Next Up – DUKAGANG SKULLS!

I’m eager to finish the Sedimentary Rug, because I want to test out Dukagang as a tie option for Summer and Winter in a rug on my Lilla:

Skull Profile Draft

The reason is not because I desperately want to do Dukagang, but because I’m limited to 10 treadles, and even using a Skeleton Tie-up, I can’t do my skulls and bones on my loom, except for Dukagang. All my other designs required, even using a Skeleton Tie-up (fitting name really for this design) 12 treadles.

As it is I had to order the optional kit for my Lilla as it originally came with 8 treadles. I have the kit now and as soon as I get the Sediment rug off – treadles go on – and Dukagang probably starts. I’m also waiting for Jason Collingwood rug wool to go on sale, as it was my plan to use that. Or some rug wool to go on sale.

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Rigid Heddle – Summer and Winter – Part II

I’m continuing to work on my summer and winter project on my rigid heddle, but first I needed to understand why it as set up the way it was. It didn’t make sense to me in the one reference I found online (here). Why on earth were we using just the slots (really shafts 2 and 4) for the pattern pick up?

While, I felt silly afterwards. But once I sat and worked out that because on the double heddle shaft 4 is blocked by shaft 2, to make summer and winter work you have to flip what are pattern shafts and what are tie shafts.

Basically you use shaft 1 and 3 (the eyes on the rigid heddle formed when heddle one is raised or heddle two is raised) as the tie shafts and then 2 and 4 (yep just the slots) as your pattern shafts.

To make the pick up you put both heddles in down position and then choose from the slots (shafts 2 and 4) your pattern pick up. For example then, when doing my pattern I had to choose all slots and then pick up for Pick Up Stick A (or shaft 2) all my threads that were originally threaded on shaft 3 in my pattern but now needed to thought of as on shaft 2.

Pick Up Stick A

To make this work in my weaving software I re-did so that my ties literally are on 1 and 3 and my pattern and 2 and 4.

Summer and Winter with tie shafts on 1 and 3, not 1 and 2. Pattern has moved to 2 and 4 (instead of 3 and 4).

 

To create Pick Up Stick B (or shaft 4) you pick up the opposites:

Both Pick Up Stick A and B in place.

I transferred my Fibeworks to a .wif file and added it to iWeaveit on my iPhone to track the treadling (yes the iWeaveit software does that – and threading tracking too – it’s an add-on, but it’s there and it’s crazy handy) as this is fairly complicated on a rigid heddle. Best way to do that is ensure that just have a lift plan in Fiberworks and transfer it. And VOILA:

Summer and Winter on the Rigid Heddle.

I’m using Venne Cottolin in the warp doubled (lovely stuff that Venne Cottolin), and my tabby weft in the picture is the same Venne Cottolin in green. My pattern weft is Valley Yarns Cotton that I had left in a pale yellow. I’m using it doubled as well.

My plan is to test out playing with the ties as well. For example switching from an alternating Front Heddle Up / Front Heddle Down I’m using now to using the Front Heddle Up / Front Heddle Down / Front Heddle Down / Front Heddle Up or whatever strikes.

One other note – because my warp is fairly thick and I probably should have threaded a little looser for a doubled warp (live and learn), I’m using a tapestry beater to actually get those threads packed in there (thankfully I took a Navajo Weaving class and have a few of those).

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Henry VIII Scarf / Shawl

As part of the Rocky Mountain Weaver’s Guild study group, I’m learning about tied weaves. First project was to look at Summer and Winter. I needed to better understand “blocks” and profile drafts first, so I embarked on this the hard way. I sketched out a design on graph paper and attempted to convert it to a profile draft and then to summer and winter (using Fiberworks Weaving software).

My first sketch was too large, I’m a knitter so size really is not a restriction and I’ve sketched out graph patterns before (I’ve made a Turkey-Canada blanket shown here on Ravelry). But the key thing of a profile draft, is your limited to pattern blocks. And when it comes to summer and winter, the number of pattern blocks you can have is limited by the number of shafts you have available. I have an 8 shaft loom currently, so I tried out some ideas hoping for 6 pattern blocks.

My first idea was to do something around hemp and Henry VIII (who built a navy using hemp). So I was going to use castles and ships. Well, to do castles and ships “well”, you really need about 10 pattern blocks available, so a 12 shaft loom. I discarded that and went to a simpler skull and bones pattern next, which I can (sorta) do on my 8 shaft.

But the original idea was resurrected when my old weaving teacher Pamela offered up her 12 shaft Leclerc Voyageur for rent at the WHAC to test a pattern on. The profile draft was born with the option added to flip it if I just do it as a border (weaving on a table loom is slow, so I may not do the whole scarf with the pattern):

Ships and Castles!

 

I’ve tied on at the WHAC and will start weaving this coming week. Pics to follow. We’ll see how this one turns out. The warp is a Louet Linen in laceweight and the pattern weft will be a pewter Zephyr I bought for a shawl for my aunt, but didn’t use. The only remaining question is whether or not I’ll double the Zephyr for the pattern weft (most likely) and whether or not I’ll be ambitious and weave the entire scarf with the pattern. We’ll see how fast it weaves up.

 

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Rigid Heddle – Summer and Winter

I’m in a study group now with the Rocky Mountain Weavers Guild and we’re studying tied weaves. I’ve embarked on my first profile drafts and designs in summer and winter. Part of that is a 12-shaft project I’m weaving at the WHAC on a table loom (it required 20 treadles – so table loom it is).

But I’m also exploring the differences of threading and texture by using up a cottolin warp I had lying about on my Rigid Heddle. Yes, you can do summer and winter on a RH if you have a two-heddle system (found it in a blog post online and modifying their instructions to my pattern). Since using both heddles was a goal of mine this year for the RH – it was the perfect time to embark on a summer and winter project.

The loom is warped and ready to start:

Both heddles warped and ready to go!

My other summer and winter project is the classic way – a warp and matching tabby pick of linen, and then a pattern weft of Zephyr wool (pics to come next week). I’m doing that one on a Leclerc Voyageur loom. But this one on the RH I did a double warp (originally this was to be waffle weave towels) and I’m going to do a single tabby pick and a double pattern pick and see how it goes. Not typically recommended, but this is play time.

Also I’m trying different colors in the warp and then doing a cross pattern. My profile draft is binary code! Why not? It’s two digits and convertible to a profile draft. So I’m doing the word “Colorado” in binary converted to a two block pattern draft.

Colorado in Binary Profile Draft!

 

The pick up will be a bit odd, but the effect should be interesting. I’m going to alternate the colors as well in the weft / pattern and tabby and see what I like. I’ll try the yellow and yellow throughout, then the yellow (tabby) and green (pattern) and then the green (tabby) and yellow (pattern. And just play play play.

Pics coming shortly as I’m hoping to get weaving on this today and bring it to the study group on Thursday for discussion.

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Two Panels – Texture

The new rug is a “play” on color and texture. Originally I was going to do squares and inlay, but I didn’t like the look of it, so I’m doing random colors and playing off different colors and textures in the rags / wool. Wool and rags? Yes! I was reading a book on some shaker rugs and they did an interplay of rags and twisted wool. Knitter’s Stash!

Here’s some of the interplay of colors:

This is a burgundy upholstery fabric with silver sparkle fabric and a knit jersey with animal print and sparkles.
More of the burgundy and sparkles with the wool blend I’m using above the first burgundy section (has more white in it).

 

I’m enjoying the interplay of colors and am approaching this as “sediment”. I’m done the first panel (7 feet long with about 36″ width) and am just starting on panel two. After the Toronto Rag Rug experience (update coming on that) I’m trying a new measurement technique used by Peter Collingwood. I’m measuring the rug slack not tight on the loom and putting sewn in markers every 6 inches, with a foot knot added for every foot. We’re going to see how this measurement technique works compared to the paper tape measured taut (which did NOT work – largely because the patterns were different and once taken off the loom some loosened more than others – update on that coming).

I’ll keep you posted on the new measurement technique with a post just on measuring rag rugs.

NOTE: I’m also testing the limits of the Lilla which I’ve not learned yet. This is 14 feet of rag rug on the Lilla, and it’s getting “close” on the front beam. Fingers crossed I get it all on and don’t have to perform some magic tie-on. I’ve completed about 9 feet now. So here’s hoping it all goes on.

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Toronto Rag Rug – Center Panel Complete

This is a custom rug, of course, and required a fair bit of manipulation to complete a design that I was interested in and would work with the fabric choices I made before the design (fabric focused, I buy what I like and then figure out what I can do with it).

The design took the majority of the time. Figuring out how best to use the different yardage I had available in different colors to put together a design that would work. Plus, I need to do panels, as the rug needed to be 55″ (or thereabouts) wide. My loom is 40″ max. And we all know that draw-in will reduce that to anywhere from 37 to 38.

I decided on three panels, and then figured out I didn’t want the same design on each as I’m not a great measurer and was pretty sure getting everything to match up was headache inducing. Instead, I decided on a “box” around a central design. That way the center panel is about 9″ on top and bottom of the box edges and then run two 9-10 inch panels up the side to bring it all together. Now the only concern is lining up the top and bottom sections. I measured them pretty aggressively, so I’m hoping that’s not too bad.

Of course I’m concerned that the whole thing won’t line up, but I’m used to that from knitting, and I’ll figure something out, I hope. Or have three separate rugs???

Long story short, the center panel is done! I decided on just doing the gold and blue (see previous post for colors) in a wave pattern for the box and then just used the grey and cream as dividers between the rose path. I think it turned out well:

Test run with the dog. Has a good feel!
Top and bottom shows the “wave” pattern that will be continued on the two side panels.

The batik is in the rose path sections. Initially I considered alternating the batik as the ground and the gold as the pattern pick, but then I decided on using the blue and gold exclusively in the wave border. Decided it made more sense to pull it together and alternate the blue and gold as well on the batik ground for the rose path.

Close up of the rose path and wave peeking out of the bottom.

 

I left the warp on so I can tie on the panels. I decided I’m doing both panels together (for fun) and will tie one on the one side and the other on the other side with a gap in the middle to make passing the double shuttles a little easier. This will speed up (maybe?) weaving, but more importantly will ensure I beat the two panels evenly and hopefully (fingers crossed) they will line up at the very least.

Also, my thinking is that this way if the whole thing is bust and I can’t line up the center panels and the sides, I can at least join the side panels into a skinny runner.

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Next Up: The Toronto Rug

My mother has requested a rug that may or may not be 55″ x 75″. May or may not because the design will dictate and the draw-in will rule. I’ve spent days designing it after I picked fabric and was stuck on warp for a bit. Here’s a pic of me begging warp selection help from my weaving pals. The warp choices were (from top to bottom) a blue cotton seine twine,  a plain cotton seine twine (as I did for Oma’s Rosepath Rug), or a 8/2 linen rug warp:

Testing Warp options

The fabric selection started with the green / blue / grey / gold batik on the left below. Too that was added the additional colors of gold, denim blue, and grey, with a little bit of cream sateen. I bought the fabric first. Planned the design after. As I do.

The base batik fabric with the solid cotton colors to complement.

I had in my mind doing something sorta rose-path-y. So I needed the mix of colors. But other than that I had no ideas.

As my loom is only 40″ weaving width which with draw-in / etc. (and really it’s closer to 39″) a rug at full-width ends up being around 37″. Max.

55″ was going to take a bigger loom (rental at the WHAC) or PANELS! Who doesn’t want to do panels and sew them together? (Probably me, as I hate sewing together knitting, hate sewing together anything really, and can’t stand finishing most projects).

I’m gonna love this project. Mostly.

I’ve set a design now after a day of mulling it over and lots of failed ideas on Bronze (computer software for weaving freaks). I’ve got one center panel of Rosepath (my mother does like Rosepath and actually tried to steal the Oma’s Rosepath Rug from me…not happening) with about a 10″ top and bottom of a more twill pattern off the rose path (screenshot next). The center panel (some of it below) will have the top section in between the middle rose path pattern. Then the bottom is the “wave” pattern I’ll use for the beginning and end 10″ plus the two side panels.

Pattern for Toronto Rug

The Rosepath from the center will be the gold with the batik. The top sections of plain color with a pattern shot of color through them will be alternating in blue and grey with a cream shot. Then the bottom waves will be in the blue and gold with shots of grey depending on what I have left. The amount of fabric will dictate what I can do. I’ve guesstimated as best I can, but one never knows. The batik is a lot thinner so I’m not expecting it to last as long. I’ll use it for the hem as well as I’m not doing a twisted fringe not his rug (bad enough I have to sew it together).

This will be a testament to measuring while weaving. A lot of measurement.

Oh and the warp – Linen Rug Warp it is! It seems to shift in color with the colors of the fabric and I do love Linen Rug Warp. A lot. Winding the warp now and finishing the twisted fringe on Oma’s Rosepath Rug. Ugh. Cutting of fabric is coming next as I can’t sley the reed – had to get a new reed anyway so ordered a 5 and 8 dent from the Woolery. The 8 (thankfully) should arrive Friday. Just in time to sley the reed and begin threading on Saturday.

Oh and for posterity – fabric counts:

  • Batik – 6.5 yards
  • Bronze Gold Cotton – 9.3 yards
  • Cream Sateen – 4.8 yards
  • Denim Blue Cotton – 9.1
  • Grey Cotton – 7.5

I’ve guesstimated with my weaving calculator spreadsheet that I need between 25 and 30 yards of fabric. I have a bit more, but that (fingers crossed) gives me some flexibility in the pattern. We’ll see how it goes. I’ve guesstimated as well with pattern shots and size which I can use more and which less. We’ll see how that plays out.

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Oma’s Rosepath

I had an old sheet left from a sheet set my Oma gave me when I was a child. I don’t know why but I kept that sheet set for years and years and now, at least 30 years after she gave it to me, I pulled it out, cut it into strips and matched some fabric around it to make a rug.

My buddy Mike inspired me. He’d made a Rosepath rug that I’d admired using sheets he got from goodwill. I’d wanted to try Rosepath and with my new Oxaback loom in the house and user tested (I wove a plain bath towel on it straight draw, and then added on two other projects straight draw….one using Shetland wool as warp and odd bits of sock yarn left form my over-abundance of sock knitting and the other a gold bamboo with ricrac affair. I’ll write those up at some point. I had a threading error, but the sock / shetland affair is being used to make tote bags, so I didn’t care for that. I’ll add that post shortly.

Back to Oma’s Rosepath Rug. I used up bits of material I had bought about 15 years ago in this rug as well. I have a fabric problem (like a knitting yarn problem…it’s why I don’t go out to stores) and had bought a long time ago several bits of fabric on clearance thinking I would make quilts. Not.

But who knew? I took up weaving!

I used a red almost suede, but very polyester fabric with a shiny jersey green (I loved the color and the feel). Combined with some upholstery fabric in gold and some cream upholstery fabric that I have no idea what I thought I would need it for, I had a rag rug in the making.

Here it is finished-almost (I need to twist the fringe – which I hate doing – but I have another rug in the works – next post – so I need to get this off the craft table ASAP).

Oma’s Rosepath Rug

 

First rag rug on the Oxaback Lilla. This is an awesome loom. Another pic, hopefully you can see that the rug is packed pretty tightly.

Another view of Oma’s Rosepath Rug

The warp for this rug was 12/6 cotton seine twine. Bought at the Woolery. I had someone once tell me that was only for tapestry weaving. Not so. Works great as a rug warp and comes in lots of colors as well if you buy the Bockens version. I had one warp break, but I had the tension pretty incredibly tight, so not surprising. More surprising that more didn’t.

All in all the loom is amazing. The rug turned out spectacularly well. And now…I just have to twist that bloody fringe. Ugh.

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New Loom – the Oxaback Lilla

I finally broke down and bought a new loom. I love my Ashford and it’s done a great job for  a couple years now, but I want to do more rugs and have more flexibility (and a slightly larger weaving width). I spent a lot of time (about a year) doing research on different looms and for about 90% of that time it was between the Louet David and a Harrisville.

I have a couple restrictions (well – one big one – space) and needed something that would fit in my office in the existing floor space of the Ashford, so that definitely narrowed the search.

I debated the David and Harrisville for a very very long time. And then finally had a lightbulb moment.

The source of the lightbulb moment was that I’ve worked on a variety of looms at the Washington Heights Art Center in Lakewood. There you can try out and use during classes a mix of looms. I tried a Wolf there (ugh) and a couple Leclercs (which I want to really really love being part Canadian) but my all time love was an old Cranbrook countermarch loom. Countermarch looms are genius and I think many people don’t know that because they’re intimidated by the tie-up. But once on one, it’s hard to go back.

My lightbulb went off went I expanded my search to more than the Cranbrook (which is just too large) and generally searched for Countermarch looms.

Up popped the Oxaback Lilla. Like it was made for me, the one that has about a 40″ weaving width is compact in size and perfectly fits in my space. It’s got floor loom heft and it’s very very reasonably priced for what you get (includes the loom bench as well).

Took me about one week once I found it to make the decision. Bought it. Built it. Love it.

Just a note though, if you’re thinking of buying one and have not really worked on a Countermarch (handled the tie-up yourself), do that first before building it. It truly helped in understanding how to build it and get it set up correctly. Use the instructions they give you, and then also get this great book: Tying Up the Countermarch Loom by Joanne Hall. Super helpful resource which helped me move past trying to achieve the perfect balance and just put a warp on already (then fix the tie-up). Worth every penny and a valuable book for anyone with a Countermach.

Once built, I did a basic plain weave towel first to get the hang of it (the treadles are different and very close together, so take some getting used to them). I’ve made several things on my new loom now by tying on to the existing warp and testing out different patterns and am about to start some rugs on it now that I finished up some basic projects.

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Shadow Weave

On the home loom (Ashford Table Loom) I am working on some shadow weave scarves. I warped for three scarves, though I now regret that as I’m eager to get on to my next project(s). But it’s fun to test out the different patterns, and the narrowness of the scarves means they do weave up fairly fast.

I did an 8-shaft shadow weave that has allowed me to test out three different patterns with different treadling, same threading. The pattern ideas come out of A Weaver’s Book of 8-Shaft Patterns on Amazon, pg 139 listed as parallel shadow weave from Parallel Shadow Weave by Elizabeth Lang and Erica Dakin Voolich.

I’m using the Jaggerspun Silk / Wool Zephyr in Charcoal and Ebony.

Some pics:

Transitioning between pattern 1 and pattern 2
Transitioning between pattern 1 and pattern 2
Pattern 2 in more detail.
Pattern 2 in more detail.

I’ll take more pics when I’m finished all three. The first pattern I used was #510. The second was #506 and I’m now on #508 which I’ve just started and have only one repeat done:

Shadow Weave No. 3 (#506)
Shadow Weave No. 3 (#508)

I hemstitched all the ends by doing three shots of plain weave (shafts 1, 2, 3, 4 and then 5,6,7,8 which alternately gives you all Ebony or all Charcoal on the top) and then doing the hemstitch over that.

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