Weaving with my stash

Weaving with my stash

So, what are you going to do with all this – stuff?  Its a valid question posed by my grandson.  He’s helping me clear out the house and storage spaces and there really is a lot of ‘stuff’ to deal with.  Time to get weaving.

I chose a warp that had a khaki base made up of lots of different fall colours so it could handle loads of different colours in the rest of the warp.  Colours don’t have to ‘match’ when weaving. The don’t have to match ever come to think of it.  This is the colour palette I chose.

hand spun skeing of khaki green beside mixed fall colour threads

This warp was longer than usual because I wanted to attach any subsequent hand spun warps to the wastage.  Wastage can be very expensive and finding a way to minimize this loss is good economics.  My plan is to have a yard/meter of extra fiber at the end of the weaving that I can tie the new warp onto.  This will save me wastage of a meter/yard per warp.  The only wastage will be a few inches at the beginning and end of each new warp until that extra yard is all used up.

The colours look great and the yardage I was able to get from my hand spun was really surprising, kind of shocking actually.  Really looking forward to getting started on the threading and weaving.

multi-coloured warp on leash sticks to keep cross in place

When making a warp a cross is introduced on purpose to keep the threads separate.  This cross is maintained throughout the threading process; it protects the warp from turning into a tangled mess.  The oldest and simplest way to do this is by inserting sticks on either side of the cross, tying them securely in place and getting on to the next step of threading the loom. This time I chose to thread from front to back of the loom.  Starting by threading through the reed – the metal comb installed in the beater – and then threading the threads through the four different harnesses.  Each thread has a specific spot on the loom where it fits.  Its a bit like programming a computer by hand, really by hand.

The threads were sett at 10 ends per inch which might be a bit snug, but it looks good and once the scarf is finish it should be soft and snuggly.

repair a broken warp thread with inserting and weaving thread

When a thread broke I was not surprised, it’s almost inevitable, especially with the irregularities of hand spun, so I did a repair by pinning a thread in place, threading it through the reed and it’s spot on the harness.  Then it was weighted in the back of the loom with a small weight.  I use clip on table cloth weights for picnic table cloths. Once the damaged thread is woven in a sufficient length the true thread can be brought forward, pinned in place, woven for a little distance, then the weight removed from the patching thread.  This patching thread can be cut.

If you look at the purple stripe, everything looks fine.  The scarf is done, the length is just what I wanted and then I spotted it.  A whopper of a mistake that will set me back a little on my plans to reuse this warp, save time, blah, blah.

I have been weaving a very simple tabby, over-under, super basic.  It’s deceptive because its very difficult to get an even look to such a basic weave.  The threads had to be pulled into position, not beaten.  This way they would make nice little squares when the scarf was washed and fulled (hopefully).

Then I spotted the threading error, nearly at the end of all this fussing around drats.

Not threading error
Threading error

Not the end of the world, just a bit disappointing.  I’ll have to rethread about half the loom, and be more careful this time! Oh, and fix that single green thread that has errors all the way down the middle of the scarf.


9 thoughts on “Weaving with my stash

  1. “Best laid plans….” Actually if that errant warp thread is really in the middle of the scarf, you could leave it as a design feature – or even if it isn’t in the middle come to that. Like the cat which fell off a post, you could say “I meant to do that”.
    My weaving friends call threading front to back Presley-ing – pre sleying. Actually what they usually do is set up the reed on a table with the warp chains in front of it (or on their laps), sley the reed and loosely tie the warp ends in bunches behind the reed; and then with the reed balanced face down at the front of the loom, thread from each bunch through the appropriate heddles. It apparently tends to be less back-breaking that way and I believe they make fewer threading mistakes because of checking after each bunch of warps is threaded.

    1. Ann, I’ve seen that method too, and thought it was interesting, but I’m such a klutz, I know full well I’d drop the reed, probably on my foot and have to redo everything! The loom I have has a removable breast beam, so I can just slide right into the loom.
      I’m very happy to say, all errors have been fixed and the work wasn’t too, too miserable or discouraging. The final result is photographed and ready for the next blog.

  2. Muslims have a wonderful tradition of leaving a mistake in their work on purpose because “only God is perfect.” Perhaps we should all start embracing this mentality, regardless of creed? 🙂

    1. Leonor, couldn’t agree more with the notion of leaving mistakes to prove the humanity of the work. I’m always delighted to find a finger print in a piece of pottery, or a bit of fluff in a painting. After this was posted I did keep working on the scarf, fixed most of the error and finished the fabric in hot water. I’m pleased with the results. I’ll include a pic in my next post.

  3. Setting up a loom always amazes me and how much work it is. One of the reasons I don’t weave 🙂 Your scarf is wonderful and accepting the “mistake” as part of the process is what we all should do. Perfection should definitely not be the goal. I hope that you will show the finished scarf in your next post.

    1. After so many years of making them, I’ve come to embrace my mistakes. I’ll fix them if they are real stinkers, easy to do and/or if they’ll affect the usability of the product, but for the most part, mistakes add character to the item (yeah, that’s it, ‘character’). I will definately post pictures of the final product. I love it.

  4. It looks amazing Bernadette. Probably no one else would notice it. Could you just remove the thread that wrong for the next warp? I suppose it will save you some time anyway, if you only have to re-thread half of it.

  5. I don’t weave and found myself searching for what I thought might be the fault in your work which, like Lyn, I couldn’t see! Not everything has to be perfect, the odd mistake can add character to a piece of work and that’s a great tradition Leonor.

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