Making presents – and progress

We had our first Christmas celebration yesterday. Included were my two kids, son-in-law, grandson, both sisters, brother-in-law, niece, nephew, my nephew’s new fiance. It was a wonderful afternoon. The only thing that could have made it better was several more hours. I most certainly did not have enough time to visit with my niece, nephew, or to-be niece-in-law. And it will unfortunately be many months before we’re all together again.

Since we did Christmas yesterday, I can now show you my latest weaving efforts. I made everyone bookmarks, but not my ordinary bookmarks, which are woven using a 5/2 cotton warp and similar sized wefts, all woven on four shafts. I like them, but wanted something more special for Christmas gifts. So I went to Carol Strickler’s A Weaver’s Book of 8 Shaft Patterns and decided on several of the border patterns on pages 31-33. I made a few minor modifications to make sure that the back wouldn’t have floats more than 7 threads long, preferably 5, since the purpose was bookmarks. I needed to make 9 in all; 6 for yesterday and 3 for presents yet-to-be-given (to people who don’t read my blog, so no present-spoilers here), plus 1 extra just in case. First a shot of all 10.

10 handwoven bookmarks I threaded the Mac in a simple rosepath design – 4 repeats – using 12/2 cotton sett at 36 ends per inch. Each of the designs used a different tie-up, so several trips under the loom.

Now for some close ups.

First I wove some snowflakes.
handwoven snowflake bookmarks
My oldest sister, who used to knit lots of mittens, often using a traditional snowflake design, got the dark blue one of these.

Then I wove a design that looked to me like a Star of David while in draft form, but more like a flower in real life.
handwoven stars bookmarks
The new fiance got the light wedgewood blue bookmark.

Next I wove some trees. I really like these lovely evergreens.
handwoven trees bookmarks
For obvious reasons, I made them both a nice rich green. My brother-in-law, who spends hours outdoors each day, got one of these.

Then I tried another tree. It’s okay, but in comparison to the first one, not a winner.
handwoven trees2 bookmarks
I’m using this as my extra.

So I moved onto a more warm-weather design, weaving some butterflies.
handwoven butterflies bookmarks
My niece, who lives in South Carolina and has more summer than the rest of us, got a butterfly.

For my last design I made flowers.
handwoven flowers bookmarks
My other sister got the flowers. She’s got a lovely flower garden.

While I was weaving the bookmarks my son stopped by for a few hours (his purpose is still a secret). Being ever helpful, he graciously assisted me in replacing the cords on my Missouri loom.
new cords - front view

I am SO glad I had his help. It took the two of us about an hour and a half, and would have taken me more than twice that long alone.

Once all the cables were hooked to the levers, we tested it all out, and everything seems to work smoothly.
new cords tied to levers

The next day I stopped at JoAnn Fabrics and bought some webbing to make the missing apron straps. Today I got them sewn to length and stapled in place on both the front & back beams.
strapping on the loom

Over the next few days I hope to have the time to put on a short warp and test it out. Will the reed, which my son sandblasted to remove the rust and I subsequently sprayed with clear rustoleum in an attempt to make smoother, be sufficient or will it abrade the threads? Have I sufficiently cleaned the heddles (not rusty) by blowing them with compressed air, or do I need to individually wipe each one? Will the brakes hold, the levers work smoothly, the shed be clean? Only time will tell.

I’m still working on needed modifications to be able to hook up the treadles. I need the loom to be functioning, at least as a table loom, by mid-January, when I’ll be away from home for a week.

Just a few more days & I’ll spend more time with family on Christmas Eve & Christmas day. Yippee!! Wishing you a wonderful Christmas, too!!

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