Form or function?

Everybody likes a beautiful tool.
The question is: what is beauty - especially in conjunction with tool?

The very nice wooden sleying hook below is my first. The traditional Swedish sley hook has this form, is slightly thicker and made of white plastic. I don't know what the "original" sley hook looked like, nor what it was made of, but when I begun weaving all hooks had this form. (And most heddles were made of string, too - the new-fangled texsolv did exist, but were, well, "new-fangled" and not very popular.)

I did like everyone else - threaded heddles with my fingers, sleyed reeds with the thickish white plastic hook.
Then I bought the very nice and thin wooden sleying hook. This hook, exactly like the plastic ones, tended to fall to the floor when I lost the grip. I knew someone who had a silver hook (same model) on a chain round her neck, but the chain was not
long enough to let her keep it around the neck while sleying.

Then I met the red plastic hook (I think my first one was green). It had a hole in one end - with a piece of string the problem of the fallen hook was eliminated. But... it was not half as attractive as the nice wooden one.
After having used it for about 15 minutes I was sold... it may not be "beautiful", but it is everything else:
fits though "open eye" texsolv heddles (and thus increased my threading speed by, well, lots), fits all reeds down to 9 dents per cm (for the 11 dpcm I use the nice-looking wooden one), and hangs around my neck. Or on the loom, for that matter.

The long-necked metallic one - I don't remember how I came by that one. It is the only one that fits through the metallic heddles, but that doesn't make it any easier to use. The blade is so long that I can't use it while holding the handle...

So, for threading/sleying hooks I see the absolute beauty in red plastic!


Grass carpet

Now the "grass carpet" is woven, too, still in twill coruroy. I used five or maybe six different yarns for the weft, in cotton and linen.
Here it is, hot from the loom:

About the cutting, Collingwood writes that there are two ways: either you cut "straight up" or you follow the "twill line". I may have misunderstood how to cut "straight" - found it very difficult to identify the logical "straight".
Anyway - to the leftit is "twill cut", to the right it is "straight". The right side has pile of different lengths, but it doesn't really show.

Apart from the fact that a table loom is too flimsy/weak to properly beat a structure like corduroy, I also found that I have too long tabby stretches (or perhaps I should have used a different pile weft) - the ground shows too much.
(OTOH - we've had a dry spell here - it almost looks like my real grass-carpet, er, lawn:

As a comparison, here's my only previous experience of corduroy - a proper rug quality, with proper rug yarns. I wove it ages ago, and usd it for my weaving bench. It is double corduroy, and the two parts are cut with different methods, with a bit of un-cut in between. I tried to figure out which part was which, but I couldn't...

Still pondering how to achieve the flight of the cellophane one. Maybe I should try it with fishing line for warp... but that has to be on a "real" loom, if at all.


Flying carpet?

The new theme for our guild is RUGS.
As you may have guessed, rugs is not what I usually weave. So, to make things more interesting, I decided to weave (very small) "different" rugs. Like... a flying carpet?

Literature studies did not yield much on the construction of flying carpets, so I made a few guesses: wings, it will need wings to fly, yes? And wings... fly wings, bug wings, fairy wings, they are all transparent and shiny? So: cellophane for weft.

The first technique that came to mind was rya knots. But I wanted to thread for something more, er, efficient, so I threaded up for what Collingwood calls double corduroy.

Here are the first samples:

The knots were impossible. After two rows the tension was completely off, and my patience was rapidly waning.
Went on to the double corduroy. In the first sample I used the warp yarn (linen 16/2) for the tabby picks, and also extended the tabbies some.
For the second sample I used the cellophane for all wefts. It looked better, but was too stiff for the hazy idea I had about mounting (a flying carpet has to be flying), so I re-threaded to what Collingwood calls twill corduroy.

It is now woven. I meant to do a "woven edge", but (as you can see) I have to practice a lot before I can do one that looks ok. With patience thin again, I decided I could do a plaited fringe at the other end...

This, too, is a bit stiff, but if I re-think the mounting...
In the meantime, I'm weaving off this short warp as a grass carpet (the word "lawn" could work in a textile environment, but hardly about rugs).

The techniqes of rug weavingcan be downloaded from handweaving.net.


Here is the castle

This is the top of the castle.
I admit I have not tried to take it apart, but think it would be more that a-pain-in-the-thumbs to put it together again, even if it is not glued...
At the bottom of the structure there are both screws and visible glue, so that's no option either.


#¤&@¤£# !!!

Why am I doing this??? And twice in a week, too...

I don't particularly like table looms. Then this thingy came my way, had 8 shafts and was cheap.

So I bought it, sight unseen. I mean, a loom is a loom, even if it is a table model, right?
I had very limited experience with metal heddles, but, thought I, a heddle is a heddle.
Then I wanted to test my new-to-me sample loom - and... soon found that I don't like (rather "hate") the heddles on this loom. They won't slide (except if I handle them one at a time), they tangle (how is still a mystery), the eyes are too small for all my heddle hooks...
So I wove one small narrow warp, and put it under a table.

Then came the guild's anniversary exhibitions, and we decided we needed a dog. The dog itself was made of hex mesh, but it also needed a tail. I decided to weave it a tail, on the Lillstina. (It also got vadmal ears, but they came from existing scraps)
I made a 5 cm-or-so warp, with 4 ends of steel wire (to shape the tail) and some rug warp. As the tail was only to be 20 cm-or-so, it was ok (sort of).

Again the loom was put under the table for a couple of years.
Next time it came out was for a "culture day".
This is me, weaving a shawl.

For that shawl, I really had to move some heddles. Couldn't figure out any way to do that in an even moderatlely efficient way, but got them moved.
- The shawl came out allright - a woollen stripe in the middle, wich created nice ruffles after wet finishing/fulling:

One-and-a-half year later, I needed some illustrations for an article. Did not want to try to warp the AVL with a meter-long warp, so out Lillstina came again. That was on Monday last.

But... apparently I have not had my share of, er, punishment? yet, 'cos as soon as that little warp was done, I decided to make another warp...

Dear readers - . How is one supposed to move heddles on a loom like this?!?
Fortunately, there was only one shaft (and fortunately, it was near the back) that needed more heddles. I had to pry the heddle bar out with a plier - and the only way I could figure out how to put on heddles was one-by-one... There is no way (that I can see) that the heddle frames can be taken out, and there is no way (that I can see) to put those new heddles on in a bunch. #¤&@¤£# !!!
Here it is, next-to-last shaft raised, heddle bars pried out of their holders.

(And it was a pain-in-my-thumbs to try to pry them back again... and no pliers big enough to use...)


Worsted, sort of

Second sample was combed, still unwashed. That was not very wise - even that small amount did gunk the combs up. I could not find the diz, so I used a nice abalone button instead.

It was more difficult that I remembered to spindle the combed fibre - or, maybe, I'm just out of practice...

Plied and washed it definitely has more worsted character than yesterday's sample. Some loft, a lot less elasticity.

Visually, they are not as different as I thought they would be.

I plied both yarns fron a center-pull ball, something I avoid when spinning "for real". Maybe the spinning direction is more important for worsteds than for woollens, but I think it makes sense to try to preserve the direction always. And yes, it means that, when I unload a spindle I first make one ball, then make a new one, just to get the direction right.

Now I really need to make that washing frame I have planned - or maybe I should just go for mosquito netting, while this nice drying-weather still holds.