Monday, September 27, 2010

In Anticipation of Winter

Handcarding for winter.

By evening, I'm ready to relax a bit, watch a little TV, and browse through weaving books and magazines.  Many nights, though, I want to keep my hands busy.  Knitting comes to mind, and recently, I've been hardcarding the fleece I washed a few weeks ago, in anticipation of spinning it this winter.  It is carding up like a dream! 


Stone Sculpture left of entrance.
Earlier this summer, when I turned off the highway, I noticed Pat Indermuehle had built some stone "sculptures," so I stopped last Wednesday and too, these photos to, with Pat's permission, share with you.  I think they are great!

Stone Man

Stone Woman

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Autumn Colors

Maple Ablaze
Autumn officially began at 10:09 PM (CST) last night.  The calendar finally caught up with the Northwoods autumn weather,... cool days, cold nights, and after eight years of drought, we have gotten 1-3" of rain in the area, and expecting another 1-2" tonight.   

Exterior logs being washed, preparation for staining.
Yesterday, a beautiful sunny day, I was scrubbing and rinsing the exterior logs of my home.  When I needed a break, I'd grab my camera, take a short walk and once drove down the road in search of brilliant fall color.  

View of Torch Lake from my porch.

Fall color in the WI Northwoods.

Oak, at the edge of the yard, just starting to change color.

After living up here for 18 years, I still haven't gotten used to autumn coming a month earlier here than in southern Wisconsin.  We've already had frost, though some hardy mosquitos continue to survive.  Spring is the same, only in reverse, with frost possible through the first two weeks of June.
On rainy days, like today, I can spend some time in the weaving studio.  I had taken a good share of this year off from weaving and cranking items to sell.  I needed time to think about what direction I want to go.  I'm thankful for that time, have some good ideas, but am also now going "back into business," weaving and making socks for a new online shop on (coming soon), as well as preparing for next summer.  The challenge now will be finding time for both "want to weave" and "need to weave," and starting to merge the two. 

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Journey Continues

If you have been following my journey of getting my drawloom up and working after 18 or so years, you may recall I was re-threading the loom from 8 shaft satin to 5 shaft satin, as I was having trouble with the counterweights not pulling the ground shafts back to neutral.

More than one drawloom weaver advised me to change from an 8 shaft satin to something using 4 or 5 shafts, so the decision was made to change to a 5 shaft satin.

After pulling 1,024 threads of 20/2 cotton out of the long-eye heddles (ground shafts) and maillons (pattern shafts), I was back at the lease sticks to again thread the the loom.

All was going well until I found a maillon with no threads. Disaster! I thought I had been watching so carefully, and now this meant having to yet again re-thread 1/4 of the maillons, then the long-eye heddles, approximately 256 threads. I tried to think if there was a way of moving the pattern heddles around on the pattern shaft bars, but as each pattern heddle was already tied to a drawcord, that would have meant untieing 1/4 of the drawcords, too. I decided against that.

Also unwilling to remove loom parts at this point, it meant bending over the side of the long back extension to re-thread those tiny holes. I should have owned stock in an ibuprophin manufacturing company over the past month! My aching back meant I could only work on this for short stretches at a time.

Above, you can see the size of a maillon and those tiny holes.

Yesterday, I finally finished re-threading the left side of the loom, left of the
center cords. Today, I've been threading the long-eye heddles on the right half of the loom, a job which goes fairly fast, and thankfully, went without incident.

No threading hook is needed, just reach through that large eye with your fingers and pull your warp thread through.

There are 75 threads to go, and as I write this post and load in the photos, I'm on a stepstool moving heddles to the three shafts where I ran short. The re-threading will be completed in just a bit.

Yes, it has taken me quite awhile to reach this point (for the second time!). Yes, I want to weave on this loom sooner than later, but the more important goal is to understand the loom, the processes, what is happening and why (or why not), and figuring out what to do when things don't go as planned. It's been an interesting journey, and I'm looking forward to learning so much more.