Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Temples are Working

Rotary Temples on New Warp

I got rolling last night with the 35 yards of warp on my 40" dobby. I had a few errors in the chain and that I have corrected. The tension arrangement on the smaller loom has always been problematic. The loom is tensioned with an adjustable cord around a disk on the side of the warp beam.  The 40" beams are small in diameter, at least the four that I have. Bigger is better. A large diameter warp beam distributes the warp tension more evenly. Commercial warp beams are enormous but they are also made to hold miles of warp. Adding the rotary temples changes where the "fell line" is, or where the beater strikes the cloth, and this changes many things. The first few inches of the cloth are kind of wonky. I wove enough to get the temples set and going. Now I have to adjust the tension on the warp beam and the workings of the auto-pick advance. I do have awesome selvedges now! The temples are working!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Building the Dobby Chain

My smaller loom, the 40" folding dobby, does not have a Compu-Dobby. It has the original arrangement, the dobby chain. I have dobby chains which are made up of dobby bars that are shaped to go over the dobby box roller. I am fat on dobby bars right now because I must have acquired over 200 that are in excellent condition when I bought the big loom. Some of those bars are organized into chains and labeled. I have the "work book" of the previous weaver and maybe I can figure out what she used those chains for. In addition I have about 100 dobby bars for the smaller loom. When a dobby chain gets so long it drags on the floor, the weight of the chain makes the dobby jam or skip. A lead pipe at the bottom of the chain loop can help but there is a limit. Each pass of the shuttle requires a pegged bar. For complicated weaving sequences a chain might have to be very long. My mentor Lillian Whipple has designs that would require a chain 800 bars long hence the need for a computerized system. I finished pegging the chain, 44 bars with blank bars as a spacer to mark half-way on the pattern and two bars for tabby. You can also easily change the direction of the chain to go in reverse. That can, depending on the weaving sequence, can give you more design possibilities. Significant changes require a different chain.  To build the chain I used a weaving program on my IPad, WeaveIt. It has a convenient module that lets you tap and advance the treadling sequence in my case the dobby bar sequence. I did this while watching the "Red Violin" on Netflix, a movie that does not require any concentration. Today I 'll see how she weaves.

Dobby Chain "Building"

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Warping Errors and Loom Doggies

I am not sure I am creating the "Perfect Storm" or not. First off, and I noticed this as I was winding the warp, I missed one thread in my section box. I just never threaded that spool. So instead of having 32 threads in each 2" section of yarn, I have 31. Odd numbers aren't a great idea in weaving although they are a component of some weave structures. NOT FATAL.   Error #2: My draft was designed to use all of my 16 harnesses. When I got to the  smaller loom, it was previously threaded to run on 12, 8 for the pattern, and 4 for the selvedge threads. It would take some time to load enough heddles on all of my harnesses. So I was lazy and picked a different draft. NOT FATAL. Error #3: Then I took a good look at one of the sections. It isn't flat. Hmm, it is an outside section that includes the selvedge threads. NOT FATAl, just super annoying.

The take away? CHECK, CHECK, CHECK your work. It wouldn't hurt to have a check list. Warping is the least performed task when you weave. You will always be less experienced warping unless that is all you do.  Sometimes it is hard to remember all the little things that need to be done. I resolve to write it down.

By the way some weaving errors are FATAL and cannot be recovered from. Warps that don't weave are called,  "Dogs". Having a "Dog on the Loom" is a weaver's agony, a waste of time and materials.  They bark and howl and bite. Solution? Euthanasia. A quick dispatch with the scissors can bring rapid and lasting relief like lancing a boil.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Adding Stuff to My Looms

I have woven a lot of rayon chenille in my life but not "100%" rayon chenille, warp and weft. Honestly rayon chenille is not a warp yarn by the nature of its structure. The yarn is basically flat rayon filaments held together by a fine plied core. Rayon chenille is paradoxically stretchy and then it isn't. It is difficult to measure for warp and get on the warp beam with an even tension. Nonetheless rayon chenille has always been popular as a weaving yarn because it produces a velvet-like texture and it is very lusterous. The AVL loom with its sandpaper beam just can't hold the slickness of the rayon chenille. I have better grade of sandpaper on my little loom. It isn't enough.  I have the bitter memory of a 10 yard 100% rayon chenille warp  FAIL that went to pot after the first yard.

So what to do? I now have AVL's "final solution", about $100.00 of this rubberized beam covering for the big loom. I will see how it works. It seems like it'll work.  In the spirit of solving some long standing weaving problems, I ordered rotary temples from Fireside Looms. I have yet to install them. I was blown away by the careful packaging and the quality of the components. They look like little jewels.

What do rotary temples do? They perfect the selvedges, the edges of the cloth, by tensioning the selvedges and rolling with them. No more old school wooden or metal temples that need to be moved every few inches. I am not a fan of the paperclip and weight method either (weavers will know what I mean).

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Weaver's Barn Here I Come

I am a member of a very interesting weaving "guild" that is associated with the Antique Gas and Steam Museum in Vista, California.  Within the grounds that the museum occupies, mostly dedicated to old farm equipment, is the Weaver's Barn. I was amazed to find it, over 50 handlooms of all kinds, only a 5 mile drive from my home. It is an awesome place with a wonderful group of weavers who come to weave on the looms, share a lunch, and a brief meeting. I have enough looms at home so I don't weave there. Today I am bringing my spinning wheel. Yes, I do that too! I started with weaving after I bought a spinning wheel as I needed something to do with all the yarn I was producing. The link to the Weaver's Barn is here, http://www.agsem.com/museum-weavers.php. If you'd like to drop by we're there on Thurdays and on Saturday. You can drop in and do you're own unguided tour. We sometimes do guided tours for groups but by arrangement.

Interior of the Weaver's Barn, Vista,  CA.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Still Uploading

Some online advice about Etsy uploads is that you don't do them all at once. This is good because between the photography and all the questions one needs to answer, it is a slow process. Some items are particulary difficult to photograph properly. For some reason my Ipad camera has a problem with accurate blues and greens. God only knows how it will look on somebody else's computer, tablet or phone.

After much color correction, still not perfect
Meanwhile, I am ready to wind on scarves on the 40" loom,

Monday, November 4, 2013

Launching on Etsy

I went "live" on Etsy on the 2nd. The upload process takes a while and I have had to work on my photography. I think it might be a good idea to have my shawls and scarves modeled. I can do it myself but it means getting out the serious camera, tripod, and finding a location with the proper lighting. Shawls are actually a  bit difficult to photograph. They are long and all of it should show. I like to weave in blocks of color so one end the shawl can be quite different. My shop on Etsy is called MMsOOsHandweaving. Apparently no spaces or ampersands are allowed. So be it. Here is the direct link,
I am far from done stocking my store. 

Meanwhile I wound 32 spools of yarn for the warp. It is going on the 40" loom so I can install the pick advance and other stuff on the big loom. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

New Project

A friend of mine has expressed interest in buying some scarves for Xmas presents. I think I am going to put on another warp with the aim of using up some odds and ends. I still have a few pounds of the rayon thick and thin yarn and enough cotton and rayon yarns of the proper size to mix in. I will probably change how the loom is threaded. I might put all of this on the 40" loom. I can make that decision later. These are my warp yarns, the two greens are actually different yarns: