Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Ready To Weave

My loom is all warped and ready for my Catharine Ellis shibori workshop that starts on Monday:

I wove in a header using the warp yarn to spread the warp bundles out and make sure the threading was correct. I hemstitched the end so that when it was cut off it wouldn’t immediately unravel. It only takes a few minutes to do and it makes much more stable samples. Some people use glue which is icky and stiff or masking tape which loses it’s hold eventually and leaves a residue. Or they just hope the fabric will hold together until they can machine stitch. Or they don’t do anything at all to their edges. I earned quite a reputation in past workshops for my obsessive hemstitching!

We aren’t going to be weaving in a round-robin situation this time so I get to weave on my own loom the whole time. Yay! I love my Woolhouse Carolyn 12-shaft loom on her stand. The levers are right out front, I have a beater that’s hung from above and it’s just so comfortable to work on her rather than somebody else’s loom. She is kinda big and heavy to transport though, even though she folds up:

I can just barely lift her myself and can’t carry her too far. But there will be help to get everything into the weaving room at the arts centre.

You know, I would have gotten a 16-shaft loom but at the time (1990), John was only just starting to make looms with more than 8 shafts. A friend just recently sold her 24-shaft Woolhouse Margaret loom and boy, was I tempted to buy it but I controlled myself. Just barely. With the amount of weaving I don’t do, it would be silly. I already have a 4-shaft Rasmussen table loom, the 12-shaft Carolyn and an 8-shaft Woolhouse Gertrude countermarch floor loom. Plus a teeny little rigid heddle loom for wire weaving. How many looms does one need? No! Don’t answer that question!

In knitting news, the Moose Stocking, which has hereby been renamed the Moose Legwarmer since I can’t figure out how to make the foot, is 26” long this morning. I’m planning to go to about 34” total which means I’m getting there. I think it’s kind of pretty but then I would like the colours since I dyed most of them myself! I’m thinking I should use that little slip stitch blip thing on another project. I like how it blends the stripes a bit more. I’m not too fond of regular stripes especially horizontal ones. Not for body image reasons but I just don’t like the stark division between colours. I like my colours more subtle and blended.

So what’s next you ask? Darned if I know! I have some UFOs lurking around including T-Man’s ribby socks that are really almost up to the toes so shouldn’t take long to finish. I also have the big Stash & Equipment Sort & Purge that I should get to soon before it becomes its usual summer oven up here on the top floor. I’m not up to dealing with an excess of dust yet however so that’s going to have to wait somewhat longer. I have my better days and my not-so-better days. Yesterday I was feeling almost human but today I’m back a step again. And there’s Beginner Spinning class tonight. The subject will be plying, which includes 2-plies, 3-plies, Navajo ply (for the adventurous and brave), and a few novelty plies just to hint at the possibilities. This is only a four 2-hour set of lessons a week apart so it’s hard to get too detailed in that time. Really all I try to do is get them making a passable continuous yarn. Most will go on to plying up a storm and a few will learn Navajo plying. Next week I demonstrate fibre preparation for them but at this stage they are usually happy to just buy prepared sliver and don’t want to be bothered even learning how to use hand cards. The last lesson is to answer any questions that have come up, learn parts of the wheel and fine-tuning, solve any problems that still occur, learn spindle spinning if desired and generally tease them with how much there still is to learn about spinning.

Speaking of which, I just learned a new term today — gorilla yarn. It seems that it means a yarn composed of a mixture of different fibres and is a common term in Australian spinning circles. I hadn’t heard of it before. We mostly just call that a blend though I guess if it was a blend of leftovers and such someone would come up with a good term. Personally I like “art yarn” though that can be even more complex with additions of beads, charms, cloth strips, lace, etc. “Gorilla” is not a lovely word for a complex blend. Got any good name ideas for this type of yarn?


Cynthia said...

If you want to knit a foot, why not knit it back and forth, and then lace up the back (visibly or in-)after it's on the moose?

Susan said...

I have a 12 shaft Carolyn and love it too. I have no desire to get more shafts though.... flipping levers for 8-12 shafts is more than eonough for me! It is very heavy and doesn't travel lightly. But once set up (with stand and bench) it's a *great* workshop loom.

Just packing to leave and come down to YVR...see you soon!


Catherine said...

Thinking of buying a 24 shaft Margaret loom and I'm looking for advice. Do the multishaft Woolhouse looms get an open shed or split? Any pro/con opinions? Years ago I looked seriously at a lovely 16 shaft table loom (another brand and no longer being made) - very elegant but alas it had a seriously split shed...I would appreciate hearing good things as I have only seen the Woolhouse looms on the internet. Thanks!!

Louisa said...

Hope you're reading this, Catherine, because I can't reply to you directly! You are asking a big Woolhouse fan who has actually convinced a bunch of folks to buy them. However I haven't used a Margaret so I can only speak for the Carolyn which has half as many shafts. I have a friend who had one though so I will get back to you on this when I speak to her.

Louisa said...

OK, Catherine. If we're understanding your question correctly, the shed is very open and even on the Margaret. I don't know what loom you experienced before but John Low stands by his looms and if you have a problem, he can likely help you solve it. He's been making his fine looms for a long time and knows what he's doing for sure. I've used a lot of different table looms in various workshops so it's not like I don't have experience with others' looms either. Final decision is up to you though! Best of luck.