Saturday, June 27, 2009

Hot green washcloth - Part 2 of 2

In this picture I am twisting the warp to make the leno lace feature. I am using a little hook made from a paper clip to manipulate the warp. A crochet hook would work better but I couldn't remember where they are. My little temple is in place to help me maintain the width.

As the piece gets closer to completion it becomes difficult to open the shed with my wide shed sticks. Right after doing the leno lace feature, I can barely open the shed halfway to slide the shuttle stick across. I need to go to the wood store to buy a hardwood strip to make a narrower shed stick. My shuttle stick and shed stick are from my 20 inch Erica rigid heddle loom. At first I thought it was way too long for the 11 inch washcloth. But I can put enough yarn on the shuttle for half a washcloth without it becoming too bulky to slide through the shed.

Now it is just too tight for the shed stick, so now I've removed the shed stick and started weaving with a chopstick. This chopstick has been sanded smooth and has a flat chisel point sanded onto it. The yarn is thread through a hole I drilled in the other end. The temple is in place to help maintain proper width.

Now it has become too tight for the chopstick, so I am finishing the weaving with a plastic craft needle. The metal toothed comb is used as a beater to push the weft into position. The hard part is leaving enough slack in the weft so it wraps around the warp and doesn't pull the sides in. After the last row of weft goes in, I trim that last weft string and will weave it with the first warp string on the right. Then weave the weft string tied to the frame with the first warp string on the left.

Here I have put on the edge cords on the sides. I've simulated a twined edge cord by sewing every other weft row with one color, then doing the next every other row with the other color. I used white for contrast and visual interest. The finishing weft cords that ended in the middle were woven along the edge warp strings and are now hidden beneath the edge cords.

Here is the washcloth off the loom. The edges are not that good yet, but they look better than previous attempts. The edge cord treatment is improving. I like the leno lace feature. I only missed one pick this time.

I did this in about 4 hours today since I did not have to go work today. I need to get faster at this. If you have any suggestions you are welcome to leave comments.

Have a good day!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Hot green washcloth - Part 1 of 2

(click on the picture for a larger view, then "back" to return to the blog)
This is to show a little bit more of the process of making a washcloth. In the previous washcloth article, you saw how I tied dowels to my frame and used continuous warp method. Then I spread the warp on the dowels for proper spacing and applied a twined edge cord. This picture shows my homemade temple in use to help space the warp. The yarn is from Sugar & Creme, the color is called Hot Green. It's a worsted cotton yarn.

Then I tied the edge cords to shorter dowels and tied those dowels to the frame, stretching the warp. Here I am using the longer dowels to keep the sheds separate until I can insert shed sticks.

Here I am tying on the string heddle. Important thing to remember is to thread the heddle string through the shed first! Then start tying to the heddle stick. Here I am using a shed stick as a spacer to help keep a uniform length on the string heddle. I am pulling the string off the cone and through the shed so I don't have to guess how long the string should be for the string heddle.

My washcloth is woven in two parts. Trying to weave from bottom to top can be difficult when you get to the top and the shed gets very small, making it hard to get the shed stick in place. Especially for the leno lace bit, I need to have some flex in the warp to fit the shed stick. So I'm going to stop halfway and turn the loom over.

You have probably noticed the wooden bar stool behind the frame. I've been weaving seated on the couch with one end of the frame in my lap and the other end propped up on the bar stool.

The loom is now turned over. I tied off the weft string to the frame to keep it out of the way. That weft string will be woven with the first warp string on the left and hidden beneath the edge cord later. The string heddle has to be on the bottom shed so I had to undo the string heddle then do it over again on the bottom shed, which used to be the top shed.

More info coming in part 2.

Have a good day!

A temple is a handy thing

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Here is the tools and supplies I used to make a temple for use with my frame loom for weaving washcloths.

A temple is handy thing for weaving. A temple or stretcher is a device to maintain the width of your woven piece, which keeps selvedges straighter and prevents the width from drawing in. It has little teeth to grab your warp and help hold it in position.

Glimraka USA has pictures of their adjustable wooden temples on their website link here

I needed something to help me keep my weaving width more uniform so I decided to improvise.

Since my woven piece would be 11 inch wide I figured I could put a couple of little teeth on a ruler. This ruler had a little metal strip which I pulled out with the pliers. Then using the little hack saw I carefully cut a little notch at the 11-1/2 inch mark, not too deep, maybe 1/16th to 1/8th of an inch. Then I cut another notch at the 1/2 inch mark, so my two notches are 11 inches apart. The notches will hold the teeth of my temple.

I straightened out a large paper clip. This will be the tooth on my temple. Using the wire cutting notch on the pliers, I cut a large paper clip in half. Then I bent the wire about 1/2 inch from the end. I fitted the bent wire into the notch on the ruler. It sticks out almost 1/2 an inch. Then I wrapped the rest of the wire around the ruler.

The wire still rocked a little bit in the notch so I bent the wire kind of sideways so it would resist rocking. Then my temple was done. It took about five minutes.

In this picture you can see the temple in use. If you look at the two outer warp strings, they are kind of spread apart by the temple teeth wires. As you can see I was losing about 1/4 inch on each side, but overall this woven piece came out better for having used the temple.

For a piece wider than 12 inches, I would get a wooden yardstick from the hardware store and cut that to size, then cut the notches. It doesn't matter if your measurement doesn't start at zero, what matters is how far apart the notches are. So a notch at 2 inch mark and the other notch at 26 inch means the teeth will be 24 inch apart.

I hope that helps or inspires an idea. If you have any suggestions for improving this, you may leave a comment.

Have a good day!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Faded Denim cotton yarn washcloth

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Here is a tangle of worsted cotton yarn left over from another project. The coin is a US 25 cent piece for scale. It's a variegated color yarn from Peaches & Creme called Faded Denim. After I untangled it, I measured it and found it to be about 200 feet long. Long enough for a wash cloth. A wash cloth takes about 180 ft of yarn.

Here I have lashed dowels to my frame loom at 11 inch apart and I'm doing a continuous warp in and out of the dowels, supporting the loom on a laundry basket. The piece is planned at 11 inch long by 11 inch wide. The warp spacing is 8 per inch, so the warp uses about 75 ft. The weft spacing will also be 8 per inch so that's another 75 ft, leaving 50 feet for edge cords.

Here is the warp spaced out on the dowels and I am adding a twined edge cord to the top and bottom edge of the piece. Then I lashed the bottom edge cord to another dowel for top and bottom.

I forgot to take pictures of the weaving process, so we'll jump ahead. Here you can see the bottom edge cords lashed to the short dowels, that were then stretched and tied to the frame. The variegated yarn creates its own color pattern as is it used for the warp and weft. The open areas are part of a "leno lace" technique that I wanted to try out. The sides are not as sturdy looking as I would have liked. I could have added edge cords during weaving, but I am oversewing the edges. See how the left side without oversewing is different from the right side which is getting oversewed. I oversewed the left edge after I did the right edge.

I'm not totally satisfied with the look on the sides. I think on the next piece I'll use a twining cord on the sides after weaving to get a better looking edge.

Here is the piece cut off the loom. During weaving, I kept a ruler on the piece and kept checking the width (11 inch) to avoid the pull in factor experienced on the last two pieces. This piece came out much more square than the previous pieces. It measures 10 inch long and 10-3/4 inch wide.

This piece is not wet finished yet. The weave is somewhat balanced, very open in spots and less open in other spots. I expect after wet finish and some 10% of shrinkage the weave will look more even.

I started this on Monday night June 22 and finished on Wednesday night June 24. This is starting to go very quickly as I get my routine figured out.

I wanted to make washcloths with continuous warp to avoid the fringe edges (and loom cutoff waste) I get with a rigid heddle loom with my dishtowels. I don't mind the tassels on the corners and I can put a loop on the corner for convenient hanging (see the bottom right corner).

I should point out this is woven with techniques taken from Navajo weaving. It’s woven on a homemade frame loom, uses edge cords on the bottom and top, (but not the sides). I used a string heddle stick and a shed stick. It’s continuous warped. It has tassels on the corners.

Have a good day!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Weaving washcloths on frame loom

This is an almost finished washcloth done on a frame loom.
(click picture for larger view)

My chopstick loom has evolved. Still using the craft frame as frame for the loom. The chopsticks have been replaced by 3/8 inch oak dowels. The piece on the frame was planned to be 12 inch square. The bottom edge is 12". The top edge is 10-1/2". There was some pull in as I worked my way up.

This time I used a twined edge cords for top and bottom edges. Makes a better looking finish edge than my previous experiment. If you look closely at the top edge, you'll see where I remembered to weave around pairs of warp for four rows. I'll have to experiment with more pairs like that.

I tried to do edge cords on the sides but this did not come out as well. I'll be playing with that more in the future. I like the look but I missed a lot of picks while trying to weave in the side cords.

The weave looks open on the loom, but it tightens up nicely after wet finishing, which is a trip through the washer and dryer.

The yarn is Peaches & Creme worsted cotton, White for the warp and Shades Of Spring for the weft.

Have a good day!