I have one more hands-on jury piece to weave. I had 4 ideas: one I needed to order a cone of rayon to implement, two I thought would require a few tries to get it right, and one that I thought I could implement relatively quickly. So I ordered that cone of yarn and while I was waiting went ahead with the 4th idea.

I measured out a 3-color gradient rayon warp & set up the little counterbalance loom. I cut a stiff but not too thick piece of cardboard into a few free-form curves. I sat down at the loom, hemmed the edge as always when I’m going to fringe the piece, and started weaving. Awful! Not at all what I had in my mind. Ignoring color for the moment, I tried with a few different weights of yarn to see if that would provide the results. Nope.

trying to weave waves

Walk away. Think. What else could I do with this warp that might be good enough? How about beaded leno? Give it a shot.

beaded leno

This involves threading tiny beads on my warp thread, winding it by hand onto a shuttle, and slowly, painstakingly, push the beads back when I don’t want them and carefully place them when I do. These are my sample beads. They helped me decide that I needed to use the larger size bead. (Can you even see the tiny beads in the 2 top rows? They are exactly the right color, but not the right size.)

So I left space for a fringe and hemmed again. I didn’t have enough of the color beads I wanted, so went with a silver-lined clear bead. I wove about 15″ – 8 rows of leno, 4 of them with the beads, 4 without. After all that tedious, time-consuming work, I decided this would not do. It was pretty impossible for me to keep my selvedges nice and straight, so a jury would be decidedly unimpressed.

Crap! Walk away from the loom for the night. The cone of yarn will arrive on Monday. Will I wait for that? The mail won’t get here till late afternoon, so I’d have to ‘waste’ two whole days. The yarn for my next baby wraps isn’t here yet either, and that’ll probably arrive the same day. I’ll feel really pressured to do the jury piece AND to do the baby wraps. I hate being in that position!

Still I spent a few hours in front of my weaving software playing with drafts to get what I thought would be a winning weave pattern. By then it was 11:30. Stop the madness and go to bed! I read for a bit to turn off the brain whirring and got to sleep.

I got up this morning, went for my walk, did my yoga, took a shower, made my Sunday morning phone call to my friend, and suddenly got a flash.

I bet I know why that wave didn’t work the first time! Two reasons: I was treadling in twill when I should treadle tabby, and I made my curves too deep & too varied. Cut new ones in very gentle lines, went back to the loom and tried out the revised concept.

2nd wave trial

Yeah – that’ll work!

So I left space for a fringe and did hem #3. I started weaving and was happy with what I was producing.

good waves #1

How do I do this? S…L…O…W…L…Y. Here’s a shot of one of my cardboard ‘reeds’ in place.

cardboard reed in place

The routine is throw the shuttle, leave the shed open, insert one of the handmade reeds, close the shed, beat it in. Every single time. As I go I have to decide when & where to shift the reed or switch to a different reed.

Here’s another shot of several inches.

good waves #2

As I was weaving it became clear that I wasn’t willing to risk the kind of thread shifting that might happen during a wet finishing process, even a gentle one. Or what would happen as a scarf like this was worn. Plus the selvedges were a little wavy because the weft wasn’t a consistent tension near the edges.

So I changed my plans only slightly. Instead of making this a wearable, I’ll frame a section of it. I might be able to use a panoramic frame, or I might have to have it custom framed. I’ll choose the section of weaving that I think looks best.

That assumes, of course, that it will still make me happy when it comes off the loom. I’ve woven about 50″ so far. I’m going to keep going for at least another foot, then I’ll cut it off & see where I’m at. Keep your fingers crossed.

4 comments to Transitions

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