Sunday, June 22, 2008

Joy Weave

I have two floor looms: the 16-shaft computer-controlled, and the 4-shaft jack used at the defunct Nelson Polytechnic Weaving School, which with other looms sat in storage for over a decade, and which I've had for seven years. When I weave cashmeres, I use the jack because of the shorter loom waste. More importantly, however, when I first started buying cashmere yarns, I tested out a few structures, and found 2/2 twill at around 15EPI best brought out the deliciously soft/light characteristics of the yarn and still held the structures stably. This way, I can throw a nice eight meter cashmere warp any time and whip up these creamy tiny scarves, even if I'm toiling and troubling over on the 16-wheeler. (Although some day, I would like to weave a cashmere warp on the multishaft, for sure.)

I love the freedom of a simple floor loom, and the ability to design as I go. Treadling and watching an unplanned structure appear is liberating. I even rethread before the eight meters is up to have a little fun some times. It also exercises my mind, because even on 4-shafts, I still want to weave fussy cloth, as I do on the big loom. Thus far, changing colors and switching the direction of the threading and treadling have been the main components of my cashmere designs, but I think I might try something else soon. Maybe undulation. Or something else.

This warp is in two lime greens; one so pale it's almost a nuanced white. Today I finished one with a weft of a third lime cashmere/silk mix, and started the second scarf with yellow-green cashmere weft. Sometimes, though, no matter how I twist my neck or hold my tongue, I can't see the structure, and then I come upstairs and check it on the computer.

Case in point: I'm quarter of the way through with the yellow-green, but I'm seeing the structure for the first time now. Phew, I don't hate it. But the florescent lights and colors in photos... &^%$#@!!

4 comments:

  1. Oh Meg, this is the best reason (excuse?!?) I've heard yet for a second loom........ What a wonderful luxury (at least it would be a luxury for me, both in terms of cost and use of available space) that must be!

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  2. Peg, truth to tell, I wanted to do nothing but multishafts a while back, and Bonnie Inouye told us about a friend who weaves very complicated structures on a table loom. So, not having owned a table loom, I bought a Louet Klik with 16 shafts and legs, but this one is a little hard to operate beyond, say... 10, that the most I've used has been 8 in a two-faced twill with 9 and 10 for the selvedge.

    I do dream of having another computer-operated multishaft, the more the merrier, so then I don't have to compromise on the structure, (I can't weave quickly enough when orders come in to finish off something and throw on another warp, and now I always have cashmere on my 4) but I do enjoy the more primordial (if you can call it that) weaving on the 4, because so very little (next to nothing) I do in weaving is spontaneous.

    So the two make up for my left-brain-right-brain weaving.

    I wished you lived around here, Peg; at least 4-shafts are dime a dozen, and in some cases, people will just give it to you for the asking because nobody has touched the loom for decades, and it's taking up room!!

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  3. Meg, a used second loom would really be the way to go but when cold reason makes its way into my head, the decision is always no. If I needed a loom for production, as you do, then the second loom would be perfectly reasonable. Loom envy, spinning wheel envy, sewing machine envy, these are all the demons that people working in these areas have to deal with!

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  4. Oh, oh, please add my latest, serger envy.

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