Experimental Throws
August 25th to December 23rd

Click image for enlargement.
Back in August you saw pictures of Allan's work putting a second beam on Sheila's loom. Once completed it needed to be tested. Sheila looked at her "stash" and decided that there was some acrylic yarn left over from the days of making baby blankets that could be made into "lap blankets" or "throws" for adult use.

That is six yards of two similar shades of beige yarn wound on the warping mill. (Bramwell Acrylic and Spindlecraft Bouquet)

For non-weavers - notice that the threads form an "X" between two pegs at the top and there are strings tied around the arms of the X. That is what keeps all those threads in order when this is taken off the mill.

(25:08:2019)

Four warp "chains" were needed for a blanket 45 inches wide.

(25:08:2019)
Winding the warp onto the new beam has just finished here.

Prior to winding two smooth sticks called "lease sticks" were put through the X so the ties could be removed and the warp spread the width of the loom. The end of the warp is put over that beam at ceiling level, then pulled down inside the loom where the threads are spread evenly through a "raddle" clamped to the bar just behind those bottles.

(26:08:2019)

Looking from the other sided. The raddle is a wooden bar with 3 inch nails every half inch. This spreads the warp evenly and lines up the threads with the sections of the beam below. A steel rod is then put through the loops at the end of the warp, and attached to cords that are also attached to the beam.

The plastic jugs in the photo above are about half full of water. They provide weight to keep even tension on the warp as it is then wound onto the beam.

(26:08:2019)
Once winding is complete, the end of the warp is taken down from the top bar, and wrapped behind the beam, then underneath the silver roller, and brought towards the front of the loom, just behind the heddles, ready for threading. The lease sticks remain in place at all times during this process.

(26:08:2019)

Threading getting started. Each warp end goes through its own heddle (nylon cords with a hole in the centre) on one of the 16 shafts on this loom. For these blankets they were threaded in order 1 to 16 over and over.

(27:08:2019)
Threading is all finished - all 674 ends!

Experienced weavers may wonder what the wooden bar is between the warp beam and the roller - it's not supposed to be there. That is on the loom to hold the raddle when putting a warp on the lower beam and I forgot to take it off. See below that it's gone - it took some interesting manoeuvres to get it out of there with the warp in place!

(28:08:2019)

After threading, the beater is put back on the loom, holding a reed which will space the warp and is used to "beat" each weft thread into place. Here about half of the warp has been "sleyed" in the reed at 15 ends (threads) per inch.

(30:08:2019)
All sleyed, the front beam has been put back on the loom, and the cloth "apron" has been brought from the back of the loom, over the beam and each group of warp threads has been lashed to the steel rod that goes through the edge of the apron. This will pull the cloth to be rolled up at the back of the loom as weaving advances. It's now five days since the warp was wound onto the back beam.

(31:08:2019)

Weaving has started with some sampling to see how different patterns and weft yarns will look. some adjustments were amde to the braking system as I got started.

Because this loom is connected to a computer, different patterns can be created by programming the computer to tell it the order to lift the shafts. On non-computerized looms levers or treadles are tied directly to the shafts and you use your hands or feet to create patterns by lifting some shafts and leaving others down each time the shuttle is thrown.

(01:09:2019)
Two days later the first blanket is about half done. This pattern is called Brighton Honeycomb and can be found in several books in 8, 12 and 16 shaft versions. The weft here is one of the two yarns used in the warp.

(03:09:2019)

Two more days and blanket number two is under way. The pattern is a plaited twill shared by Robyn Spady in her on-line weaving magazine called Heddlecraft in the January 2017 issue.

The weft is a slubby "mystery" yarn in bright red, orange, pink and black probably acquired at someone's "stash" sale.

(05:09:2019)
Nine days have passed before blanket #3 gets started - which probably means that there were several days with no weaving happening.

This pattern is my own combination of twill with a crepe design by Alice Schlein. The weft is an acrylic boucle that was so fine that I had to use three strands together to equal the weight of the warp.

(14:09:2019)

A ten day jump - all of the blankets are finished but I had a little room at the end to weave some more samples. Weaving stopped 5 inches from the reed!

(24:09:2019)
And at the back of the shafts - the warp is all used up!

(24:09:2019)

The strips of sample were serged and cut in three pieces. Two sets were washed, and one set went into the dryer to see if there was any shrinkage. Happily, as this is acrylic yarn, the only change in size was due to the different patterns.

(29:09:2019)
Twisting fringes takes almost as long as weaving! So it was almost two weeks later when the first blanket was complete. This one went under the Christmas tree for Allan.

Weavers note - it was not a good idea to use acrylic for 16 shaft honeycomb at 15 epi - the floats are very long and with no fulling it will be prone to pulls. Fortunately they are easily pulled back into place.

(11:10:2019)

Work on these blankets came to a halt while I wove the silk scarves that I told about previously, that used both beams on the loom at once!

This photo was taken on December 23rd, but it was finished about the 20th, before the one below was done. This one went under the Christmas tree to keep Brad warm.

(23:12:2019)
The last fringes were twisted on Dec 22 in time to put both of the red blankets into the washer and dryer, before taking their pictures and wrapping them up for Christmas!

This one went to live with Dan and Janelle.

(23:12:2019)
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