Having fun with the loom

I’ve had a bit over a week off work and there was a list of errands and chores as long as my arm to keep me busy. But then came the weather. I’m no one’s friend when it’s either humid or over 33C so, as I said in my scarf in a day post, I was hiding and weaving.

What I didn’t expect was that I’d weave quite this much!

Finished scarf on the table
The first hot day weaving project…
A black scarf with a stripe of varying shades of pink and mauve
Having some leftover of the variegated so I decided to use it for a stripe, so here is the second hot day scarf…

I did a yarn audit in the middle of the week, so I have an excuse to buy more yarn… okay, technically it was to refresh my memory of what’s there, but the shopping part of my brain had an eye on whether the yarn store had space to grow (it does… squeeeeeeeee!). The other result of the audit was finding balls of colours that I don’t normally use.

Lemon and white scarf
A pale lemon scarf with white stripes was the result!

I did a subtle pattern of stripes on the lemon scarf and it has turned out beautifully. It also got me thinking about patterns. I haven’t done one for a while…

Black and brown warp on the loom
I love colour-and-weave patterns and I think this two-tone chestnut will look great with the black

So I’ve warped a colour pattern and, for something different, I threaded before winding on the warp (that’s the back beam in the foreground there).

The pattern will slow the weaving down some – not as much as being back at work though!

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Scarf in a day

As it has been a bit hot (40C/140F) the past days, I hid in the aircon with my loom watching movies. Wonderful thing about having a rigid heddle loom… you only need a table and your lap anywhere in the house!

I’d actually measured and wound the warp onto the back beam earlier, but something was niggling at the back of my mind… I’d glimpsed a broken thread somewhere… note to self: don’t listen to extremely interesting podcasts while dressing the loom!

Anyway, I unwound and discovered:

Broken yarn in the heddles of the loom
My phone wouldn’t focus on the yarn… but you get the idea

The yarn gods were smiling though, because I had one more warp end than I needed so I could just pull this end out.

Despite the broken bit, it is gorgeous wool. I’ve not woven a vari that is a ply of multiple colours and then crossed it with itself. But this was the yarn I sampled last year. I’d thought it’d look good with purple – which it did – but against itself it was stunning.

What fascinates me, is the interplay of the colours… the long change of the variegation gives strong warp strips and these don’t blur or get muddied by a weft that’s going through the same changes.

The variegated yarn in the warp showing strong stripes

Here is the scarf, just waiting for a wash, with the stripes still strong:

Finished scarf on the table

The colour twist gives it such a lively surface too. Up close it almost looks busy.

A close up of the unwashed cloth

I’m looking forward to seeing if it changes at all when fulled!

I wish I could take my loom to work

The way I make a living involves project based work and if you do this kind of thing then you know it has quiet times. Particularly if a stage is running behind.

What I’d love to do during those quiet times is fold my loom, pop it in the carry bag, and try not to do actual bodily harm to anyone on the train getting it to the office! Then I’d have it all day to just unfold against the edge of my desk to fill the “I have nothing to do right now” times. I’d be more focussed in meetings too if I wove.

Others would be curious to see what I’m working on, so that would help break down the “silos” within the business and I’d be more productive because I’d never be bored.

See it’s all wins.

Except office jobs don’t work that way. Like a woman who explained she got told off for reading a novel in the copier room while the photocopier compiled hundreds of documents. Why? “You aren’t being paid to read a book.” No, she was being paid to stand beside a photocopier for 45 minutes!

Once-upon-a-workday I might have agreed it’s risky to blur the lines between personal and work in the office, but the people I come across in workplaces spend so much time on their phones – responding to social media notifications and answering text messages and emails, not to mention taking calls from kids and partners – that I think the argument is long lost.

So I will dream of a day when crafters can feel inspired at their day job. After all, I bought a folding loom to take it places!

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.

The last thing anyone expected from a weaver

I’ve been out looking for a cotton scarf and it’s funny how all my friends have been looking a bit surprised by this. In their minds I would just weave myself one. I can understand this, but it I was surprised by their surprise.

My scarf hunt was very specifically for a certain size and weight and, sadly, a fineness I can’t achieve on my rigid heddle. I say ‘sadly’, but actually I’m kind of pleased that I had to shop for one. It meant not only could I look for something different to what I’d weave for myself, but I could also enjoy a spot of shopping!

And the result?

Blue and white reversible pattern cotton scarf
Pattern reverses colour!!

A little present for myself

Do you ever buy yourself a present that you know you don’t need, but you just really want? This was me the other day. I bought myself a ‘vari dent’ reed.

This allows you to mix-and-match different spacings across the width of the reed. Of course, I have a rigid heddle loom so the point of this isn’t predominantly to vary the spacing of the warp, but to weave different size yarns. That sounds like a lot of fun to me!

And this is what the Ashford’s vari dent reed looks like:

A picture of Ashford's vari dent reed

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The in-between yarn

I have some lovely silk that is just begging to be woven, but it has always struck me as being a little bit skinnier than wool of the same ‘size’. So, before launching into this project, I decided I should do the wraps per inch test just to be sure. I discovered it is a 12 wpi yarn and so technically needs a 6 dpi reed.

Well, this is where I had to stop and think, because the 5 would be too open and the 7.5 a little crowded. What to do? I know I could have gone the 7.5 and it wouldn’t have been a bad thing – after all it’s silk! – but I decided I’d try to actually get 6 dpi. How? By taking my 10 dpi reed and threading 6 ends out of every ten!

This worked pretty well with a pattern like so:  ||- -||- -||||- -||- -||

It also gave me a weird sense of achievement (I have conquered yarn!!!!) (*ahem*) which will only increase if the cloth turns out as silky and delicious as I imagine.