Last weekend, I visited my mom and we went to the Black Swamp Spinners Guild's Market Day and Fiber Fest. I have been toying with the idea of learning to spin, but I didn't want to spend much money to try it. I was able to find a drop-spindle made out of a stick and a modified CD rom and it came with a little wool roving to get started.
Also, while I was at my mom's house, we delved into my mom's fiber arts stuff she has stored in her garage... fun stuff. She agreed to loan me her inkle loom so that I could try out portable weaving. So, Friday night, I warped it up for the first time. It was fairly easy with directions from the book she gifted me with last week. I only made one major mistake... I didn't realize that i need to put the heddles on AS I WAS warping it. I mistakenly assumed that I could just slip them on afterwards. It didn't turn out too badly though, since I found a way to loop them on well enough after the fact. (I wasn't about to unwind everything and start over!)
Warping the loom back to front, requires more tools that warping it front to back. This is one of the reasons that, until now, I have not tried the back to front method. I am at the point with my weaving where i am trying to learn as many things as I can - and I think I am past due with learning this alternate warping method.
So, I needed to build the tools:
- Raddle - A long, flat, narrow piece of wood with nails or metal pins every 1/4" or 2", used to spread the warp evenly for beaming the warp onto the warp beam. (definition from: http://www.glimakrausa.com/glossary.html)
- Lease Sticks - Flat, thin, smooth, wooden sticks which are inserted into the cross (or lease) in the warp to keep the correct order of threads. (definition from: http://www.glimakrausa.com/glossary.html)
Luckily, I really like to build stuff and I had time after work one day this week to work on these tools. I was able to purchase the wood I needed in lengths short enough that I could very easily fit them in the car - and I didn't end up buying more than I needed.
I took the day off of work today so I had bonus time to spend completing the blankets. I stayed up late last night repairing errors in both blankets and then sending them through the washer to wet finishing them. I had actually washed the baby blanket already but I hadn't corrected the errors, so after needle-weaving in some repair warps & wefts, I washed it again with the big blanket. I was a little worried that needle-weaving a piece that was already wet finished would be too difficult but it wasn't too much harder.
When I got up this morning, I trimmed the needle-woven yarn and gave them both another looking-over. I noticed a couple more weft shots where I hadn't overlapped the end of one bobbin and the beginning of the next far enough to keep them from separating during shrinkage - so I had a couple more repairs on that blanket.
This is the first time I have taken the time to correct weaving errors with one of my projects after I have cut them off of the loom. I have to say, it makes the whole process more satisfying. Instead of thinking "hey, I did my best - too bad it has all these mistakes," I think, "hey, now it is some much closer to perfect!"
I definitely noticed that the errors were more obvious on this project. I think there are two main reasons for this. First, it is in plain weave and with such a simple weave structure, errors in that structure are all the more obvious. And Second, these are chunkier yarns and it is therefore easier to see the weave structure and any errors in it.
I have definately learned a lot from this project. I do have plans to weave at least one more double weave blanket in the future for my niece Katie (she told me that she wants pink). Hopefully, with a little luck and the things I have learned with this project, I will be able to create the next ones with fewer errors to correct at the end.
Well, onto the next project - summer and winter checker boards... I will keep you posted on the progress.
I finished weaving the "big kid" blanket last night. I started twisting the fringes. It is a slow process. This is the biggest thing I have ever woven. It was really exciting to cut it off the loom, unwind it and then unfold it to see just how big it is. Unfortunately, there are some errors - but I should be able to fix some of them and washing the blanket should make some of the other errors more minimal.
It is a suprisingly warm and sun-shiny day, so, I took the finished baby blanket outside to take more pictures. Click on the one here to see the rest.
I intend to finish with the fringe twisting, repairs and wet finishing this week. So, I should be able to get started on my next project this weekend! Anthony is excited since it will mean that he will finally get a really portable chess board .