Saturday, December 27, 2008

Adventures in Double Weave

When I took my beginning weaving class in the ‘90s we did a week on double weave. At the time, I thought it was quite interesting so one of my goals for 2009 is to do some double weave projects.

Finding my looms all naked this week, I decided to start one before the new year. After cruising through piles of back issues of Handwoven, I picked the “Fore-And-Aft Scarf,” Handwoven, J/F 1998, page 59. (Photo on right.)

The pattern calls for silks and cotton but since this was my first real double weave project, I decided to use some Berroco Ultra Alpaca from my stash – some blue for the bottom layer and gray for the top layer, then use blue for the weft with the gray and vice versa. This yarn is easily replaced so if I messed up I wouldn’t be really upset.

I had some trouble figuring out how to position the shuttles as I changed between layers so that I wouldn’t connect the layers on the side…but once I had the treadling correct (I was reading it wrong) that fell into place. Taking the advice of some of the articles I read, I’m doing this project on my Louet w-30 table loom with direct tie up since direct tie does make it easier to understand what’s going on.

So far, it slow and rather boring since I don’t really have any interplay of color and design to entertain me as I shuttle along. The pattern has you weave along in plain weave for 36 inches. Then the fun begins – weaving the point. The instructions call for cutting two warp threads at the back of the loom and then you bring them forward, pulling them from the reed and using them as your weft threads. You weave the warp end from the top layer across the bottom and warp end from the bottom layer across the top layer. You continue cutting the warp threads and weaving until all the warp is cut. I’m assuming that this creates a join along the side so that when you are done and open it up – magic occurs and you have the point.

I’m at 25 inches so I’m just 11 inches away from the fun part. So far I’ve been trying to entertain myself by visualizing what colors I can overdye with scarf with! If I like the end product I will probably do it again in some silk from my stash. It could make a good gift for my still working buddies who live in warm climates.

And for a little eye candy from our trip to Italy. This is only my favorite photos of the Ponte Vecchio bridge in Florence because I took it from the balconey of a yarn store -- Beatrice Yarn Shop. Unfortunately she is retiring and closing the shop in March.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

What! Home for the Holidays!

Home for the holidays --- what’s that about! When the holidays arrive, my feet get itchy and I’m ready to travel. Last year we spent all of December and then some in Italy and the year before we went to the Christmas markets in Austria and Germany. Maybe this desire to see the world in December comes from living overseas for awhile – or maybe it is just a way to avoid our US holiday madness.
So when we decided to stay home this year, I thought “Okay, that’s probably a good thing.” NOT! Instead of getting my Christmas cards done in Sept, packages mailed in November and avoiding all candy making…I put it all off until the last possible moment. (I’m still avoiding the candy making – DH did it.) Then I felt rushed and very, very cranky (think the b-word). Then the weather turned nasty and all white. We don’t usually have a white Christmas here – a green Christmas is the norm! Temps have been in the teens and we have almost 10 inches of snow on the ground. So why am I not in Sorrento, that’s what I wanna know!

I have spent time at my looms…getting more presents completed and thinking to myself “I have until Christmas Eve!” Well, I’m all done now and have a few things to show you. I have still been caught up in Mobius Mania and sent a few off before photos were taken. Plus I did a few more scarves.
I’m been thinking about my weaving goals for the beginning of the New Year. First I want to get my LeClerc Fanny loom up and weaving, then I want to explore double weaving and just maybe sort through all the stuff in my studio (or not!)

And now for those of you who like snow and dog in the snow pictures:
Wishing you a totally terrific holiday -- where ever you are!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Storytime Rugs...

Coming up with a woven gift for toddlers living in south Texas has been a challenge for me.

This fall we made an unexpected road trip to Utah and stopped at the Pendleton Mill on the way home. I loaded up on Pendleton selvages! I have a friend that has woven some lovely rugs with these selvages and I also saw some beautiful ones for sale in Taos last spring.

Probably a crazy thing to do since I had never woven with them (which is true of most fibers since I'm a beginner). I bought two large bags full -- about 25 pounds. I now realize that I have enough selvages to weave a floor runner that could stretch for blocks around my neighborhood!

After staring at these big bags for a while, I realized that I could make small rugs for the boys and learn about using the selvages at the same time. First I did some research on the internet and got some good advice from the RugTalk archives and I got advice from several friends who have made these rugs.

The sett I used was 12 ends per inch, sleyed double for 6 ends per inch (per RugTalk advice).
I looked at the various small rugs around the house and picked one that I liked for a size guide -- 33 inches by 22 inches. My estimated on the loom length was 38 inches with a reed width of 25 inches.

I had a small amount of a blue/red/orange/brown selvage and was able to weave one rug with it. The second rug (using a red/blue/black/gray selvage) turned out to be a little longer because I still had some warp left when I reached 38 inches, so I kept going. On the loom it was 44 inches by 25 inches and off loom it was 41 inches by 25 inches. I washed the longer one this morning and it came out at 39 1/2 inches by 25 inches.

I'm calling these little rugs Storytime Rugs and I'm going to send them to the boys with some storybooks.

The laprug that was suffering from negative karma is all done and ready to go out the door. I had one threading error that still showed after I washed it -- but otherwise all the negative karma is gone. I really love the texture of the Merino Angora much so that I asked Lisa Souza to dig through her bins of yarn and find any skeins that she had left (the yarn is discontinued). I was able to get another half a dozen skeins which I will use for more laprugs -- xmas presents for 2010.

On this day last year, we were here:

Happy weaving!