Not about weaving

It’s very unusual that I write a post that has nothing to do with weaving. This is one such post.

I’m catching up on my Radiolab listening, and just listened to this podcast. I found it thought provoking, and it covers a topic that I believe is definitely in need of discussion and consideration in our society: reasonableness, especially as it relates to police actions toward Black men. Just my two cents. You get to choose whether you will listen, and your reaction if you do.

Making time…and losing it

I successfully wove, fringed, and wet finished the three scarves on the ‘springtime’ warp. All 3 are commercially dyed 8/2 tencel for both warp and weft.

First up has a black weft with a straight treadling. Here’s the full scarf and a closeup so you can see both sides of the finished piece.

springtime scarf with black weft

springtime scarf with black weft, close

Next I used a cranberry weft. Although I really liked it on the loom, I’m just okay with it finished…the change in treadling doesn’t really show well.

springtime scarf with red

springtime scarf with red, close

Last I wove a short cowl with a red-violet weft. The way these colors play together make this is my favorite of the three.

springtime cowl with red-violet

As planned, while I was waiting for the hand painted warps to dry, I planned, measured, and beamed a warp for the loom. This time it’s 30/2 silk in a pale greenish-bluish-grayish color. I chose a weave pattern that’s complex both to thread and to treadle. 304 ends.

I carefully threaded more than 250 ends when I realized something was wrong. I had too many threads left. I looked at the threading guide I printed out and was working from.

AAAARRRRGGGGG!!!

I had inadvertently started that printing 11 ends from the beginning edge, and started the threading where the printout told me to. I sat for a few minutes and thought. If I wanted the design to be symmetrical, and I did, I had 2 choices: eliminate the last 11 ends or go back to the beginning and start threading again. I didn’t want to waste 22 ends of silk and make the scarf 3/4″ narrower to boot, so I went back to the beginning.

I did make my life a little easier for the second threading…as I unthreaded, I tied my heddles in threading ‘bundles’ so I didn’t have to carefully count out all the heddles the second time around. But still, it took a lot of time to thread again.

304 ends silk threaded

Finally threaded. Hope there aren’t any threading errors!

UPDATE: No threading errors, but after weaving the first scarf I realize I am working with 20/2 silk, not 30/2. Should be sett farther. Not gonna do that.

Dungeon but no dragon

I spent 5+ hours in my basement today. With its concrete floor and unfinished nature, my basement is a very functional space, especially for dyeing. But comfortable, bright, or cheery it is not. Rather dungeon-like, actually.

hand painting yellow and orange

2 yellows and an orange

Warp painting is a many-day process for me. On Monday spent several hours planning warps for 3 runs of 3 scarves each, all in 8/2 Tencel. I had to decide on a weave structure for each, and if I would make fringed scarves, long or short cowls, or some combination of the three for each warp. Then I had to determine sett (threads per inch in the warp) and decide if I would wind all the threads in one bout (group of warp threads; winding more than one bout allows for more variety in the painting of the colors, but also takes more time to both make the bouts and paint them).

hand painting blue and purple

2 blues and a purple

Next is to actually wind those warps. For me that was 7 bouts for the 3 warps (2 bouts for 2 warps, 3 bouts for the other). Each warp was a different length based on what I plan to weave, and each had a different number of threads. So I had to use a system to know which bout was which. I used different sizes, fibers, and textures of threads for my ties so I could differentiate them at every step of the process.

I wound 2 warps Monday night, the other 5 this morning. Then I had to scour and presoak the warps while I mixed dyes and prepared the work surface. (I forgot to take photos of some of the warps after painting.)

After carefully laying out each prepared warp I had to paint on the dyes, being sure to get all of the threads without wasting lots of dye by using too much. Then wrap them up in saran wrap like snakes, and steam each of the 7 bouts individually for 1/2 hour while I was painting the next warp.

hand painting light and dark terracotta

light and dark terracotta

The 7 bouts are now sitting in my oven, with the oven light on for a bit of warmth. They’ll sit there overnight. Tomorrow morning, after my Guild meeting, I’ll carefully unwrap each bout and set it to soak in a basin of water until Thursday morning. This helps minimize both water usage and time in rinsing. On Thursday morning I’ll rinse each bout separately until the rinse water is clear.

Then I’ll hang up the bouts to dry. Given our cold spring, they’ll be hanging in my house – maybe in the basement, and will likely take more than 24 hours to dry. During that time I’ll need to fondle each bout some to make sure it’s spread apart enough so that it dries completely, and give it a good snap at several places along its length to separate and straighten the threads.

hand painting light and dark blue

light and dark blue

So perhaps sometime this weekend I can actually put the first warp on my loom – a whole week from the beginning of this process. Meanwhile I’ll wet finish those ‘springtime’ scarves from the last post, and put another warp on the loom to weave with commercially-dyed yarn. Maybe it’ll be silk. Maybe not.

Springtime warp

tencel springtime warp

Spring brings bright colors to the outdoors. And to the loom. This is a tencel warp for three scarves that I’ll weave in an undulating twill.

Repeating my mistakes

Well, well, well. I’ve done it again. Made the same mistake – twice – that I’ve made before and swore I wouldn’t do again. HAH!

What is that mistake? It’s forgetting to allow for take-up in my warp calculations. That’s why I didn’t have enough warp for 10 towels. If only I’d realized it before I planned and beamed the next warp, which was intended to be for 3 scarves. Fortunately I DID realize my error after that scarf warp was threaded. So I adjusted my calculations, working backwards from the length I actually had, and realized that I could weave 1 fringed scarf, 1 long cowl, and 1 short cowl. Better to know then than later. But still…….how many times will I make this mistake?!?!?!?

Anyway, here are the towels. The first photo shows the three that were special ordered. I’m not sure if she’ll want them, especially the one on the left. The woman wanted it to match exactly a towel she had from me, but I didn’t have enough of the weft yarn left, and since it was a custom hand painting job from several years ago, I’m sure I couldn’t have gotten more. So I did the best I could to make it coordinate, since it couldn’t match.

Debbie's towels

Here’s the original towel I was to match.

pinks flannel towel

Then I had a friend tell me that he was looking for 3 towels that looked like they went together. So I tried to weave 3 or 4 coordinating in yellow and orange, since the colors looked cheery to me.

yellow & orange towels

The one on the top is one of the shorties – only 21″ long. He’ll see these towels, and 3 bumberet towels, plus the yellow towel from the last warp, on Friday. He may choose something – or not.

Here are the last 2 towels.
2 more towels

The one that you saw at the end of the warp while on the loom will go to my daughter. In addition to being short, the weft yarn has some looping at one of the selvedges, so I’d never sell it. She can wipe her hands on it. Or whatever.

Not that I’m OCD or anything, but that scarf warp I mentioned earlier was essential if I was to meet my March goal. I used the lace draft I’d created last month, modifying it to be scarf width. Warped the loom with a silver-gray 8/2 tencel and wove the first scarf with that as weft, too. The lovely lace pattern doesn’t show up much in this photo, but you can see it nicely in the next one.

handwoven silver lace scarf

I wanted to ‘fancy it up’ a bit, so worked glass beads into the fringe. I really like it. Just enough glitz.

beaded end of scarf

The long cowl got a medium blue weft.

silver & blue lace cowl

The short cowl got a charcoal weft. I like the scarf and both cowls.

silver & slate lace cowl

Now, if my friend buys 3 towels on Friday I need to weave more towels. Even if he doesn’t I need to weave more towels. I also need to weave more scarves. Which should I do next? Which will I do next? What yarns will call to me? What weave structure? Will the dyes in the basement start pulling on me? Decisions, decisions.