When ‘lazy weaver’ wars with ‘get it right weaver’…

Inside of me there are two distinct weavers… the lazy one… and the one who wants to do it right. Sometimes they get into a bit of a brawl about how a project should be handled and this weekend was one of those times!

You see, there’s this lovely yarn and it’s been begging to be a scarf for ages. Problem is that it runs through a range of purple-blue-green-orange tones which make it interesting to cross with another yarn. What had been intriguing me was, in fact, what would happen if I cross it with itself, but that could end up a busy mess, so what to do?

Well sample, of course.

Except lazy-weaver was saying (imagine this in a very annoying, whiny voice) “I don’t want to waste yarn on a sample! I just want to get weaving.” and that didn’t sit at all well with the other weaver.

They did, to their credit, almost compromise on crossing the coloured yarn with a purple that was guaranteed to work. Or even black if worst came to worst.  In the end though, get-it-right-weaver snuck in when lazy wasn’t looking and made sure we sampled with black, purple and the yarn crossing itself! Well done to the get-it-right-weaver, I say.

So now I know which yarn will be used and I’ve washed it, so I know how it’ll finish up. All while ignoring the quiet grumbling in the background of lazy-weaver.

A little weaving project to get back into the swing of things

I decided that, seeing as I haven’t woven anything too much in recent months, I should ease back into the weaving thing with a small project. But what to do?

Well, as it happens, I have a satchel which until a few months ago had a beautiful image on it. Then the image decided to fall apart, one flake of PVC at a time! So, I picked apart the sewing holding the image panel and measured it for a new woven panel…

This is the panel freshly washed and dried:

spot pattern woven panel

Trust me that the colours are a lot brighter than this photo indicates!

Now I just have to sew it into the existing seems of the bag (guaranteed that won’t be as simple as I just made it sound) and then I can flaunt my new wearable woven around town!

I should add that I was moderately proud of my edges considering it’s been a while… and I was very pleased that I remembered to make the right adjustment for draw-in.

Meeting a Hariss Tweed weaver

Finally on my trip to Scotland I did something weaving related!! On a day visit to Lewis – same island as Harris – I got to watch a weaver at work. Very cool…

Based in Carloway on the west coast Norman, like many Harris Tweed weavers, has a single peddle powered loom which typically takes 600 ends of feather weight yarn and he weaves his cloth at home. He sends the cloth to a mill for finishing and then it’s certified as Harris Tweed from Carloway which his wife makes onto scarfs for their small shop but he mostly sells it as bolts of cloth.

I’ll post a photo later of his loom.

Exploring pooling #1

Yarn pooling is kind of fascinating (this is where you use the colour repeat in a variegated yarn to make a pattern) and some months back I started looking at a few of the vari’s I had to see what their repeats were like. Interestingly, it turned out that all of them have been dyed deliberately to prevent pooling!

So, I might not be setting out to pool anything soon, but I do now have a clearer understanding of the yarns in my stash. Well, and a project brewing at the back of my head.

Long time plait-er, first time edge-er

Having had long hair pretty much my whole life, I’ve done my fair share of plaiting / braiding. So, when it came to exploring different ways of finishing the edges on my weaving, I was pleased to discover how many of the edging techniques are just plaits.

Of course you still have to do something with the ends so, unlike plaiting hair or friendship bands, it isn’t the whole process. Which is why most plaited edges belong to rug weaving. Aside from wanting an edge that will protect the cloth of the rug and help keep it in place, you have a definite ‘wrong side’ for all those ends to sew into!

From my experiments so far, I can see definite uses for some of the edging techniques, but the time investment will also be a part of choosing to apply them.

Shaping on the loom

Due to my long history as a knitter, I’m always checking out what people are doing with their needles. One knitted item that’s been showing up a lot is the “shawlette” and I think they’re a great idea because you can use it as a shawl or as a scarf and – as a knitter – you can do all manner of patterns and stitches!

But I’m not knitting right now. I’m weaving. So could I make a shawlette on the loom? I figured I could.

Here is the unwashed, cotton “proof of concept” shawlette. It certainly proved the the concept worked!

A woven shawlette
I couldn’t resist messing with the colour of the points.

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Cheats/hacks… warp end gap

Depending on how you attach your warp to your back beam/ back warp-stick on a rigid heddle loom, you can find that when you’re close to the end of your warp the warp isn’t all nice and level. Some warp ends are higher/lower than others and this creates a messy gap which can make it hard to get a clean shed.

My approach when this starts to happen is to get a nice long bit of scrap yarn and, just in front of the back warp stick, wrap it around bunches of warp ends. This cinches them together and removes the gap. I find I can squeeze the very last out of the length of my warp this way.

warp ends cinched together with scrap yarnIn this example I was grouping quite a few ends at a time, but I often do them in much smaller groups.