Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Drop in the Bucket Stash Busting

The Fall 09 Handwoven magazine contained at least four projects that appeal to me. The first one, the Budget Bamboo Shawl is off the loom already. Since the weaving weather is very good for being in my non climate controlled studio, I have rushed to get another project on the loom from the Fall 09 issue.

The new project is the Stash Busting Placemats which is now warped and the weaving is in progress. The sad thing is that I don't think my stash will actually see a big reduction. In fact, I think I have a net increase in stash since I did not have the 8/2 cotton used in the warp for these mats - so that FORCED me to go shopping closeouts at Webs.

However, I did uncover a cone of Cotton Flake in my stash that is going to give these just the look I wanted. I love the colors of this flake. The mats, in progress, are looking just the way I envisioned them. They are going to make a nice gift for someone on my Christmas list.

For the warp of these, I used one strand of navy blue and one strand of chocolate brown. In the weft I have 2 strands of navy blue, one strand of chocolate brown and 3 strands of the cotton flake. Laura Fry, the designer, used two strands of Cotton Flake in her sample, but I wanted mine a bit more hefty so I have opted for 3 strands.

The pattern did not really talk about how many picks of plain weave to use after the hemstitching, so I chose 3 for a total of 6 picks of plain weave. The pattern is a broken twill and I really love it. It is making a nice fabric for a busy yarn, so I will probably use this draft again

I have one mat woven and am ready to hemstitch the second one.

I am already queuing up the next project from this Handwoven issue. I can mind weave really fast. Too bad the weaving goes much slower or my stash might actually be in trouble!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Off the Loom

My Budget Bamboo Shawl is complete! It is off the loom, fringed, washed and pressed.
It was a fun project - one of those that made me want to do more weaving. The finished fabric is soft and very drapey.

It wove very quickly. I analyzed the tie ups and draft and discovered that I really only needed 3 treadles tied up. I rearranged those so that when my shuttle was on the left, I used the far left treadle, and when my shuttle was on the right, I used either the fourth or sixth treadle depending on where I was in the weaving sequence.

Other treadles were tied up in the draft, but they were for weaving some alternate designs with the same pattern. I decided to stick to the treadling sequence used for the sample in the magazine, after I looked at the alternates in my weaving software.

I bought 6 balls of the Aunt Lydia's Bamboo Crochet yarn and used most of 5. It took almost all of 3 balls for the warp, and 2 balls for the weft. I tried to pay attention to the 15 ppi which meant a light touch on the beater.

I did make a few weaving mistakes that I did not catch while I was weaving. I would have unwoven a ways to correct then if I had seen them. I will chalk this up to being a beginner - although with each project complete, I am farther along the path to being a real weaver.

I don't think the mistakes will matter in the long run, and I will improve next time.

As far as I know, I am the only one in our Weave Along who is done with the shawl. I don't think the others have their warps on the loom yet.

I am planning my next project already. I have my sights set on the Stash Buster Placemats in the same issue of Handwoven (Fall 2009). I really love this issue of Handwoven. After the placemats are done, there are still 2 more projects in that issue of the magazine that I want to try.

These projects will all end up as Christmas presents. I just hope I can get done before the cold weather hits because then my '"weaving studio (a. k. a the garage) " becomes too cold to use.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Blame it On Charlene

In September, Peggy, Kate Faye and I went to the Cajun Lagnaippe Fiber For'em. This is a nice little fiber festival held at a camp in southwest Louisiana.

The For'em features lots of great classes including Weaving, Bobbin Lace, Sock Machine Knitting, and Machine Knitting taught by Yours Truly. The teacher of the Beginning Weaving Class, Charlene, had this bamboo shawl as one of her samples. She wove it from the directions in the September/October 2009 Handwoven Magazine, called the Budget Bamboo Shawl.

The shawl is made from Aunt Lydia's Bamboo Crochet Cotton. It is woven in Bronson Lace (new for me). The yarn costs less than $15. It is available at Wal-Mart, JoAnn's and Hobby Lobby.

Charlene had deviated from the pattern and used a cream color for the warp and white for the weft, and the subtle difference gave the shawl lots of depth. Kate, Peggy, Faye and I all loved it, so we decided we would all weave it in a Weave A Long or WAL.

So, we all got the yarn and two Wednesdays ago at spinning we began winding our warps. I was able to finish winding mine, and I believe that Kate and Peggy have theirs wound too.

This week, after finishing my Scarf Jail Scarves (that is a whole nother story), I began warping my loom. The loom is a very old Le Clerc Nilus that I think was made in the 1950's or 1960's. It was a school loom, and I am sure could tell lots of stories if it could talk.

I am a process person, so I am always looking for a new twist on stuff. Never mind that I am a beginning level weaver with less that a dozen warps under my belt. Last year I ordered the Singing Weaver's (Nadine Saunders) Warping on a Shoestring video, and I also ordered Peggy Osterkamp's Warping from the Back Video, as well as her book on warping. So, armed with all this information, I decided to branch out (since I am so NOT an expert on warping from the front of the loom) and break out my new raddle to put this warp on from the back using a combination of Peggy and Nadine's techiques.

Nadine uses shoestrings for lots of things when she weaves. She ties the warp to the back apron with shoe strings, and she also ties the warp to the front apron rod with shoestrings. It takes a bunch of shoestrings for her technique and I had shopped Ebay and ordered mine last spring from someone who had some close outs (can't imagine why red and green plaid sparkly shoe laces would have been on close out). I think I paid less than $10 for 40 pairs. You can see them in the photo and even see the glitter!

So, the photos show my warp going on the loom from the back with the raddle in place (Peggy O does this a little differently and I might try her process next time). It also shows my completed tied on warp and glittery shoestrings!

A gadget I got, that I highly recommend is the Auto Reed Hook. This tool is a must have - though a little expensive, it is well worth it. This was the first time I had used it. That hook cut my reed threading time by 2/3rds at least. I LOVE it. If you are a weaver, put it on your Christmas list.

So today, I tied the warp on to the front beam with the shoelaces and a snitch knot a la "Warping on a Shoestring". I found it very easy to remove the knots and correct the two crossed in the reed threads, and I believe I am now ready to weave the shawl.

As a side note, two errors in the threading is the least I have ever had! I must be improving with time in the chair.

The next thing to conquer is hemstitching since the shawl is hemstitched on both ends, and you start with the hemstiching before the weaving.

I will be weaving on the shawl tomorrow!

Peggy, Faye, Kate and Marlene get busy! I want to see your progress. This is a Weave-Along, not a Weave-Alone!

Charlene, see what you have started?