Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Bookmark Project

Between the Thanksgiving holidays and a visit to my 94-year-old Mother who lives in Washington State, it's been a while since I got to work on the loom, or on the blog. Time to get going again.

I thought this one was going to be another "mindless weaving" project. Wrong!

Weaving a 2-inch-wide warp on a 48-inch-wide AVL loom presents some challenges. This was intended to be a FAST project, to make some low-cost items for the last pre-Christmas show of the season (the KPFA Crafts Fair in San Francisco the weekend of December 9-10). And if you want to weave fast, using a fly shuttle, you have to determine where to position the warp on the loom. If you center it, the selvedges are practically guaranteed to be awful. I always thought the rule of thumb was that for narrow warps, the warp should be offset to the right of center by half the length of the shuttle. Did that. Selvedges still awful. Okay, use hand shuttle (I've got a nice Bluster Bay end-delivery shuttle). Slower to weave, but selvedges at least are decent.

Adjusting tension is also a challenge with a narrow warp. The normal weight disk on the warp beam brake is much too heavy, and the warp just keeps tightening up. So I removed the weight and replaced it with a soup can in a plastic grocery bag tied to the brake lever. Better, but the warp is still a tad too tight. Substituted another soup can, slightly smaller size. Even better!

The bookmark project is only 5 yards long, which should be enough for maybe 18 or so 6-inch bookmarks, each with fringe on the ends. I found some 30/2 silk dyed a sort of orangey red in the stash, and it doesn't take much with only 90 ends! I can't remember when I beamed such a short warp. The weft colors are also left-overs from the stash: silk or tencel in various colors (orange, fuchsia, voilet, blue, green, etc.) and weights.

The warp is sett at 40 epi, with a basket-weave selvedge on each side, leaving 20 shafts for design. I've got a bunch of interesting 20-shaft designs from, some of which have floats a bit longer than I'd like for a scarf or yardage, but a bookmark isn't usually subjected to a whole lot of abrasion.

Here are a couple of in-progress shots showing some of the designs on the loom:

On a few of the bookmarks I tried using the crocodile-clamp temple (shown below). It's great to have a temple that works on 2-inch fabric! You can find these clamps in a sporting goods store, where they're sometimes called tarp clamps. Just don't ask for alligator clamps - they're a different critter altogether. These have corrugated jaws, with the angles going parallel to the selvedge. The grip is adjustable, and holds equally well on fine silk and on heavy cloth without leaving pin-holes like conventional temples. They are connected via slippery cord to heavy (1-2-lb) weights, so you can use 'em on any width cloth, also unlike conventional temples. Plus, they can't make holes in you or in the beater. I've included a long shot showing the whole setup on another project. You can't see the suspended fishing weights, but all the rest is visible. Works great on any loom. On the AVL, I needed to put some eye-bolts to route the cord; on some looms you can simply run the cord over the side support of the loom without drilling holes.

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