Sept 26

At 2:30 a.m. on Sept 23, the fire department knocked on our door.  We weren’t being evacuated just yet, just being made aware that it was possible.  We went outside and looked in the direction of the fire and this is what we saw beyond the fence that lines a neighbor’s property

Everything is under control now, and the smoke smell is practically gone.  Thank you to all the firefighters who worked so hard to keep everyone safe.

On to loom news.  It took a little over 3 hours to get there (damn you LA traffic) and 4 hours to get back home (double damn you LA traffic).  I found out that the loom does NOT fit in my trunk.  Okay, it does, but only if I don’t want to completely shut the trunk lid.  Another 2 inches and I would have been golden.  We tried it every which way and it just wouldn’t work.  I was almost resigned to tying down the lid when I decided to try the backseat.  It fit without a problem.  Go figure.  Here’s the worst of the damage, which has already been cleaned up to the best of my ability.

I can handle the spots.  Otherwise, it seems to be okay.  There aren’t any cracks in the wood, the heddles are in great shape, there’s minimal rust on the heddle bars, and there was only a slight bit of rust on the ends of the 10 dent reed.  It is missing the harness cables.  I went to the store and bought 25 feet of vinyl coated metal cable and some cable clamps.  It’s practically the same stuff I’d get from the loom maker, only it’s green (yuck).  It might be a little thicker too.  If it doesn’t work, I’ll order new ones.  If it does, then I’ve saved $20.

When I went to look at the loom, she had a garage full of weaving things.  Shuttles, reeds, 2 table looms, 2 swifts, 2 other floor looms, raddles, and so on.  I asked if the other things were for sale too, which they were.  Only not the warping board.  Nor that awesome table loom, it was hers for workshops.  Now I’m thinking maybe I should get a table loom for workshops instead.  I started looking at table looms and found what I think would be a nice one to have.  It’s a Woolhouse Tools Carolyn.  It folds for travel, has 8 shafts, and the levers are in the front.  It’s lighter than the floor loom.   So now I’m lusting for one of those and keeping an eye out for a used one.  Good grief, will I ever be happy?  Is it just the thrill of the hunt?  I need an intervention!

Where there’s smoke

I’ve been keeping all my Atlanta friends in my thoughts due to the amount of rain they’re getting.  I learned this morning that the roads were closed in the area we lived in when we were in Marietta.  I remember the small creek that ran behind the house, though there was hardly ever water in it.  From the sounds of it, there’s probably water in the house we used to live in.

However, here in Moorpark we’re fighting the opposite fight.  Humidity is at 4% and the temps are in the triple digits.  The Santa Ana winds, which are strong and very hot, have moved in.  The Station fire hasn’t even been completely put out yet and a new fire has began in Filmore.  This is northeast of us.  The winds, they are moving the fire southwest.  When I logged out of work this morning at 11:20, I glanced out the back door and noticed it looked like rain.  A closer look revealed that those aren’t storm clouds

That’s the Filmore fire.  It’s still a distance from us, but it’s always kind of scary to see the smoke like that.  It seems a lot closer than it really is.  Regardless, I’ve gathered some things up.  A change of clothes, food for the pets, pictures, passports, etc.  Hopefully we won’t need them, but they’re ready if we do.  I can’t help but think… there’s no way to get my looms in the car!

Too much Larry*

I had all intentions of winding a warp today.  I also intended to mop.  Instead, Sam came home early and wanted to play WoW.   Now I don’t mind getting the mop plans interrupted and I don’t mind playing WoW, but I’d really like to wind this warp.

So, guess who’s getting another loom.  My first floor loom was a 22″ Harrisville 4s/4t.  I’ve kind of regretted selling it because, after going to guild meetings, I realized it would have made a great workshop loom.   Besides, it was my first loom and it taught me many things.  I miss it.  I’ve been keeping an eye out for another one, never in any hurry to get one right away, just when the right one came up.   This one will need work, even more than the first one, and it too is missing a crank.  (What is it with all the missing cranks?  There must be a landfill full of them somewhere.)  Pictures to come after I get it, which may be as late as this weekend.

*You’ll get that if you watch Curb Your Enthusiasm

I said I was Stubborn, not Stupid

I said I was stubborn, not stupid.  I was spending more time repairing broken threads than I was weaving.  I’m not sure why I even bothered with the scissors.  I could have just blown on it and got the same result.

Stupid black yarn

I have a huge cone of black 8/2 cotton that I bought for $3 a pound.  A bargain, right?  It would be if it was quality yarn.  Winding the warp on the warping wheel, I suddenly found myself with an end of yarn.  This actually happened 4 times.  It didn’t break while I was winding.  It was just the end.  I didn’t know whether to be pissed that it just suddenly ended, or to wish they’d at least knotted it.  Finding the beginning of the next strand was a pain too.  At least with a knot, I would have known where the next piece began.    I also found that it’s not spun well, at least I’m guessing that’s what it is.  The yarn would be running through by fingers and next thing you know, I’d have a thin spot and the next part of the yarn seems bunched up.  I continued winding it on to the loom anyway.  When I was tying it on to the front apron bar, as I’m pulling on the tie to tighten it, several strands broke off at once.  The 10/2 cotton I’ve worked with didn’t even do that.  This yarn is not meant to be used as warp.  But since I’ve got it on there, I’m going to weave it anyway.  As much as possible, that is.

So far, it looks like this

The light colored weft is lavender, even though it looks kind of pink in the top part of the photo.  I don’t know if this yarn will be sturdy enough to hold groceries.  A cereal box stuck in there the wrong way and the next thing you know, your tomatoes are taking a trip across the parking lot.  And before someone even suggests lining the thing I’ll tell you right now that is probably beyond my sewing skills.  Then again, I can be stubborn and I may just finish weaving it and line it, just so I can say I did it.


Recently, there has been some discussion on warping back to front versus front to back.  For the most part, people give their opinions in a civilized manner and everyone goes on their merry way.  There always has to be one though.  This one person made the discussions a little heated, on each and every forum/list they posted to.  Apparently, if you warp front to back, you’re inferior.  Or you have a loom that wasn’t made well.  Back to Front is the ONLY WAY!  Also, if you dare to look at one of the most recommended books on learning how to weave, you’ll be weaving-stupid for the rest of your weaving life.  Because we all know once you read one book, you’ll never read another book again nor try to learn how to become better.  Sheesh.  Normally I’d probably go on my merry little way but these discussions came right before I’m going to attempt b2f warping so I paid a little more attention.  In my opinion, everyone should warp whichever way works best for them.  In the end, no one is going to look at your cloth and say “OMG you warped your loom wrong!”  I’ll tell you this.  There is a learning curve when you switch.  Right now, I’m of the mind that it is much easier for me to warp front to back.  Maybe it’s because the yarn is black.  Maybe it’s because I’m using a 15 dent reed.  Maybe it’s because this loom is different than what I’ve used before.  (I refuse to believe that my Macomber or Gilmore are poorly made looms.)  I don’t know.  I do know it’s taking me forever and a day to get this warp on the loom.

Which way did he go

I had a tough time deciding on whether I want my strips to go side to side

or top to bottom

I like them both.  Vertical wins though, for a couple of reasons

1) Horizontal stripes are bad for the figure dontcha know

2) Horizontal stripes, in this case, would mean more work when winding the warp since I’d have two colors in the warp.  (And I want to try the AVL Warping Wheel dammit!)

3) If I decide to do a strap that goes all the way to the bottom of the bag, I’ll have to find a way around those stripes.

On the negative side, horizontal means I’ll have to change weft colors.  In other words, more ends to weave in.

Now to just find the yarn and colors.

I used the word Ugly 3 times

While I still haven’t made that grand master list, I’ve made some progress in the decision making.  Using the colors I have, I’ve picked out what colors the monk’s belt towel will contain.  The ones in the magazine have a white background with different colored sections.  Mine will have a dark blue background, with the sections being in lavender and green.  I’m hoping it won’t be as Ugly as it sounds.  It didn’t look too bad when I wrapped the colors together around the ruler but I didn’t exactly use the correct balance of colors in the stripes.

I know that I want to make a bag to carry groceries in.  I have the Ugly ones from the stores, with their advertisements on them.  A couple are starting to come apart.  Besides, sometimes I feel bad for taking a Vons bag to Ralphs or a Ralphs bag to Albertsons (though I’d much rather use the reusable ones than bring home plastic bags, yuck).  Anyway, I’d like to have something more unique.  Why can’t my groceries ride home in style than be stuffed in some Ugly bag?  I like plain weave but it’s kind of like garter stitch for me.  It’s easy and it can be pretty but I don’t want to knit all garter stitch.  I want to change up the stitches, get a little pattern going in there.  I think I might have what I want with this

The colors are only to show the pattern, not what I’ll be using.  The blue area will be plain weave and the white area will give it that little change-up that I want.  I still have to decide if I want the white area to go horizontal or vertical, and I may not know until it’s all woven up.

All over the place

I got 2 of the towels hemmed before washing.  And I hemmed them by hand!  I am not a seamstress (definitely not a sewer, eww) by any means but I think I did okay.  They made it through the wash without coming undone.  In my book, that’s a success.  I love these towels!  They’re soft and smooshy and I love drying my hands with them.  Even though I still have the one huge hank left, and also a full ball from the 1st hank that I wound on the ballwinder, I’m going to watch for Newton’s sale and pick up more.  Maybe I’ll even try dyeing some.  I still need to hem the last towel, I just couldn’t wait any longer to wash the ones I had done to see how they’d turn out.

Now I need to decide what’s next.  Every time I finish something, I drive myself crazy with What’s Next.  There are so many things I want to try and do.  It’s like being in a room with 30 children, all of them screaming Me Next!  There’s double weave to do double width and double weave with reversible designs. Shadow weave, iridescents, using rags.  Then there’s the projects – blankets, bags, towels, scarves, shawls, rag rugs.  And which yarn for which project?  And which yarn for which draft for which project. It all gets jumbled together and I bounce from idea to idea and don’t get anything done because everything seems to crash like a 20 car pile-up.  I need to sit down and make an actual list of all these things, tie them together, and start at the top and work my way down when it’s time to start something new.

I don’t know if it can be done

I wanted my next project to be something that I could try out my new-to-me AVL Warping Wheel.  After getting the Weaver’s Craft, I wanted my next project to be the towels.  Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll be able to kill the proverbial two birds with one stone.  I’ve tried and tried to wrap my brain around using the warping wheel with more than one color.  To complicate it even further, if I want to make them similar to the ones in Weaver’s Craft, there are 5 colors.  Even if I were to just use two colors, I’m still struggling with how I’m going to get those colors in each 2″ section when the sections of the towel are 1 1/2′.  Let’s say one 2″ section has 30 white and 15 blue, and another has 30 white and 5 black and 10 blue, and… AAHHHH.   I don’t think it can be done without manually counting how many of each color would go on each 2″ section.  It will be much easier if I make warp chains for each color on the warping board and warp front to back.  But then I won’t be using my new toy *whine*.

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