Snow in Texas Hill Country is minimal. To make up for it, I am putting together a virtual snowstorm—four Christmas Snowflake towels on the drawloom. Each towel has three large snowflakes at the bottom and top borders. The body of the towel has delicate snowflake crystals drifting to the ground.
Starting with Selbu Mittens: Discover the Rich history of a Norwegian Knitting Tradition, by Anne Bårdsgård, I transpose Nordic star patterns into drawloom graphed designs. Affinity Designer (graphic design software) takes the place of graph paper for me. Being vector graphic design, it enables me to make changes without having to start over. I can easily move, separate, copy, and/or transform elements as I work through a design. I print out exactly what I need, scaled up in size without losing clarity, in a format that enhances my ability to make the right moves at the combination drawloom.
We have a faithful designer. Our Grand Weaver creates his image in us. He moves, separates, copies, and transforms elements in our lives until his image clearly shows. It takes a lifetime. The Lord is faithful. Since he has brought us this far, let us also be found faithful to him, conforming to his image.
I have questions galore as I begin a new warp on the combination drawloom. Is this the best sett for these threads? How are my sheds? What will orange-ey weft colors do on this pewter and blue warp? Is the image of this first design better face up, or face down? How can I include a couple extra colors in the design? The loom is set up with 45 pattern shafts and 148 single units. I’m eager to begin!
Sampling at the beginning of the warp gives me answers. The sett is good—18 ends per centimeter, with 16/2 cotton in 6-shaftirregular satin. After some tweaking, the sheds are good—and all the treadles touch the floor when the optimum shed is reached. The weft colors look good—better than expected. And, definitely, the jam jars need to be face down—so, I reverse the image in Affinity Designer on the computer and print out a new chart. I can sneak in some extra colors with narrow weft stripes—beginning and ending borders. I’m ready to roll! New kitchen towels in various designs are moving forward! First up…Peach Jam Jars.
~It is a joy to have you visit with me every week! It is time for my annual pause for the month of July. I’ll see you back here on Tuesday, August 3, 2021.~
Until then, may the Lord bless you and protect you; may the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; may the Lord look with favor on you and give you peace.
We weavers are resourceful. We enjoy finding solutions that make our time at the loom more efficient, while raising the quality of our weaving. We’ve done some of these little tricks so much we don’t think about them anymore. And then, some innovations are things we think up on the spot because necessity, as you know, is the mother of invention.
Necessity: Keep from losing my place with treadling repeats. Solution: A strip of blue painter’s tape with “3 2 1” and a rubber band, placed on the breast beam. Move the rubber band on the tape (from right to left) to track repeats.
Necessity: Keep from fumbling the catch, having to reposition the shuttle in my hand to send it back across the warp. Solution: Keep my eye on the shuttle. If I turn my head to watch the movement of the shuttle, my catching and throwing improves immediately. This makes my selvedges improve, too.
Leave No Trace
Necessity: Keep from leaving slightly perceptible lines in the woven cloth that reveal every time I stop to move the temple and advance the warp. Solution: When it is almost time to advance the warp, I move the temple and then weave one or more pattern sequence(s) before advancing the warp. This helps me leave no trace of starting and stopping.
Do you have a simple tip that improves your efficiency and/or quality at the loom? Please share in the comments.
When I pick up a color of thread I don’t want to have to guess if it’s the right color. Four of the five blues in the weft sequence are close neighbors in value. The one color that is easy to identify is the navy blue, which provides a good contrast among the blues.
The weft order matches the warp order, and is marked out on a ribbon. I am using a separate boat shuttle for each shade of blue. But how do I know which color is which, when the difference is subtle from one color to the next?
Simplify Subtle Color Changes
Give each color a number. Write the numbers next to the colors of the warp order on the Project Notes.
Label the thread tubes with a small piece of blue painter’s tape. Each tube of thread is numbered to correspond with the numbers on the Project Notes.
Label each boat shuttle with its assigned color number, using a small piece of blue painter’s tape.
Place wound quills under the rubber band of their respective thread tubes.
It is easy to keep track of these five numbers as I follow the weft sequence that is marked on my reference ribbon. Now, it’s shuttle #4’s turn…
The blue threads for this project are delightful! Four shades of blue, from pale blue to sapphire, play across the warp, accented with navy blue stripes. Lucious 8/2 cotton is threaded in eight-shafttwill. The hand of the fabric will be well suited for the chair arm- and headrest- covers I have planned. This blue color sequence is the winning combination from the thread wrappings I showed you in October. (See Warp Sequence Planning.)
My warp planning had a calculation error. I went on my merry way, winding the warp, beaming the warp, and threading the heddles. Until, …Surprise! I have three extraends left after all the heddles are threaded. Fortunately, there is grace at the loom. I pull the navy blue border threads and three light blue threads out of their heddles and re-thread the navy blue border stripe. The three light blue ends will hang off the back, unused. All is well.
Grace is like that. We mess up, find and admit our wrong, and the Lord Jesus forgives, granting us a new start. When we are wrong we need grace. What about when others are wrong? When the errors of others affect us, what shall we do? Forgiveness is our only option. There is no good reason to hold those error threads and weave them into our fabric.