Weaving Projects

Discussion in 'Fiber Arts' started by frazzlehead, Jan 28, 2013.

  1. frazzlehead

    frazzlehead AppleJackCreek Supporter

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    Thought I'd start a thread about weaving projects in particular ... if you've got one to share, join in!

    I have been blathering on and on about weaving lately, though, so I also thought I'd stop cluttering the other threads and make one spot for my ramblings. :)

    I recently acquired a floor loom (LeClerc Mira, 3' wide, 4 shaft counterbalance). Before I got it I did a bunch of research - I have a LeClerc Tissart (upright 2 shaft tapestry loom) which I really enjoyed, but for doing lots of yardage it's not really appropriate - you can't throw the shuttle through a vertical shed, for one thing. I borrowed a friend's rigid heddle loom to test that ... better, but slow, and hard to wind on a long warp with even tension. So, investing in the floor loom seemed like a good idea.

    So I got the loom and have been experimenting. It has a sectional warp beam so with some help from my DH we rigged up a spool rack and I've been able to wind on warps pretty evenly, which is awesome.

    Today I finished weaving the first sample done in wool - a saddle blanket sized piece, hopefully. It's in the washer right now fulling and I'm sitting here anxiously awaiting the finished beep of the machine to see how much it's gonna shrink down!

    Here's what I have learned so far:

    - beaming on the warp took me about 2 hours (this is a full 38" wide warp, so very wide)
    - threading and sleying took another 3 hours
    - tieup and lashing on was about 30 minutes, maybe a little more

    I originally used a non-standard twill tie up (it's threaded in regular 1/2/3/4 twill progression) but the shed wasn't opening as wide as I needed, so I switched back to regular twill. The edges are threaded in basketweave, so I get nice selvedges, without having to fuss with a selvedge thread.

    For the actual weaving, in an hour and a half I can do about one foot of fabric. I expect that'll speed up a little as I learn the 'muscle memory' but I'm happy with that speed, actually.

    Oh, and one of the cool tips I learned from a library book on weaving has to do with how you tie up to the treadles.

    When you treadle the pattern, you step on treadle 1, pass the shuttle, treadle 2, pass the shuttle, treadle 3, pass the shuttle, treadle 4, pass the shuttle.

    Normally, you tie up the treadles so they go left to right (or right to left, whichever) 1 2 3 4.

    But that means that when you treadle you go left foot left foot right foot right foot, or you have to scoot sideways and criss cross your feet. Simple solution to this: thread the treadles so that, left to right, they go 1 3 2 4. This way you go left foot (on the leftmost of the 2 left treadles), right foot (on the leftmost of the 2 right treadles), then left foot (on the rightmost of the 2 left treadles) and right foot (on the far right treadle). They called it 'dancing the loom'. It's really way more comfortable! Sometimes I hit the wrong treadle, so I'm working on getting used to where '2' is under my feet, but it's working pretty well.

    Neat, eh?

    Oooh it's spinning. Maybe it's almost done. :walk: :walk:

    (that's me, pacing)
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2013
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  2. Rosepath

    Rosepath Well-Known Member

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    Good tips, I have to try that tie-up technique - it would certainly help with the coordination of treadling. Your woven sample looks beautiful, very even in warping and in the beating, always important. Good you took photos before (on the loom) so you can compare the "after" sample. Did you measure it after taking off the loom? Then you can figure percentage of shrinkage. Is this handspun? If so, fabulous job!!
     

  3. frazzlehead

    frazzlehead AppleJackCreek Supporter

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    Hi Rosepath! That treadling trick seems so obvious once you read it ... I mean, there's no rule about which treadle has to do what, and it's much, much more comfortable.

    Thank you for the kind words ... I love weaving. I've done a bit on other looms, selvedges aren't usually too much trouble for me, thankfully. The yarn isn't handspun - this is from the local wool mill (Custom Woolen Mills, in southern Alberta). It's spun on antique woolen mill equipment, a thing called a spinning mule, which makes really great yarn. I love it because it isn't processed within an inch of it's life - it's still got sheepiness to it, if that makes any sense (no smell, but you do see the odd piece of hay and it still has bounce and life which some commercial yarns seem to have eliminated).

    I did measure ... my draw in is a bit much, so I need to work on that, but the shrinkage in the fulling was about what I expected: 10% in length, 25% in width. My draw in was 4" on a 38" warp though, which I think is excessive. I think if I give it a bit more weft in each pick I'll be okay.

    The good news is that it came out of the machine in a very nice, very drapey piece of fabric!

    Pictures here. :)

    (I'm linking to the pictures so that our members with slower connections have a choice about whether or not to take the time to load them!)
     
  4. SvenskaFlicka

    SvenskaFlicka Well-Known Member

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    If you toss your warp across in an arc, it really helps with draw-in. Also, a temple really helps too. :)

    I have never changed the tie-up on my four harness loom. I never heard of doing so, until recently, and since I only needed to hit two treadles at once and I have two feet... I just always treadled with both feet at once in whatever pattern I was supposed to use. I thought that's just what you did. :teehee: Now, for my ten harness loom, I have metal lamms to change out instead of tying strings. It's really convenient!
     
  5. IowaLez

    IowaLez Glowing in The Sun Supporter

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    Frazzle,

    You weaving project is really beautiful! And the drape *is* really awesome, I agree.

    I don't weave, would love to have a floor loom but can't take on yet another hobby. Did you learn everything on your own with books? Or did you take classes? I don't know very many of the weaving terms you guys use.
     
  6. frazzlehead

    frazzlehead AppleJackCreek Supporter

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    Yep, Svenska, I've been tossing in an arc, but I think I need a bigger curve. :) As for the temple ... meh, I don't feel like futzing with another piece of gear. I want the fabric to be fulled anyway, so having it compact a little is not a bad thing overall. I'll just try and ease up a wee bit on the weft and see if I can have it draw in a little less. It's even, through the whole piece, which means it isn't a problem overall, not for the intended use anyway. Edges are still straight, and that's what matters.

    You treadle with TWO feet? Goodness, I could never remember all that ... I mean, I know it's just 1 and 2, 2 and 3, 3 and 4, 1 and 4 but I think between the brain and the feet it'd go all higgeldy piggeldy. The lamms and hooks for my loom are really easy to change around - if I had the proper strings, there's a thing kinda like a big tent peg, or a big cotter pin that goes through the hooks on the treadles to snag the appropriate loops. I haven't got that, so I used paperclips. :) A bit fussy at times, but it's not really hard to unhook from one hook and move it to another when I want to change the pattern!

    Thanks for the compliments, IowaLez. Weaving is really awesome. I've learned all on my own, but I have always said if you can read you can learn anything. :) I read A LOT, research a lot, and then by the time I sit down to do whatever it is I've been researching, all that information is kinda queued up in my head. My friend says I "predraft" my learning. :)

    I'm the first in my family to do fibre crafts (other than cross stitch and sewing) for all the generations I have known, but when my sister researched our family tree, apparently our ancestors lived in a part of Scotland where there were a lot of fibre mills. The women of our family would've worked in the mills, and raised Scottish Blackface sheep. I thought that was pretty cool ... maybe that's why the fibre arts have so often seemed to me like something I already knew but had forgotten: it's in my blood!
     
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  7. PKBoo

    PKBoo Well-Known Member

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    Awesome frazzle - it looks beautiful! I can definitely see the diagonal twill pattern - it looks great!

    I am taking a weaving class through our guild - I've never woven a thing yet, so I'm a brand-spankin' new weaver!

    We went over how to calculate yardage needed for warps and wefts - I have a worksheet if you would like it. It helped me soooo much! There's online calculators too, that I've seen, but KNOWING how the numbers were derived helped me to understand the process.

    If you want a copy, PM me with your email address, and I'll send it to you.

    You are making great progress!
     
  8. frazzlehead

    frazzlehead AppleJackCreek Supporter

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    PKBoo, you are gonna love weaving. :) Thanks for the offer of the spreadsheet - I have a book that goes through the calculations, so I got to see all the math in detail too! I usually use the online ones, 'cause they are so handy.

    I can get cones of yarn from the local mill, which makes it so handy for weaving, winding bobbins off the cones is simple!

    I have the blanket draped over the back of the big leather chair to finish drying. I keep looking over at it and admiring it. I can't believe that *I* made that! I used to spend 8 hours doing a job-for-pay, this is also about 8 hours' worth of work, but it seems so much more satisfying! (Doesn't pay nearly as well, though.)

    :)
     
  9. Ana Bluebird

    Ana Bluebird Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I just started weaving too, got a baby wolf, love it. But I do my tie-ups to suit myself---like to do them in order: 1,2,3,4 etc. I get confused easily otherwise. This is the thing that took me awhile to learn:
    . I am still loving towels! Sorry so big.
    [​IMG]
     
  10. lathermaker

    lathermaker Well-Known Member Supporter

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    [​IMG]frazzle: could you please post a link for the on-line calculator? I'm very new to weaving and just learning the ropes. Have a half dozen projects under my belt. Enough to know that I don't know squat yet! LOL Any help or hints are very much appreciated!

    [​IMG]

    These are a couple of my latest projects. The yarn is a 50/50 blend of wool & silk....yummmm
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2013
  11. frazzlehead

    frazzlehead AppleJackCreek Supporter

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    That's hand manipulated lace there, that's not beginner weaving! NICE WORK!

    I like this calculator, from Weavolution.

    Now, the following opinion may be blasphemous but I'll say it anyway: I don't think there is anything particularly 'mysterious' about weaving. There are a zillion ways to thread the loom and make patterns, but the basic things are all the same.

    To weave, you need to know these things:

    = how to get your warp ready and beamed on with even tension (and there are actually several ways to do this, so you should try them all and see what works best for you and your equipment)
    = how to thread your heddles (which is different for RH vs heddle looms)
    = how to do tie ups (if you have treadles)
    = how to properly toss the shuttle / manage selvedges
    = how to hemstitch
    = how to wet finish your fabric (because it ain't finished till it's wet finished)

    The rest is details and practice.

    The equivalent for spinning would be to say you have to know how to prep and select fibre, how to draft, how to insert twist with whatever equipment you have, and how to ply. I mean, yes, there's a lot of fine detail that isn't covered in that short list, but if you know how to do those basic things all the rest comes with practice and looking at what you are doing and saying to yourself "how could I do this more efficiently/effectively?"

    For weaving, looking at different pattern drafts and skimming books about weaving is really interesting to me - like looking at knitting patterns and seeing different ways of constructing objects with sticks and string, or watching other spinners work with spindles and wheels and picking up little tricks from how they hold their hands or whatever.

    But, it's just not as hard as it looks. The basic steps are the same, whether you are working with 2 shafts or 12 - it's not that you thread heddles and tie up treadles differently, you just have more of them. Yes, designing your own patterns gets more complicated with more options but there are so many references out there, why wouldn't you start off by following what others have worked out (like knitting from patterns) before you try designing on your own? That's how I learn, anyway.

    All that to say ... I think you know more than you are giving yourself credit for. You made fabric (and very lovely fabric at that)!
     
  12. lathermaker

    lathermaker Well-Known Member Supporter

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    awwww Thank you Frazzle!
    I have avoided learning how to weave for years now...because I just KNEW that I would LOVE it! So, my friend at the LYS that I teach at, finally wore me down. I took a beginning weaving class using the Schacht Cricket loom, baaaaadddd idea...now I own TWO crickets. (10" & 15") I can see the writing on the wall. One of these days I'll have to buy a floor loom.

    I've been poring over weaving books trying to decipher the patterns. I found the Leno lace patterns really fun to work with. It's fiber, it's hand-manipulated, what's not to love! LOL

    The scarves that I wove are for a friend of mine. The wool is from her farm. I told her that I was a rank beginner, but was willing to see if I could weave her something respectable. She gave me a full skein (500 yards) of the same yarn for doing it! Heck, I was going to just try it for practice!
    Fiber folks are the nicest people....
     
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  13. frazzlehead

    frazzlehead AppleJackCreek Supporter

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    Today's weaving update:

    The loom is warped for the coat and I started on the first body piece today. I actually tried something I've never heard of when I did the warping: because I have sectional warp beam, I think this'll work.

    The weaving plan has you make the two body pieces (widest, at 38"), then the hood (narrower, 30") then the sleeves (narrower still, 15"). So I warped the loom with the full length of the warp on the centre sections (enough to do body, hood and sleeves) then enough to do just the body and the hood on the medium width, and enough to do just the body on the widest width. I have no idea if this will work, but it seems logical, so I tried it. One way to find out!

    I had some issues today with knotted warp getting caught in my reed, so I spent some time learning to repair a broken warp thread and how to tie knots that don't get stuck. That slowed me down a lot, but in four hours I wove about 3' of fabric, so not too terribly bad, I guess, given the width I'm working with (I always find it faster on narrower warps).

    Pictures and more blurbage here, if you are interested.
     
  14. Marchwind

    Marchwind Fiber Arts forum Mod. Supporter

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    I love watching your progress! Thank you for sharing your whole experience wit us.
     
  15. frazzlehead

    frazzlehead AppleJackCreek Supporter

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    Thank you all for patiently listening to me ramble on and on and on and on! :)
     
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  16. InHisName

    InHisName Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Love to hear your weaving adventures! We have been weaving here, too. I have opted for the rigid heddles- so easy to warp, and so far it is enough. (we have 3 now)
    I would really love a Saori loom- love the way handspun art yarn does so well in those projects. Here is a link to a scarf I just finished today on the new Ashford Sampleit loom. Also just finished a triangle shawl in my projects- mermaid colors, wishful thinking with 2
    feet of snow on the ground here.
    http://www.ravelry.com/projects/RomansRoad/mermaid-triangle-shawl-2
    http://www.ravelry.com/projects/RomansRoad/sampleit-scarf-1

    Love your blanket, btw!
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2013
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  17. frazzlehead

    frazzlehead AppleJackCreek Supporter

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    IHN, I *really* like that mermaid shawl! It looks exactly like something a mermaid would love! :)

    I think - though I could be wrong here - that Saori weaving techniques work on most any loom. I believe the big selling feature of Saori looms is that you can buy 'prewarped' ... ummm ... I am not sure how it works, I think you get a whole beam already wound or something. If you don't mind warping, though, an ordinary loom of any kind works just fine and you can try the fun Saori techniques on your RHs, too!

    I finished weaving both body panels for the coat ... I'm headed back upstairs to do the hood and see if I can get the sleeves done tonight too. Dunno, I'll see how fast it goes now that things are narrower. :)

    Oh - the winding trick? It worked. :)
     
  18. lathermaker

    lathermaker Well-Known Member Supporter

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    LOVE the colors on both projects! Is the mermaid scarf warped in homespun also?
     
  19. InHisName

    InHisName Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Lathermaker, yes, the mermaid shawl is all handspun- on a triloom, so warp and weft are continuous. thanks for the thumbs up- it is really fun working with summer colors this time of year. Just started some red white and blue 4th of July spinning :)

    Frazzle, you are right about any loom would work with Saori weaving (kind of like zen doodles of the weaving world) - we use rigid heddle looms, as that is what we have. In reading about the Saori looms, they are easy to warp, and portable- have a small loom footprint. I dont think I could afford the prewound warp-
    Honestly, have never seen one, nor hardly any other looms in action- and that style is where I tend to drift.
    Looking forward to seeing your coat!!!!
    I am committed to making a Saori sun hat- thinking 70's floppy here.... so off to the loom we go!
     
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  20. frazzlehead

    frazzlehead AppleJackCreek Supporter

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    Body panels off the loom, and out of the washer (OH I HATE THAT PART) ... but they fulled up perfectly! Longer than I think I needed, so apparently I am having math challenges, but hey.

    Hood is woven and one sleeve (or maybe it's too short, I have to do some more figgering) and those are fulling now. Then I'll warp up the loom (probably Sunday, I have things to do tomorrow) to finish off the sleeves, and then I can sew this baby up!

    Blurbage and pics here.
     
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