Linen Curtains for the Living Room – Part 2

Yet another lesson learned on this project. While I had double and triple checked everything, I messed up writing down the Spot Bronson pattern. I had a moment upon realizing it that I had to either pull the whole thing off the loom (and let me tell you winding the linen on the beam was NOT a light task. I earned a blister doing it. 12 yards of linen was a task).

So I decided to accept the error. On the plus side, I threaded it flawlessly. I checked each shed and my care and attention paid off. Not a single error. It was perfect. Just perfectly flawed, of course. :)

The back of the loom. It all fit!
The back of the loom. It all fit!

The linen went on beautifully. Thanks again to my teacher for telling me not to comb out the threads as I warped them, but rather to just give them sharp tugs to straighten them. Worked amazing, again (also did it on the dish towels I did).

I’ve started weaving the beginning, the draw in is not great and I’m working on that, but the fabric is very “linen” and the pattern is amazing (I think).

The front. Header done and started weaving the linen in, plain weave.
The front. Header done and started weaving the linen in, plain weave.

I wanted a very subtle color effect, and this seems to be fitting the bill. The hard core weaving spot bronson people will spot the mistake right away, of course. But the rest of us? Not so much.

First "spot" of Spot Bronson is done.
First “spot” of Spot Bronson is done.

A close-up here:

Close up of the pattern on the loom.
Close up of the pattern on the loom.

Long and short of this is my new lesson learned: I purchased iWeaveit for the iPad and now plot my patterns so that I can “see” the mistakes before they happen. I only got the app after I had warped everything and then immediately noticed the mistake on the app (before I even started weaving). Plus, I made a mistake on each side with the pattern as well, but again, while it’s not ideal, it’s not enough to pull everything apart and re-do it. I’m working around it. And again, I at least did it consistently.

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Living Room Rag Rug – Post 1

I’ve long had a predilection for fabric. That is buying fabric that I love, when I have no real use for it. Granted I do that with wool as well, but odds are I get around to knitting something with what I buy. But I rarely sew. I’m not good enough to design my own clothes (they’d look homemade) though I’m good at halloween costumes.

So I own a variety of fabric. And I recently was at a Joann’s where they were shutting down the store, and I bought more (how not? it was soooo cheap).

Then at weaving class I was muttering about making a rug next time around (after finishing yet another set of dishtowels) and I managed to get in line for a 60″ loom and won, and then my brain, ticking along, realized I could cut up the fabric and make rugs.

It felt like one of those moments where you go: oh that’s why I’ve been buying fabric that I like for the last 20 years.

Long story, shorter, this September I’ll start on my first rag rug. I’ve bought a simplicity fabric cutter to make my life a little easier, and have picked out my warp colors. I’ll be doing a gradation in the warp to give some variety.

I’m using this upholstery fabric (may be a dumb idea we’ll see):

Upholstery fabric with brown background and large flower patterns.
It’s got great colors, but it’s heavy…we’ll see how that works.
The colors largely match some colors in the living room, and in the curtains I'm making.
The colors largely match some colors in the living room, and in the curtains I’m making.

And these are my warp colors:

I've picked Colonial Blue, Linen (will be over 50% of the threads), and Burnt Orange.
I’ve picked Colonial Blue, Linen (will be over 50% of the threads), and Burnt Orange.

I’m not doing a dark brown, but the linen, because I’m also making linen curtains for the same room that use a matching linen shade in the main body of the curtain. See the Linen Curtain post for those. I’m using 12 sett and am attempting to make a 4.5ft by 8 ft rug. We’ll see how much fabric I have. I’ll post update photos.

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Weaving on an Old Loom – Saved

Just an update on my post where i was attempting to weave on an old loom and facing a lot of issues (Weaving on an Old Loom). I was doing an advancing twill in cotton. Nice pattern. Not so nice loom.

BUT! I saved it. I finished the fabric and though it was a lot smaller than anticipated due to the excessive draw-in (loom size limited by brake and apron), and some other issues, the fabric came out great. Heavier than anticipated due to the pattern (so we all believed).

But I managed to turn it into a granny bag after all. I changed up the handles last minute and sewed those on (not easy) and the lining / fabric all together with the interfacing was painful even for my trusty old Juliet (husqvarna sewing machine in the background). So I ended up handsewing the ends of the bag top as well after I inserted the granny bag closure tubing.

Lots of lessons learned, but at least it wasn’t a throw-away project and I got something from it.

Granny Bag Picture
The finished product.
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Linen Curtains for the Living Room – Part 1

I decided to make curtains, or linen panels more truthfully, for the living room. Largely because I can. Not because I should.

After many changes in pattern and styles, I settled on a natural linen shade (actually Newport 16/2 Linen) and then am supplementing that with a dk brown, a rust / orange, and a dark green. Pictured here:

Linen Colors Used in Curtains
Linen Colors Used in Curtains

Because I’m making three long panels, I have a super long warp chain. The longest I have ever made and it was only after the fact that I had an “oops” moment. I’m not positive it is going on the loom. Picture of it as I’m sleying the reed here:

The heaviest warp chain I have ever made. 12 yards long. Fingers crossed it all goes on.
The heaviest warp chain I have ever made. 12 yards long.

During this project planning I did learn from past issues and measured and re-measured the reed before working out my final dimensions. It doesn’t look like I’ll get the 32 inch wide Panels I really need, but I’m locked into this project now, so I may just have to modify the hanging of them. I’ll see once they are done and dusted what I can do with them.

I’ve started threading and I have to say, despite all the dire warnings about working with linen, I am so far loving this yarn:

Threading started. It's a fairly simply Spot Bronson pattern.
Threading started. It’s a fairly simply Spot Bronson pattern.
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Waffle Weave Dish Towel Kit

This kit is from Halcyon and can be found here. I purchased before I tried to make waffle weave towels at home and then regretted my purchase. But I fought through, and besides my little Leclerc Nilus at weaving class was the absolutely right size for the kit. I figured having Pamela (instructor) around to help if I hit a snag would help too.

Pamela paid off right away by pointing out that while many people “comb” their threads when they get tangled, she finds a sharp tug works much better. You basically take a handful of warp threads and literally yank on them. I was skeptical. But it is genius. Compared to my disastrous last project with dish towels where the warp threads were so incredibly tangled, these just lined up after a few tugs.

You bascially just keep winding the warp, stopping every once in a while to go back and tug on the threads in front. It really is amazing how it works.

After that success, I should have known the towels would be great. And they are. They turned out perfectly and even better, Halcyon supplied plenty of cotton to get them done (some companies just don’t do kits well…knitpicks being one of them). So buy the waffle kit! it works! the towels are amazing (even my husband had to admit they are the best dish towels he’s ever used).

Pics:

Halcyon Waffle Weave Dish Towels Kit
Halcyon Waffle Weave Dish Towels
Close up the Halcyon Waffle Weave Dish Towels Kit on the Loom
Close up of the towels on the loom.

End result? I’ll do this kit again. Maybe the Christmas Towels…they’d make a great Christmas gift.

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Loom Lesson #1

Now that I’ve started three projects on three different looms, I have one piece of advice for all of you.

When you get a new loom plan a simple project, something you don’t care about how it turns out, and make it a fast one.

This will allow you to get a feel for the loom, it’s quirks and crazies and what it can (and can’t) handle.

I didn’t. So here how it’s gone:

Project #1: On an old, second hand Leclerc Nilus. First I had to repair the loom. Then I warped it and found out problem number one. Though I had measured the reed and it came out 22 inches and I was at the limits of the reed width…I didn’t realize that the Leclerc Nilus has an interior brake that is high enough to “hit” the apron rod and therefore the apron rod is only around 20″. The REAL loom width. So my draw in is insane. Lesson Learned: Using an advancing twill that was insane to thread and treadle.

Project #2: On my new Ashford Loom. This one not as bad as it’s new and fun and friendly. BUT. It’s new and fun and friendly. I’m getting a feel for it. And I decided to get a feel for it while weaving a waffle weave hand towel. Where (see past posts) I made mistakes on heddle counts and such. It’s been painful as it’s been dragging on forever (decided to make three to four towels at once to justify the number of threads). I now hate those towels.

So I’ve told myself. Moving forward if I ever get on a new or new-old loom again: Small project. Easy to thread. Easy to weave. Get a feel for the loom. And then plan the ambitious project.

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Weaving on an Old Loom – Problem no. 1

I weave once a week at a workshop class. There I don’t use my new Ashford Table Loom (now on the stand), but an old 24″ Leclerc Nilus. I spent the first class with it doing loom repairs.

This is not a bad thing (just like putting together my Ashford was not a bad thing) as it forces you to understand your loom a bit more. I thought I was “good to go” and finally started weaving officially this week (the last class of the session).

Here’s what happened. I was beating and finding that the front brake kept slipping off. I had tried to repair it day one, but the screw has been fixed so many times, it’s damaged the wood frame. So short of moving the holder around, it’s a bit stuck at the moment the way it is.

This meant I had to be delicate. But I was also finding that my fabric was moving forward and loose. I was constantly tightening and shifting things. It took me a while to figure out what was going on.

(I also had a draw-in issue but that’s a lesson learned in using a 24″ loom I’ve never used before and finding the apron rod was actually closer to 22″ so it could get past the brake…so next time I won’t be so free with my width in loom).

Here’s the difference I was seeing in the fabric:

Error in Beating to Loose
Cloth on the Leclerc Nilus with Brake Slippage (Advancing Twill)

The black is the header, but the next section you can see how spread out the pattern is compared to the top section (both sections are the same number of picks). I finally realized that my brake on the back was also slipping. Every time I was beating, the fabric was moving forward as well.

Because my brakes kept slipping on the front and back, it was resulting in a very stretched pattern that was impossible to correct. The more forcefully I beat the fabric, the more it moved.

Solution?

A pair of needle nose pliers and a wrench were found, and the back spring on the back brake was shortened. This tightened it up so it stopped slipping (took off about six spring coils, it didn’t take a lot). Then the front brake was secured with a pipe cleaner (it was on hand).

The result is the new top section of the pattern.

I didn’t go back as I’m using this as fabric for a small purse and I can work around it for what I need. (Although I’m debating that now that I look at it, and may remove it on Saturday when I return to the workshop).

The good news out of this is that this is an advancing twill that had a VERY complicated threading pattern (78 threading pattern repeat). I was very pleased to see that despite my issues with the brake slipping, the threading looks correct. Very happy about that as it was not easy to stay focused while threading and make sure I got it right.

I’ll hopefully take a picture when it’s finished and off the loom so you can see the full effect.

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My Own Shawl Design

I’ve decided to knit a lace shawl for the Fall Shawl Competition at The Recycled Lamb here in Golden, CO. And rather than do a pre-existing design (because that’s too easy), I’ve decided to design my own.

I’ve picked up a gorgeous green silk (Kiku 100% Bombyx) that isn’t done justice here:

Bombyx Silk Yarn
A rather bland picture of what is a very vibrant green silk.

And I’ve put together a pattern that combines some crown prince and a separate lace edging from the Knitted Lace of Estonia book, and some samples from the Brooklyn Museum Sampler.

Then I mapped out endlessly and sat with a calculator as I worked out how my pattern would “work” so that all the elements played nice together. I switched patterns partway through and juggled how I was adding the crown prince pattern due to numbers not matching.

I’ve ended up with a row of the crown prince pattern, then a inner “box” of one of the sampler patterns and an outer “box” of another. I’ll take some notes and write it out as I go so that I can publish it as a PDF on Ravelry in case anyone wants it (assuming it turns out).

I’ll take some pics as I progress. First, I must finish a tunic for my niece in an amazing cotton/linen I picked up at the same time. I’ll post that shortly. It’s a beautiful purple. And I have to rush as it’s her birthday next week.

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First Weaving Project

I recall, vaguely, that the weaving teacher mentioned something about counting heddles. But I’m a rushing in where angels fear to tread sorta person.

Now, after sleying my reed and starting to thread my heddles I had a come-to-jesus moment where I realize that I’ve not just not considered that I’ll run out of heddles, I’ve, on a mammoth-like scale not considered that I’ll run out of heddles.

The Full Insanity. Lots and Lots of Threads in Different Colors and an Odd Threading Pattern
The Full Insanity. Lots and Lots of Threads in Different Colors and an Odd Threading Pattern

Here’s the lay of the land. I just bought an Ashford 8-shaft table loom. It came with 640 heddles. When putting the loom together I (logically) put two bunches of 40 on each shaft.

Then I decided…hey…it’s my second project..I’ll do a waffle weave kitchen towel in two different colors. Why not? (I went from a basic scarf to this insanity). It made perfect sense to me because (as the book helpfully pointed out) switching colors would help me figure out the threading. And there is a lot of threading. 578 ends to be exact. I thought, no problem, I have 640.

Then I realized after threading the heddles for the first five bunches that due to the strange threading pattern (2,1,2,1,2,1,2,1,2,3,4,3) I actually (this is the actual logical part) need 192 heddles on shaft one, 240 on shaft two, 96 on shaft three, and 48 on shaft four.

Now in my class I ran short of heddles. At the beginning of a project. but that was a Scacht loom and removing the metal bars was easy. The Ashford doesn’t seem so easy and I have a sneaking suspicion I’ll need to lay the castle flat, remove the shafts and pull them out to add more heddles. Kind of difficult now that I’ve started.

So the Internet research began. The a-ha moment came when I read a posting someone wrote about having an 8-shaft loom and a 4-shaft project.

I realized to get extra emergency heddles I just needed to use the extra shafts and remember to pull the extra shafts up for the initial shaft. All doable and solves the majority of the problem.

I could now use Shafts 7 & 8 to get Shaft 2 to 240. And I’ll use 5 & 6 to get Shaft 1 to 192. BUT what to do about Shaft 3 which is still short 16?

In my class I used the store loom and when I’d started in the midst of the metal heddles was some string ones. The instructor explained that someone had “run short” or missed some threads and added some in the middle.

The final solution was at hand. It was much easier to make 16 extra heddles out of string and add them in than it was to stop mid project, tear it all back, remove shafts, and re-thread them all.

So I move forward making 16 heddles as I go (mixing them in so they don’t own a section) and adding in the extra shafts to make my waffle weave work.

Loom with Homemade Heddles
Loom with Homemade Heddles (Used Hemp and The Homemade Ones are Brown)

Fingers crossed that the next problem is as easily solved.

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Weaving Nautical

I’m almost done the nautical blanket (started here). The whole project delayed by a move and renovations, but finally I have my knitting room done. A long wait, but worth it as I have a set room and a custom desk with space for all my toys.

I’ve sold the Singer 560 in the move from Canada to US (the thing weighed a ton and I admitted defeat…I never bothered to hook it up).

And it made room for my newest obsession….weaving!

Denver (and Golden) are hotbeds of weaving and I tracked down a class (not hard) with the incredible Pamela Bliss (great teacher) and am hooked. I just got an Ashford 8-shaft, 32″ table loom and am ready to start my first project on my own machine.

In the class I made a scarf and a cover for my knitting machine (pictured below). Now I’m on to some dish towels in a waffle pattern using up some 8/2 cotton and cotton/hemp. I have a lot of 8/2 from previously having the finer gauge knitting machine.

Knitting Machine Cover
Hand-Woven Knitting Machine Cover
Close Up of Cover
Close Up of Cover

I’ll hopefully update this post with some images of the sweaters I made over the previous winter as well, as I made another on the LK150 that turned out quite well and I could post the modified pattern if people are interested. It’s the second time I’ve made that pattern on the machine (in two different types of wool) and it turns out very nicely.

But first…finishing the nautical blanket and waffle dish towels!

 

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