winding a long warp

I’m warping the loom again. This time it is 24 inches by 8 yards for the Misted Hills coat.

I have to tell you that I made a prototype of the coat from some black linen fabrics that were intended for a different jacket, some ten years ago. It’s amazing what turns up in the bottom shelves of my armoires. It’s really gorgeous, and the pattern is very forgiving in fit. One size fits most. It looked great on willowy Nina, and it also fit sturdier me to perfection.  I’m going to be all secretive and not show you the prototype.  When you see pictures of the real coat, I want the design to be new and exciting for you.

OK.  Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.  There’s still half a length of warp chain on the floor under the loom.

Here you can see a couple of accessories that make it easy for me to wind a smooth and even warp. I use Purrington Angel Wings to hold 2 or 4 tension sticks.  These aren’t lease sticks, because I warp from FRONT to BACK.

The other thing you can just barely see is the roll of corrugated paper that I use in place of packing sticks. It’s coming to an end right now, because it is only 4 yards long.  I’ll switch to brown paper to separate the remaining yards of the warp.

Today’s plans are to wind on the remainder of the warp.

PS. I nearly forgot to tell you that I upgraded the apron cords on my loom. Now, instead of a wonky, 20 year spiderweb of black shoelace, I have perfectly even lengths of texsolv.  Welcome to the 21st. century, eh?

I really love this old loom.

a fiber festival, distilled to pure joy

This year, my friend Jo and I spent just one day at the NY Sheep and Wool festival. The past two years, I chose to make a long weekend of it, arriving on Friday night and staying through Sunday. This year, concern for my fragile and beloved cat Amber kept me closer to home. aWe still had a long weekend of fun. Friday night, Jo and I dined with Nina and regaled her with stories of past years Sheep and Wool festivals.

Saturday morning, we left at the crack of 8AM, grabbed breakfast to go at Starbucks,  and arrived in Rhinebeck around 10AM. It was a cold, crisp morning, but we were warm in our handwoven finery. I wore the Misted Hills scarf, and Jo wore her gypsy poncho, made from bright squares of alpaca, alternating plain weave and Bronson lace.

I had a short shopping list this year.  Remember all the fiber I bought to spin last year?  Most of it is still unspun. It’s beautiful, but it’s still sitting there. How could I buy more? I don’t believe in having a knitter’s or spinner’s stash. I buy things when I need them.  Last year, I guess I needed too much.

I’m not sure why I put yarn for weaving and dyed locks on this year’s list.  I didn’t have a specific project in mind. I guess I was hoping for that sudden ray of inspiration that comes when I see yarn that catches my interest.  I have conceived and designed many a project in my head while standing in front of a shelf filled with cones of beautiful yarn.

I love the NY Sheep and Wool festival. It is so energizing to be surrounded by creative people. This is one place that we can be who we really are. People dress in their personal styles and wear unique and expressive clothing. It is the perfect antidote to the soulless and colorless muddle of blacks and neutrals that I see the rest of the year..

The festival is a homecoming, a gathering of the tribe. I saw many fiber festival friends–Yukiko, Nancy, Donna, Amy, Dawn, and Kathy. We had lunch (Artichokes French, naturellement,) with two charming ladies from the Utica region. We had our pictures taken by many, many people. We promoted weaving at every possible opportunity.

At one point, I almost bought a rigid heddle loom. It would be nice to have a way to work on a second project when my floor loom is occupied by a long warp. I just couldn’t do it.  All the rigid heddle looms had plastic parts. As Jo said, it was a question of which part would break first. For me, looms have to be solid and well-crafted. Like the trees from which they were made, their lives should be measured in generations, not years.

So, this is what I bought.

  • A Schacht cherry wood shuttle, snub-nosed and small, from Hillcreek Fiber Studio. Paper quills from another vendor in the same building.
  • An ebony wood nostepinne from The Rouge Lucette. I was really looking for a compact, all-wood ball winder, but there weren’t any. There never are.
  • Five Loop baby cakes to spin.  Where’s the fifth?  Already spun.  I know I didn’t need any more fiber, but this was my first chance to see Loop’s beautiful art batts, and besides, they are so adorable and tiny that I will have them all spun within a week or so…
  • Citric Acid, Alum, Logwood and Lac for the dye pot.  Oops, I already had plenty of logwood, and my alum supply isn’t as low as I thought. It was really Spectralite that I needed. I need to organize my dye stuff better.
  • An African market basket from a vendor in Building E.
  • A loom…

Yes, I did buy a loom. This is a double frame loom from Ed Haag of Haag Maple Farm. There are no plastic parts. It’s all cherry wood from his own land. How magical is that?

We left the festival grounds at 6PM, sat in traffic for a very long time, and we were back at my studio by 8:30 for a light supper of bread, cheese and wine. Yum.

Sunday, Nina came over and we shared our stories while we spun, knit and petted my Amber cat. Stephanie phoned us a couple of times from the festival. She had misplaced her map and just knew that we could help her find the various merchants that she wanted to visit. Of course, we knew exactly where they were!

I am pleased

I AM pleased with the randomness of the colors, the delicious irregularity of the selvages, the uneven shrinkage of the weft, and the overall softness of the fabric.

There could have been more mist. There will be more mist when I weave the coat.

I wore this scarf for most of the day at the NY Sheep and Wool festival.  Some people loved it, others didn’t know quite what to make of it. I would expect no less than that.

Now I have to face the math of estimating the warp for the coat. I think I’ll set up a spreadsheet this time, so that I never have to do it again. Conceptually, it needs to go like this:

I started with this length and width in the reed–>and I got this much fabric after finishing.  So, If I want this much of the same fabric after finishing, I need to start with this length and width in the reed.

Anyone have a spreadsheet that already does this? I don’t want the really diffy one that calls for percentage of take up and shrinkage and picks per inch.  There’s no way that this melange of warp can be expressed in ppi. I just want one that is all about the ratios. You know I will thrown in an extra half-yard of length for good measure. And a couple of inches of extra width. I trust my instinct more than I trust numbers.

The hills are complex in color

Nina stopped by my studio today and found me sitting in the middle of the floor, sorting through the basket of yarn and treasures that I collected for the Misted Hills project. I have 22….23…24…maybe a couple more bits that I forgot to count.

The hills are complex in color.  On a misty morning, there are shades of grey, pale green, pale blue and lavender. As the mist lifts, stronger greens, blues and purples emerge.

I use color in broad sweeps, as though I were drawing with soft pastels. Do you weave with as many colors as I do?  More? Less? Tell me about your approach to color.