Thursday, May 14, 2009

Anybody have an iron?

The doubleweave baby blanket I was weaving for my neighbors Chad and Sarah's baby Bella was all done this afternoon! With doubleweave, you can (among other perks) weave a project twice the width of your reed. It's like magic. I never go all the way down the reed when warping, just get kinda close, so my doublewidth projects can be about 22 inches wide versus the usual 11 or so. The rented table loom I've had since last July (I've put off returning it because I probably owe $150 in rental fees at this point) has 4 heddles, which means I can only do plainweave when I'm doubleweaving, the under-and-over "regular" weave that some people might remember from grade school Weave-It days. So yeah, not super interesting, but by playing with color you can create nice plaids, which is what tried to do while working on this blanket.
I started warping back in, oh, January, when I didn't know the sex of the baby. Plus, hey! green is pretty. Since this project hasn't been super-inspiring, I got distracted and didn't finish till now, a week after Bella was born. :) I was so excited about finishing that I cut it off the loom, even though there was still a lot of warp left, though it can be retied for other projects.

Then I saw it. The dreaded crease. This happens sometimes, especially to novice weavers like myself, when the left (doublewidth) selvage is too tight and the threads pull together. When you warp for doubleweave, you have to double your EPI (ends per inch), and so the reed is just *loaded* with threads. I tried to counteract the crease this time by spreading out the two warp threads furthest to the left in the reed, hoping that even if my selvage was tight, the added room would aid in the threads being properly spaced out in the finished blanket.

No go. This is what happened:

Now the thing to do is to patiently pick out one or two vertical (warp) threads from the blanket, giving the remaining threads room to spread out. Not too much of a hassle, but darn it! I'd hoped that I wouldn't have to deal with this crease thing again. Maybe spacing out 4 or more far left warp threads would have been the solution...

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

My Torture Devices: a Love Story

My ridiculously pointy combs have arrived from Canada! Actually, they arrived several weeks ago, but I got neglectful of the blog. Anyway, I decided to bite the bullet at the beginning of March and ordered a set of Alvin Ramer Super Mini Combs in cherry wood. I'd been debating for a long time about what my next fiber tool would be. A swift would be great, but Josh doesn't seem to mind holding out his hands for me while I use the ball winder. A drum carder would make me a happy, happy girl, but my guild has a Patrick Green Deb's Delicate Deluxe carder that I've been fortunate enough to rent on occassion, and that has suited pretty well. Actually, what the heck am I talking about, I fell in love with it. It's only rentable by the month, though, so when my month's up, I have to return it and put my name back on the waiting list. I imagine that I may break down and buy one at Estes Park Wool Market in June, since Susan's Fiber Shop has a booth, and she usually has a couple PG carders waiting in the wings for some weak person like me to come along. :)

But back to the combs! What can I say? They are truly magnificent. Once I got over the guilt of not ordering LaniCombs (they're local, but pricey), I reveled in all the features of these lovely Ramer Super Minis. First of all, they come with a carding station, which is a superduper plus. Also, they're actually weildable, unlike some regular combs. My arms/wrists don't get as tired with these as they did using the larger combs. They come two-pitch standard, which does the job with most fibers. Folks, I'm really, really happy with the job they do. So without further ado, the pictures...

Here is the set-up, with the combing station clamped to the picnic table with C-clamps. The picnic table is actually a bit low for combing, I've learned...larger C-clamps are in order so the station can be secured to a thicker table. The first comb is charged with a wonderful cold-soaked Corriedale/Merino/Rambouillet fleece I bought online and scoured. The wool is from Wooly Wool of the West , and it is to die for...barely any veggie matter, and so soft and lovely!
Next we have the action shot. The charged comb is turned sideways for minimal chance of impalement and the active comb is sliding through like buttah. I don't usually comb with my left hand, but I REALLY can't take pics left-handed, so there ya go.
Here's a pic of the fiber dizzing off through the (included) seashell diz. Pillowcase of happy fluff and water bottle (for spritzing the wool when it gets too static-y in this dry Colorado environment) also pictured.

Happy nests of fiber ready to spin!
What those happy nests became!