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Black and White.....Well, Almost

      Oh my gosh!  No one has to tell me to stay home twice!  Why not make the absolute best of this quarantine and use up as much yarn as I possibly can?  Well, that’s my philosophy right now!  I have a gorgeous yarn rack in my living room that a dear friend made for me for Christmas years ago.  It gets the award for best gift.  Handmade and holds 88 cones of yarn and right up until this week, it was full.  I’ve woven nearly 40 yards of fabric since March and will be posting about each run weekly until I’m caught up.  Honestly, I hope I never get caught up!  I counted empty spots on this cone rack and I had 15 free spaces!!!  I can’t wait to share those projects.  Before I do though....

There is plenty of cotton on my yarn rack both mercerized and unmercerized.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE unmercerized for towels.  The untreated fibers make for fabulous absorption and the more use they get, the better they get.  However, I do have a lot of mercerized as well and it was time to start making a dent.  I have tons of 3/2 that I was working with to make placemats as well as tons of 10/2 that I was using for napkins.  There’s that funny little one in the middle......5/2.  All I had was three cones.  Black, green, and white....or maybe it’s more like bone or cream.  

Black and white/cream won the vote!  Simple and traditional was the plan, yet I wanted something that was unique so, I chose a pattern out of the 8 Shaft Pattern Book and started counting ends.

Counting 452 ends, two of which were for floating selvedges so that way I would have nice neat edges.  The warp was only five yards long and winding a solid color made the process of counting ends smooth as butter.

Once the warp was spread evenly in the raddle and beamed on the back beam, I was ready to thread the heddles.


The threading was easy enough to memorize and thankfully, I got through the first try with no errors. It’s the worst feeling in the world to get to the end and realize that I missed something somewhere. 

Ok....let’s talk about this for a minute.  I’m weaving these towels on my Glimakra Ideal 8 shaft horizontal Countermarche.  I love this loom and everything about it but, let me tell you...if the treadles aren’t tied up just right, the shed is terrible.  This makes weaving a horror as opposed to a dream.  There’s a little knack for getting the shed just right.  The 8th harness has to hold the treadle horizontal almost perfectly in line with the bottom cross post on the front of the loom and then each shaft in succession to the first shaft have to compliment the tension on the 8th.  With a countermarche loom, either the top or bottom lamm is tied to the treadle (depending on the pattern).  So, when setting the treadles, the 8th harness holds up the treadle initially and each harness thereafter should not have more tension on the treadle but not be too slack.  I’ve been battling with getting this just right.  Somewhere along the line, I lost my ability to get this right every time.  Maybe it just used to fall into place for me, I have no idea.  Either way, I spent a good deal of time on the floor getting it right.  Success!

So, here’s the header.  Basic boring stuff:). It’s just used to space the threads evenly so that when I start weaving the fabric, I don’t have ‘skips’.

It’s starting to look like something!

That’s the idea!  With a solid warp, solid weft, and a nice clean shed, these wove up in no time.

With only a five yard warp, I had these off of the loom pretty quickly.

Another valuable lesson I’ve learned is that not giving myself enough space for a nice hem only frustrates me after wet finishing.  There have been a few times where I pull everything out to be pressed after wet finishing only to find that I have to gear into repair mode.  Very frustrating.  Solution = big hem :)

So this picture is in black and white.  I wanted to somewhat simulate the finished product by comparing it to the first picture in this post.   Below top photograph is before pressing and the bottom photograph is after pressing.  

So, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about items for sale.  The Etsy shop is up and running and you can access it by scrolling to the top of the page and clicking on the store link or you can just click here.  I’m not an outdoorsy kind of person when it’s cold out and sunlight is the best light for taking pictures.  As soon as it’s a nice enough day out and the sunlight is at it’s optimum, I will get out there and take some pictures and have these items listed.  Promise! 


Rebecca said…
I loved reading of your ordeal (and your strategy) for getting your Ideal to give you a good shed with 8 shafts! I have the same issue, but the weaving with that loom is so dreamy that it seems to be worth the headache of tying-up. Love your Black & White weave!

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