So, there was this project I began so so long ago. I wanted to remember my friend Kathy Rowe by weaving some of the lace weight yarns she had dyed. I used to sell her yarns in my shop and when we lost her I took them all home with me. Here is a post from a while ago where she came to teach us natural dyeing. It took me some time to figure out what to do with the yarns but Kathy loved weaving and so I wanted to weave something.
I am not a skilled weaver and though I have been weaving here and there for almost 6 years now, I consider myself to be a beginner as far as choosing yarns and understanding what will happen with different weave structures.
The yarn for this project was a low twist Alpaca lace which I know now is a better knitting yarn than a warp yarn for many reasons. This is not to say that you can’t weave with it as you will see. It’s just that it takes a little practice, skill, knowledge and advice…well, plenty of advice if you are me.
I wound the warp in April of 2010.
Denny came and helped me put the warp on the back beam in May of 2010.
Finally the threading was all done by September of 2010.
Now we are 6 months in and the weaving has finally begun. One thing that occurs to me when I look at these old photos and think about the weaving is something I thought of a lot throughout this process. The reed would slide to the left little by little until the threads were breaking on that side. Don’t get me wrong. There was a ton of breakage on both sides but the left side seemed to have more. You can see it if you compare the last post and look how the threads are all the way across the reed and in the final photo before cutting there are tons of empty slots.
So i fought with the warp and asked for lots of advice and tried sizing on the loom and tried different shuttles and all kinds of things. Lots of people said just cut it and stop.
Then Sara Lamb came over and gave me some pointers. We cut off the yard of fabric I had woven and finished it and looked at it. Then I got busy again. And here I am. One of the secrets, if you want to know, was to advance the warp much more often.
I wove pretty well, but there were some issues with a few heddles and the reed kept slipping and threads kept breaking. the edges were one thing but the center threads began to break regularly and so I was frustrated.
Here’s the back of the loom. Broken threads all around.
And 2 more threads that broke and I hadn’t moved out of the way yet.
Here’s the front. You can see 3 newly broken threads and to the right is a spot with a spot that had been broken for some time.
And so I decided, after more than 2 years, to cut it off.
There was less than a yard left to weave. I could have looked at this two ways. Cranky because I could have woven that off in just a day. Or happy because I had made so much progress before giving up. I haven’t decided where I stand yet.
Here’s the fabric before finishing. I did a hemstitch on the final edge then I brought it home and threw it into the washer for about 8 minutes. and the dryer for about 5 minutes.
I kind of like it. I like it much more than I thought I would. I need more practice so my selvedges will be better but I am encouraged.
I wish it were about a yard longer (hee).
But it is lovely to the touch and will be a nice wrap. I think I can weave yardage for clothing like I want to.
If you look closely you can see the places where the broken warp thread were. But those spaces closed a lot in the finishing. I think I learned this last year too but I took too long to get it off the loom and forgot.
I’m looking to more weaving with fine yarns in the near future. I have big plans!
In case you were wondering I am weaving on an 8 shaft Baby Wolf that I love. And the future yarns will be handspun.