Spinninglizzy's Weblog

Falling down the slippery fibre slope

Huck Scarf On The Structo Loom

For the past school year, I wove huck scarves as teacher-appreciation gifts. I truly thought I had posted about these scarves long ago, but I couldn’t find any evidence of that. I find it a bit alarming that I accepted as fact something I must have dreamed up. How much of what I believe to be true came from a dream? Is this a symptom of being too busy?!

From my stash of sock yarns, I found some Salvia superwash merino that had been dyed in the skein.

Since the dyers had not re-wound the skein, it was easy to determine the length of yarn for a colour repeat.

Taking advantage of that colour repeat, I wound a warp in a continuous circle to preserve the dye patterning for a “faux ikat” warp.

I used all eight shafts of my little Structo loom for this huck pattern.

The brown weft at the beginning didn’t appeal to me, plus the scarf was too long to wear comfortably.

So, I cut off the beginning for a sample.

The only drawback to this pattern is that it leaves long warp floats on the two selvedges.

The wool is superwash, so I was surprised that the scarves did shrink a little. They were very fast to weave on the Structo; with its solid, all-steel construction, the loom is an amazing performer with impressively smooth and precise tensioning.

64 ends, sleyed 2 per dent on a 6-dent reed
5.33″ on-loom width
Finished dimensions 4.5″ x 74″ + 10″ twisted fringe (one scarf plus sample),
or two scarves, each about 44″ long + 7″ twisted fringe
4-block huck, #672, Carol Strickler’s Weaver’s Book Of 8-Shaft Patterns

17 September 2012 Posted by | Weaving | , , , , | 3 Comments

First Flip Projects

I’ve had a Schacht 15″ Flip rigid heddle loom for a while, but didn’t start using it until last winter. Because my dining table has a beveled edge that won’t allow me to lean a rigid heddle loom against, I’ve had to wait until I could put the Flip on a floor stand. Having finally cleared off an uninspiring project claiming my older Schacht (non-folding) RH loom for the better part of two years, I could finally take that loom off the trestle stand and install the Flip in its place. The Flip is built to accept two heddles, and to fold over. However, using it at home, I’ve never had to need to fold it. Perhaps this might be an issue with the larger Flip.

My first project was a way to use up a horde of partially-used novelty yarns  left over from other projects. I decided to use them as warp, and had my first try at direct warping. It was so much trouble, it took me four days to wind and beam the warp on. Some of the novelty threads had bobbles and slubbs that had difficulty advancing though the heddle openings. Others were mohair and similarly hairy yarns that refused to give me a clean shed. Few of the warps were of the same material, so tensioning was a nightmare.

I had to open every shed with a weaving sword, and hand-pick problem warps. I thought my troubles with the slubby, bobbly yarns were over after dressing the loom, but I had forgotten that the warp needed to be advanced while weaving, and the heddle had to be used for beating! I allowed the fiddly-ness of advancing the warp, but I gave up on using the heddle to beat the weft, using a tapestry fork instead. I caught some float errors, but there were more that I didn’t catch. Somehow, the fussy work I had to put in did not bother me, perhaps because I thought the yarns were so beautiful. (Having said that, I won’t attempt something like this again any time soon!) Even after finishing, the two long sides differ by several inches in length. Faults and all, I still like this scarf. I’m looking forward to this winter’s cooler weather to try it out.

After that first project, I wanted to put on an easy warp for quick and mindless weaving. I warped the loom with some skinny alpaca, and used the slubby Colinette Point-Five yarn for weft. The weather had been very cold while I planned this scarf, so I designed the scarf wide as well as long, resulting in a scarf a bit on the heavy side; it reminds me of a table runner! I just wish the Point-Five yarn were as soft as the alpaca. This project was extraordinarily satisfying, in that the finished scarf closely resembles what I imagined during the planning stage, and I encountered absolutely no problems (tension, sett, broken warps, etc.) during weaving. This is the first time that has happened for me!

Having woven heavy and warm, I wanted to weave a summery cotton scarf. I had two colourways of Colinette Wigwam hand-painted cotton tape in Jewel and Raspberry. I thought of how I tend toward the cautious, using the less-liked of things first (and sometimes never getting around to the more pleasing choice), and decided to be a little wild (for me!) and use the jewel-tones first. Poor decision! I squandered the jewels to find out that this yarn shrinks somewhere between 30-to-40 percent, so the jewel scarf turned out too short. I wound the warp in a circular pattern around the warping board, as faux-ikat, to preserve the alignment of the colours as they were painted.

The other mistake I made with this warp was not to take the extra time to untwist and flatten the cotton tape as I wound it. The twists do detract from the looks after finishing, especially on the selvedges.

Weft was 3/2 mercerised perle cotton, black for Jewel, and white for Raspberry. I think the black made Jewel look reptilian, and the white made Raspberry look pink. I also had all sorts of beat inconsistencies, making these scarves very unprofessional-looking. If I had the power of do-over, I would find some dark blue-ish weft for Jewel, and use a dark grey for the Raspberry. I wasn’t happy with the way both of these projects turned out, so they have already been recycled as very expensive dust cloths!

I really love the looks of the solidly-built loom, and look forward to future projects using more than one heddle. I can also see that I might have to devise some sort of trap/tray to add on at some later point.

25 August 2012 Posted by | Weaving | , , , | 4 Comments