Posted in creativity boost, fiber arts, new projects, weaving

So I’m doing this thing…..

I have a mighty need to make larger objects than my Whoopsitsaloom allows.   For those who have no idea what I’m talking about, this is my Whoopsitsaloom:

It’s a 16×20″ poster frame.  I got rid of the “glass” front ages ago and lost the side pieces that hold stuff in.  Instead of trashing it, I thought I’d do an experiment and whoops – ’twas a loom!  As you can see from the photo on the right, I carved little grooves into the top and bottom to warp on, about a half inch apart.  This does limit my warping possibilities, but this is an experiment.  I have it warped with one continuous piece of yarn.  From here on out, I will probably not be using yarn, or at least one of my budget ones.  The fluff really comes up when you’re manipulating this stuff.

 

I started with a flat metal ruler as both beater and shedder, but soon found it unnecessary.  Since I’m only doing a plain tabby weave (over/under, alternating), my fingers are enough.  On the left you can see Excalibur the Shuttle.  This was sold as a naalbinding needle, and I didn’t realize at the time how small those should be.  But I figured it had to be useful and it soon became a wonderful shuttle.  The needle shape allows me to scoot it through the warps easily, unlike the rough “paint-stirrer” that came with my first toy loom.

This has been a learning experience!  As you can see I need to work on my tension.  That has improved somewhat, but the warping is really smooshy so the more I manipulate it, the harder it is to keep in shape.  I have experimented with other threads on my 5 buck chuck toy loom and it’s far easier to warp with strong string.  Who knew 😛

But, as much as I’m enjoying my Whoopsitsaloom, I need to expand.  I’ve been reading up on weaving and loom construction and I’m eager to try something larger.  The Whoopsitsaloom can only make something about 15×19″ or smaller.  This is a good size for experiments and small objects like bookmarks, pouches, placemats.  But I want to do scarves, table runners, etc.  We need a bigger rectangle!  (Because I’m in no position monetarily or skill-wise to get a loom-loom)

I had an idea to build a simple frame loom to expand my horizons.  The loom has to be cheap, easy to set up, and easy to travel with.  I want to be able to produce a length of textile that is roughly the same dimensions as my beloved “pashmina” scarves  They average at about 2 yards long and about 2 feet wide.   I’m expanding on the Whoopsitsaloom and just making a giant frame loom.  Here’s my plan:

 

Went and bought 6 yard-length dowels, a couple packs of neodymium magnets, and some Liquid Nails.  And a lot of little brad nails so I can have multiple levels to warp on.  But first, the frame: I glued the magnets to the joins of the side pieces last night and let the Liquid Nails set up.  I thought I aligned both of the magnet pairs correctly, but whoops!  One side is done though:

Can’t really tell in the photo, but that’s 2 yard-length dowels end to end, so 6 feet of pine.  At least I think it’s pine.  The other side will follow suit when the glue sets.  They are easy to pull apart, almost a little too easy, so I’ll be wrapping the joints with leather strips to reinforce them.

While I did plan on mags at all corners, I may have to get some manner of bracket for the top and bottom, rendering my frame into two “U” shapes joined by the maggies in the middle.  I’m not planning on beating this up, but I *am* a klutz.  I’d like to be able to take this outside with some iced tea in good weather and lean it up against the wall to work.  Stability is key.

In the meantime, I’ll be pounding in the brad nails today.  I’ve marked the top bar (and will soon mark the bottom) at the inch, half-inch, and quarter-inch.  Like I said, I want options.  This is 5 nails per inch…36 inches a bar…2 bars….360 little brad nails to warp with.  Pray for me!

Excalibur will probably remain my shuttle of choice here, and I have my old yardstick for shedder purposes.  A cheap comb will be a good beater, which I probably have hanging around somewhere.

At the end of it, I will name her Athena Bríd!  I suppose the little looms can be Bubo 1 and Bubo 2.

Posted in crochet, dyeing, fiber arts, knitting, spinning, Uncategorized, weaving, wool, yarn

Adventures in Yarn!

We have been quite fibery lately!  Below is a photo of some “magpie yarn”, knotted together bits and scraps.  Right now it’s on the needles to make a bookmark for lil ol’ me:

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Other than knitting, there has been weaving. I used the back of my Whoopsitsaloom to make a tabby-weave bookmark with stormy grey/blue yarn.  This was a 30 minute weave, the warp was 6 (I think) strands of slate blue acrylic and the weft was god-only-knows shiny slate blue from Michaels’ clearance.  The tail was also a clearance find.  The label on the skein was so battered I have no idea what the color is, or the brand.  But I’ll find it!

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Finally, there has been spinning and dyeing!  I am a super-super new spindle spinner, so my product is not exactly presentable yet, but I’m learning as I go along.  I was listening to a recent episode of The Woven Road and I became curious about dyeing.  I happened to be spinning and sipping some cheap red when I got curious….

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I interrupted The Woven Road to google it up and I found ChemKnits, so I watched Rebecca’s experiment with wine.  I was feeling a bit lazy so I didn’t feel like boiling and simmering.  The following happened:

Nuked it for 2 minutes on a friend’s reminder.  Left it overnight and voila, a stain!

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The stuff on the spindle is some of the original fiber.  The bit on the left is 12~ hours in the wine, washed, and rinsed.  I found out that at this rate it really is more of a stain than a dye, but it’s a pretty soft tint I rather like.  Still, in the interest of science I left it in for another night and was left with pretty much the same result.

Then I started to wonder about tea….

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This is a length that sat in a covered pot with 10 store brand black tea bags.  Bought the lot to a boil, then simmered for an hour.  This is when it was fresh from its first soap and rinse.  The color faded after drying, but it’s still a nice mustard shade.

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One of the teabags leaked so I do have some leaves in there.  Most came out in the wash.  I’m going to use these for weaving, ultimately.  Just want to make sure they’re clean and dry so things don’t get moldy.

So whew!  Busy bee!  Before I go, Come say hi on Ravelry – I’m Lazdamnit