Sunday, October 30, 2011

All Twisted Up

I tried my hand at tablet weaving again.  I'm determined to make this as easy as inkle weaving.  Right now I'm running into two main obstacles.  The first is my ability to start the pattern out.  The second is how to deal with the twist build up on cards that always move in the same direction.

For the first problem, I seem to be getting faster anyway.  I still have no idea what I'm doing wrong that I can't just set up the cards and go.  I've tried having the A corner be in the top back corner and the bottom back corner (front being toward where I sit, back toward where in an inkle there would be heddles.  Top above the plain of the weaving, bottom/below)  It doesn't seem to matter what I do.  If I have a pattern that is four forward, then four back if I just start in four forward it's wrong.  If I go three forward, four back for the start, it's wrong.  five forward...  four backward...  etc.

I've given up trying to figure out how my warping doesn't result in a pattern that starts out correctly but can eventually be made correct.  Instead, at this point I just sacrifice part of the band to muck and blunder through until the pattern turns out correct.  The next two pictures show the mess I made this last tablet weaving.

I got the middle correct first
and then fixed each side.  I think for this band I did have to switch the white to a different hole on one side.  This was because I had the s z the wrong way for that card.

This pattern was pretty nice once I got it sorted out.  It changes turn direction when the white appears.  White dot on one side means switch from forward to back.  Other white dot means back to forward.  If you try to switch any other time the squiggle in the middle will break.

Here's a picture of the correct pattern:

Yes, it's in German but they list the patterns in a clear, standardized way.  

The pattern I used was the middle of the one linked above.  
The way the pattern was listed, cards 1-3 and 8-10 would move 2 forward, 4 back, 2 forward
cards 4-7 would move 4 forward, 4 back.
I realized this was just slightly off from being all 4 forward, 4 back.  So I rotated the side cards 2 back at the beginning.  Of course, since I hadn't started in the correct spot for any of them, this just added to the mess.  But the idea was good and eventually that's what I ended up with.

The other major problem is the border cards, no matter the pattern, always need to move in one direction only.  It's just rather ugly if they switch directions.  This means you get twist build up.  I'm still trying to figure out how to solve this on an inkle loom.  For this band I attempted to border the card weaving with inkle woven borders.

I guess I was too frustrated to get pictures.  It didn't work.  But I'm tempted to try again anyway.  My problem was that I could not pull the weft tight enough to get the inkle portions to be flush with the tablet portions.  When I pulled harder the edges of the piece would bunch up but there was still a gap next to the cards.

I think one problem was the two types of weaving were not quite at the same angle.  Another possible problem was I was aiming for a wide band so the inkle portions were rather wide.  Perhaps with a much smaller border I could have pulled tighter.

Here's a picture of the band I made out of the inkle portions:

This was originally split in half down the black, with one half to either side of the band shown above.  When I gave up on that idea I pushed the tablet weaving warps to one side of the loom and these to the other side and wove them separately.  It was a little crowded but thankfully my loom is wide enough to handle it.

For now the only way I have to deal with twist is using rings.  So far I like small keyrings the best.  Large ones do not move freely enough.  I worry if I had to use too many of them they'd interfere with each other though.

Here's a few pictures showing the set-up:
The idea is one end of the warp is tied to a ring.  The other end is tied to a second ring after first passing through the first ring.  The second ring cannot pass through the first ring because they are the same size.  They can rotate freely however.  As the twist is pushed to the rings, they spin and the twist goes away.

The problem is getting the twist to the rings.  Each turn is a stopping point and the twist has to be pushed past the peg.  I've decided four turns isn't so bad so I can make bands as large as the outer dimensions of my loom.  Any more than four starts to be a tangled mess.  Still, this was much better than constantly untying and untwisting each cards wefts.  

I may just have to give in and build a tablet loom.  It looks incredibly simple.  I just don't know if I want a long board anywhere in my house.  And it bothers me that I don't see tablet weavings longer than 3 to 4 yards.  For trim it I like to weave at least 6 and regularly go 8.  Am I just not seeing them or is this weaving style impractical at such lengths?  There has to be a way.  

So, I'm back to simpler projects but the tablets lurk and will someday tempt me into another attempt.  

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Kitty says...

Tess is interrupting the photo shoot to inform you there will be new Etsy listings and a new blog posted soon.


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Yarn Source

I know there's a lot of hesitation when it comes to Craigslist but for yarn buying it can really be your friend.  It's very hit or miss but when it's a hit you'll be glad you made the effort.

This morning I got a kitchen sized bag full of yarn for $29.  Maybe a shopping bags worth as well because I already shoved the crochet thread in it's tote.  The kitchen bag is everything else I got.  I think about half of it is pure cotton skeins.  The rest is novelty yarns, wool blends, a couple pure wool and some cotton blends.  I got only one pure acrylic and that's because it's the mohair look by Jiffy and I've been wanting to try that.  Not that I'm prejudice against acrylic, but it seems my customers are.

Previously on CL I've gotten yarn for 25 cents per skein and once I got a kitchen bag full for free.  Admittedly things don't always work out so great.  I've paid $2 for a couple acrylic skeins because I felt awkward driving all the way out there and not buying anything.  Other times the person said they had loads of yarn at their garage sale only to have it be a shopping bag sized pile of half used acrylic skeins.

I check CL several times a week using the search keyword 'yarn'.  The search will return all sorts of things like carpet and marimba mallets.  There'll also be tons of hats, scarves, etc people have made and are trying to sell. I'm pretty sure you're not supposed to use CL for this sort of thing so I ignore them all.  If you want homemade goods, shop Etsy.

After sorting out these you'll come across some for people destashing or cleaning out their storage unit or garage sales.  I only bother looking at ones that have a picture.  Then you can decide from there what's worth driving to look at.  Sometimes you get people that are dreaming of getting their money back.  I really don't bother with anything more than $1 for a new skein.  I know there are deals that are better than retail but that's not my goal.  With patience you come across the fire sale type deals.

Now if you live out in the middle of nowhere this probably won't work for you.  But I imagine those folks aren't reading anymore.  If you're near any sort of decent sized city, just be patient and keep checking.  Eventually someone will move and not want to take all their yarn.  Or a relative will inherit a pile of yarn they have no idea what to do with.  If you check regularly it won't take as long because you'll recognize all the ads you've already rejected by title.

So now I've got tons of new project ideas forming and dozens of skeins to ball so I'm off.
Good luck and happy hunting!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Random Tip

This is just a short post sharing a random tip I've picked up along the way.  I've seen a few weavers in person using this technique and read about it online.  So, in case you hadn't heard of it, or just need a bit more endorsement before giving it a try, here you go.

When starting a new weaving you should do the first two or three passes with some sort of card stock.  My current ones are actually thin plastic, kind of like Tupperware.  The ones pictured are scrap bits of mat board used for framing pictures.  They finally wore out which is why I now use the plastic.  For one really wide project I used the cardboard backing from some packaging.  Anything stiff but easily cut will do.

You cut them to be about an inch longer than your bands width and about 1/4 to 1/2 inch wide.  They can be way longer than the width of your band but you might find it annoying.  I have a couple different sizes for different bands.

The use of these cards is to allow you to set the beginning of your weaving without wasting any material.  It's pretty much impossible to pull the weaving in to it's proper width straight off.  Before I started using these cards it took me about an inch or so to pull in the warps.  With these cards you put them in, then you can push the warps together and they'll stay there.  Then when you start weaving the width is very quickly set.

It gives a much nicer, more professional look.  This is fairly important if you want to make belts or sashes that have fringe left on.  There's no option for cutting off the mis-woven beginning so it needs to look good straight off.

Here's a couple pictures of what I'm talking about:

 This one is the start of the band.

This second one is as the band is coming up the back of the loom.