Thursday, February 26, 2009

Towel Weft Variations

Today, while waiting for a winter snowstorm to arrive, I am weaving another plain weave towel, this time using an almost ivory color slub cotton yarn for weft. The weft color is somewhere between the bleached and natural cottolin colors of the warp. While weaving, I am planning the next towels, an all cottolin twill towel, and a twill cottolin towel with borders. I don't have these all planned out, just thinking ahead a bit to what I would like, and trying out different wefts on hand and that will work with this warp. Hhmm,... what other possibilities are on my shelves.

I'm also waiting for Gowdey Reed Company to call as I am hoping they will be able to make a special size reed for the drawloom. Two colors of 12/6 cotton have been ordered for the drawcord warp, and I'm still considering cotton sizes for the weaving warp. I need to choose, then I'll start playing with designs on graph paper.

Two pairs of socks were washed this AM so a photo should be on here in a day or so.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Coordinating Towels

At last, a twill towel, now part of a nicely coordinated set. A the moment, I am tieing the warp back on to begin another towel, and debating between plain weave with a border, twill, or a white cotton slub weft. All will be woven shortly, and today I'm feeling like I want this warp finished so I can move on to another.

In researching information for the drawloom, I've been paging through back issues of VAV and am drawn over and over to drall towels so starting now to make notes of sett, cotton and linen sizes, and thinking about colors.

Progress has temporarily slowed on the drawloom. I have ordered two colors of 12/6 cotton for the drawcord warp, and have reached a problem with the reeds, primarily the difference in size, width, and thickness of the new reeds compared to older ones. In particular the reed for that hangs over the pattern heddles needs to be narrower in width, and the outer long edges need to be flatter to fit into the reed holders. I will be talking to two reed companies in just a bit to see if what I need can be made.

Meanwhile, I have been researching drawloom weaving projects, looking primarily at size of thread (cotton) and sett, and that must be ordered now, too.

I am also working on the CW Double Harness Study Group newsletter and updated mailing list. Life has provided quite a number of interruptions the past few days, so completing items on my Task List has been a challenge. Some are now done, some (research) are hard to photograph, and thankfully, things are moving along again.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Single Unit Drawloom, Starting Over

Today I decided I would finish stripping down the Glimakra single unit drawloom and really start over as it had been in storage for 13+ years. The newly washed cords for counterweights are back on the loom, and the counterweights are in a box nearby.

The old drawcord warp was made from a wonderful well-sized linen of a quality that is no longer made. After unwinding the warp and finding a few of the cords broken or chewed through, it was removed from the loom. I am using the information in "Opphampta and Damask" for length of the new warp.

I'll also be ordering two new reeds for the drawcord warp, one for the overhead warp beam, and one that sits in the reed holders behind the round metal beam and over the pattern heddles. The reed removed from overhead today had a removable cap, and despite being tied, it had opened on one end while in storage.

The Texsolv cords on the sides of the shafts as well as the long "V" cords were also removed today, examined, and washed; two of the "V" cords need to be replaced.

Tomorrow I will remove what is left of the old warp. Since the loom has been in storage for so long I expect there would be considerable breakage of the fine cotton threads when weaving. Rather than set myself up for problems, I will re-warp the loom with new cotton.

Tonight, I am continuing research on what to use for the drawcord warp, as well as what sizes would be good for warp and weft. If all goes well, everything will be ordered tomorrow.

While waiting for the orders to arrive, the loom will be wiped down with a slightly damp cloth to remove dust (a log home/studio has dust, plus we get some of our heat from a woodrange in the kitchen), and the rest of the newly washed cords will be placed back on the loom. Meanwhile, there are more towels to weave, and socks to crank.

This morning, Shirley, another co-op gallery member, asked if I had any socks her size as her feet have been cold. I'll be taking a selection over for her to choose from.


Last night I was happily weaving away on a towel, though I knew I wasn't entirely focused on what I was doing. I removed the temple, advanced the warp, looked down at my weaving and wondered, "what is wrong with this picture." About 1.5 inches back the repeat didn't look right, so I adjusted the Ott light, looked again, and sure enough, I'd missed part of a repeat.

On occasions like this, there are weavers who would tell themselves this was an unexpected "design element." I am not one of them. This was a treadling error, and un-weaving was called for. I did not take a photo, but did remove the 1.5 inches and the towel was ready to weave on again. But not last night. I walked away. Weaving when you are feeling sleep deprived is not wise.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Twill Towel #1

After a couple days of making progress on drawloom setup, I'm back to weaving today, working on the first of three or four twill towels. Warp is unbleached cottolin at 24 epi, 2 threads per dent in a 12 dent reed, threaded as a straight draw on 10 shafts. I am using 10 shafts for the twill treadling, two shafts, on the right, are for the plain weave hem.

Today I am treadling 1 to 10 and back down to 1, then 10 to 1 to 10, and keep repeating, giving a zig-zag look. Because of frequent interruptions ~ woodburner needing more wood, dogs needing to go out, etc., I have a clipboard next to me so I can check off each repeat. I also have two pins at the right selvedge so I can see where each repeat begins/ends. I just keep moving the pin closest to me, and place the temple right over the pins. This towel will have a sewn hem; the weft is the linen/cotton slub thread, for both hem and body of towel.

I have noticed that despite a 3" plain weave hem and a few inches of twill woven, there is no rippling on this towel as there was on my samples, where I had used cottolin for the hem. I'll assume there is no rippling on the loom because the hem and body of the towel are woven with the same thread. It is the only difference between the current weaving and the samples that were made.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Drawloom Progress

I should be weaving, I know I should be weaving, but some days I am absolutely driven to make progress on setting up the drawloom, and that's what I've been working on again. Not long ago I had made 1,000 string (seine twine) long-eye heddles to add the 1,000 already on the loom.

A couple days ago I decided I needed to get back to making the pattern heddles. I previously had around 125 of them made, and in the last 48 hours I've made another 275 for a total of 400, 100 on each of the four pattern shaft bars. These will hold (if all are used) 2,400 threads, or 3,200 if I use all the holes in the maillons. More pattern heddles can be made if needed.

Tonight, I went back to making long-eye heddles again, this time for the opphampta attachment that is waiting to be added to the countermarche loom sometime this year. There were no heddles included when I bought it, used, and I decided again to make my own heddles. The long-eye heddles will then be able to be used on either loom as needed. When these are done, I'll begin on the pattern heddles for the opphampta weaving.

Tomorrow I'll be taking some old cords off the drawloom, to check on the condition of the long Texsolv cords that go from jacks down through ground shafts and to the lamms. Also, the cords that hang off the sides for the counterweights. As the loom is around 23 years old, some of the cords feel stiff and old, and I want to replace them next.

It's also time to order something for the new drawcord warp. I need to remove the old, and take photos of how it is on there. There are also books like "Opphampta and Damask" by Lillemor Johansson to refer to, as well as advice from a few members of the CW Double Harness Study Group who also have single unit drawlooms. The adventure continues...

Friday, February 6, 2009

DIY Pattern Heddles for Drawloom

Now that there are an another 1,000 long-eye heddles on the drawloom ground shafts, it's time to get back to making more pattern heddles.

Months ago I ordered 400 or so plastic maillons from Sara von Tresckow, The Woolgatherers, in Fond du Lac, WI. Each maillon has six small holes and a slightly larger hole on each end. The smaller holes are for fine warp threads, the larger holes are for assembling the pattern heddle. If you are working with 8 thread blocks, you can also use the larger holes on each end for warp threads.

Around 14 years ago I made some of these heddles using a fine, coated thread and as there is still plenty on the spool, it is what I am using again. There is no label in or on the tube as to what this thread is made of. It is not easily broken.

As I wove on this loom 13 years ago, so know these pattern heddles will work. I am using an old one as a guide, and cut the top and bottom threads (24" each) tieing one thread to each end of a maillon. On the bottom, I add one lingo to each pattern heddle. The top of each pattern heddle is tied and hangs on the wood pattern heddle rods.

I have not yet been able to recall the adjustable knot Ken showed me, so am just tieing the top ends for now. A neighbor loaned me an older book of knots and I'm hoping to figure this out.

If I were to warp the drawloom at 60 epi x 36" width = 2,160 threads (I'll need to make a couple hundred more long-eye heddles, more if I go wider) divided by 6 threads per maillon = 360 pattern heddles needed. I'm using these figures as an example, and figuring this out as I go along. Now, I need to get busy and make about 250 more pattern heddles.

Then I'll move on to replacing the drawcord warp. I have been researching and asking other drawloom weavers for advice/suggestions on this, and must go back and review their recommendations, make a decision, and place an order very soon. Unfortunately, the coated linen of the former drawcord warp is no longer available.

From Towel to Sample

Years ago, I wove a blue and white "plaid" twill towel, with 1/2" or so of plain weave on each end, and hemstitched on the loom (above). I didn't recall any issue between the plain weave hems and the twill body of the towel. Both warp and weft were Swedish cottolin.

I recently read somewhere about tabby and twill together causing twill to ripple. When I began the first twill towel on this striped unbleached/bleached cottolin warp, that is exactly what happened. Ripples, probably more noticeable because of using different wefts for hem and body of the towel, and using one of them doubled. I had begun with a cottolin plain weave hem (to turn up and sew later), then changed weft to the linen/cotton slub, using a shuttle that holds two bobbins. I thought a bit coarser, rustic look would give variety to this series of towels, but felt the double weft would not make a nice, sewn hem.

Not pleased with what was happening, I decided this morning the beginning of this first twill towel was now a sample (above), as I needed to discover what was going to work best for hem and twill. The cottolin hem was woven so I wove a couple inches of twill, then wove another hem using a single strand of the linen/cotton slub, woven in some string and removed it from the loom.

Since I still had the sample (above) from the very beginning of the warp, and both samples had ripples, both were tossed into the washer (regular cycle, warm water) and drier (normal cycle), removing them while still slightly damp. When they came out, the ripples were more pronounced. When pressed with an iron, the ripples pressed out. Selvedges were still a bit of an issue where plain weave and twill changed. Edges were rotary cut, and photos taken.

Tomorrow morning, I will begin again, using a single strand of the linen/cotton slub for both hem and twill, which should alleviate some of the problem. I expect if I weave 1/2" or so hem and hemstitch on the loom, there would be little or no ripple effect. We'll see, on this towel, or the next.