Sunday, March 28, 2004

The Winners!

Not exactly, the birds still have the fair share. In fact I saw a gold finch this morning on the feeders. But I do like the attitudes of my squirrels - notice the squirrel shield dome (for no apparent reason, I guess) on the top of the feeder.

Warning: Objects in the background may appear MUCH closer than they actually are. (I guess you can't do a selective zoom)

Saturday, March 27, 2004

Pigeon Powered Google

On one of my psychology lists we were talking about April Fool's ideas. I had forgotten about Google's joke last year.

After a stress-filled week at school I am back to my second wave of baby blankets. I'm taking a break and swatching the Softball 2.2 for Claudia's Hooded Baby Cardigan. My nephew's baby (grand- or great-nephew?) is due the end of May. So I thought a cardigan would be good choice to go with the blanket.

I also found some slubbed 65% rayon/35% cotton (32wpi) in my stash I received with the loom. I'm thinking about painting the warp chains and weaving a warp dominant fabric for a summer top.

Monday, March 22, 2004

Second Set of Blankets

I decided to go with resleying and threading the second warp. When I went back downstairs I realized most of the end had come through the reed. I have it sleyed and about 1/4 threaded. I have about 1.5 hours left of Patterson's Four Blind Mice so that should get me through the rest. I have enough books downloaded to keep me weaving for the next few months. I'm finally getting to the books I didn't have time to read.

Saturday, March 20, 2004

Finished Blankets

Wasn't that fast? After washing the structures took on a new look. Here is the 6/2 space dyed cotton. As you can see from the close up it's on the wimpy side, although it will make a nice summer blanket.

This royal blue heavy cotton gives a substantial feel, but the vertical stripe doesn't do much for me. The close up shows a much sturdier fabric.

This periwinkle fell into the middle. Nice feel, but still lightweight.

With a few inches of warp left I tried the last treadling, which was very simple to do, but gave a pleasing design, with the heavier blue weft. Too bad I didn't try this first! Despite my complaints of weaving a wider warp, I'm going to put on the same warp and use the heavy cotton for three more blankets. I have this deep royal blue, a more cobalt blue, and a bright red and all will look good with the flecks in the warp.

So here's the question -- will I save any time if I tie the ends to the remaining warp or should I pull the thrums out and start from scratch?

Third Blanket

So much for great plans. The snow arrived on schedule but the temps were a degree or two higher so we had 4-6" on the grass but only about 2-3" of slush on the streets and sidewalks. My classes were very sparsely attended and I was groggy from staying up too late Thursday! I came home and slept for 90 minutes but wasn't really able to do much weaving. I went to bed early and now am almost finished the third blanket.

The sun was streaming in the patio door of the basement this morning so the lighting was strangely altered in the picture. This new blanket is using the Softball 2.2 and the color is actually a periwinkle, almost violet/blue. This treadling is also very easy, so the weaving is going very fast. I'll get them washed this afternoon and hemmed tomorrow.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Second Treadling

I finished the first blanket tonight and changed to a thicker weft and new treadling. This one is using Softball .75 (13 wpi). Here's a close up. I'm planning on a snow day tomorrow so I expect to get this one done and start on the last one.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Baby Blankets

I just finished putting on a 5.5 yd. warp for baby blankets using Conshohocken Softball 2.2 sett at 10 epi. It has multicolored flecks and I'm planning on using different colors for 3 or 4 blankets. The gold is Softball, too, and the red is a 6/2 spaced dyed red cotton.

My Macomber is supposed to have a 40" weaving width but I had to take off every unused heddle and it is a tight fit. If there's too much abrasion I'll have to take off 8 threads on each side after the first blanket.

Sunday, March 14, 2004

Rag Rug Experiment

Since there were no more of the dark green and rust rag strips (see earlier post about my overzealous husband taking out trash) I thought I'd try a few of the many pieces of muslin I dyed last year. Here are the results before washing.

On the left is the ill-fated rust and green. I used the tube and slice method for those strips. The serging made the fabric bulge at all of the seams (and the fabric was much heavier to begin with), on the right are three different square yds of muslin. These I tore in 1.5" strips. I won't do that again - too much fraying and hanging threads. You can definitely see where the first piece and the second piece intersect. The second and third pieces had most of the same shades, so the line of demarcation is not as severe. Here's a close up.

I really liked the way the muslin looks, although I wouldn't have picked brown warp. I was thinking of dyeing muslin and 8/4 rug warp, but I think I'd probably be more apt to dye a huge piece like a did for Josh's apartment and just use a neutral warp. If I use the 120" muslin and cut with the rotary cutter it would be much easier. I was also thinking of dyeing muslin for the diamond rug using the rug design program, but I think I'll test it first with some store bought stuff.

Friday, March 12, 2004

Rug Design Program

Kate asked why a rug design program for rag rugs? For the math challenged it makes designing a Diamond Rag Rug much easier. See the article by Debra Sharpee and Judith Yamamoto in Handwoven, Nov/Dec 2001. Remember, I've never done one yet, but here's a snip from the program documentation

Diamond This allows you to design simple diamond rugs wherein the principal variable is the ratio of the first repeat to rug width. Using the button controlling this ratio (fourth button down on the left), try various values to see the effects. You will get best results if you keep the ratio close to an integer (e.g., 1.97 or 3.04)

Shwoosh The Shwoosh factor makes the ratio of first repeat to rug width change as the rug is woven, producing curves.

ZigZag In a non-Shwoosh rug, this allows you to make the ratio reverse one or more times during weaving � making interesting zigzag patterns. �Reversing� in this context means making the ratio fluctuate around the nearest integer (e.g., 1.95 to 2.05 and back to 1.95).

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Weaving Resources

Kate mentioned Handweaving Net in her last post. I was poking around there last night and found some new drafts.

If you're into rag rugs, Dave Raup has a new Rug Design program for PCs you can download here.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

The Results

I had such a good time last night organizing and attaching the samples. The navy is so dark that the colors mixed with that weren't as appealing, but not so for the rest! Every sample I examined would start me off on a project adventure. I wrote some ideas down, but most of them were fleeting and as soon as I went to the next sample I was ready to start anew. Great therapy for me considering the tension at school the last week. We still have uniformed police (lots) patrolling the halls and stationed in the cafeteria.

Here's my nature shot for today. I love seeing the birds up close and personal. I had one persistent squirrel who used to try and leap from the deck banister on to the seed tray - I haven't seen him around lately.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Ever See a White Deer?

Well, I haven't. There were 4 brown deers and 1 white munching on my lawn. I don't know if there are naturally white deer, or if this was an albino. I just realized the fence (which is only 4 feet but is somewhat of a deterrent) was down behind the shed, allowing deer easy access to my lawn and garden. I've got to get it back up before my perennials get much higher. I've noticed some of them breaking through the ground. Obviously some of them didn't remember the way they got in and were trying to use the gate!

Monday, March 08, 2004


I finally got around to drawing a little sunflower design on monk's cloth, put the frame together, stretched the cloth and stapled over the carpet tack strips with foam. The punching went pretty well, not real even, but not bad for the first try. After 20 minutes or so my wrist is SCREAMING. For once I had the good sense to not plod on, but put it down for now. I'll try again with my handeze glove and see if that helps. Good thing I didn't go hog wild and build a huge frame with cardtable legs, etc. That's my usual modus operandi.

Sunday, March 07, 2004

Dye Samples

I wasn't sure exactly where to start, but I knew I was going to use a 1% solution. And, no, I didn't drink from my coffee cup after I was measuring out dye powder. That's only margaritas at Claudia's - but everyone knows that tequila neutralizes any dye that finds its way into your glass!

I used ten dyes from ProChem. Nine were Sabraset, the tenth was Washfast. After the first run through, I decided to drop black. I'll fiddle with adding small percentages of black later.

I used my clock reel to measure two yard lengths of 8/2 natural wool. I used 24 oz. of water and 1 TBSP of citric acid crystals and soaked for an hour.

I started using these measuring cups for each sample, but didn't want to have to wash them out between each batch. I ended up squirting the solution right into the ziplock freezer bags.

It took me four batches to steam all the packages. I need to put two tuna fish cans under the rack that came with the oven. I made do with a little veggie steamer under the rack, but it was a little unstable.

Here's were I wish I were a Virgo. I would have figured out all of this before hand. I wrote on each bag with the percentages, but how do I dry them without losing the info. So I punched a hole around two heavy paper plates, labeled each hole with a Sharpie and after rinsing each strand put it through the hole. Don't laugh at my stupidity, my back was killing me and the entire time I was berating myself enough for all of you. (disregard all evidence of margarita drinking - besides, that was so last year! It's all about Jack and me!)

Luckily that was only the first batch. Then I came up with the idea to use Tyvek envelopes and make tags. I had a bunch of Global Priority envelopes that I ordered by mistake. There is a caution to only use them for international use, so I figured I could spare some.

This was so much easier. The samples washed up easily and I just rolled them up in a towel then draped them over the rack. The sun is shining brightly into my studio and all is right with the world! One more batch to go.

I'm still trying to decide how to organize them. So far the plan is to use index paper and print up a chart with percentages and a two holes for the sample. Virgos, feel free to step in and tell me what to do. ponder.gif

Saturday, March 06, 2004

There Ought to be a Law

against wearing perfume to the gym! I'm not talking about you wear perfume to work and there is a lingering scent. I'm saying soaking yourself in it while dressing in a stunning velour track suit with coordinating sleeveless mock shell - and she HAD to pick the elliptical trainer next to mine. I was still sneezing my head off an hour after I was home. BUT I have made it to the gym three days out of the last four so maybe I'm back on track. Hopefully, after the sorry state I've been in after climbing three flights of steps in the morning. I swear they're going to find me one morning laid out on the top landing, too tired to push the door open!

I spent the day working on samples of my Sabraset dyes. I was going to do 100:0, 90:10, etc. but soon realized it was quite an undertaking (read: too much work). I settled for using 10 basic dyes, and doing 100:0, 75:25, 50:50, 25:75, 0:100. That should give me a good idea of how different dyes will look when mixed. I have one more batch to steam but it's going to have to wait for tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Rag Rug Questions

This first rag rug is going to be quite the learning experience. I know now that I shouldn't use the serger for seaming strips. You can see by the yellow arrows that the serged seams pop right through the warp. I'm going to have to take the seams out and sew on the diagonal with the regular machine. I like the way the strips show right side sometimes and wrong side, but I don't have a weight on my beater and I think it's not beating in enough. I'm only getting 3 ppi with 1.5" strips. Any suggestions?

As for school - working out helped with some of my tension, but I'm not looking forward to tomorrow. Wish me luck!

What Did You Do at School Today?

Here's what was going on at my school.

I'm going to the gym to work off some of my frustrations.