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Finding the Rainbow

It’s happened again. Too many days have passed without a new post. In my defense, I have been busy. And have posted on Facebook for those of you who are there. But not here. My bad.

So what have I been doing? Of course some weaving. As planned I wove a batch of circles, 9 in fact.

9 handwoven Finding the Rainbow towels

Here they are in groups of three.

I sold the first two of these before they went online to my biggest fan (aka sister).
orange, periwinkle, and turquoise towels

The lilac towel from this grouping and turquoise from the first grouping are on their way to Australia.
light blue, dark blue & lilac towels

The last two towels in this grouping were sold before they hit Facebook as well, to my second biggest fan (aka friend). I wasn’t sure if I’d like the elongation of some of the circles so only did it on the last towel. I will do that again.
salmon, scarlet, and pink towels

I posted mid-day on Wednesday and by Thursday evening only have the light blue one left.

So I’m preparing yet another warp of towels. I’m going to return to the squares as I like the ‘solidity’ of their colors, but I’m going to take some learning from the circles. First, my warp, which has been 6 colors, will be arranged in a bright rainbow. Second, I’m planning to vary some of the sizes of the squares. Yeah, there will be some rectangles. 🙂

In addition to all my towel weaving, I’m enrolled in an online class on Deflected Double Weave at the Weaving & Fiber Arts Center. This is our first attempt, pushed by the pandemic, and I definitely wanted to be in on it to see how it works. So I have the warp measured for that and will need to get it on the loom and threaded before Monday morning.

I had signed up for the Weave-Along with Tien Chiu and Janet Dawson to get more brave with my color choices, but felt too overwhelmed and bailed.

After discussion with a friend, I’m having her come and video my process of getting a warp on my loom, as I use some processes that others might find useful. Or not. I’d thought about whether this could be a Zoom lecture for the Center, but decided just doing a video made more sense.

I’d signed up for a CSA way back in February. Yesterday was my first pickup, and I got 5 of my favorites: asparagus, sugar snap peas, lettuce, strawberries, and rhubarb. So *had* to make a strawberry-rhubarb crisp.

strawberry rhubarb crisp

As they say on the worst commercials – But wait – there’s more!

My daughter and son-in-law gave me my birthday present a few weeks early. And it is a whopper – an inflatable kayak! I LOVE IT!!!! It’s made of heavy-duty material, sort of like an inner tube of old. From pulling it out of my trunk to putting it in the water takes me about 15 minutes and then I’m off.

kayaking on the bay

So far I’ve been on Irondequoit Creek, Irondequoit Bay, and the Erie Canal. More water trips to come, for sure!

And then I decided I wanted to make some kindness rocks. So much easier and longer lasting than writing on my sidewalk, which I did twice. I took a walk and gathered these rocks, then painted them with the only outdoor paint I have, a lavendar/periwinkle color.

painted rocks

Every other day or so I write/draw on a rock with the only 2 sharpies I have and take it with me when I go on my morning walk. I put it someplace where it will be seen without getting in the way of a lawn mower or weed wacker. Here’s my latest rock.

kindness rock

I don’t remember exactly where I’ve placed them all, but find it interesting that 3 of the ones I placed are no longer where I’ve put them. I’ve decided to think of this as a good thing, that they were picked up and put somewhere else so even more people get to enjoy them. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Here and gone

Things sometimes move REALLY QUICKLY! On Sunday I posted my latest batch of Safe At Home towels on Facebook.

9 Safe At Home Towels

Don’t they look great hanging on the clothesline?!

Two of the towels were sold before I posted them – one to a friend, the other to a woman who’d seen the unattractive photo of the wad of towels just off the loom and wanted first dibs when they were finished.

Safe At Home towels fresh off the loom

By the end of Sunday I’d sold four more of the towels, then another one on Monday.

Today I sold the last two – to a woman who’s willing to pay the expensive international shipping rates to get them to her in France!

Clearly I can’t keep these towels in stock.

But I’d already decided that my next warp would be for circles. And so it is. I’ve wound the warp and will put it on my loom today. Here are the colors I’ll be using.

warp colors for circles towels

I’m thinking this warp will be called Finding the Rainbow. I may change my mind as I weave.

And I won’t decide if I’ll do another warp of circles or return to the Safe At Home towels until I’m at least halfway through weaving this warp.

More colors, more towels

17 of the 19 colors of yarn I ordered arrived on Thursday.

17 of 19 yarns arrived

When I saw it all, I gulped. I fear I overdid it. But it’s done.

This afternoon I wound the warp for another 8 Safe At Home towels (the squares within squares).

beaming the warp for more Safe At Home towels

I’ve already decided (thanks to a suggestion from a friend) that after this warp I’m going to go back to circles for at least one warp of 8. When I wove circles before, my warp colors were limited – usually 5-6 warp colors for the run of 8 towels. I think I’m going to make every circle (18 across the width) a different color. Although I may change my mind before then. Maybe I’ll limit it to 9 colors – 2 circles of each color.

Earlier today I took the photos of my crackle towels and posted them on Facebook. (Have you joined the Second Wind Fan Group?) I’m happy with them.

6 crackle towels

I wove each of the 6 towels with a different color weft. I also used 4 different treadlings.

turquoise, black, and smoked paprika towels

Unlike the last 2 batches of towels, all the colored yarns here are commercially dyed.

periwinkle, midnight multi, and purple towels

The Midnight Multi towel has a variegated weft with navy, purple, medium blue, green, and red-orange.

Contact me if you’re interested in purchasing any of my towels.

Using stash – or not

For MANY months I’ve been saying ‘must use stash’ yet somehow I keep acquiring more yarn. 🙁 I have an excuse/rationale, but still…

My handwoven towels have been a real hit. Especially those colorful squares of Safe at Home.

7 handwoven Safe at Home II towels

I only got 7 towels out of this warp, and each one is long for a towel – 33″. I was counting weft stripes instead of measuring length, and apparently I wasn’t beating as firmly as I did for the first batch of these towels.

Regardless, I had requests for 2 of these towels – which turned into 3 – before the warp ever went on the loom. As soon as I posted this batch of 7 on Facebook I sold 3 more of them, so only 1 towel is left.

So I knew I’d need to weave more of these joyful and useful babies. And I didn’t have enough unmercerized cotton left to put another warp on the loom. (Ok, honestly, I do have some grays and taupes, but I don’t think that’s what people want right now. I may try that in the future.) So what to do? First I contacted a woman handling the sale of yarn from a local estate. I got a few unmercerized cottons but she didn’t have many. However I did also buy a few cones of light tints of cottolin and some mercerized cotton. And some undyed tencel. I couldn’t pass up the price. Sigh.

Not much for the Safe at Home towels, so I HAD to place an order. I had no choice, right? RIGHT?? I ordered 8oz. cones of 19 different colors. Sounds like a real lot, but honestly, that’ll only make about 3.5 batches of these towels.

While I’m waiting for the yarn to arrive, I put another batch of towels on the loom. 😉 For years I’ve said to myself, “I don’t like crackle weave.” And then I’d see something woven in crackle and say, “That’s beautiful.” Repeat the “I don’t like it – that’s beautiful” sequence several times, and I knew it was time for me to try it.

I doubted they’d sell as quickly as the Safe at Home towels, and knew I might not like treadling them (the treadling is all somewhat complex) so I only put on a warp for 6 towels. I have 4 woven so far, each with a different weft color and I’ve used 3 different treadling patterns. We’ll see how they go.

handwoven turquoise 'crackle' towel

handwoven mauve 'crackle' towel

handwoven black 'crackle' towel

Meanwhile, I have way too much Tencel & rayon, chenille, and silk to use up. But that’s not what’s moving out of my house right now. So I will weave cotton towels.

48 Hours Later

It wasn’t quick and it wasn’t easy, but I got it done. I’m going to walk you through the steps, partly to help anyone else who might find themselves in a similar situation, and partly for me to refer to if I ever do something this foolish again. 😉

I started trying to unwind/unbeam the warp with the threads through both heddles and reed. This was quickly turning ugly, and threading the reed is a really quick process, so I unthreaded the reed.

Much better. I thought I could get through this task with the heddles remaining threaded. It wasn’t going very well, though. Snarls were happening frequently, especially in the green and magenta sections. I’d dyed both of these yarns years ago, and my math told me I didn’t have quite enough of either for a whole section of the warps. So I opted to use two of my hand-dyed threads and one commercially-dyed thread for a three-thread cross. The mix of these yarns just seemed to grab on to each other as I tried to unwind.

I didn’t really want to unthread the heddles if I didn’t have to, and knew that doing so wouldn’t solve my problem, so I just moved slowly, combing the warp frequently, although I knew there was the potential for this to cause me problems later (stretching yarns differently).

After a few frustrating minutes, I could hear Laura Fry repeating one of her lessons: “A thread under tension is a thread under control.” AHA! All I had to do was to get enough warp in front of the heddles so that I could hang some weights! I removed the beater and reed, went under the front beam and over my warping valet, and hung weights.

hanging weights on the warps to unwind

The milk jug is on two warp colors next to each other which are both behaving well. All the other colors had their own weights, ranging from 1.5-2 pounds each. I started with the weights as high as I could make them, and as I unwound they neared the floor. Back to that end and move the weights back to the top. This made the job INFINITELY easier! Thank you, Laura Fry!

When it was all unwound, I realized I’d done something a little foolish, but no big deal. I should have taken those to-be-removed blue-violet threads out of the heddles before I started unwinding. I had to remove them at the end, which meant I had to pull the entire 8-1/2 yards backwards through the heddles. Fortunately this didn’t cause a problem.

Then I removed the ‘bad’ warp section and replaced it with the new warp section on the lease sticks and the the apron rod.
replacement warp on the lease sticks and apron rod

I didn’t want to put the raddle back in, so I simply spread out the replacement warp threads to about the correct width as I wound. At the front of the loom, I now started with the weights near the floor and as I re-beamed the weights rose. When they were at the top I’d simply rehang them to be back at the bottom.

re-beaming the warp with the replacement section

This part went as beautifully as beaming almost always does for me (again, thanks to Laura Fry). Then I just had to thread heddles for the replacement section and re-thread the reed. Before I knew it I was back in business and weaving.

Back weaving on the fixed warp

YES!! Another problem solved. Whew!