Sunday, 28 August 2016

Spinning and garden colours



I was thrilled to get this rug off the loom.  I'm still not happy with the colours, even after a few days.   This is definitely a good lesson learned.

On Friday, I spent half an hour trying to get tickets to a concert.  The website kept coming up as busy, or tickets were sold out, but judicious reloading the page, finally got tickets, albeit in adjacent rows, but I prevailed.  Especially happy because the tickets are where everyone wanted them.

The garden tomatoes are ripening.  Because the kitchen has been ripped apart this weekend, I've tossed them in the freezer instead of canning them.  It's fast and easy, because you don't have to blanch and peel them.


Last weekend, our guild was asked to demonstrate at the Ingersoll museum at their harvest festival.   Carol and I offered to spin, which garnered a good bit of conversation from visitors as I used a wheel and she used a drop spindle.   It was a lot of fun.  The museum was beautifully set up and a lovely place to visit.

I took a bag of lovely white fibre; white Falkland roving from R.H. Lindsay.


This is a corner of my deck.  The colours and blooms are lovely, but the Rudbekia and the lushness of the Coleus scream that autumn is coming.  

Monday, 22 August 2016

Clasped weft rug and more.

More Rugs -    Mainly, with this rug, I wanted to clean the used 8 dent reed I'd purchased.  It isn't rusty, so I figured a run over with steel wool might make things worse than better.  Instead, I just threaded it up and started weaving.   The previous rugs I've made were at a sett of 6, which is what some others have suggested, as well as what made sense with a 12 dent reed. Oh, yes, I'm using imperial measurements here, so inches, not centimeters.

Anyway, I had purchased some fabric and had 4 yards of each.   Not enough fabric of either for a solid colour rug, but enough for stripes or in this case, clasped weft.  Because the weft is doubled in each shot, I cut the strips at 3/4 inch wide.  Of course I was using a single sided printed fabric so  tried to be careful about keeping the print side out.  It wasn`t successful in a few shots, but was pretty good thoughout.   What I really noticed about the slightly closer set, was how much the white warp influenced the fabric colours.   Really, at a sett of 8, you could use warp stripes to your advantage, where they wouldn`t be nearly as visible at a sett of 6.    The white really adds a more pastel element to these fabrics.

I`ve never been fond of clasped weft.  I don`t really like the look of it.  Perhaps because it is a more modern feel than I prefer.    I stopped this rug sometime after 45 inches of weaving because I really was tired of how fussy this rug was.  It would be much easier in solids or plain yarn, where you didn`t have to keep the thin strips folded,colour side out, each and every shot.

This is a bright green duvet colour that I found at the thrift store. One side has a rather hideous, and very dated print, while the other is that bright green.  By cutting it in continuous strips, it is adding nice dots of colour in a random but pretty pattern.    Here the white weft, isn`t nearly as overwhelming as the above rug and it does tone down the bright colours nicely.  The strips are 1 1/2 inches wide.  It is making a slightly thinner fabric than the above too.

Interestingly, there are several resources that suggest thinner strips and more of them because they pack in more easily, but so far I haven't notice much of a difference, except that the fatter strips are easier to work with.  They are faster to cut, faster to wind on the shuttle and far easier to keep the colours nicely situated.

Oh - about the reed - almost nothing came off it, it was pretty clean :)
At some point I will need to sit down and finish the ends of all these rugs :(

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Fresh Off the Loom

Not washed, no hems or bindings, just freshly cut off the loom!  


Double Binding technique -   it is a block weave, on 4 shafts.  I found this threading and tie-up in The Big Book of Weaving first, so I used it.  It makes and interesting rug.  Other samples suggest a taquete block weave threading, which I'll use next time, along with bigger blocks, and better colours.  However, it was a sample and I used thrift store sheets, so colour choice was limited.












The yellow rug is using the above threading but a tabby treadling.  I cut the rag strips 1.25 in wide, which nicely got rid of the baby print.  The fabric from the crib duvet cover and 2 curtains was very good quality though, so I'd hoped it would make an interesting all over pattern.








The green rug, which I cut off the loom as I was pretty sure I didn't want to make another of these.  I pulled a couple of inches of warp out to make it a tad thinner, as it was catching on the unused heddles.  Then I re-threaded the whole warp with the double bind weave, as above.  If I were a tad taller, or at least with a longer reach, threading from the front would be much more enjoyable.  Unless I grow a couple of inches in the near future though, it is a bit of an awkward process.

I used a couple of leftover bits of quilting fabric to weave off the last bit of the warp.  The fabric didn't go nearly as far as I thought it would.  The double bind weave technique uses a lot more fabric than plain weave.  It makes sense since you are pretty much covering one weft strip with another.   If I can find some strap webbing in the right colour though, it will make a loud bright and cheerful shoulder bag.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Kitchen Update

When the cupboards were removed and more layers of wall coverings stripped off, we found this opening which was obviously a window before one of the many additions were built.   Knowing about the time of this particular addition, it could have been filled properly with insulation, but instead the previous owner used old blankets and sacks of straw.  No wonder we had a mouse problem!   Ick, ick, ick...
The walls are stripped now and this is the very first layer of wallpaper.   It depicted several different human figures and at least one boat.

This picture shows at least 4 of the layers of wallpaper of the 5 or 6 which have been stripped off.
The kitchen has now been totally disassembled.   My sweetie assures me that putting it back together will take much less time.  I hope so...

Sunday, 7 August 2016

next projects - repair heddles

I put a new project on the Fanny - 3 more rag rugs, though these are a little larger than the ones I did last time.  However, I made a stupid threading error and was just 1 heddle wrong.  It didn't affect the rest of the pattern, so rethreading the pattern from the mistake on wasn't necessary.  Instead I used a repair heddle - one I made from #10 crochet cotton and 2 safety pins.

The thread is cut so after it is knotted, it will be slightly shorter than a regular heddle.   The thread is folded in half and 2 knots, about 1/2 in apart are made in the middle, to form the heddle eye.   A safety pin is attached through the folded loop.  I measure the heddle on the shaft, so that I know where to put the bottom knot and safety pin.   The heddle needs to fit fairly securely.   The nice thing about this repair heddle is that you can reuse it over and over.


I used #10 crochet cotton for the warp, doubled because I had it on hand from a rather good sale last winter.   I used a sett of 6.  The rags are the green duvet cover that I really wasn't fond of.  I'm aiming for 32in. wide by 48in. long.  It is going to be close for length, I'm almost at the halfway with only a handful of the first half of the rags left.   My fingers are crossed that there won't be a lot of shrinkage in the length when it comes off the loom.

I found some sheets that were barely used at the thrift store, so they will be the basis for the next 2 rugs, although I will measure a little more carefully and do the real math first, just to make sure I have enough fabric.  Otherwise, I'll be out hunting for coordinating prints :)

 Grumble grumble... the sheets were mis-labeled.  The twin duvet cover and sheets, turned out to be a crib cover and 2 tiny curtains.  The queen sized jersey sheet actually had an original tag which stated it was a twin sized sheet.  Of course, because of the way the sheets were packaged at the shop, it was impossible to tell sizes until I got them home and started measuring.     Now I need to either put my projects on hold while I find more fabric which will work with the first ones, or cut this rug off and change the rest of the warp threading to fit the materials I do have... grumble grumble.

A couple of years ago we bought a set of jersey sheets.   They were awful.  The top sheet was enormous and the jersey was extraordinarily stretchy, so it was uncomfortable to sleep on.   Since they were purchased as winter sheets, when I finally found a set of nice flannet sheets, which didn't have a holiday print on them, the jersey sheets went into the fabric pile.   I was going to turn them into t-shirts but the stretch made them awkward to work with.  The serger didn't even like them.   So today  I turned them into t-shirt yarn.  There are lots of ways to make t-shirt yarn, most which seem to require many hour spent cutting the fabric into strips with scissors.   I folded up the sheet and turned it into continuous strips with my rotary cutter; quick enough and a fairly satisfying end to those awful sheets.



Monday, 1 August 2016

Weaving, weaving, weaving....

 The rag rugs are off the loom.   I did a little bit of research before I started them, then just wound a warp and started weaving.   I had ordered Tom Knisely's book on Rag Rugs, but it didn't arrive until after I had finished weaving the rugs,  cut them off, and had already tied the fringe on the denim mat.    I don't mind doing things like this in a bit of a reverse order because I end up learning a lot and understanding the process, so it makes more sense when I'm reading about it.  


I tossed the denim rug down in front of the woodstove, just to see how it looked and immediately Kevin ran to it and claimed it.   It made such an impression that when I had finished the hem on the orange/pink rug and popped it on the floor to see what it looked like, my husband asked me which cat I had made it for.  :)  Kevin doesn't seem to care that the denim rug is a bit uneven where I used different weights of denim and although I cut the thinner denim into wider strips, it didn't accommodate the differences enough.

I still need to finish the hem on the striped rug.  I'm going to bind it, so will have done three different types of finishes on my practice rugs.

I am planning on making a bag, so I started with the strap.  My inkle loom has been sitting in the storage room with an abandoned tablet weaving project on it.  I cut it off and after wiping off the spider webs --ick-- I dressed the inkle loom with some wool yarn.  I had no idea where my old heddles were, so I had to retie all of them.  I usually use store string for my heddles, the same stuff I use for the drive band on my Mazurka, but I grabbed some leftover of something else.  I started to weave and the heddles immediately got fuzzy, which of course snagged the wool yarn.   I had the joy of cutting and retying new heddles on the existing project.   That was fun (not so much)!   I cut off almost 3 yards of inkle woven band, in a no-brainer pattern,so I could chat and spend time with the family and not have to worry about counting pick up threads. 

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Rug Weaving experiment update

This is rug number one of the rug experiment.   I had one tube of 4/8 cotton to use as the warp and got a 4 1/2 yard warp wound, six epi, aiming forabout a 24 in wide rug.


  I was going to weave 2 rugs, one a bit longer than the other.  I repurposed an old duvet cover for the weft.  The duvet cover was cut into 1 1/2 - 2 inch widths.   I did a continuous cut but after weaving a few rows, I cut it into just long lengths.  Those super long lengths needed extra stitching in one of the spots, which wasn't going to happen.  The shorter lengths, still long enough for 6-7 shots, were more enjoyable to both cut and weave.

 The second rug was to use denim.  I was doing a bit of research into weaving rugs with different weights of fabrics and decided on 3/4 in strips.  I figured I'd need 5 pair for a 36 in rug and more for the longer rug I'd anticipated.   Ack... stripping those jeans into useable fabric was fine, but then cutting it into strips put blisters on my hands until I put band aids on my raw fingers and switched to the rotary cutter.  It was still a pain and after 5 pair of jeans, I stopped.  It was enough to get me a rug, exactly 36 in long.   If I was going to weave with denim regularly, I'd need both a sturdier loom and way more weight on the beater.   It turns out that while I like denim, I'm not such a fan of weaving with it. :)

With barely enough warp left on the loom for a 3rd small rug, I went back to the duvet cover.  Thinking I had only about a 3rd of it remaining, I cut some strips from a navy broadcloth I found in a bin.    Then I went to cut the remaining duvet cover into strips and realized it was folded in half and I had enough for my small rug, without the striping.  I used it anyway but  what a cheerful colour combination!  I'll have to be very careful at the end, to avoid skipped threads and get enough length, but my still blistered fingers are crossed that it will work out. 

This is all simple but fun weaving.   It does take more effort to whack those weft strips into place, which makes it also hot weaving, when the temperatures are as warm as it is these past few days.

Kevin has decided that directly under the fan is the best place to hang out.  The cats have finally decided to start shedding.  I think I've brushed out 2 or 3 extra cats worth of hair and picked it up in clumps around the house.