Thursday, November 29, 2007

Next Up: More Bookmarks!

Well, the decision about what to weave next seems to have been made for me! A blog reader contacted me the other day and ordered 10 of the last batch to give as holiday gifts (Thank You, Mary!), so I'll need more to fill the display at the next show.

I've got another bookmark warp already on the loom, set up for coral-red 60/2 silk sett at 60 epi in a 16-shaft straight draw threading with two more shafts to make a faux floating selvedge.

On a dobby loom, rather than leave the selvedge threads un-heddled, it's just as easy to put them on a spare pair of shafts and let the dobby raise and lower them. It makes the weaving simpler than having to remember to put the shuttle over the floating selvedge on the way into the shed and under the floating selvedge on the way out - just peg those shafts for plain weave.

If you're short of spare shafts, Lillian Whipple once told me she uses just one shaft for the faux floating selvedge. It goes up on the first pick, down on the second. As long as that shaft changes state (up vs down) between picks, it doesn't matter whether the shuttle is going over both on the way in and the way out of the shed, then under both selvedges in the other direction.

The liftplans I'll be using are mostly from, and were chosen to give me some experience with structures I haven't worked with before: rib weaves. Most of the drafts are from Oelsner, some from other sources.

The wefts will be a selection of hand-dyed 60/2 and 100/2 silk from my stash of leftovers from previous projects. Actually, the warp is also a leftover - with a 2-inch-wide warp, only 6 yards long, it doesn't take much thread to wind the warp!

I have lots of ways to use up leftovers. My mother grew up during the Great Depression and did a thorough job of instilling in me the "waste not, want not" philosophy she learned back in the 1930s. All my blue, green, and purple leftovers go into mixed warps for faux seersucker that uses lycra-based yarns for the shrinky stripes - a nice addition to the Water Series. All the accumulated browns from the Wood Series scarves are waiting to be made into a warp that will look like bark, combined with shrunk-and-felted wool stripes to create a textured surface - more Wood Series scarves, but mostly from leftovers! The depressionista in me is pleased at that concept.

In a comment on an earlier post, Angie asked how I finish the edges of the bookmarks. It's no secret: I begin each bookmark with 4 shots of plain weave in waste yarn, then 4 shots of plain weave in the pattern yarn. At the end, I weave 4 shots of plain weave in pattern yarn followed by 4 shots of plain weave in waste yarn. Once the weaving is done, I take the whole bookmark warp to the sewing machine and do a line of machine stitching across the plain weave shots in pattern thread. I try to use a machine thread that blends in with the weaving - the chameleon effect.

On my machine, there is a regular zig-zag, and a zig-zag that stitches several times on each diagonal. The owner's manual calls it a three-step zig-zag. That's what I use.

Once upon a time, I experimented with fabric glue and FrayCheck/FrayStop, and it made such a hard lump I didn't like the feel of it. Since hand-hem-stitching 20 bookmarks isn't on my list of good business decisions (it would nearly double the time it takes to weave each bookmark!), I go with the machine stitching.

Years ago, I bought a huge supply of fine undyed cotton very cheaply ($1/lb), and since then, I've almost gone through one whole cone using it as waste yarn at the beginning/end of each piece! Using undyed waste yarn makes it easier for me to see where the pattern yarn begins or ends, so whether I'm finishing bookmarks on the sewing machine, or making twisted fringes, I can see where I need to be to do the job.

1 comment:

Angie said...

Thank you! I'm a newish weaver...there don't seem to be too many resources around for weaving. Or perhaps I just haven't discovered them yet.