All The Things At Once

My treadmill hasn’t worked since we bought it less than two years ago. After hours of phone calls and tech trips, we finally heard a new model is arriving in the next week or two.

My new VAV magazine arrived and the topic is flax/linen. Perfect timing as I have a package of flax I planned to learn to spin during Tour de Fleece (Ravelry). I am not a competent spinner but during Covid, I found spinning very relaxing.

I also ordered a sample pack of different wools to learn about how they spin, prep, best uses, feel etc. Today, two books about fleece types and spinning arrived.

My Polonaise wheel (a splurge purchase after selling a loom a while ago) is finally on it’s way after being delayed due to overseas covid restrictions! I will probably sell the Sonata wheel as I don’t spin a lot and don’t think I need two wheels.

I ordered replacement lenses for some fancy cycling/running glasses I won two years ago. They have transition lenses perfect for running/cycling as you can go from deep shade to bright sun when out training. They arrived today also!

The fancy pillows that we got to choose with our covid couch purchase last year finally came in.

I had a chance conversation with someone which had to be karma because I had desperately been trying to figure out a resolution or path for a long term issue. This person was able to provide recommendations as they had gone through the same experience.

All the things at once.

The Little Loom that Could

I have an Ashford folding 8 shaft loom with a stand & treadle kit. There are pros and cons to most looms, this one is no exception but as far as table looms go, the Ashford is a very nice set up.

I am working through the book “Tabby to Taquete” and even though I have a good amount of weaving knowledge, it is good to start at the beginning and work through each sample.

The sample on the loom is 12/6 seine twine set at 10 epi. The weft is 5/2 cotton. Weft faced weaves require good tension and a firm beat. I knew any table loom was going to be a challenge to get the correct tension and beat and this loom was no exception. However, it has enough tension and as long as I beat on the open shed, closed shed and the next open shed, the weave is coming along nicely. The Ashford is handling the sample well.

The treadle kit allows for a direct tie up for the first 4 shafts. Even with an 8 shaft weave, combining the treadles and levers makes the weaving go faster. A table loom is very useful for sampling and experimenting and the mechanics of the Ashford are smooth. The stand (which also folds) has shelves on either side which is a nice feature.

Projects & Plans

I have 4 projects in process, the draw loom warp is maybe 50% woven, crackle weave towels on the Ashford table loom, deflected double weave on the Oxaback and Nordick bands on the pvc loom.

Drawloom – fern design as seen wrapping around the beam.

I completed a fern design on the draw loom. Although 5 shafts are better for free flowing designs, it does look rather lovely. I used bamboo in a cool green and the sheen of the cotton warp is very pleasing. I have decided to carry over some of the band designs from the Norwegian Band book into the draw loom for the next block of designs.

Crackle Weave Towels

I am enjoying the Ashford table loom, having treadles makes the weaving/sampling go faster. Above is a 4 shaft crackle weave design in 16/2 cotton warp with 16/2 weft and 8/2 cotton for the pattern. The warp is set at 30 epi but could be set a little closer.

Deflected Double Weave

The above scarf is deflected double weave in wool and silk wool. Once wet finished the collapse of the weave will make the open long floats more secure.

Grand Canyon – Adventures – 49 miles – 11k elevation

Weaving has not been on my radar – for the last several months I have been doing trail runs in preparation for running R2R2R (down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, through the base, up to the North Rim and back down, across the base of Canyon and back up another trail – 49 miles, 11 thousand feet of elevation, heat/ice/snow.

We were well prepared so it seemed a lot easier than we anticipated. I am hoping to use some of my photos for weaving inspiration.

Now to get back to some weaving!

New Tool

The band weaving is coming along nicely. With more practice and after watching some vlogs on band weaving, I was able to develop a better rhythm and the band looks so much nicer.

I also received my Elk bone shuttle. It has a little weight to it and is very smooth and a pleasure to use.

Inkling

I have been toying with Baltic style band weaving and Sami band weaving. I purchased a nice pattern heddle from Vavstuga and began weaving bands using a belt. Problem was, I don’t have many good spots to anchor the warp when belt weaving and my Inkle loom is too small to use with the pattern heddle.

I tried using a Sampleit loom but it was not deep enough. Using regular pvc pipe (about 10 feet of 1/2″diameter, elbows and T connectors) I constructed a simple, long Inkle loom. I was able to attach the backstrap horsebar to secure the weaving and an S hook to secure the remaining warp with some tension.

The book is from Vavstuga and is a fabulous resource! I am currently using 5/2 and 10/2 Perle cotton and will experiment with plain heddle and pattern heddle bands using various cottons and wools.

Numpty

I wove a sample of deflected double weave using a fine silk/wool combo.

All looked good, but I didn’t note if I used silk/wool for warp and weft or silk wool/wool combo.

I wanted deflection from the wool silk/wool combo and went ahead and prepared a warp.

I warped for 2 scarves on the Oxaback, started weaving. I needed to wind a new bobbin and realized my warp was silk/wool and wool, I had woven 6 inches with silk/wool combination (same yarn in black & ivory)

I undid the work and added the correct combination of weft yarns.

The combination of a silk wool blend (black) with the pure wool (ivory) should now give some more movement in the fabric.

A Little Challenge

I have been enjoying spinning on my Sonata spinning wheel. I am by no means an accomplished spinner, but I challenged myself to make enough handspun to weave a scarf.

Using the rolags made from Blue Faced Leicester and Tussah silk, I spun a lace weight yarn. I had to spin approximately 1200 yards.

The fabric is Bronson lace, I knew that the lace would not be very obvious due to the texture of the yarn. If you hold the scarf up to the light you can see the Dogwood flowers quite well. It is a fairly light weight fabric, soft and a little lofty.

Oxaback Lilla – Tailored

I’m not going to go into details about the comings and goings loom-wise. The Oxaback Lilla arrived last week. This loom functions like a sturdy full size Swedish countermarch but has compact footprint and folds to a 32 inch depth.

The loom is packaged in 4 manageable size packages. The instructions are fairly straight forward. The side frames and warp beam wheels are in one box, the beater and reed in another. The remainder are separated in 2 boxes.

Once assembled, I warped it with a hand-spun yarn for a scarf (more on that later). I also made some additions – latch hooks to hold the loom together when folded, a second warp beam and a warp stick catcher.

At the front of the loom, I added a cross piece to hold an LED light and some cork strips for pinning paper. I also added countermarch pulleys.

The second warp beam was made by drilling 2 holes on either side of the back support piece, 2 blocks were added with a hole in the side and a metal sleeve through which a threaded bolt is inserted into the beam ends. The blocks are mounted with wood dowel pins and are snug enough to hold the beam securely. One side of the beam has a ratchet and pawl, the other a tension drum brake (Both from an old Leclerc table loom). This enables me to do supplemental warps or a tensioned warp with a drum brake which can be advanced without getting up from the bench. The warp stick catcher is a little longer than those that can be purchased so the sticks from the second beam can be caught.

Control Freak

Yep, that’s me. Lots of changes lately but for now let’s talk yarn & making yarn. I am not a spinner, at least not an accomplished one. Last year during Covid I splurged on a Kromski Sonata wheel. I chose an unfinished wheel as I have a couple of Kromski items that are stained and lacquered and didn’t care for the feel of their finished product.

I spent several days applying clear walnut oil and love the result. The wood feels like “wood” and the oil brings out the grain. Also, I like being able to feed wood when the weather gets dry/humid etc and the wheel feels more dense. It is a versatile wheel with the option of a magnetic head with multiple whorls and the option of a Jumbo magnetic head for art yarn.

I have dabbled with spinning a couple of times and seem to be able to spin finer yarn more easily. I struggle spinning even yarns that are thicker than lace weight.

Resigning myself to failing and not controlling how perfect the yarn was, I finally made a more even plied yarn (woolen) and it feels lovely! Not enough to use for anything but an improvement.