Halvorsen 1 & 2

Halvorsen 1

This is the first towel on my current warp of ringspun 8/2 cotton (bought at M&R Yarns while on a road trip to Georgia). The weft is Borg’s 22/2 cottolin in light blue. I got a copy of Davison’s A Handweaver’s Pattern Book, I studied it looking for a nice twill that had some threading changes so it wasn’t all one pattern and with some nice treadling variations to keep me on my toes.  I chose the Caroline Halvorsen patterns on pg. 44.  Above is Halvorsen I.


 

Davison Halvoersen 2

This is the second towel on my warp.  From Davison p.44 Caroline Halvorsen II.  The first treadling was the easiest.  4,3,2,1.  The second was a slightly longer sequence of 8 picks.  4,3,2,1,2,3,4,1.

The treadlings get progressively more complicated in 3 & 4 but should be fairly quick to memorize as well.  I am halfway finished with towel #2 and should start on #3 later today.


 

Here is the draft for towels 1 and 2.  There are plain weave sections at the beginning and end of each towel.  I am using a floating selvedge since there are some point twill treadlings.  I hope to finish all 4 before my study group meeting at the WGGC on Wednesday.

Halvoersen 1 & 2I

 

 

 

 

 

User Error

1 thread in dent

Yes the auto reed hook kept me from skipping a dent yesterday, but it didn’t prevent user error. You can see in the picture above slightly left of center what the problem is.  I got my whole warp sleyed and tied on, then it was time to check for issues. I treadled some plain weave sheds and I examined the sheds from the front of the loom. Each dent should have two threads and when treadling the plain weave shed, one in each should move up and the other stay down. But, I saw an empty dent when I treadled the sheds. With the shed closed and flat, I hadn’t noticed it, but two of the dents only had one thread in each instead of two. When I raised a shed, the thread in one of the dents that only had one thread stayed down and there was a one dent gap. Fortunately the dents with one thread each were right next to each other. I contemplated leaving it, but it could leave a reed mark in the finished cloth. Since it was only about 4 inches away from the left selvedge, I fixed it and  resleyed those 4 inches.  If it had been in the middle, I probably still would have fixed it and resleyed 11 inches of warp.

I also looked into the sheds from the side and found 2 threads in the middle of the shed. I had twisted them between the heddles and reed. So I marked the threads with a piece of red string from a thrum and located the bout and untied it. I traced the threads back and sorted them out, resleyed them and retied the bout.

I  always look for problems before I start weaving.  That is the best time to fix things.  I don’t want to go through all the work that it takes to weave something only to have a flaw in the finished product that I was too lazy to fix.

I am like this with my knitting too. If I can fix it, I do.  I have been know to rip out almost completed knitting projects.  My philosoply is that if the mistake will bother me, I won’t want to wear it or give it to the person it is intended for.  I like knitting and I like weaving so ripping out or unweaving may take me a little longer to get that particular project finished, but I still get to knit or weave and will like the sock or the towel better.

DownhillSee this sock , it was a project I started last year during the winter Olympics. Shortly after this picture was taken, I ripped it out even though there were no errors in the knitting. I tried it on, and it was really tight. I didn’t take into consideration how the twisted stitches would affect the stretch of finished sock leg and they were intended for me. My daughter who has thinner legs said she probably would not wear them. I still had one sock to go, so I ripped. I want something that fits.

I will restart them on dpns (2.25 mm) for the leg with the same number of stitches. That will give a little more stretch. Then when I get to the foot, I will switch to two circular needles, one for the top of the foot in size 2.5 mm needles and stick with my usual 2 mm(US size 0) for the bottom of the foot. That should do the trick.

Meanwhile, I do have other socks on the needles.  I am trying to weave during the day and knit in the evenings, but have instead been working on weaving into the evenings since my days have been interrupted here and there by normal life.

Well, now its back to the loom to finish the last inch of resleying and hopefully to start weaving.

 

Dressed For Action

reed being sleyed

The warp has been beamed onto the warp beam and I have threaded the heddles.  I had a bit of a setback on Monday, I got the warp on the loom, spread it out to 22 inches and beamed it on only to look at it and think, “something is not right”.  I had only wound half of the number of threads needed. So, I carefully unwound the warp from the beam, scooted everything closer together onto one side, and wound more warp.  I then put that on the apron rod with the rest of the warp and beamed it all again.

I got most of the heddles threaded into the pattern yesterday and finished up this morning.  I started to sley the reed with the normal reed hook, but it was sooo slow.  I have gotten used to the auto reed hook, so I had to look for it in my unorganized studio (I promise to work on organizing) and am now sleying faster.  No it doesn’t automatically sley the reed for me, it just moves from dent to dent on its own, while I pick the threads, catch them with the hook and pull. I can leave it in a dent and do something else with my hands, and it doesn’t fall out, and most importantly,  I don’t accidentally skip a dent while sleying.
Here’s a short video to show how I use it. It works best if the reed is laying flat, not standing up in the beater.

After I run a few errands, I should be able to finish that up quickly and get to the real action of the day, weaving!

Measuring Threads

warpI recently took over one of the bigger bedrooms in the house as my studio.  I got it sorted out enough today that I could wind a warp to start a project.  What that means is that I am measuring and counting the warp threads (in this case undyed 8/2 ringspun cotton).  I need 528 ends (strands of warp) that I will sett at 24 e.p.i. (there will be 24 strands in each inch of my warp).  This project is dish towels which will be 22 inches wide on the loom.  Even before beginning to wind the warp, I had to plan out my pattern to fit into 22 inches with the yarns that I chose to use. The pattern is a twill, and 8/2 cotton is good at 24 e.p.i. for a twill pattern.

I chose a pattern from Marguerite Porter Davison’s book  A Handweaver’s Pattern Book on page 44 titled “Caroline Halvorsen’s No. 30”.  This is a classic book of 4 shaft patterns for weaving, that was written in 1944.  There are 4 variations of the pattern that I can treadle by changing what feet and treadles I use in sequence.  My warp will make 4 towels, so each towel will be a different variation of the pattern.  To make the 4 towels I need 4 yards of each strand. The pattern is a twill, and 8/2 cotton is good at 24 e.p.i. for a twill pattern.  I want 22 inches wide on the loom, so my warp takes 2112 yards of yarn.  This 8/2 cotton has 3360 yards in one pound of yarn, so I am using almost 2/3 of a pound of yarn.

These kind of calculations are necessary to know that you have enough of a given yarn to make the project (or to know how much to buy) and to know how much your project costs to make for pricing decisions, for inventory and for profit calculations.

I have a limited amount of the yarn that I chose for weft (the threads that I weave with), and wanted 4 towels as wide and as long as I could make them, but still trying to keep the weaving width a multiple of 2 inches with 24 ends per inch.  I have a  loom with a warp beam that has 2 inch sections, so to make warping easier, I try to keep my projects a multiple of 2 inches.  I changed the draft in the book a little to accommodate this by increasing the number of ends in the first and last repeat of the pattern. There are lots of decisions to make before you even start to wind your warp.

I have been thinking about the project for a while, but actually sat down with a calculator, graph paper, my spreadsheet and weaving software this morning to pull it all together.

This post shows a picture of about half of my measured threads on the warping board. (A warping board is a device used to measure your yarn so that each strand is exactly the same length and keep the strands organized so that you can then take it to the loom to “dress” the loom.)

So, off to wind more warp and perhaps get it wound onto the loom today.  Tomorrow, I will need to thread the strands through the heddles on the loom in the order required to make my pattern.

 

 

V-weave it!

V Scarf Cowl

V Scarf Cowl

 A newly developed class is now scheduled for March at Silk Road Textiles.  This new shape is a circular (sort of) scarf that has a V-shaped edge created by weaving the fringe from the beginning of the scarf into the end.  There are a few tricky bits, but I have some great tips to make it easier.  You must have had prior rigid heddle weaving experience or a class before taking this one.  Fortunately, we have just added new beginning classes to the schedule at Silk Road Textiles in addition to the one I am teaching at the Art Barn in Mariemont. If you are interested in learning how to weave, check them out!

V is for Victory!

v cowl

I have woven a new style of scarf/cowl that I saw recently other places on the internet.  I cobbled together some hints and tips and was very successful weaving it.  You leave some unwoven warp at the beginning of the warp, weave for the desired length minus the width, then unwind and untie the beginning and weave the fringe in as the weft at the end.  I hemstitched up the side as I wove in the fringe and across the end when I was finished.  I can wrap it twice around my neck and I like to wear it with the fringe off the v cowl2shoulder.

In my opinion, a nice aran or light bulky weight variegated yarn makes a lovely cowl.  I think a plain solid, heather or semisolid would look great too.  I don’t care for the plaid you get if you use a striped warp.  The rigid heddle loom is the ideal tool for this.  I think it would be trickier on a table or floor loom.  I call it a V-cowl and I plan on teaching a class on how to make it at the Weavers Guild after the first of the year. Check back in a couple weeks to see the detail.

 

Finished Finally

I finally sat down to finish the last three towels on the warp I put on my loom over a year ago.

The first three were cut off and submitted to the towel exchange we had at the Weavers Guild of Greater Cincinnati.  Then, these three languished while I worked on lots of knitting and rigid heddle weaving.

Here is a picture of the finished towels before washing, cutting and hemming.

Caribbean Plaid Towels

Class is Now in Session!

Stripes and FloatsThe fringe is twisted and the sample scarf is washed and dried.  The class to weave a Stripes and Floats Scarf is scheduled for Saturday,  May 31 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. AND Sunday June 8 from noon to 1 p.m.  This class will expand your rigid heddle weaving skills by introducing a more complicated threading to direct warp using an uneven number of ends in the stripes and creating texture in the fabric by using pick-up to create warp floats on one side and weft floats on the other. You will also learn how to hemstitch at the beginning and end of the project.  Still don’t have your own rigid heddle loom?  No problem there, the class fee includes the use of one of my Cricket Looms for the week.  Contact Silk Road Textiles to register.

Floats and Stripes

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scarf warp

I’m direct warping my Cricket rigid heddle loom for a new scarf class at Silk Road Textiles with shimmery, summery yarns of Bee Sweet Bamboo (the pink) and a cotton/viscose blend called Tandem by Tahki Yarns (the variegated). I can’t wait to see how it turns out!

The warp is a little tricky to make since we are doubling some ends and have some odd numbers.  We’ll also I be weaving it up with the Tandem as weft and using a pick up stick for some warp floats along the way to accent the pink bamboo.   Look for it in May or early June!  I’ll let you know when the date is finalized.

Honey for Waffles

I taught a rigid heddle weaving class the other day at the Weavers Guild of Greater Cincinnati where we focused on “Waffle-Weave on the Rigid Heddle Loom”.  In this class we learned about 3 different pick-up stick patterns that approximate a waffle weave fabric.  The waffley fabrics are produced with only one pick up stick to make warp and weft floats.  To end the class we topped off with a little bit of the pattern known as Honeycomb, since you always need to top a waffle with a sweet syrup.  The Honeycomb pattern uses 2 different pick-up stick patterns.  In class we took out the stick between patterns A and B since I had only asked people to bring one stick for the waffles, but if you actually have 2 pick-up sticks (or a an adequate substitute) you can leave one stick in (pick-up stick A) while making the “B” pattern.  In this particular pattern called Honeycomb, we don’t use the pick-up stick on its edge at all, so a knitting needle can even make a good substitute. In the case of a small loom like a Cricket this actually works very well since there is less space behind the heddle than there is on bigger looms.

I made a little video to demonstrate.  Please excuse the shoddy video quality, I shot it with my phone which I attached to the castle of my floor loom with a GearTie. (I just love those things!)

 

Everyone in the Pool!

Faux Ikat ScarfSometimes you see a beautiful skein of hand-dyed sock yarn that you just have to have, and it knits up looking like rainbow pony barfed on it.  The colors pool into blobs instead of blending nicely in the sock.  But in weaving, having the colors pool in a scarf creates an effect similar to that of a warp dyed for ikat without all the mess of dying it yourself.  With a rigid heddle loom like the Cricket looms I teach with, you can direct warp that skein of yarn in less then an hour and have a scarf with a few hours of weaving.  I made this colorful scarf with a 50 gram skein of Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock yarn and some red 8/2 tencel (laceweight).  It’s just plain weave, but far from a plain scarf.

I made this as part of the Rigid Heddle Study Group that I lead at The Weaver’s Guild of Greater Cincinnati.  Next month we are going to continue our study of hand-dyed knitting yarns and help each other with this technique.  This scarf itself is destined for our guild sale on November 8, 9 and 10 as a donation to the sale from the Rigid Heddle Study Group.  If you are interested in weaving, starting with a rigid heddle loom is a good way to begin.  You can get started with small amounts of  knitting yarns, a relatively small investment in a little loom that is portable and a minimal amount of equipment.  Although they are simple looms, you can create quite complex looking textiles that anyone would be happy to have.  If you are interested in learning to weave, check out my classes at Silk Road Textiles or look for some to be posted on the WGGC website that will begin after the first of the year. If you want this scarf, go to the guild sale, hire me to teach you how to weave it, or I can take a commission if the price is right.

Weaving for Knitters

loom

I had a great class this morning at Silk Road Textiles teaching Rigid Heddle Weaving.  It is another terrific way to use luscious knitting yarns and you can quickly make a scarf or other item.    Here are two students threading the heddles on the Cricket loom you get to use as part of the class fee.  They will take the looms home overnight to weave some more, and come back tomorrow to take the scarf of the loom and learn about finishing.  It’s a great way to get a taste of weaving and using a Rigid Heddle loom before buying one.

M&Os?

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Weaving Ms & Os is almost as addictive as eating M&Ms. This is my first really wide project on my loom. It takes almost the full width at 34 and 1/4 inches and is going to be a small blanket. The project is so wide. I had to take over 100 heddles off each shaft to have enough room for the warp. To think I spent days getting heddles sorted so I could put 200 on each shaft is a little ironic now.

Now I’m Cookin’

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Waffle weave is a heck of a lot of fun and fast to weave. The hems are slow as molasses though. They are made in boundweave and I need to use a fork to pack the weft in to fully cover the warp.   So I guess I have breakfast: waffles with molasses using a fork!

Threading Waffles

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Threading the heddles takes time, and many weavers dislike this part of weaving, but I really like it. I consider the project half done once I get the loom dressed. The actual weaving is the easy part.

Sleyed

I slayed my fear of weaving on a floor loom today at The Weaver’s Guild. I wound a warp, the heddles are threaded and the reed is sleyed and I’m ready to weave at the next class!

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Unwoven

I was going to take a floor loom weaving class at the Weavers Guild of Greater Cincinnati today, but it was cancelled since they didn’t get three students. I wanted to begin learning to use the floor loom I bought used and refurbished last year.  Hopefully the one scheduled for October gets enough people.  Today’s class was just an introduction, and would have been nice, but next month is an actual beginning weaving for a floor loom so I can do without the once