23/04/2015

Now what?


The fan fabric is done: inspected (several mistakes... some mis-sleying, some treadling mistakes, some must-have-been-a-bad-shed, one end not caught for long stretches), some repairs (only broken ends, the mistakes were too difficult); washed; mangled.
(I'm hoping I can get at least one shirt without glaring mistakes - perhaps it was A Good Thing I used such a busy/uneven pattern?)

So what have I learned? I think the most important thing is not to sley three per dent, because 1) it is very difficult to get it correct and 2) all too often the three ends did not separate when crowded.

I would have used a temple, had I but planned better: just five centimetres wider, and my biggest temple would have worked. Or: just 10 cms narrower, and one of the shorter temples would have been enough.

I also have learned to look better at the yarns when doing fairly dense setts - some of the spools had twisted-together ends, when they might have been knotted for better strength. I might have seen the knots, but the twists just separated.


Perhaps also it would have been better with fewer shafts? The more shafts, the more difficult to optimize the sheds. Here I had 8 shafts, and after too much fiddling I decided the top of the sheds were "good enough"... wrong decision, obviously.

It was "interesting" to mangle a fan fabric. As you have seen, there are small bumps in the cloth when weaving. They are not all gone when washed, and even knowing the trick of only smoothing to the sides (never along the warp) when rolling, some bumps wanted to stay.

No matter how tight one tries to make the roll, after a couple of passes it has loosened - partly because of the back-and-forth motion of the mangle, partly because the cloth flattens. Because of the persistent bumps, I re-rolled several more times than I normally do. The result is ok, though.
(But I "cheated" and pressed after mangling, also to help with the after-drying...)

Some pics:



Now to decide what kind of shirt to make, to go with the sort-of-diagonal-ish pattern.
One of the obvious choices is a not-really-shaped top, but there are five metres of fabric...
Perhaps some kind of kimono (or do I mean bat-wing?) "over-shirt", perhaps? I'm not sure about set-in sleeves with a fabric like this - thinking that probably they have to be matched in some way.

For now, the fabric sits on a roll on top of the fabric shelves.

20/04/2015

The story of the little warp that grew


This happened many years ago (maybe in the late 80-ies?).
A weaving guild I was associated with decided to do a vadmal project. I don't remember how many participants, or how many warps. But I do remember there was a lot of research done, and many discussions with spinning mills (I think we had two or three "custom" mills in Sweden at that time). It was decided we should order our yarns from Solkustens spinneri (at that time they were located outside Oskarshamn). So we ordered "warp spun" singles in white, also some ombré yarn (grey -> white -> grey).

All warps were wound 20 metres long.

The cloth from the loom I wove on came off as 22 metres. Plus thrums, and the dimensional loss we all learn to estimate at some 10%.

No, it wasn't mis-warped; the yarn had stretched. (IIRC, most cloths came out slightly longer than the warp length.)

It all ended happily: we went to a hammer mill deep in the woods, we hammered for hours (and hours), came home and made coats and other clothing.
- the ombré users noted that the white and grey portions had shrunk differently and pressed for hours, in hope to flatten their fabric.
All of us noted that the selvages were longer than the rest of the fabric. Some of us found ways to utilize the flaring edges, others tried to press them flat.

(Many years later, I did it again, with some other friends, different yarns, different mill - read about the vadmal adventure here (in Swedish here).
The flaring edges from my first experience made me fold the fabric in a different way this time, which worked: the edges came out nearly the same length as the rest, but instead we got "in-and-out" waves.)

So what has this to do with anything?

Not a lot.

But when I finally cut off this fan-reed fabric, it was a little shy of 6 metres (and I might have had maybe 50 cms more).

Considering I thought I had warped around 4 metres, the result made me remember the vadmal warp. In this case I guess I made two turns (and then some) on the warping mill instead of one turn (and then some).

01/04/2015

(s)pooling?


Some random weftovers:


Some waiting to become cloth:


Making the next batch:


I like to make three at a time, making them when the fourth quill is begun, and a new treadling sequence is about to begin (with the reed adjusted and the warp advanced, of course).

... this warp is taking forever... but maybe it doesn't help that I do lots of "whatever takes me away from the loom"?

29/03/2015

The mystery blanket


Remember the mystery blanket?


As it lives in a nearby (everything is relative, even distance...) café, we went back yesterday. It was a nice and sunny day, their coffee and sandwiches are nice - and the blanket was still unsolved.

This time I took out the pen and paper - here is the result:


A lot simpler than it looked in the fuzzy picture!


26/03/2015

How many ways to mis-count to five?



1-2-3-4-5; 2-3-4-5-6; stand up, adjust reed; 3-4-5-6..., yes, and 7; um - 4-5-6-7-8; stand up, adjust reed...

No, I couldn't count using the treadle number. Instead, etch the "endings" into the brain and just count to five:
1-2-3-4-5; start on 2 - 1-2-3-4-5 (2 treadles left); stand up, adjust reed; (2 left, therefore start on 3) 1-2-3-4-5 (1 left); go 4 treadles back - 1-2-3-4-5 (ends on 8); stand up, adjust reed; start 4 treadles from left 1-2-3-4 and back to treadle 1; start 3 from left 1-2-3 (over to treadle 1) 4-5; stand up, adjust reed; two in, therefore start on 2 from left 1-2 (back to treadle 1) 3-4-5; last treadle 1, back to treadle 1, 2-3-4-5. One repeat done. Stand up, adjust reed. Let off 3 or 4 notches on back beam, tighten cloth beam.
Start over.

This way I know that I always am "good to go" for next 40 picks.

If I have to stop somewhere in the middle, I always mark my place (marking the last pick done with the cursor), before I do whatever is needed. (I have far too many warp breaks on this.)

When I am leaving the weaving, I always write in which way I moved the reed last, 'cos sometimes it can be difficult to see: had I just done the uppermost position, therefore moved peg downwards, or was I still on my way "up", for instance.

The tension is also interesting: it varies with the position of the reed. The part of the warp being spread out always feels too loose, even in the middle of the warp. This also means that the fell line is always wavy:


and the cloth has bumps:


I am now at about one-and-a-half metre - I think I beamed 4 metres and some. I hope I get enough useable fabric for a shirt and something more...


(Some of you might wonder why I am not using the AVL. The reason is that I don't want to construct a new beater...)

23/03/2015

Finally started!


Today I re-tied and started weaving.
But for some reason treadle 4 felt very strange... as if it was somehow blocked. As if, in fact, I had a treadle tied up to both lift and sink one shaft.

But... but I had woven ok, and the only thing that happened after that was the cutting off.

Checked the ties. They were ok, as they should.

The treadle still did not work properly.

Re-checked the ties. They still were ok.

Scratched my head, had some coffee, read a bit, had some more coffee.

Decided it was a fixable problem, if only I figured it out. Took a deep breath and went under the loom again. And found that the tie from shaft 1 to the upper lamm had tangled with the tie from shaft 2.
Thus I had wasted the best part of an hour trying to fix something I should have spotted in five minutes, max.

The final weft choice: cotton 16/2 in a soft beige, kind of oatmeal - not quite as it looks in the picture below:

22/03/2015

A little sewing on the side


(but don't tell anybody that the very sloppy-looking stitching is mine, please!)

"Can you make a cover for an inflatable beach ball? It needs to be mainly blue, and have patches in several colours."

"Er??? I mean yes, I suppose so, but what...?"

"It will represent how much each of us humans would have at our disposal, should the earth (resources) be fairly divided."

So I looked in the "eyes", found some blue, green, yellow, red and black acetate lining fabric (and a couple of other scraps). The "client" made the pattern (it was his beach ball, after all), and I sewed.

It was fiddly to appliqué the patches (I'm using the word quite loosely, here - they are merely basted on), and it turned out the ball was a tad too big, thus the not-very-sightly gusset-y thing. But it is ready for play tomorrow, which was one of the wishes from the client.


(The blue is for the sea, red is for "unusable" (mountains and wasteland), yellow is for savannah, green for forests, the blue-with-plaid is for pasture and the black is for fertile land. There are two of each "non-fertile" patch. Each human has a total of 5 and a half football fields, which is what all the patches combined sum up to, I am told.)