Supercharge Your Procrastination

Weaving for Christmas forward not Christmas behind – this was the decision that I consciously made last week when I decided it was time to supercharge a weaving project that I started last October.

I’m learning that the most time consuming part of any weaving project is simply getting the warp on the loom.  A fellow weaver told me that 75% of the project is everything you do before the weaving begins.  I believe it.

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My favorite two in one weaving tool is this combo threading/sley hook by Harrisburg Designs.

It’s pretty handy and I use it for both threading the heddles and sleying the reed.  The tiny hook on one end makes scooping threads into the heddle easy and the fatter end fits easily into the reed slots for the next step, sleying that reed.

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So far everything looks good but I think it prudent to double check the reed slots before I get my boat shuttles would with weft yarn.  I’ll wait until the light of day.

First Woven Pillows

I can’t wait to see how these threads play with one another.  Weaving is just around the corner.

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Did you start something for Christmas last year that didn’t quite make it in time?  I hope I am not the only one who gets sidetracked with too many projects!

Weaving, Warp and a Rainy Day

The day has arrived, that day in which I will take a deep breath and begin my weaving journey on the lovely Leclerc floor loom that sits in my fiber studio.  I’m filled with both excitement and apprehension at the same time.  Excitement, because I have long wanted to weave on a floor loom just like my Colorado fiber friends  – just a teensy bit of peer pressure there, I admit it.  Apprehension, because everything is unfamiliar to me and it has always been a little nerve wracking for me to enter in on the ground floor of anything new.

Rainy Day Weaving

Watching Janet Dawson’s Floor Loom Weaving class on the Craftsy platform has helped me understand how the whole weaving thing works.  Ms. Dawson is an excellent teacher.  The class demonstrates front-to-back warping so I will be working through that method to weave three pillows.

The beforehand project uses a 2-ply yarn and, after searching far and wide for an appropriate substitute in the States, I caved and ordered the yarn Ms. Dawson uses in the class from a Canadian store.  My Christmas tradition is to add a pillow to my Christmas decor, this year I will be weaving them.

Craftsy Weaving Project

Brenda, at Penelope Fibres, helped me pick out Christmas colors for the pillow from the Briggs & Little Regal stock:

  • Red #73
  • Light Brown #24
  • Green Heather #62
  • Washed White #02

When it arrived the wool smelled just like it came straight from a woolen mill – just as it ought to, nice and ‘sheepy.’  Yep, that’s me, a closet wool sniffer.

Because this yarn came in a skein the next step was to put it on a yarn swift and wind it into a center-pull ball to prepare it for the warping board.

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Briggs and Little Regal

Next comes winding onto the warping board.   In this pillow project my warp is five yards long so I measured off a guide string a five yard length and then found a path on the warping board with the string that length.  The guide thread stays there to mark the traveling course as I wind the warp.

5 yard pillow warp

Under, over ….. around.…. under, over…..follow the guide string and  the all important cross is formed.

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Everything I’ve read and every instructor I’ve listened to says to take all measures to protect that cross and I have done that.

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Janet Dawson teaches how to wind two warp threads at once and learning that sped up the whole second half of the warp … double time (wink, wink).

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I think I could just melt away in this shade of RED, so pretty it is. I crocheted each half of the warp into a chain and they are all ready for the next step. My friends tell me that winding the warp and threading the loom is half the project.

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I certainly hope that is true because what I did today took most of the day.  Time to rest, not completely though because I’m behind on my 10,000 steps today and the rainy day has turned into sunshine.

First Friday Fiber of 2016

The first Friday of the month is when my fiber group meets.  We were eager to get together because we didn’t meet in January and some of us had not seen each other in a couple months.  Even before it was time for show and tale, we jumped in sharing what lovelies we had created since the last time we were together.  Well, actually, it was more like we started pawing through each other’s baskets in curiosity …. that is how it goes when you love fiber.

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Karen shared her beautiful DOODLER by Steven West made with her very own Spruce Dragon Yarn.  She had enhanced the shawl with beads which I thought made it even prettier.  I really must add DOODLER to my list of things to knit in 2016.

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Of course, I couldn’t resist walking around the house of our hostess to take some photos of her beautiful weaving.
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Someday I hope to be able to weave beautiful towels like Nancy does.  She is a real pro though and has been doing it for a long time.
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Someone always brings gorgeous roving that we all drool over…..

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And someone always has some spun up that we all marvel at….

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We can count on Emma wearing one of her very unique scarves.  This one was a gift from her sister and we had to examine it for a bit and figure out how it was done.
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It was called ‘Nuno’ felting.  Silk was laid between strips of roving and then felted in a hot soapy bath by vigorous rubbing.  Karen said it was a great anger management technique. We held it up to the light for more scrutinizing…
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Cherie told us that one of her goals was to weave with her handspun fiber and this wrap was her first big project doing that……..

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She then told us about her trip to Iceland last month and showed us some unspun Icelandic wool, something Iceland is notorious for to fiber lovers.  Apparently, there are great tourism deals if you go to Iceland in December!  And then, she talked about us forming a weaving group on this side of the mountain so we wouldn’t have to trek so far. I’m in! She has already picked out a project we can each weave.

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A couple of us are just learning how to weave. Last month Cherie taught some how to weave these cool washcloths with “scrubby’ loops. Carol brought the strip she had woven and got advice on how to cut them apart, fold them under and finish each washcloth off.

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Shari usually has something unique to share and this time she showed her ‘foot’ spindle she had used Christmas money to get.

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Her foot was pretty busy kicking the wheel to keep her spindle spinning. It may be a little bit too much work for my taste but she is having a blast with it.

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Marilyn had designated the month of January as ‘for the dogs’ and I somehow neglected to take pictures of the dog coats and food placemats she had crocheted.

I always leave this group inspired and with some new tidbit of knowledge. Today I learned that instead of using yarn for a header when weaving, you can use plastic bag strips like Nancy did in this picture. Karen uses the last bits of toilet paper when you come to the end of a roll. Imagine that!

Our hostess showed us what she does in her basement…….

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See the plastic bag header?

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What a fabulous day!  I’m already anticipating next month’s gathering.  I believe we will be crossing the mountain and heading north.

Yarn Along as I Do Some Warping

I’m looking forward to reading some great books this year and finding out what others are reading as I participate in  Ginny’s YARN ALONG.

Warping Dealer's Choice Towels

This afternoon I am listening to Inside the O’Briens by Lisa Genova.  I’m a big fan of Ms. Genova’s books because they have educated me on neurological diseases and disorders.   She is the author of the New York Times bestselling novels Still Alice (Alzheimer’s Disease), Left Neglected (traumatic brain injury) , and Love Anthony (autism)and now Inside the O’Briens.

The main character is Joe O’Brien, a 44 year old Boston police office who begins to experience bouts of disorganized thinking, uncharacteristic temper outbursts, and strange involuntary movements.  He finds out he has Huntington’s Disease, a disease that will change his and his family’s lives forever.  I’m certain the story will be heart wrenching.

So far I’ve learned that Huntington’s Disease is a lethal neurodegenerative disease with no treatment and no cure.  And it is genetic.

In other news, I am enjoying my new Harp Forte Rigid Heddle Loom.  The tea towels I made last week have washed up nice and fluffy.
First Tea Towels

Weekend Weaving ~ Tea Towels

Last weekend I was busy putting together the Harp Forte Rigid Heddle Loom that I got for Christmas from Mr. Claus and Elf Daughter #2.
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It took longer than I thought it was going to take, several hours in fact, and I was slightly overwhelmed by the process but in the end I was proud of myself for successfully using an electric screwdriver. (I do hope this loom doesn’t fall apart on me at some point.)

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Sunday afternoon was spent putting on a warp using the warping board on the back of the Harp, a special feature that sold me on this particular loom. The warp are the strings that run up and down the project.

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I had to figure out the best route to use between pegs that would give me a 2.5 foot warp which would be enough to make two tea towels.

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There will be green vertical and horizontal stripes on a white cotton background. The greatest care was taken removing the warp from the warping board and little bows were tied here and there in case a catastrophe happened. The warp was then chain crocheted to keep it tidy for threading through the heddle.

Chained Warp

I didn’t take any pictures dressing the loom which took another hour or two but all was ready to weave Monday morning.

Hemstitch at end of First Towel

One tea towel has been completed. The weaving looks a little loose to me but I believe the fibers will fluff out after its first washing. I finished it off with a tidy hemstitch and now I’m ready to move on to the second tea towel.

Tea Towel Weaving

That Longaberger Umbrella basket in the background is perfect container for all my new weaving accessories!