I am turning right around to head out on another travel adventure. This time it’s Potsdam, Germany and Innsbruck, Austria with my sister Barbara. You know what that means—prepare my smallest tapestry frame for travel weaving. Besides the loom, I need necessary tools, warp thread, weft yarn, a cartoon, extra paper and pencil, book light and extra batteries, and a small bag in which to carry it all.
After that, I can pack my clothes, etc. First things first.
(By the time you read this Barbara and I will be in Germany enjoying the food, listening to fine music, and scouting out fiber-y treasures whenever we get a chance.)
I started the Lizard tapestry right before our big disruption. Selling your house means that every in-process project instantly becomes vulnerable. Yikes! After a sleepless night, I contacted my friend Joanne Hall. Can this weaving be saved? Yes!, she assured me, as she gave me instructions for dismantling the loom.
Everything is logical about the process. Undo things, tie parts together, take things apart. And I don’t have to cut off the weaving? No. Remove the beam cords from the cloth beam. It’s that simple.
Now all I have to do is wait…
All the dust has settled, the house transaction is done, and the loom has been re-located and put back together. It’s the first thing you see when you enter our ground-floor apartment.
What about the Lizard? Can I resume where I left off? Good news: IT WORKED!
When have you had to wait? Something you dearly long for is unreachable for a while. Waiting for the Lord is always waiting with hope. I trusted my friend’s advice. So, my hope was strong while I waited to see this lizard take shape again. In a similar way, I can trust the Lord when there is a disruption. Wait with strong hope. Wait for the grace to begin again.
The umbrella swift earns the “Cool Tool” award! I have sixteen skeins of 20/2 Mora wool (as seen in Skeins of Colors). Before making them into little butterflies of color for a woven transparency, I am winding the skeins into balls. This means I get to use one of my favorite tools–the umbrella swift. My Glimåkra swift is simple to use and gives flawless results every time.
How to Use an Umbrella Swift
Attach the clamp of the umbrella swift to the side of the loom, or other secure structure, like a table. The swift functions vertically or horizontally. I prefer to position the swift horizontally so the yarn rolls off vertically. Also, I find it easier to hang the yarn on a horizontal swift than to place the yarn on a vertical swift, holding the yarn while expanding the umbrella.
Position the yarn ball winder so that it is in line with the umbrella swift, a short distance away. I clamp the yarn ball winder to my loom bench, and sit on a small stool behind the bench.
Remove the yarn skein’s label and put it aside. Carefully unfold and untwist the skein of yarn and open it out to a big circle. Place both arms through the center of the circle of yarn and snap your arms outward. Repeat the snapping action one or two more times, with the yarn repositioned about a quarter turn each time. This helps straighten out the yarn for placing it on the swift.
Lower the “umbrella” of the swift by loosing the screw and pulling the bottom screw-piece toward the clamp. Place the opened and prepared skein of yarn around the swift.
Push open the “umbrella.” Spread it open just far enough to hold the yarn taut. Tighten the screw to keep the swift in that position.
Find the place(s) on the skein where the skein has been tied, and untie the knot(s). Identify the end of the yarn that is on the outer side of the skein and connect that end to the yarn ball winder. For consistency among multiple skeins of yarn, I have the umbrella swift turn in the same direction for each one, with the yarn unwinding from the top of the swift.
Turn the yarn ball winder until all the yarn has been unwound from the swift.
Remove the yarn ball from the yarn ball winder and wrap the skein’s label on the new yarn ball.
Collect the new balls of yarn and play with the colors in your imagination.
May you take pleasure in your work of preparation.
Would you like to keep track of every type of thread and yarn you use? You need something you can refer back to for fiber content, color numbers, sett information, and where you purchased the yarn. I have a simple yarn record system that accomplishes that. Because it is easy to do, I update the records every time I start a new tube of thread or skein of yarn that is not already represented. I call it my Yarn Record Book.
How to Create a Yarn Record Book
1. Gather supplies:
8 1/2 x 11″ white cardstock
Paper cutter or scissors
Three-ring hole punch or single-hole punch
Small color wheel and other color tools
Black fine point Sharpee
New spectacular yarn and thread in colors and sizes you have never tried before!
2. Cut cardstock. Cut a sheet of white cardstock lengthwise in half.
3. Punch holes. Punch three holes on one long side of the cut cardstock to coincide with three-ring binder, and punch five holes on the opposite side.
4. Insert color tools. Place color wheel and other color tools in front inside pocket.
5. Add yarn label information. Write information on front of prepared card:
Fiber type and size/plies; e.g., Cotton 8/2
Length and weight
6. Add yarn sample. Cut one meter of the new thread or yarn. (My loom bench, conveniently a meter in width, is my quick measuring guide.) Fold the length in half, in half again, and in half one more time. Push the loop at the fold of the yarn through a hole on the five-hole side of the card and pull the other end of the yarn through. Write the color number above the hole.
7. Insert yarn card into notebook. On the back of the card write the date the yarn is added. Include information about how the yarn is to be used, and the intended sett. (Later, if your plans change, or you determine the sett needs adjusting, come back and make notes here to reflect that.) Insert the card in the Yarn Record Book. I arrange fibers in alphabetical order, e.g., alpaca, cotton, linen, wool; and, within each fiber, by size of yarn from finest to coarsest.
8. Add color cards. Put purchased yarn sample color cards in pocket pages at the end of the notebook.
9. Expand. When you accumulate so many types and colors of threads and yarns that your notebook is overflowing, get a bigger notebook!
Come home. Do you ever hear that? …as if you have been away too long? The nudge is to return to your faith roots. Enjoy the refreshing that comes in the presence of the Lord. It’s good to be where you know you belong.