Monday, November 07, 2005

The best laid plans


Sometimes you just have to look at a project as a learning experience. Especially when you're trying to learn the quirks of a new piece of equipment.

This weekend I tied on the chenille scarf warp. This involves taking inch-wide sections and tying them to the apron rod at the front of the loom. When you advance your weaving it gets dragged down and around the cloth beam at the front of the loom.

The next step is to weave a header. Usually you use a nice thick yarn and put two or three passes of yarn (or picks) through and then beat them down. This evens all the threads out so they come down evenly through the reed. In the case of this scarf, the header is eight inches long and will eventually become the fringe.

Ok, so this is where things got hairy for me. The threads behind the heddles were so incredibly twisted (and I don't know why that is) that they were butting up against the heddles and causing all kinds of problems. So I did what the good people on my weaving listserv always advise, and I inserted lease sticks back between the threads, and each time I advanced the warp, I moved those sticks back. What this does is keep the twists on the other side of the sticks, far away from the heddles. This was working fairly well.

However, this new loom of mine is apparently slightly different from the Baby Wolf I'm used to. I wound onto the back in the wrong direction. This became abundantly clear when the pawl in the back kept springing off of the brake mechanism. So my husband and I wound the entire warp all the way forward, then wound it all the way back onto the back beam, in the right direction. This solved the braking problem, but now I have a whole mess of threads that are not under the right tension. This picture shows how, even with the tension cranked really tightly, half of the threads are dangling. The lease sticks aren't helping, and I don't know what else to do.

Can this scarf be saved?? I don't know yet, but I'll post the gory details when I find out.


Anonymous said...

As I think I mentioned, get someone to help you, again, keep the lease sticks in and wind it all the way off...again. Then tug on everything so it's good and even,and wind it on, holding onto it, putting pieces of grocery bag between the turns on the back beam again. See if this is enough to get it even, if not do it again...I swear this is what Catherine Ellis said her students do. I have never had a helper so I can't even try it!-Su

Michelle said...

Thanks, Su! I'll rope my husband into helper duty again. What a pain. But I know that I won't wind on in the wrong direction again. Ever.


Anonymous said...

Hi, I sympathize much with your problem. I've always worked alone, so my odd problems had to be dealt with that way. If you can locate your soft warps behind the back breast beam and there is a consistent pattern, a thick dowel/broom handle could be lipped under and tied off to some outside point behind the loom? I've had small bundles of warp go soft on me and just slipped packing under them at the back breast beam until I was ready to cut off a piece any-way... Liz in IA

Michelle said...

Hmm...I'll keep that in mind if winding back and forth one more time doesn't do the trick. Thanks for the input, Liz!!

Anonymous said...

M - man, you have waaaaay more patience than I do! Here's how I attack a quilting problem - 'let's see, I can just pull on the fabric as hard as I can, and stretch it to fit, I can just sew over the seam a couple of times to mash it down even if it's not really flat, or I can throw that piece away and just cut a new one!' - - having said that, this scarf looks purple/green on my computer, and the pattern is coming out quite nicely. You weavers definitely have your own lingo - it sounds to me like you are discussing firing up a 747. She

Unknown said...

This post totally takes me back to my old floor loom college days.

Hey Michelle, I am always looking for good sci fi series to read. Do you have any recommendations?