Thursday, April 26, 2007

Weaving 101 - Weaving Kivy's Shawl

The shawl is coming along nicely! Here it is on the loom:

Sigh. That flash just kills the true colors of the yarn, but, again, you get the idea.

The pattern will settle and soften a little as the threads shift a bit when I wash it after I take it off the loom, but I am pleased so far.

A few thoughts on technique. The sooner you settle into a rhythm, the easier a project is. My personal sequences tends to be (it's actually kind of hard to think about this instead of just doing it, almost instinctively at this point):

  • open shed (step on treadle)
  • throw shuttle
  • beat (bring beater forward)
  • change sheds
  • bring beater back
  • throw shuttle
  • beat
  • change sheds
etc. This is a delicate project, so I thought I would beat the yarn in with the shed closed, but it's working better on an open shed, actually. I do beat relatively gently, and since I want an even weave, I'm aiming for 24 weft shots per inch. For a woolen rug, or a weft-faced project, you'd be beating the weft in a lot harder, sometimes even using a double beat (beat-beat) rhythm. Whatever works and feels comfortable is my motto.

I also read somewhere or another that selvedges (the edges) come out a lot neater if you can teach yourself to keep your hands off of them as you weave. That can be difficult at first, but it's definitely a good idea. A lot faster and it keeps your hand oils off the yarn, too. Winding your bobbins nice and tight and in a criss-cross pattern helps, too, since the yarn doesn't catch, then, as it's coming off of the bobbin, which puts stress on the selvedge threads and leads to breakages...

My theory is that everyone has trouble with one selvedge edge or the other. Practice really does make perfect (or at least a whole heck of a lot better). I don't even remember which side is my "bad" side anymore. Kind of like skiing, you start off much more comfortable turning in one direction - don't ask me which my comfortable turn used to be though. Probably turning right because your left leg is downhill that way and I'm left-foot dominant - and I'm certainly more comfortable turning to the right on my tele skis, that's true... Anyway, I digress.

Another thought - I keep track of my treadling on a post-it note stuck on my beater. This project has a complicated treadling pattern (123456787656787654321 8765432345432345678) so if I have to stop in the middle of a repeat, I keep a pencil nearby to mark where I stopped. After a few repeats, you can pretty much tell where you are in the pattern just by looking at it, but it never hurts to mark it just to make your life easier. I mark how many inches I've woven on the post-it too.

That's about it for now. I'll weave for ~52" and then weave another 2" for the hem at the other end, throw a couple of shots of the waste yarn to hold the other end, and then it will be time to cut it off the loom, unroll it from the front beam (always so much fun!) and wash it.

Anyone want to see a picture of the part of our fence Carlos repaired?

Can you tell which is the new part? LOL. Doesn't it look good, though? Home Depot only had three fence sections in stock, so that's it for now (there's another new one behind our garage) - we'll hopefully get a few more up this weekend.

1 comment:

Kivy said...

I'm swooning over the picture - the colors look really good together and it seems to have a nice, soft shine that I really like.

I'm so excited. Nice work!!!!