were applied.

The weaves are 4-weft shaded satins on a black warp: the wefts are red, blue, and pale grey, plus black so that the areas that were black in the black-and-transparent image will be a darker black than would be achievable with a black warp and only 3 colors of weft.

Here's the first third of the piece on the loom:

The photo was taken after dark, with partly flourescent lighting, and the colors aren't quite true to life. I'm a little concerned about aspect ratio, but since I wove a sample and resized the image based on the proportions of the sample (which is the same ppi as the weaving) I'm hoping it is close enough. We'll see...

Friday, January 29, 2016

It's About Time, Part II

DH has been waiting for me to finish the interleaved red warp, because he was sure that a thorough oil-and-lube would help with the noise problem I've been having with the motor shaft lifting system. So no sooner than I had cut off the warp, DH visited the studio with stepladder, tools, and lubricant in hand:

It's been a long time since this was done last - 8 years to be precise, because that's the last time the loom was fully disassembled and all the parts easily accessible to clean and oil. Moving house is a good opportunity to do some essential cleaning.

Anyway, the dust bunnies (as bunnies tend to do) had accumulated inside all the loom's moving parts (and some nonmoving ones too) and were probably acting as brakes (or at least contributing to friction that interfered with shaft lifting) so we're hoping for positive results.

I won't be sure the cleaning has completely solved the problem until I can get another warp on the loom and begin weaving. (It's always possible that there are also mechanical or electronic problems within the lifting system itself.) I have yarns ready, and designs to weave, but first there's a deadline for a jacquard project that will keep me away from the dobby for a few days.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

It's About Time cut off the warp.

 So, with no further ceremony, here's a pile of red almost-but-not-quite-yet cloth.

There will be some mending and some fringe twisting to do, then the scarves can pose for formal photos.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Note to Self...

In the future, never dye a skein of Chinese silk in its original skein. Always re-skein it on your winder, even if it's the right yardage as-is.

It seems that the Chinese silk mills make much smaller skeins, and they are wound in such a way as to make it very difficult to unwind after dyeing without many yarn breaks. That's what happens when I get lazy and decide to use the skein in its original form. Knotted ends mean slower weaving, because of the time it takes to swap in replacement ends.

This is the back of the loom during the weaving of scarf #4.

The 7 lower film cans are holding the replacement ends, and the 7 upper film cans are just there to keep the knotted/broken ends under control so they don't tangle with one another or with the replacement ends before I'm ready to swap them back into the cloth at the end of the current piece. Except that in this case, the current piece is also the last piece, so I will soon be able to simply snip the knotted/broken ends off at the apron knot and get them out of the way altogether.

And then there's a new piece ready to go on the jacquard loom. A change of pace!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Scarf #4 Begun

The fourth and final piece on this dobby loom warp is in progress. The weft is a cinnamon brown, and the treadling is small points, creating a small zigzag effect.

This entire warp has been an experiment in determining how close the two warp colors can be to one another and to the various wefts. Most weavers working with interleaved warps choose differences in hue or in value; this warp has two warps close in both hue and value, and wefts also close to both warps in hue and value. It's been fun seeing how well the pattern shows in spite of this lack of differentiation.

The motor lifter has been complaining a lot lately (which results in a horrible shriek and a failure to open the next shed). So DH says as soon as this warp is off the loom, we need to do a thorough oil-n-lube to find out what parts are binding and causing so much friction that the motor lifter is unhappy. Can't work with an unhappy loom... Weaving is all about rhythm, and a consistent rhythm is difficult to achieve when you're dreading the next shriek and pause.

Usually "please?" works, and the shed opens on the next press of the treadle, but sometimes the weaver is required to press a button on the DH-built lifter control box, walk around to the right side of the loom, and physically reposition the dobby arm for proper action. Oh, well, I need the exercise. Besides, in its lifetime, this loom (and accompanying systems) have performed so well that it would be inappropriate for me to complain as loudly as the loom is doing :-)

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Still Chugging Along on Scarf #3

There's only about 8 inches to go, so I'm hoping to get this one woven quickly now that I'm back at the loom. Today I managed 400 picks, which equates to 10 inches. Here's a look as it travels toward the cloth storage beam under the loom: