Introducing the wavy shuttle!

I don’t think I mentioned that, a little after I bought baby loom, I also bought a new ‘accessory’? No, I think it slipped my mind!

This, is a wavy shuttle. Can you see the squee (aka fun) inducing potential?three sizes of wooden stick shuttles that have wave shaped edgesNow I did pretty much instantly throw a warp on the loom and start playing! Sadly I’ve yet to photograph the result so you’ll all just have to wait for my next post. But it was a fascinating tool to use.

It can be used in a few ways and I’ve not explored them all yet, of course because I’ve been off writing, but what was interesting about my first attempt was the texture it gave the cloth. You see you get open areas and condensed areas, which leads to an interesting web!

Like I say, pics will follow. Who knows I might have even finished a second test piece by then!

Future yarn and puppy considerations

Currently when I weave, I can do it anywhere in the house.

That will become harder when I finally get dogs, because as anyone with a pet knows their fur gets everywhere. My craft room and main weaving space can be kept fur free quite easily, but the living areas like the lounge room, where I like to weave in front of a movie or do hem stitching on the couch, are tougher.

Not that I can get furry dogs (allergies), but still. And I do want to get at least one rescue so I can’t be too fussy on fur types!

I’m a while away from getting dogs (dodgy fences), so I have more time to contemplate solutions, thankfully. And, no, I will not turn into one of those people who wants to spin their dog’s fur into yarn!!!

Getting perspective on my Etsy shop

I’ll admit I haven’t given my Etsy shop the love it deserves. Quite a bit of that comes from having launched it and then had an immediate “why am I doing this?” moment. You see I got a bit caught up in the flattery of my friends who were all “you should sell these!” about my scarfs.

What got lost somewhere in this was what led me to weaving in the first place; making things for other people. Specifically, I was knitting scarfs for charities.

So I started examining what I’d done by turning my weaving into a little business and that’s had me questioning questioned everything, including whether Etsy is the right place anymore for small shops, because:

  • it’s full of cheap, mass produced scarfs that don’t attract shoppers willing to pay for handmade items
  • Etsy is a noisy marketplace now too, so it’s hard to know how to be found

Having said that, it doesn’t cost much to run a little business there and takes very little effort. Both valuable to someone who works full time and writes novels.

At the end of all my musings, I realised that the shop brings a valuable positive to my weaving life… you see I chose a specific theme for my shop: handwoven items, all one of a kind from my loom.

No repeats. No colour variations. Unique items. And that pushes me to do more, explore more and challenge myself to create beyond trying patterns I like.

So, the shop is back up with some new stock and there are bunch of new ideas brewing in my weaver’s brain!

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.

Should have trusted my yarn-senses

Sometimes you just know a yarn will be trouble. It might be lovely in colour and texture, but there’s that little tug in your yarn-senses telling you it’s no good. Then later you wonder why you didn’t listen to it!  🙂

Of course I do listen to it most of the time and I regret every time I don’t.

In this case it was entirely my fault that I ended up with broken warp threads left, right and centre. And now I have a lot of relatively useless thrums. Sigh.

Well, it was pretty and fluffy and brightly coloured. Note the word ‘fluffy’ in that sentence. That was my downfall, because it abraded in the heddles rather severely.

Afterwards, when I was enjoying a post breakage coffee, my yarn-senses tut-tut-ed at me. I promise I will listen to them in future.

What next?

It’s likely that this will be the most common thing I end up asking myself during the next year of weaving. Not only are there just a huge number of things still to try, but I am also wanting to do variations on some of the things I’ve tried already!

So, what’s tempting me currently?

A four shaft pattern… I’ve had my eye on this draft for ages now:

4shaft draft from handweaving.netBut it may well do my head in!

I’m also tempted to try some leno ideas and some other finger-manipulated weaves, because so far I have only done a little and pretty half-heartedly.

Then, I have an idea for some more crammed-warp pieces.

Plus, the pinwheels are still very appealing to try.

I suspect the leno or the crammed-warp will win simply because my double-weave adventures have given me a strong desire to do something fast and simple.

Weaving patterns #3 – warp spacing

A common texturing technique, for use on any kind of loom, is to change the spacing of your warp threads. You can run extra threads through the same heddle (crammed warp) or you can skip a few (spaced warp).

I did a small sampler with the soya yarn I mentioned in my previous post and you can see I did both spacing and cramming:
detail of a crammed and spaced warp smple
The crammed warp gives you raised lines which can be subtle or strong depending on the colour/texture of the yarn/s. Spacing the warp – depending on how spaced you go – will give sort of lacy tracks where the weft appears loopier and looser. Again it can be subtle or strong depending on the yarn combinations.

You can see the result better from a distance, so here is that sampler in full:

While this turned out quite a subtle version, you can see toward each edge there are two lines of cramming and the tracks toward the centre are the spaced warp (skipping two threads in each).

I like this warp patterning a lot, because it is straightforward and yet gives a wide range of possible results.