At the end of each calendar year I have to do a lot of counting. Counting more than 200 cones, pounds, and skeins of yarn, over 150 finished pieces of weaving, and a remarkable amount of beads and precious metals left from my jewelry-making days, especially given how much I’ve already sold.

I gather all sorts of costs that haven’t yet been entered into my QuickBooks and/or Excel programs. All of this in preparation for taxes. I dread these tasks so try to get them done in the week between Christmas & New Year so they don’t weight on my mind. Just get ’em done. All I have to do now is wait for the W2s and 1099s to come in.

After all the counting of things, I started what I was counting on being one of the pieces for my jurying this year. In mid-December I had placed the order for the next batch of yarn for baby wraps. One cone was out of stock and expected in any day, but with the holidays everything took longer than usual. So I did a bunch of planning in my weaving software to make some rayon turned taquete shawls. I spent hours figuring it out, doing my best to match the colors of yarn I had.

taquete shawl weaving draft 1

I thought I’d try the live weight system with the shawl, since it was both a bit narrower than the baby wraps and needed substantially less tension. Initially it wasn’t great, with the ropes continuing to slip on the back beam. I’d already taken several steps to rough up my warp beam to prevent this, but it still didn’t work. Then I remembered something my creative-thinking son suggested several weeks ago as a resolution: wet the rope. Although I had to do it a few times during the weaving, it worked great!

live weights on shawl

One of the real benefits of the live weight system is that you can be certain that the tension will be exactly the same for the entire length of the weaving. It’s also surprising how much quicker it is to advance the warp. So I was really glad it worked and I’m hoping the water plus some heavier weights will do the track for the next baby wrap warp.

Anyway, I started weaving and had to walk away from the loom several times. Too many broken warp threads! Frustrating! And since I wanted one of these shawls to be good enough for jurying, broken warp threads on the edges did not make for straight selvedges. Still I finished the shawl and, although I haven’t yet wet finished, I’m quite sure that the shawl will be fine to sell, if not to jury. (The color’s something between the draft image above and the photo of the shawl below.)

taquete squares rayon shawl

Still, I thought I needed to simplify for jurying photos; the squares might be too…busy? Unsophisticated? Something else? So I went back to the computer and played with other alternatives for using weft colors. I settled on this and went back to the loom.

taquete shawl weaving draft 2

Warp threads seemed to have fewer breaks for the second shawl, although still far more than acceptable. I’ve now marked the remaining yarn for use as weft only. Again, I still have to wet finish, but I’m happy with the overall look of this shawl and think it’s classier than the first.

taquete rayon  shawl-single weft

As I was finishing at the loom, the mailman came with the cotton for the baby wraps. Good timing. I’ll start winding that warp tomorrow. Then I’ll make one or two more pieces for jurying, work on more baby wraps, finish up the jurying pieces. The work never stops. Fortunately, I’m doing what I’ve chosen to do, what I like to do, setting my own schedule and working in my home. As Dear Abby said, “It’s only work if you’d rather be doing something else.”

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