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!


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...)


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:


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.)


The full-width fan sample

As reported, the warp is now threaded, sleyed and tied-on.

After the "preliminary" (ie half-sloppy) tie-up, and some trial weaving, it was time to fine-tune the tie-up.
( - weaving with a fan reed really requires a maximized shed - when the reed is in the lowest position, one wants the top of the shed to be as high as possible, and vice versa.)

As I have been traipsing the countryside looking at spinning wheels, it took me until today to do the actual work, but today was the day. After fiddling with the lamm height, and the treadle height, and the lifting of shaft 2 on treadle 4, and...

This is the sampling of the "quality" (linen or cotton weft?), but not quite the sampling of the weft colour.
I intended to use some light-grey linen, but it seems I have dreamed up that colour. I tried a light blue linen, but it isn't wonderful.

Wove some bands in cotton 16/2, using "weftovers" in colours I don't consider using, but they will work for the "quality check".

Picked out some other possible linens:

Tried the pink linen, but it shows Very Pink - decided I wanted lower contrast and found a light yellow linen.

Cut off, machine-washed, a short time in the dryer, some pressing to flatten and (last) mangled, this is how it looks now:

It isn't yet completely dry, so I will have to wait to evaluate the weft material choices.


Super pi day

The drawer is scoured, now drying (and airing) in the garage.
Still lots of stinky heddles to sort/clean, but the loom is now threaded.

As I decided, based on this sample , I should sley 3/dent. (I also modified the warp some - warped with 4 ends: one bleached 16/2, two bleached thinner, probably 22/2 and, to give a somewhat warmer hue, one unbleached 16/2.)

Sleying 3/dent is something I always find difficult, unless it is a 3-end compatible threading. As the threading is a kind of decreasing point, adding 2 ends to each point, this turned out to be...difficult.

Sleying a fan reed is difficult to begin with, and this is by far the widest "fan" warp I have tried, so I thought up a trick: let the end of each sleying unit hang at the wide end, to make it easier to find the next dent:

After tying on... it turned out I had several errors, all of them where the narrow dents face the shafts - I guess my trick wasn't good enough.

Then the next problem arose - I have lost my favourite texsolv treadle cord hook, so I had to unvent some kind of substitute. After some not-quite-working ideas, this is now my new tool:

The reason for the different legs of this "tool" is that it gets easier to separate the fishing-line strands if they are different lengths from the knot, which is needed to make the loop go through the holes in the lamm.

Coda: as it is a super-pi day, and I haven't found any connexion to pi (but as the real pi-nerds say: *everything* can be found in pi), instead here is a picture of a blanket I saw today:

(When I brought out pen-and-paper to analyse it, my company suggested I ought to be able to do that from the photo. I should have known better, but... no matter how I fiddle with contrast, sharpening etc, I just can't make it out. Suggestions welcome!)

Also a piece of Very Happy News: today the newest incarnation of our local glassworks started the "pre-melting" needed to be done to a new ladle - pics here.



I needed some more heddles on the loom, so I went to the heddle drawer.
This is what I found:

(Probably it was mice rather than rats, but... And it smelled!)

Well. No heddles, no threading. No threading, no weaving. And I don't have to do them all, not immediately, anyway.

Some hours (and a trip in the washing machine) later:

But I guess I know what to do in spare moments for some time to come... at least on sunny days, so I can sit outside!