Good news for Australian weavers and even better news for Melbourne weavers is that we have a new yarn and weaving supplies shop in town.
Our lockdown restrictions were loosened last week and we had an errand to run in the suburb of Preston, in Melbourne, within our permitted travel zone.
As luck would have it, it was only a short detour to swing by The Weaving Room a new shop that had been recommended by one of my Guild contacts. As luck would additionally have it, my errand coincided with the shop opening hours on a Friday. They aren’t open every day so it’s worth checking their opening times if you plan to visit.
For June 2021 their opening hours are:
Thursday & Friday 11am- 6pm
Saturday 10am – 4pm
There is a lovely old counterbalance loom in the shop and the walls are lined with the most delectable range of weaving yarns. There are also a number of books and weaving accessories for sale. I purchased a reel of Brassard 8/2 yarn in a sea foam green that I absolutely love.
I’m very excited to have a local Melbourne supplier that specialises in weaving yarns and has such an extensive range of colours and yarn weights available. I have previously used the marvellous Glenora Weaving and Wool from whom I recently bought Texsolv pegs and an extra reed for my Julia loom but when I need to feast my eyes on yarns The Weaving Room will be my first choice. I believe they may have workshops or classes coming at a future time.
I am happy to report that I have now completed the assembly of my second hard Glimakra Julia countermarche loom. I bought the loom a couple of years ago but was unable to get put it together at the time as we had some work being done at our home and floor space and head space were constrained at the time.
The assembly process was a very good brain training exercise during Melbourne’s most recent Covid-19 lockdown. My first attempt at tying up the lamms and treadles was a fail when I couldn’t get a clean shed. After sleeping on it and starting again, working from the shafts down I managed to get the loom working as it should. The warp tensioning is significantly better and easier to maintain on this loom than on any of the jack-style looms I’ve used in the past. I was surprised to find that threading the heddles was also more error-free than has been my experience using metal heddles. I had been concerned about how I would identify which shaft a heddle was on, given that the cords and heddles are all white. The Texsolv heddles are easy to move on the shafts so identifying their location wasn’t a problem. I’m still very slow at threading heddles but for this project I made no errors, a rare occurrence for me.
I had not used the Texsolv system before but found it easy, though I had a big breakage rate on the anchor pegs. My theory was that they had become brittle in the warmth of the loom’s previous home in sunny Queensland. I bought 25 straight pegs from Glenora and was able to get the tie up done using some of each type of peg. I also used cotton cord and knots for some of the lines where Texsolv wasn’t really required, e.g. for the temporary heddle bars.
The cords from the lamms to the treadles are anchored with beads as is often recommended. I colour coded my op shop sourced wooden beads green on the upper lamms and blue on the lower lamms and this helped me visually confirm I was getting the tie up right.
I will certainly want to make a few changes but for now I am enjoying my first project, a set of dish cloths or hand towels in broken twill from the September/October 2009 Handwoven magazine. I will decide what they will be used for after I get them off the loom and wet finished.
Made with a combination of business shirt strips and thrifted sheets, this rag rug had a width in reed of 60 cm or 24 inches, exactly the narrowest setting on my large temple (stretcher.)
I cut the fabric strips to 1 inch wide using my rotary cutter, sewed them into long strips and used two strips as warp. This is more or less what the Swedish books recommend tho they often advise 2 cm strips. I find anything narrower than 1 inch difficult to join using the sewing machine.
The warp is a synthetic mystery fibre and I was therefore happy to pair it with polycotton sheeting and shirting.
The rug took a little longer to weave than I wanted or expected due to a hand injury. As the beater hit the fell of the cloth the energy transferred to my hand, causing a soft tissue injury. After resting my hand, it’s much better now. I have changed my technique with the beater and have a new, height adjustable weaving bench which means I can work in a more ergonomically sound position.
Tessuti Fabrics made a pattern for a crossover apron available during lockdown, for free. Thanks to the team at Tessuti for doing that.
The pattern was easy to print out and use and the instructions were clear. I didn’t follow them faithfully and instead used bias binding for some of the edging. This was because I used a medium weight curtain fabric to make the apron instead of the lightweight linen they used. I felt that the double folded edge recommended in the instructions would be tricky to get right in my heavier fabric.
I feel bad saying it but the fabric was from the remnant bin at Spotlight, intended for a wearable toile of the hanten jacket. That would have looked pretty odd with upside down pagodas though, so the remnants stayed in my stash until this project came along.