Category Archives: weaving

Weaving project #3: a couch blanket

The third weaving project was one that I had in mind for months. At Olds College Fibre Week I purchased some dark grey and light grey rovings from a local producer. It wasn’t super soft, but it was beautiful greys. I spun them up (woolen) and when I lined them up next to the white yarn I made in Spinzilla 2015 – I new my dream for a blanket was going to be realized.

I planned to use the full width of the loom and to do a kind of checked pattern – 20 dark grey; 20 light grey; 20 white, and to weave it with the same pattern. But at the last minute, I decided to add a shot of red yarn to the pattern. So the threading became 18 dark grey; 18 light grey; 18 white, 6 red.

I was so excited to get this started that for a while I lost my mind weaving smarts. I couldn’t work at the desk in my studio because my youngest daughter was using the entire space as a study to finish up her final papers and study for university exams.

So I set myself up on the landing – it’s a large space and I believed it would be perfect for making the warp. Except for the fact that it didn’t have any solid heavy tables that I learned, serve an important function when making the warp. Tension. It holds the tension that is created when you are pulling the yarns through the reed and wrapping them around a warping peg on the other side of the room.

I also learned the hard way that the clamps they provide you with in the kit serve a function. They aren’t optional. And I also learned that when your loom starts to tilt and move towards the warping peg, threatening the length of future warp threads, duct tape won’t hold it in place. There were a few other rookie mistakes I made in the process of making the warp for this blanket, but that’s enough for now. I promise, I won’t be making them again, so no reason to re-live the humiliation.

Once I got the loom fully dressed and ready to weave, the weaving went well. The 100% wool handspun had a tendency to stick to each other sometimes, so I had to be careful when lifting or lowering the reed, that the correct threads were moving.

Here’s a a close-up of the fabric being made. I gently beat each strand into place, leaving as much space as the width of the strand itself.

Here is a shot of it right off the loom. 60″ x 30″. I had hoped it would be longer, but my bungles with the warping process is what reduced the length.

And here it is after it has been washed, bashed and dried in the dryer for 10 minutes. The yarn fulled and filled in the spaces, but because I kept the beat light, it is still very soft and has a lovely drape. The final measurements are 49″ x 25″.

I am officially hooked as a weaver. All I can think about is what is next?

A new fibre adventure: rigid heddle weaving

I love making yarn. That is one of my all-time passions. I love preparing fibre, strategizing how to manage colours, and playing with texture in my yarns. As a result of this passion, I have a lot of handspun yarn. A. Lot. Of. Yarn.

I’m not the most prolific knitter because when given the choice, I choose to spin. So my knitting is limited to my commuting time and some evenings in front of the TV.

A while back I decided that a way to use up my yarn was to start weaving. So I got myself a 4-harness floor-loom. I wove a scarf. Yay, I used up an entire skein of handspun. And then it sat. It sat for so long I forgot how to dress it again. And how to make a warp. And all the other bits that made sense when I did it the first time, put which flew right out of my head after the job was done.

So the handspun continued to add up. A few good years spinning during Spinzilla only added to the handspun stash. I decided I needed to get a bit more serious about this weaving thing, and then stumbled upon the rigid heddle loom.

The rigid heddle loom – the answer to my desire to have a weaving adventure. I called a fellow guild member who had showed her amazing handwoven/handspun shawls at our guild meeting and chatted her up about her loom and her approach. She has a 32″ Ashford rigid heddle loom and takes a Saori approach to her weaving.

I ordered one and it arrived within days of putting in the order. I sealed the wood and assembled it on Saturday morning. Saturday early evening I was making the warp and dressing the loom. Here’s the photo essay of my adventure.

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Making the warp and sleying the reed. It was dead easy and fast.

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Tying it onto the front beam.??????????????

Another view of the tie-up.

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Weaving that I completed by bedtime on Saturday. I wove about 24′.

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And here it is, off the loom at about 3pm on Sunday. Before I washed it, it was 67″ x 28″

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I’ve washed it and it shrunk a bit. I still have to decide how I want to finish the fringes. So final photos will have to wait until I get to that on the weekend.

This was not made with my handspun, it was a bunch of commercial yarn from my stash. I wanted to practice with this before I dove into my handspun stash.  That will also happen this weekend.

Happy weaving!

Finally getting to weaving

This past weekend I finally got around to doing the weaving on my first floor loom weaving project.The weft is handspun Merino 60% Bamboo 30% and Nylon 10% in a colourway called “London Town” inspired by the 2012 Summer Olympics. But as I weave it up it reminds me a great deal of the colours of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

This is three bobbins worth of spinning. I have four more available. The loom has its quirks, but I am getting used to it and am adjusting to the rhythm of it. Busy week so won’t get much more woven until the weekend. Stay tuned.