Thursday, January 26, 2017

Fiber in the Family

This week, I had a lovely 3-day weekend, because this coming weekend, we have weekend classes.  If you've ever wanted to take a class at John C. Campbell Folk School, and thought it was too expensive, take a weekend class!  Much less expensive, and way more bang for your buck.  Plus, if you're my buddy, you can stay at my house for free!  You'd still have to pay for meals at the school, because I won't be home to cook for you.
  Anyway, three day weekend:  I put a new warp on the inkle loom, and quickly fell in love with it.  I used the pattern generator I mentioned last post, and it worked!  Sixty-one threads is almost too much for this little loom, and I have to be careful advancing the warp, but I do love it!
I also went to Nashville to see my son.  He's been doing a lot of chain stitch embroidery there, to order, as people wait.  You can check out his stuff here:
Nashville's ugly skyline, with Batman in center
 He bought his first chain stitch embroidery machine this past summer, and has been collecting more since then.  He puts one in the back of his 1967 Ford Ranger and takes it to events around Nashville, where he embroiders on jackets and shirts and what have you, while they wait.  He also takes orders, and has done some amazing things.  He let me try his machine, which moves really fast and seems to have a mind of its own.  He's very good at it; I am not.

Back at home on Monday, I needed a lot more treadle tie-ups than I had, so I went to Lowe's, and found this lovely pink cord.  It was a little stiff to use for the tie-ups, but I persevered, and the under-side of the Colonial is very vibrant now.  I'd take a picture, but the light in this studio is not good, especially at 6 in the morning.  Suffice to say, I will be getting more cheerful hot pink cord for tying up the looms!

The reason I needed more tie-up cords was to produce this lovely little number, a hand-dyed blue warp, 360 ends, of carpet warp, to make bath towels.  I didn't wind it or dye it to be bath towels; it was just one of those dye days, having fun, making boring yarn pretty, but when I pulled it out of the warp box, I had just read a blog by a woman who makes bath towels and blankets,, and was inspired.  The average bath towel is 27"-30" by 52" to 60".  This warp is 30" before it pulls in, and it is pulling in quite a bit, with the twill pulling on it.
  So far, I'm using the treadling sequence #370 in Carol Strickler's 8-shaft book, but the next one will be #369, the one that first caught my eye.
  I've been surprised at all the possible tie-ups for this twill.  I first chose one with gobs of tied shafts, needing 48 ties.  Well, I ran out of pink cord, and didn't have enough old white ones, either, so I did some research, and even within Strickler's book, there are several, with the same threading.  I think that's interesting, so many paths to the same road.
  I'm enjoying watching the pattern develop, but I have to say, I had no idea that Jennifer, my Colonial, was so hard to treadle all 8 shafts.  They're kind of far apart, and not that easy to depress on the outer shafts.  I only wove about 4 inches yesterday, and worked up quite a sweat.  I've only woven rugs on her so far, so hadn't much experience in using all 8 shafts, or going as fast, without shag to clip or rags to wind.  It's not much different than dear Bertha at the Tuesday Weavers, with her sliding bench.  I hear Bertha's had to be retired because she was just too much!  She was a gym unto herself, that's for sure, and Jennifer isn't much difference.  I'm sure with practice, and this warp is 8 yards, so there will be practice, that it will get easier.
  Work has gotten easier, too, with an almost complete change of staff since I started.  I lost four employees over the holidays, but they've all been replace by friendly, hard-working people, and I have high hopes for our future.  We have our first kitchen meeting today, and we can all look forward together.  Exciting!


LA said...

I'm so glad you got your new kitchen staff all squared away! I'm sure it has changed the atmosphere at work. That inkle band is lovely...and don't you just love how quickly it weaves??? I found that Bertha provided quite a workout...lifting those shafts and throwing the shuttle across a wide warp is great cardio.

Tina J said...

Those Pink ties are really going to wake you up in the morning! Your inkling is getting better and better, don't you love the pattern generator!