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Falling apart

On Wednesday as I was beaming my coral and turquoise warp I looked down and saw this on the floor under my Macomber.

found screw, side view

It’s a screw, but an unusual one. No point, so I think not a wood screw. Does that mean it’s a metal screw? I don’t have enough hardware knowledge to answer that question…do you?

found screw, top

Of course, I looked at every piece of connecting metal on my Macomber carefully, and found nothing that looked similar. Ok, so don’t worry about it.

EXCEPT…

Several days earlier I found the exact twin of this screw on the floor near my counterbalance loom. So now I have two of them.

Something is falling apart. Something in my studio. But what is it? I’ve checked out my ceiling fan; no screws that look anything like it. Nothing on my warping mill, which does get moved around. Little else in the studio to even look at.

Anyone got a clue? I’d like to find and fix whatever it is before it falls apart completely.

UPDATE: I asked my handy & clever son to read the post and give me his input. He said, “looks like a 1/4×20 machine screw.” Okay, but what might it be from? He has no clue.

Dyer’s remorse

It was actually just moments after I finished the dyeing of those last warps and skeins that I decided I should have done it differently. I should have dyed some bouts only in coral and some only in turquoise.

Amazingly for me, I actually had an 8/2 tencel warp measured for dyeing, dyeing I had planned to do months ago and then got too busy to get to. Wide enough for a scarf. So I just made 1 small bout of yarn the same length to use for a few narrow stripes. Despite being really busy this week, after playing grandma all day yesterday, I went down to the basement and dyed these 2 bouts.

hand painted turquoise warp

After seeing how the last batch dried, my goal was to make the live coral a bit more pink and a bit stronger colored. We’ll see if I succeeded.
hand painted live coral warp

The yarns batched overnight, soaked for several hours today, rinsed till the water ran clear this afternoon, and are currently hanging to dry. I really want to get the scarf on the loom and see what I think.

It’s too early to tell if I will like either or both of these dyed warps. I’ll share with you no matter what. Maybe others can learn from my experience.

Back in the basement

I got that last warp, planned to become a circle shawl, woven, washed, and dried. Before I go any further I have to make a muslin, which I didn’t feel like doing at the moment. So plan the next piece for a jury photo.

Gee, I’d like it to be woven from yarn I’ve hand painted. Well that doesn’t happen overnight. Hand painting yarn takes time. Plan the project. Measure the yarn. Scour and pre-soak. Mix dyes, paint, steam and batch. Rinse and soak. Hang and dry. All that takes place before I can begin to beam. So I can’t weave with my hand painted yarns spontaneously. I have to do the first several steps, then put something else on the loom during all the waiting steps. I’m planning that ‘something else’ in my head at the moment.

I started by looking at my dye inspiration board photos on pinterest. Some really nice things, but why am I not excited about dyeing any of them?

I decided to check out Pantone’s color of the year. I’ve never felt moved to jump on that particular bandwagon before, but this time the photos here spoke to me. Wow – vibrant!

So next I had to figure out how to create a similar color from the small assortment of dyes I have. I used Tangerine, Mixing Red, and Sun Yellow for the coral, with Turquoise and Intense Blue for the turquoise. I wound 5 bouts of 8/2 tencel – 3 to paint as warps, 2 to paint as skeins.

Here’s 1 of the bouts I painted today.

hand painted warp in coral and turquoise

And one of the skeins.

hand painted skein in coral and turquoise

All 5 bouts were painted and steamed and are currently batching overnight. In the morning I’ll unwrap them and put them in a bucket to soak for at least several hours to minimize the rinsing time and water needed.

Only then can I hang them to dry, and hope that my choice of colors looks good dry. Fingers crossed on that. And on the hope that I can find a weft color that shows them to their advantage.

Although I’m still committed to using up my still-too-much-yarn stash, I have ordered 5 pounds of tencel and 3 pounds of silk (actually out of stock at the moment) for dyeing.

The good news? Yesterday, in addition to measuring out that tencel for the dyeing, I got all my year-end paperwork (actually computer work) done! Now I just have to wait to get some 1099s, W-2s, and the like in the mail so I can take it all to my accountant. Whew! That’s a load off my mind!

Plus, between yesterday and today I’m about 1/3 of the way through the 6-hour online defensive driving course to reduce my insurance cost. I don’t like doing it, but I do like that financial benefit, and it’s only required every 3 years, so it’s well worth the time.

More miscellanea

After the last post I realized I received one more photogenic Christmas gift.

Christmas mug

Cool, isn’t it?!

And here are shots of those finished towels. Reminder, I used 8/4 cotton for both warp and weft, sett at 12 EPI.

white weft towel, all over huck

8/4 all over huck, white weft

striped weft towel, all over huck

8/4 striped weft, all over huck

After those 2 all-over huck towels, I tried one alternating huck treadling with plain weave treadling. It wasn’t clear on the loom, but alternating huck and plain weave ended up creating a sort of waviness to the towel, since the shrinkage wasn’t consistent. I *should* have been able to anticipate that. Sigh.

white weft towel, alternate huck

8/4 huck and plain weave alternating, white weft

Then I wove one in plain weave. As other weavers have reported, LOTS of tracking. (For non-weavers, tracking in plain weave is when it appears that there is texture and/or twill lines that don’t really exist.) I actually like it, but others may not.

white weft towel, plain weave

8/4 plain weave, striped weft

Then I got tired of the white weft and used yellow for the last 2 towels.

yellow weft towel, alternate huck

8/4 yellow weft, alternating huck and plain weave

yellow weft towel, alternate huck, alternate tie up

8/4 yellow weft, alternating huck and plain weave, alternate tie up

That last towel is my least favorite.

So, would I use 8/4 again for towels? The answer is maybe. I like the ‘beefy’ feel of the towels, although they are a bit stiff. I’ve now put them through the washer and dryer twice, once on their own and once with a load of my clothes. I may do a third. We’ll see.

On the next-up front, it was time to audition wefts for the planned circle shawl with the hand painted warp. I was surprised by what I saw/learned.

auditioning shawl wefts

From bottom to top

  • 8/4 white weft, simply to spread the warp cuz I had some left on a bobbin after the towels;
  • 8/2 black tencel weft;
  • 8/2 sienna tencel weft, which is what I’d sort of planned for, but which makes the weave structure totally disappear AND doesn’t show off the lovely warp yarn to its advantage;
  • 5/2 golden mercerized cotton weft, since I saw that I wanted a yarn that was similar grist to the bamboo-cotton warp;
  • 5/2 purple bamboo weft; and
  • 8/2 black tencel weft doubled, since I liked the black best so far but a thicker yarn.

You can probably guess which I’m going for. Or maybe not. It’s that last one – doubled 8/2 black tencel. Now back to the loom.

This and that

I asked for a specific things for Christmas, and my kids came through in spades. Most aren’t particularly photogenic, but these 2 are, both from LaBrise Stained Glass.

A cardinal pair in my front window…

stained glass cardinals

…and a sweet chickadee in the studio.

stained glass chickadee

On the weaving front, in a reply to a comment on that post about the weavies, it occurred to me that I didn’t know if a single weavie would reasonably suffice as a mug rug. Would the wool transfer moisture to the table/surface underneath it? I wanted to know, because I didn’t think I could sell any if I priced them high enough to account for the work involved in making 2 weavies, sewing them together, and stuffing them. So I did an experiment.

testing weavies

I got 3 different of my test weavies. From left to right they are a single strand of sock yarn, a double strand of sock yarn, and a single strand of worsted weight wool. I put a paper towel under the row of 3 and a glass of water with ice cubes on each. I figured I’d be able to more easily see if the paper towel got wet/damp than my table top.

I waited. The ice melted but nothing happened. The glasses didn’t sweat, which was needed for the test. So I dumped out most of the remaining water, and filled each glass up with ice. Now they’d sweat for sure.

The bottom line? The sock yarns, which are a fiber blend, transferred a tiny bit of moisture to the paper towel; the worsted wool transferred none. So I think I’ll make some to sell this summer and see what kind of interest I get. Weavies are a great thing to do in the evening while I’m watching TV.

Moving on, I did get those ‘beach’ towels from the last post woven and off the loom. I intended to do the hand hemming last night in front of the tube, but Jack decided he MUST have more attention, so that was the end of that.

While I was weaving the towels I tried to figure out what I wanted to weave for jury photos. I decided I’d try the circle shawl from the November/December 2014 issue of Handwoven.

circle shawl from Handwoven magazine

I’ve looked at it several times since 2014, so now I was going to jump in. Of course I wanted my own interpretation, basically just using their measurements for a finished piece.

I planned the whole thing out with some beautiful, thick-ish mercerized cotton. Then it was time for bed. By the next morning I realized I wouldn’t like the plan. Why? My warp would be in stripes because I didn’t have enough of any single color of the yarn, and those stripes would end up being horizontal in the finished piece. I don’t like wearing horizontal stripes, and figured others would feel the same. Hmmmmmm…..think again, Peg.

I didn’t really want a solid color warp. Using a variegated yarn in the weft has never pleased me; I really only like them in warp. How would I solve this problem?

Another lightbulb, and another pass through the stash and I found some beautiful bamboo-cotton yarn that I’ve had for a few years, hand painted by another fiber artist. I’ve now measured out that warp and plan to get it on the loom tomorrow.

measuring bamboo-cotton warp

While I was winding I realized I have 3 very cool options for some novelty yarn that would look smashing with this warp. But again, they’d be horizontal stripes. So I’m going to try to use them in the weft. We’ll see how that goes.