New toys!

Oct. 23rd, 2009 08:21 pm
argos: Myself working at the loom (weaver)
[personal profile] argos
I splurged this month and bought two weaving tools I've wanted for a long time. One is a spool rack that lets you unwind up to 40 threads at once from separate spools without tangling. The other is called a tension box, and has staggered pegs over which those threads can be passed to develop an even amount of tension across the group as they are pulled through. Each end of the box has a small comb called a reed that you thread them through to spread them evenly across a certain width. Together these two devices allow what is called sectional warping, in which the warp can be wound onto the loom's back beam in one or two inch segments rather than doing the entire width of the cloth all at once. It makes the complicated process easier for one person without an assistant, and also speeds it up because it is no longer necessary to measure and cut all the warp threads individually before the loom can be dressed and threaded.

Two of my five looms are designed for this type of warping process, and though I've used them with the older methods and it works fine, I've wanted to be able to do this. It makes wider warps more practical and should speed up the whole process of getting set up for weaving by as much as a third. (Some weavers claim half, but I'm doubtful about that.) While I love designing the cloth and even enjoy the rather tedious job of threading the loom, measuring and beaming a wide warp is so nerve-wracking and tedious to me that I have usually avoided it. Hopefully, this can change now.

I'm going to try setting up a simple warp for rag rugs this weekend, just to get the feel of the process. I've done that before enough times to know roughly how long it took, and thus should have some valid comparison.

Unfortunately, I went out to the barn to get some stored materials for rag rug weaving and found that mice have gotten into the terrycloth sock strips I had left out there. The brazen little beasts didn't even run away, they just sat in the midst of their wreckage and stared at me. The cotton rug warp, though, and balls of rag strips already cut and sewn together were all safe, so I can still proceed.

I'll see about getting photos of the procedure if I can.

My spinning group has agreed that for the next twelve months we will each track and report the number of yards of yarn or thread we have spun each month. I thought I was in good shape with 848 yards for October already, but of course the guild president just sent me a message saying she had Navajo-plied 500 yards of wool this week. Navajo plying produces a three stranded yarn, so that means she spun 1500 yards before plying. Darn it. ;p (I knew she'd probably come out on top of everyone though. She's incredibly productive, and does much of her spinning with an ordinary hand drop spindle while riding the train to and from work in Chicago.)

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