Category Archives: On the Loom

A Study In Scarves

Heavens, it’s been a while! I have a dress to make before the 11th of June, so I will keep my gibbering brief.

The first order of business is that I have renewed the listings in my Etsy shop, and added a whole lot of new inventory, many of which are recent spins! I’m trying to spin 14 pounds of yarn this year and so far, I am just about on track–but it’s quite impossible to use it all myself. My handspun drawer is beginning to overflow, so I really do need to move some of this squooshy stuff.

I’ve been bitten quite badly by the gradients-and-lace bug; this may or may not come up in the future.

Finally, the main point of this post–snowflake twill scarves. I put on a 5-yard 8/2 tencel warp in silver to make two, one with grey laceweight bamboo weft, and one with medium blue 8/2 tencel. Without further ado, the whole affair in photos:

Warp beamed, homemade lease sticks preserving the cross.
Laced onto the front apron rod. (Not pictured: yarn used to lace on breaking after several inches of weaving, requiring hours of careful retensioning.)
Checking for threading errors.
Twoflower’s helpful contribution to the bobbin-winding process.
Hemstitching the end of the first scarf with my non-dominant hand.
It works, after a fashion, but it’s very awkward to manipulate the needle left-handed at the back of the fabric, where I can’t see what I’m doing.
Worth the effort!
Humble beginnings for the second scarf, in very bad light.
And not so humble, after all.
I stopped when I could no longer open a shed, right here.

The graphite scarf already has a loving home, but the blue one is also in the shop!

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Whoops!

Where does the time go?

So, when last I posted, I alluded to a new member joining my fiber tools family. Meet Hulkling:

Hulkling is a 44″ 4-shaft/6-treadle jack loom with a weighted beater and welded steel frame.

I am a little bit in love. So you’ll forgive my lengthy silence, I hope.

So far, Hulkling and I have made: some waffle weave hot pads (no finished object photos: it’s winter, there’s no light, I’m lazy, pick your excuse) which have gone to live with my mom, a point twill scarf, and a rainbow crackle scarf–and I’ve just finished threading and sleying a warp for two snowflake twill scarves. After I weave that off, I’ve got plans for some curtains to let light into my weaving space and vague ideas about towels and an already-measured scarf warp.

Here’s the point twill scarf, using Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine sett at 16 ends per inch for the warp and handspun Wensleydale singles for weft (that’s ITW “Catskill Pines” from my very first post).

Here you can see the detail of the point twill a bit better. I wish I’d taken some photos when the weft yarn was brown to really show the pattern in the cloth. Or finished object photos. This scarf came out to a bit over 6 feet, plus fringes. I gave it to my dad for Christmas.

The green stuff on the bottom of the reed is acrylic paint. This loom came to me needing a little work, mostly cleaning, but that reed was pretty badly rusted. Mom ordered me a lovely new stainless steel reed as a Christmas gift; the paint was a temporary solution so I could weave while I waited for the new equipment.

Next on the loom was this:

The draft reminds me of snowflakes, although it’s not actually snowflake twill.

I’m told this structure can probably be considered a crackle weave. I wouldn’t call it something I “designed” as it appeared while I was playing with the settings in Fiberworks. I liked what the program had drawn in and just tweaked it for symmetry.

The warp is Cascade Heritage sock yarn sett at 14 ends per inch, and the weft is handspun superwash merino in Into The Whirled’s September 2013 club colorway “Wibbly-Wobbly Timey-Wimey.”

This one’s mine. I was preparing to visit my family in NY for a week at the beginning of January and didn’t have a scarf to my name. Of course, once I got there it was in the 40s and 50s nearly the whole time, and I was stuck inside with the worst cold I’ve had in many years. What an absurd winter.

Maybe I’ll get some photos of it all finished. It washed up beautifully, and it is unbelievably soft and absolutely stunning with my nice blue coat.

Sometime in the next few days, once I get into the weaving of the snowflake twill scarves on the loom now, I’ll make a post just about that project. I also have a couple of near-finished knits–ends to sew in, blocking to do–that need to be shown off, and a big skein of handspun awaiting rewinding and glamor shots.

In Which A New Obsession Looms

My Kromski Harp arrived on October 25th, a day later and a part brokener than expected. One of the ratchets had been cracked in half when it was attached to its beam, making it entirely impossible to assemble,  let alone use.

I called the Woolery the next day (Saturday), and they told me to email them a picture. On Monday, they emailed back saying they would pass it along to the Kromski distributor, who would send a replacement.

I was antsy about it all week. On Thursday (Halloween), the new piece arrived, and within two hours the loom was assembled and within three I was winding a warp. On Friday, it looked like this:

A critical observer may note that the edges are a bit rough and a bit strange. Fear not, critical observer!

They got a little better when I was weaving without paying much attention.

Above, you can see just how wobbly the selvedges were at the beginning, and below, the slightly improved end. They look best around the middle, really, but I’ll show that when I unveil the washed and pressed results (it’s already done, I just need to take pictures).

The whole set-up, there. Note the very wide heddle and the very long stick shuttle on the right side. The upshot here is that I can definitely weave yardage on this baby. Downside? I am short, that stick shuttle is very long, and because I’m dragging it through the shed instead of throwing, it contributes to the strangeness of my selvedges.

No matter, the Husband Creature has offered to make me a fringe twister and some boat shuttles. We shall see how that goes. Might be good to have a model on hand to replicate, though.

From warping to cutting it off the loom, this whole thing took just 4 days.

Straight off the loom, the texture is odd: rough and stiff, in spite of the very soft warp (Knit Picks Stroll Fingering in Aurora Heather). The weft is handspun New Zealand Merino in the colorway “Fangorn” from Lanitium ex Machina, which at 23 microns is on the coarse end of the merino spectrum (but still at the fine end of the wool spectrum).

Since I don’t yet have a fringe twister, I used a binder clip attached to the leader on my Stella to twist my fringe. Here’s that set-up:

I’m already scheming about my next project. And, I don’t want to say too much yet because then I can’t do a dramatic reveal later, but tomorrow, I’m off to Chico to look at (and probably bring home) a potential new addition to my odd little fibery family.

Aside from the weaving, I’ve finished a couple other things. The singles for my “Qarth” gradient are done and rewound for plying. I finished my Rock Island shawl, and it is big and lovely.

The edges aren’t as pointy as I’d have liked, but I expected that, using bamboo instead of wool.

It’s soft and cozy and I adore it.

(Not trying to look “artistic” or anything like the model for the pattern, I swear! Trillian was headed out onto the balcony and I was greeting her.)

I also finished some yarn for my shop!

Just a quick peek for now, I’ll talk more about it in a later post. I have another bobbin already filled for a coordinating yarn, and at least one more to go. Once I’ve wrapped that up, I’ll talk about successes (and sad, disastrous failures) in making coils!