stop and admire your work


A thoughtful post by Laura Fry on her blog reminded me of some advice I used to offer to my knitting circle.

Stop at the end of the row and admire your work.

It’s a very mindful way to approach your work, and this tiny pause is just enough time to see what you just completed in the context of the previous work. It’s also an amazing way to identify a mistake before you go on several inches beyond it.

In weaving, I don’t always stop after each pick, but I will if the draft is complex or I am weaving the first repeat and checking for threading errors. On something simple, I’ll stop to admire when I have to move the temple or advance the warp.

By setting out to admire the work, you are treating it with respect. Even if you do find something that needs correcting, it’s all done in the spirit of respect for your weaving.

Honorable cloth, you are the fabric of life. My mindful presence acknowledges this.

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.

Through a glass, not so bad, actually.

The iPhone camera can take pictures of fabric through the lens of a pick glass, so you’ll be seeing some extreme close-ups of my weaving.

A pick glass, if you are unfamiliar with one, is a small folding magnifier with a 1-inch square opening that is used to examine textiles and count ends (warp) and picks (weft) per inch. When I was a student at Parsons School of Design, we used them to analyze weave structure and produce documentation about the fabrics we selected for our designs. As a weaver, I like to get a close-up look at my fabric on the loom, and again after wet finishing.

IMG_0075Through the lens, looking at a different part of the fabric, you can see that this is a warp-faced fabric, and you can see the multi-color fibers of the sari silk stripes in the weft. The square is 1 inch, and the magnification is 6X. A quick count shows 36 epi (ends per inch)and 10 ppi (picks per inch). Don’t forget to count across 2 rows to accommodate for the warps that go behind the weft on the first row.

IMG_0072The pictures are easy to take under bright lights. All I had to do was place the camera lens over the pick glass and wiggle the camera around until the entire square came into view. Afterwards, I used Photoshop to reduce the picture size. The original image is four times larger than what is shown here. I also cropped the picture tightly to the image shown through the pick glass lens.

Halcyon Yarns lists a 5X pick glass in their catalog. Come join the fun of seeing your fabric up close.