I have now completed the six hand towels and while they aren’t without their treadling faults, I’m pretty happy.
They were dented at 2-2 in a 10 dpi reed and the sett was 20 epi. The 6/2 cotton was sourced from Lunatic Fringe Yarns. Now they’ve been washed and pressed, the slightly funny selvages have come good and I’m happy that I made what I planned to and that my calculations were all OK. I was able to play with a number of twill patterns and that was great fun, as well as being part of the original project plan.
I did try a different, thicker weft yarn in plain weave with the small amount of warp left over on my Dorset loom after I completed the towels. I sampled using a pale yellow cotton weft yarn that’s a little thicker than 8/4 cotton. I can’t say too much more about that yarn as it was part of a yarn de-stash I purchased from a former loom owner who had a clean up over the holidays.
After washing the plain weave sample it’s looking like a winning combination for some future tea towels (dish towels) as the cloth is very stable, looks attractive and will have good absorbency.
True to form, I have the next project in mind already but putting that warp on the loom will have to wait until after Weaving Summer School at the Guild.
This twill exploration project is for hand towels that measure 10 1/2 inches wide in the reed. I am using 6/2 cotton and a sett of 20dpi.
The plan is to make a set of six towels and use different treadlings and combinations of the two colours.
I had a few warp tension issues and made a very serious threading error. The books tell you how to fix one wrong warp thread. They’re not so helpful when you have a block of 12 threads that are all wrong. My solution (as I had already started weaving) was to chop the whole lot off, fix the error and then tie the warp on again.
The first towel was 2/2 twill. The next will be broken twill. At the moment I don’t quite have an even weave so once again I find myself praying that the miracle of wet finishing will once again be transformative. This weaving business is hard.
Do your projects sometimes take on a life of their own? This one did for me. It was intended to be a prototype but ended up as a project. Here’s the story:
I wanted to be true to the origins of the hanten jacket, a padded garment traditionally worn by workers.
Being true meant adding batting, which added complexity and a need for quilting.
Adding batting meant adding a lining, which for me was unbleached calico from my stash.
Following tradition meant having a contrasting neck band, which I read about online.
Being thrifty meant finding a wooden barrel button at the ops shop (charity shop.)
Using a button closure meant braiding a round kumihimo eight strand braid for the button loop and button band.
Using a round kumihimo eight strand braid closure meant learning how to transition that round braid to an eight strand flat braid so I could comfortably fit it under the sewing machine presser foot to attach it to the front band.
And dos it goes….
Pattern Source: Clothing from the Hands that Weave by Anita Luvera Mayer from Kay Faulkners extensive library.
In progress. I later swapped the fabric hanging loop for a braided one. Prototype closure elements.
Quilting template and kumihimo disk. 3/2 cotton for the braids.
This rag rag was always intended to be a test. It was the first time I used warp from my big cone of 8/4 cotton rug warp, a first time using a temple (stretcher), a first time finishing a rug with a turned edge and a first time weaving with a rose path threading.
The hemmed ends are a first
- Don’t keep threading after you start feeling tired. You will regret it when you find yourself rethreading the following day.
- Measure twice, cut once. I was two warp threads short. The problem was easily solved with a new length of warp and some washers for weights, but I had to think about how to solve it.
- Using a temple is well worthwhile. No draw in visible this time.
- It’s worth the time sewing strips together for the weft but this only worked well for me with the main pattern 1 1/2 inch strips. The sewn joins on the narrower 1cm strips that I used for the hemmed edges pulled apart under tension.
- Worn out sheets make excellent weft strips. This rug has a combination of worn fabrics (old sheets and shirts) and new fabrics (the dark blue is a remnant and the brown is a never used bed skirt from the op shop.) The worn fabrics packed in better and were less rigid in the finished mat.
- Don’t be frightened to make up your own design. Magazines and books are great but so are your pencil, your calculator and your mind. One of the reasons I bought the huge mill end spool of cotton rug warp was so I could experiment freely without worrying about wasting expensive rug warp.
The rose path threading yielded sections with patterns that remind me of the beach. It’s a lot less formal a look than I had in mind but I like the unstructured look. Having said that, the rose path border patterns I tried to achieve were a total bust. I don’t know what went wrong and I’m keen to try again.
I plan to have a crack at dying the warp next. I like the yellow, but I also like variety.
Once again, Summer School at the Handweavers and Spinners Guild of Victoria was a great learning experience and a highlight of my summer.
Don’t you love the colours? Yarn from Velieris
This year’s theme was Summer and Winter. I got going early with dressing my loom, using a supplied warp that had three (?) crosses in it. The early start was a good thing as I found that (more) rust had developed on the metal bars that hold the heddles. I’m sure those bars have a name. Don’t know what the name is, though. If you do, leave a comment.
The rust looked unattractive and stopped me moving the heddles easily. Tinkerer gave some furniture wax to treat the bars with and that helped. Now all I need is some way to clean up the reed, which is also a bit rusty.
The rug yarn was a beautiful colour and quality, tightly plied and perfect for the task. It came to me via a beautiful act, a random act of kindness from my fellow blogger over at Reduce reuse recycle who was given the rug yarn samples by Velieris. She didn’t have a use for rug yarn and offered it to me, even bringing it around to my home on a hot day when there were crazy roadworks in my area. Thank you cheliamoose.
Before class I wove a heading and had a play with a pattern. It wasn’t looking right and it took me embarrassingly long to work out I should be weaving with two shuttles. This picture from Nutfield Weaver helped.
I’ll post pictures of my class samples when I’ve cut them off the loom. I might also show you my loom transport solution and the fold up loom table that Tinkerer made for me.
This post was edited on 12 September 2015 to remove references to payment methods after Petlins got in touch and requested an amendment. I have also removed references to the context in which I made the visit, which was in the beginning of 2014. This post represents my impressions and opinions on that one visit. You will see from the comments that Petlins is a highly regarded supplier, one I understand is valued by many Australian weavers.
A trip to Sydney gave me the opportunity to visit Petlins, one of a handful of suppliers of weaving yarns and looms in Australia. They are located in the Sydney suburb of Rhodes, near the former Olympic village, easily reached by train.
If you visit the Petlins web site you may make the observation that it’s not super easy to use and that it’s a little dated in terms of page design. They have a wide product range and I can testify that the ordering process works well and your goods arrive quickly. Delivery costs are reasonable, fixed at $10 per order, with delivery within Australia only.
The owners (Peter and Linda, I believe) were polite though busy. Linda was happy to help me select a suitable warp for my rug-making while Peter busied himself with preparing some orders for despatch.
The store was little more than a storage area and the displays were …. hmm….let’s say functional. The cottolin was displayed on shelves comprised of polystyrene boxes – quite a contrast to the mouth-watering display of the same product at a specialist yarn supply in a regional town in Sweden. Demand for weaving products would be much higher in Sweden and the Swedish shop I’m thinking of was in the main shopping area in town, so the comparison is unfair.
Both Peter and Linda are weavers and there was a lovely krokbragt rug on the floor. Linda told me she had once done a course with Peter Collingwood, the famous maker who literally wrote the book on rug weaving.
A visit to Petlins is worth it if you want some advice or want to see their products in real life, otherwise, their mail order service is an excellent alternative.
I came away with a couple of reels of Canadian linen rug warp (the Swedish was too expensive for my budget) and another 500g of 8/2 cotton. Linda was quick to point me in the direction of a more reasonably priced warp yarn after I gasped at the price of the Swedish yarn and she was generous with encouragement and suggestions on how to use it. I also accomplished what I set out to – I visited the bricks and mortar store and can report back. The photos were taken with permission.
We have just returned from a vacation in Bangkok, designed as a break from the pressures of work and the cold of winter.
We arrived on the national holiday to celebrate the birthday of HM Queen Sirikit, a strong supporter of textile crafts. Her Majesty is regarded as the mother of the nation, so conveniently her birthday is also treated as Mothers’ Day. It makes the holiday seem so much less commercial.
Sales of textiles from the provinces were held in major shopping centres to celebrate the event and to allow the Thai people (and tourists) to support the craft-based initiatives that HM the Queen supports herself. I came away with a haul of handwoven towels and a handwoven scarf.
We also went to a display of silk waving using the Isaan technique, known also by its Indonesian name, Ikat.We had spotted the display as a coming event in the weekend section of the English language Bangkok Post newspaper which gave the location as the Thailand Cultural Centre, MTR underground station exits 2 and 3. So we went to that station, exited at exit 2 and went looking for the Thailand Cultural Centre building. After much searching up and down the road we failed to find that building and returned into the station to try the other exits. It turns out the display was being held within the station itself.
There was only one loom working, but we got to see the precision of the weft tying, which was done on a wooden frame.
Tying the Weft in Preparation for Dying
I need to research this some more but I assume the cloth must be a standard width and the tying frame designed to exactly align to that width, or the pattern would be all over the place. It really is quite miraculous and no doubt reflects hundreds of years of trial and error. After tying and dying the weft, the pattern makes itself. Here’s some of the cloth on the loom.
Isaan cloth on the loom
This picture shows the weaving in progress.
Here you can see the coloured weft
The loom itself was quite simple, with just two shafts, but what more do you need when you have a technique that creates such a beautiful fabric with plain weave.