Learning versus wasting

At this point in my weaving, I can honestly say there is a lot I know.  I know how a loom works, I can read a draft, I can make cloth.  Yet there’s so much more that I don’t know.  There are some things that I have been afraid to try.  Not because I’m afraid I can’t do it, but because “that would be a waste of perfectly good yarn”.  Things like – What happens if I use X weight cotton at this sett versus a different sett?  What happens when I mix fibers?  What if I change the tie-up from plain weave to twill, just how much difference will the sett actually make?  Things like that.  I have plenty of yarn so it’s not like I’m going to run out any time soon.  I just have to get over the “waste of money” thing.  It’s not a waste if I’m learning something new, right?  It’s no different than paying for a class, other than I get to do it on my own time.

So, I’m going to do a sampler of sorts.  There are so many possibilities with what I want to see.  Let’s say I used 10/2 cotton as the warp.  I’d like to sett it at 24 for a couple of inches, 28 for another couple, and 32 for another.  For each of those different setts, I’d want plain weave, straight twill, point twill, and satin.  And for each of those, I’d change the weft to use different weight cottons, maybe throw in some wool and/or tencel, just to see how different they look and feel.  I want to do the same for the 20/2 cotton, the 8/2 tencel, and so on but I don’t think I can fit all the different yarns into one warp and not have some tension issues. It has to be big enough that I can keep samples of different methods of finishing, too.  There’s straight off the loom, there’s handwash/dry flat (it’s been babied), handwash/dryer (is this abuse of the cloth or is this a good thing), washing machine/dryer (here’s the worst that will happen if it gets mixed up with regular laundry).

This is all going to take some planning, and it may take multiple warps for all that I want to test.  I still have this little voice telling me that I should do the other things that I want to do first.  Come on, you know you want make a shuttle holder so they’ll be nice and organisedAnd what about those curtains you want to make for the bedroom?  And the bags you want to make for groceries? And the list goes on.  I’m trying to tell that little voice that I’ll have more success if I do the sampler(s) first.

Then there’s the color issue.  That’s another ball of wax. I’m going to get the setts and fibers down first, and work on color later.  There’s only so much my brain can handle at once.

I need a schedule

I wish I were one of those people that got things done.  Really, how hard can it be to set a schedule for myself?  It’s not that it’s hard to set a schedule, it’s hard sticking to it.  I’d like to be one of those people that you could stop by their house at any time, and not find anything out of place.  If someone were to stop by unannounced today, I’d hide under the bed and pretend I wasn’t home.  We’re messy around here.  Magazines, yarn, papers of things I’ve printed, and books surround my sitting area.  Game controllers, magazines, remote controls, and guitar stuff surround The Man’s sitting area.  Mail, receipts, miscellaneous crap, and dishes are on the kitchen counter.  Dust on the shelves. Pet hair tumbleweeds in the corners.  Containers of yarn, books, and magazines spread out on the guest bed. Lone socks, pants that need a hole repaired, hangers, and lint rollers on the dryer.  It’s embarrassing.  And yet here I am telling everyone.  I need a schedule, one that I’ll stick to.  One that I feel like I have gotten something done yet doesn’t make me feel like I can’t relax.  The thing is, I’m more relaxed when it’s not so cluttered, yet I don’t seem to want to break away from the other things to remedy the clutter.  It’s so much more fun to play with drafts and plan projects, read blogs, read posts on Ravelry and Yahoo groups, watch tv, weave, play with the dog, and the list goes on.  Discipline is what I need.  Maybe if I set specific time frames for specific activities, then I’ll accomplish the things that need to be accomplished. I know it can be done because other people do it every day.  Whether they do it by schedule or just by doing it I don’t know.

I’ve been promising The Man I’d make him a scarf for a long time.  While it was tempting to keep doing things I wanted to do for fun, I finally started one for him. The hardest thing about making things for men is finding something that isn’t girly and isn’t just your everyday solid black plain weave.  I like designs, not just color changes.  Though that’s what this one is, plain weave with a color change.  I should get that finished today and we’ll see how it turns out, if it’s manly enough.

The Getting To Know You Shawl

I struggled with putting on a ‘real’ warp versus a junk warp.  What if I put a junk warp on and everything goes perfect? Then I’ve wasted the perfect opportunity to have an FO.  What if I put a good warp on and everything goes wrong? Then I’ve wasted a warp.  I went with a good warp, and as mentioned in the last post, a few things went wrong. The wrong wif for the threading I did, and an issue with a shaft.  I adjusted the cable this morning, then ran the draft without any warp on the loom and it seems to be working good now.  No more rising when it shouldn’t, or vice versa. So, while the shawl isn’t perfect, it’s not awful either.  I’d like to think that people wouldn’t notice the imperfections but that would be lying to myself.

Before wet finishing, you can barely see the design:


After wet finishing:


8/2 Tencel
Sett 24 epi
Width in the loom 25″
Width before wet finish 23 1/2″
Width after wet finish 22″
Length before 80″
Length after 74″
The draft is one from handweaving.net that I modifed

She’s dressed

She has her own room.  Sort of.  This is a room that was built into the garage.  The previous owners used it as a bedroom, we used it for storage of Stuff.  I cleaned out the room and put Stuff in other places but she still has to share the room with some Stuff.  That’s why this is the only view of the room that you’ll get for now.  Regardless, there’s a warp on the loom and I’ve been weaving.


I did something really stupid.  I took a wif from Handweaving.net.  It uses 14 shafts but I wanted to use all 16 so I fiddled with the wif and moved some threads from shafts 1 and 2 to 15 and 16.  Later, since the software is new to me, I decided not to tempt fate and to just use the wif as is so only threaded 1 to 14.  Lesson number 1 with the new software – if you don’t pay attention, you’ll get to the end of the draft and start over at the beginning. I had to unweave 4 inches.  While unweaving, that was when I noticed that shafts 15 and 16 were rising.  Oh yes I did. I opened the wrong wif file one of the times I started weaving.  I must have done it from the beginning, or else the software wouldn’t have started where I left off.  But, I can’t be sure. I am so mad at myself for doing that.  Such a stupid mistake.  It was so avoidable.  I’ve thought about cutting out all the weft and starting over but with 36″ already woven, I’m just going to continue on.

I’m still getting to know the loom.  I had a hell of a time getting it warped, mostly because I was trying a method that I’d never used before.  The next time I warp, I’ll be trying another method.  I’ll need to cut new strings for the sectional beam as I got some shorter than others, and they’re close to hitting the wrong place on the beam.  I also have to find my happy place when sleying the reed. I had a bit of trouble seeing the threads, which probably has a lot to do with blue threads and the blue carpet background.  Also need to find a comfortable position to do it in.

Boxes and boxes and boxes

The loom got here around 3 on Wednesday.  The Man got home a few minutes later, changed his clothes, and we began the task of unpacking the boxes and checking the parts list.  That alone took at least an hour (maybe 2!), they pack those parts WELL.

We went from this


to this


to this


which is where we left off at 9:30pm.

The next day, The Man came home early from work.  We got him packed for his trip, then finished putting the loom together.

Then, disaster struck.  We turned on the box and ran the test, which passed.  Then I tried the software from Leclerc.  I just wanted to push those treadles and see shafts rise and fall so badly.  No go.  I’ll spare you most of the details but after a spending a quite a few hours yesterday and today, it looks like the loom driver from Leclerc doesn’t play well with 64 bit Windows 7.

I called 2 different weaving software places to find out if either of them played nice with 64bit Windows.  Fiberworks called back first and, another long story short, I’m now the unintenional owner of Fiberworks PCW.  Which does play nice with 64bit Windows and now solenoids are firing off like good little solenoids should.

I’m not weaving yet.  I can see that I need to make a couple of cable adjustments, and I also need to put the heddles on the shafts. Some dumbass was so excited to put the loom together that she decided to wait on the heddles. In hindsight, this was not a smart decision.

Weaving to come soon.