Photo by JackBunny on Flickr posted under a Creative Commons license: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).
My yarn crafts group has had a space at Maker Faire NC since its beginning, and we’ve always had a great time. We’ve shown people the extreme basics of spinning and have sometimes sent people away with very short lengths of yarn they made themselves. We’ve had looms set up and shown people how to weave on them because we feel that it’s much easier to find knitting or crochet lessons than ones for weaving. It also seems easier to teach someone the basics of weaving in a few minutes. But we’ve never really had an organized plan for a complete project that someone could take away with them.
This year the Maker Faire people asked us to come up with a Make & Take project – that is, something that could be learned quickly and taken away by the participant. After some thought, I suggested using popsicle stick rigid heddles to make narrow straps that could be used as bracelets or keyfobs or any number of other things. There wasn’t going to be any way for people to finish a meaningful piece of weaving at the booth (space & time were both issues), but they could learn enough to feel comfortable finishing on their own – or so we hoped.
Continue reading The Rush of Teaching
Hey look, I made something! Well, several somethings, only I haven’t posted about them either. Oops.
Anyway, here, look, I made a bag to hang from my loom and keep tools in!
Oh, didn’t I tell you? I got a loom! I had one before, but I’d gotten it for free and it turned out to be too badly cracked. I bought a loom from someone I know from online, and swapped the pieces of the other one (as spare parts) to her for some nice heddles to use with it. (The heddles are the things you run warp threads through; when the heddles go up and down, so do the warp threads, making it easier to weave.)
Here’s my new-to-me loom in an earlier stage of being fixed up.
I’ve done some work on her since I took that picture: wiping everything down with diluted Murphy’s oil soap, rubbing in some Wood Beams, getting the rust off with wire brush and naval jelly, moving the treadles around to the back where they started out, and replacing the rusty and pitted lower warp beam. I have a little rod stock on order to replace a rod in one of the harnesses. Finding metric rod stock in small quantities in the US is hard to do. I wish I could say I was surprised. After that, the only thing I need is tie up cord. I’m waiting until I can afford the fancy TexSolv tie up cord, because I gather it’s worth its cost.
And then I can start warping the loom (putting the warp threads on) and get to weaving.
She’s a Lillstina 46″ floor loom (means I can theoretically weave 46″ wide fabric on her)—a counterbalance—and her name is Diamond Lil.
Other bits I already have that I’m going to need: a tall chair that I hope is the right height, a warping board, shuttles and bobbins, and lease sticks.
Over a year ago, I used a backstrap loom to weave two strips of fabric from some cotton/wool/nylon sock yarn:
Then I washed the strips and sewed them together by hand to make one bigger strip.
Then I had to dig out my sewing room enough to be able to get at the sewing machine, at which point I added a zipper and side seams to make a finished bag:
It’s nice to finish something.
I was fixing some errors in the way I threaded my table loom (I skipped dents while sleying the reed), when I discovered to my delight that because my table loom only has two shafts, I can sley the reed and thread the heddles at the same time. (This means extra care, but does save me time.)
This was an exercise in making lemonade from lemons!
I had some grey Coopworth combed top, which I handpainted. Unfortunately, I was (and am) still pretty new to dyeing, and the fiber got somewhat felted.
So I pulled it apart into color chunks, and combed the different sections to produce a very little bit of combed top which was lovely to spin up into a small quantity of semi-worsted 3-ply using a spindle.
Because the fiber had been felted, there was a lot of combing waste. I needed something to practice wheel spinning with (because I had some fiber I wanted to spin on a wheel for the Tour de Fleece), so I drum carded the waste, knowing full well that I’d end up with lumpy-bumpy thick and thin yarn. Which I did, and then I plied it with some very thin bouclé that my friend had. I liked it, but it was bulkier than I usually like to use, and besides, it wasn’t really quite my style.
So I decided that the two yarns put together would make a project, and bethought myself of using a backstrap loom for the purpose. Now, I’ve put together another backstrap, but haven’t finished the project. Also, it’s been over 20 years since I did any serious weaving.
I am therefore pretty damn pleased with the result! It’s a fairly consistent width and the selvedges are not tooblobby.
I borrowed a camera from a friend, and so here are some pictures of Persephone!
Edited slightly from a post I made on Ravelry on 8/17/2009:
So I was driving up the street this morning when I noticed a jumble of wood boards and stuff on someone’s curb (where people leave stuff when they are willing to let people just take it away). I drove half a block further when the nature of some of it sunk in and I screeched to a halt.
Two minutes later I had a trunk full of two warping boards (one of which doubles as an inkle loom) and was inspecting a rather dilapidated old floor loom.
Five minutes later I was walking downhill holding T’s hand while the guy who had put his mother’s old loom out carried the loom down to my house.
I have to inspect it more closely and it clearly needs a lot of loving care – a good wipe down, oil, new belts, new cord to hold some of the bits on, and who knows what all. I hope it can be put back in working order and that I can find somewhere to put it in my house.
If I can’t make it fit I bet I can find someone who’d love it…
It’s a 22” four-harness, four-treadle floor loom from Harrisville Designs. I think it was stored upside down on a wood floor. I think many of the metal bits (the reed and some of the rods) are going to need replacing due to rust. Some of the heddles are rusty too. It needs new belts (or whatever they are) so the harnesses will go up and down. The manual and the parts catalog are going to be My Friends, and fortunately, they arrived in the mail yesterday.
It’s going to be a slow process getting her back in order.
She’s named Persephone.