Saturday, November 15, 2014

I've been busy!

Really. I have been weaving a lot since my last post, just not blogging. And, I put many, many hours into redoing my upstairs, which included jerking carpet off the floor and painting ceiling to floor. What a job. I am SO glad it's done. It looks nice:

But, back to the weaving. First of all, before I started on the upstairs, I (and a couple guys from my weaving guild) moved the loom downstairs. And I LOVE having the loom where I can walk by it and ponder the warp, where I can jump up and change the clothes to the dryer, make a cup of tea, etc.

First thing I made once it was moved was another blanket for my youngest grandson. The other one is really more bedspread weight and since he kicks around when he sleeps, it ends up wadded up on the foot of the bed. The new one is a Swedish Lace weave. Warp and weft are 8/2 cotton doubled.

Perfect weight. Heavy enough to stay on the bed, light enough for California.

My Guild Christmas party is coming up and we are doing a Shadow Weave exchange. So I warped up for Shadow Weave. I haven't done SW, in any form except Log Cabin, in a long time. My sample was completely in SW, and I really didn't like it. So, I wove the rest of the warp with just a SW border. These are small-ish tea towels. They're pretty elegant looking, I think.

The warp is 10/2 cotton and I set it at 27 epi, using a 12 epi reed. So, the sley order was 2,2,2,3. That 3 is what makes the occasional thin stripe, which is not constant throughout the length of the tea towel.

It's where, for instance, there were 2 blue and 1 white thread in a dent and the sometimes the white thread showed up more than the blues and sometimes not. At any rate, it's a reed mark. I have dented specifically to get reed marks in the past, but this time it's just the way it turned out. It adds an element to a plain background.

I need to do some serious stash-busting, so next I put on a 12 yd. tea towel warp. Mostly 10/2 cotton. Bird's Eye. 30 epi.

Above are a few of the towels. I loved this warp, and it was nice to just sit down and knock out a bunch of towels. I loved it so much I tied on another 12 yd. warp.

This time in blue, green and natural. The photo is my sample, which is all I have in the house right now. The towels are at the cleaners for a hard press. Then I'll hem them, hand press the hems and I'll be done with tea towels for the year.

I'm working on my next warp in my head. I may get to the warping board this afternoon. It will be overshot and it's a confusing project. That's all I'll say about it right now, except I hope to get the first piece threaded before I go to California in a couple weeks. And, I am making extensive notes. I don't want to come back after Christmas, look at this project, and be a complete blank.

Have a good Thanksgiving and Christmas everyone! Maybe my New Year's Resolution should be to blog more?

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Monday, July 7, 2014


I took my latest project off the loom yesterday and wet finished it today. This is a piece of overshot, 10/2 cotton warp, 20/2 cotton tabby and 24/2 wool for the pattern. I used Posey out of Bertha Gray Hayes' book. I intend to make the fabric into a sweater-type garment to wear in the house in the winter. Since I have tried knitting two sweaters and failed miserably each time, I thought I'd try weaving one.

I had sampled earlier on another threading, this one more of a blockish overshot pattern, so didn't sample this one. It's really not a problem except in my expectations. I was expecting this one to act entirely like the other, and it didn't.....quite.

What happens during the intense wet finishing - 2 runs through the washer on hot, then dried hot, is the wool shrinks at a greater rate than the cotton, so you get differential shrinkage. This makes the fabric, which would be fairly flat wet finished as you would normally do anything containing wool, become soft and pillowy. The wool parts shrink so much more that the cotton parts essentially puff up. Which is why I think this fabric will make a good sweater.

What I didn't anticipate was that because this pattern is so much, shall we say, busier, than the blockish pattern, without the larger areas of wool/cotton, is the wool had a chance to bloom more. So, the end fabric is pillowy and soft, yes, and you can definitely see the pattern, but there is a bloom of red wool across all of it.

Here's a shot of both sides of the fabric:

The bloom isn't that noticeable, but you can see the red cast to the whole cloth. It's really not a problem. It's just not what I expected.

Here's a close-up shot of the fabric, with a piece that has not been wet finished.

It really fulled quite a bit! and the pattern is still very discernable. The wool diagonals really make the diamond-shaped posey pattern puff up.

Here's a photo of the unfulled and fulled at full (that's a lotta fulls!) width:

And my toes. Never mind those.

At any rate, I think it will make a very warm sweater. I was thinking of lining it, but I'm not so sure now. I'll be wearing long sleeves under it, and it's pretty soft. The sewing will have to wait, though. It was 95 F today with a heat index of 99 F. Not going to be sewing on wool until it cools off.

End lesson for today, either go into a project without expectations, or sample. You'd think I would have learned that by now.

Next up: more overshot. I have 10/2 cotton through the reed for a couch throw. I am putting a wide piece in the middle and narrower pieces on the sides. First up is the wide piece, then I'll tie on the narrow warp. And I do have enough to sample ;-)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Home is where my loom is

I've been home now for 6 weeks. Amazing! It seems longer, but that's the way time works.

So, I hit the ground running. The gardens, flower and vegetable, needed weeding, mulching, planting, and I got that done. I spread 4 yards of cedar mulch. That's a LOT of wheelbarrow loads. But it's all done and now I am on maintenance mode with weeding and waiting for veggies. The day lilies are starting to bloom, and I have a new bed to plan for fall planting.

Since I was so busy in the yard, I wanted something on the loom that I could just slam on, easy pattern, mindless weaving. I found a painted warp I had painted several years ago on light blue 10/2 perle cotton. I wanted to use it for yardage for a light, unlined jacket - more an overshirt for barely cool fall mornings and there wasn't enough of the painted warp. Evidently I had already decided that a couple years ago, because I found about 400 ends of dark blue unmercerized cotton already in bouts and washed. So I stuck that on the loom in a broken twill, using the solid for the 4 ends of the opposite leaning part of the broken twill.

It was a good warp for me - quick, pretty, and as I said, mindless. I took it off, wet finished it and took it to the dry cleaner for professional pressing. Then last Sunday, I made this:

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It's pretty much just what I wanted. I had to monkey with the sleeves because the pattern was for 3/4 sleeves and I wanted long. I took a friend's suggestion to face it, and I think it came out well.

Now I'm working on this:

Posey Patch from Bertha Gray Hayes. 10/2 cotton warp. Pattern weft - 24/2 wool, tabby 20/2 cotton. I intend to make another garment, this time a warmer sweater-ish thing I can wear in the house in the winter. I will shrink this fabric to make it lofty and soft, and see what I have.

Next, I'm winding a tencel 10/2 warp to be painted and made into a robe.

Now one may think that a 60 year old woman living in rural Missouri with zippo social life wouldn't need a painted warp jacket or robe. One would be right if the operative word is "need." However, I've decided I "want" to wear these things, even if I'm wearing the jacket for a walk in the woods or down the gravel road with my dog. I may as well "kick the slats out," as my dad used to say, and wear what I want, if it looks silly or not. It makes me happy to wear things I've made from the cloth out.

It's good to be home and back to weaving!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Tale of the Avengers

It's amazing to look at my last blog post and see a November date. But, that's what it is.

Living this year away from my house, home, weaving guild, siblings, friends, has challenges all over the place. The challenge to keep weaving fresh is one of them. The year is winding down now. I'm past the halfway mark, and feeling like I'm entering the home stretch. This is all said with crossed fingers and much salt thrown over the left shoulder.

With looking at an end to my volunteer work at Ardenwood, a couple of their naturalists said yes, they would love to learn how to weave on the big LeClerc. I have finished the rug I was working on. Have not cut it off and not sure I will before I start the next one, but I have been busy gathering and preparing weft. I went to a local thrift store and bought 4 sheets at $3.00 each. I washed them, and have been cutting them into strips. I'll sew them together in a pattern, and arrange some training time.

When I look for fabric for rag weft, I try to find fabric that has bigger blocks of color, so nothing with a small print, and it must show color on both sides of the fabric. Turning fabric by hand in the shed so a white backing doesn't show is torturous for me. Ditto on ironing the wrong sides of the strips together before weaving. Yikes. Gives me the heebie jeebies thinking about it. Sometimes it's okay for the while backing to peek through. It depends on the other colors used and how I want it to look. I didn't want it for this one, though.

One of the sheets I found was an Avengers! print:

This is HUGE in my grandsons' world, but the store only had one, and not wanting to start a war over who gets it, I snuck it into the house and today, while both were in school, cut it and the others into strips. They need never know.

Looking back on the last post, I did indeed weave the perle cotton. Haven't done anything with it, as I don't like it much. I also wove a warp of tea towels. We are badly in need of some new ones here. I plan to put on a warp for more napkins next. The kids go through napkins like crazy and we could use some more. After that, well, we'll see how much time I have left in my year. Weaving is slow here compared to the output I have at home. Two small boys in the house and all that entails means weaving takes a back seat.

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Sunday, November 10, 2013


These just came off the loom a few days ago. They go with the placemats, which were the first project on this little LeClerc. They are 8/2 cotton, Bird's Eye, varied treadlings.

Lexi picked out the colors. I like the weight and absorbency. It should mop up little boys table wipings admirably. I machine stitched the hems. I wanted Durable.

I bought another couple cones of the 8/2 in different colors and will warp some tea towels out of that, but first...

I hope to use various mercerized cottons in bright colors and make some pot holders. I brought this yarn with me thinking I might get desperate enough for weaving to buy an inkle loom, but this little LeClerc changed that plan, so I have a limited amount of mercerized. Most of it is 5/2. I think one color is 3/2.

The instigator, or shall we say, creative kernel, for this project was when I dropped a pan of quiche in the floor last Monday. Broke the ceramic quiche dish, huge mess to clean up, and of course, the loss of a good quiche. So, I bought another quiche dish (one with a small lip around the edge this time - the first one had none) and determined that I will do something about potholders. Right now there is only silicon or an old oven mitt that burns your hand. The silicon doesn't burn, but it's also hard to grip anything with it - hence the dropped dish.

Usually I would balk at warping with the intention of weaving hotpads. I have so many scraps and remnants that would be great for hotpads - at home. But not here. So, I'm going to hope I have enough mercerized to get the outside covering of several hotpads. I can pad it with several layers of old denim to make it thick enough. They should be colorful and useful.

I do know I can buy hotpads. All that I have found, though, are either really stiff or too thin. And what else do I have to do, right? The tea towels will just have to take a number.

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Monday, September 30, 2013

First project on the New Nilus

I have the first project on this new loom. It's rag placemats. Not fancy, quite basic, a good project to use for troubleshooting and.....sorely needed. My son's family has one set of placemats and napkins which I blogged about, but amazingly enough those placemats and napkins get dirty pretty darned quick. Small kids + food = messy. Just the way it is.

I started this post and took this photo a few days ago. Then the new OS for iPad got really hinky with my blog app. So here's a photo in progress:

They're not really this blue - more gray in there.

Today I wove off the last of the planned placemats. Not exactly sure how much warp is left, but not much. I may do something with that, or not. We'll have to see.

Good news is the little loom is performing well, especially for a jack loom and rag weaving. Pretty tight warp and still room for the rag shuttle. Good true beat - no variance left to right on take-up, and I have 9 rag placemats on the cloth beam and not out of room. So, all is good.

My crystal ball says I will be winding warp for napkins very soon!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Old friends and new

Becky, an old friend, emailed me that her sister-in-law had a loom in her basement (near Seattle) that she would like to get rid of. Would I like to have it? My friend would be visiting said sister-in-law and would get it shipped to me if I wanted it. The only sane answer to a question like that is "yes!" and hope it's small enough to fit into the space my daughter-in-law has for such an item.


Well, yesterday, this was delivered to the house:


Leclerc Nilus, 23" weaving width, 8 shaft, 12 treadle, foldable loom. My (our) new friend! I have it mostly cleaned up. The reed is not the regulation and doesn't fit terribly well, but good enough. I will have to make a couple cotter-pin-type hooks that you use to tie the lams to the treadles, and probably will have to buy another couple hundred heddles. No big deal. Perfect size for the space.


It was warped with a very old chenille scarf, which I cut off, but it looks completely functional. The brake stick has the end broken off, but there's still enough to use. If I had my saw, etc., I could make a replacement, but will probably just make do with this.


My daughter-in-law is excited to have a loom to learn weaving on, and I am excited to have one to work and teach on. We're picking out yarns. First planned project: more rag placemats, and some matching napkins.

Thank you, Becky, and welcome, little loom.

Yippee! (Jumps in air, clicks heels together).

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