Sunday, 19 October 2014

New workshop and rigid heddle loom

Well, we had a brief discussion the other week/month (time flies) about making tablet weaving accessories.

So, last month I bought a scrollsaw and a pillar drill. And since then I have been getting a workshop space ready at a garage on a friend's farm. There's been a lot of work, and it still isn't quite ready yet. I'll have a lot more space when the car is out of the way. There's a long workbench for my woodworking tools and the desk where they're currently at will have a cheapo laptop and some of my 'leccy tools and projects, I also intend to build a very simple, but biggish, rug-weaving loom which I intend to have set up in such a way that I can fold it up against the wall when it's not in use if i need to. Thinking of maybe having the warp going up and over a rail at the top and weighted down, with the back beam of the loom sort of attached to rails on the wall. Difficult to describe, I have a picture in my head.

Anyway, I moved my tools in today and made a very simple and rough rigid-heddle loom for a friend.

A very simple counterbalance set up for now anyway, probably with an underslung beater.

Desk with tools on. Plyboard marked out and ready to cut.

I should have taken more pics while I was in the process but I was kind of in the zone. This is a detail of a ratchet and pawl, 5 minutes to cut out on the scrollsaw.

Finished (well, sort of) loom. the long stick in the front is the cloth beam.

So, moved in today and made a wee rigid heddle loom. Just add heddle.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Some designs for Tablet Weaving accessories

This is the kind of thing I get up to when I'm bored and the loom isn't cooperating.

These are drawings for Tablet weaving card. From left to right, 6 3-sided cards arranged radially, one 6 sided card, which I haven't figured out the best way to arrange yet, and an array of 4-sided card. Also, a comb and a shuttle.

Everything but the shuttle can be easily made in plastic by laser or waterjet cutting. The shuttle may be a little trickier as I would like the beating edge to have a gentle slope leading to a nice curved blade edge for good beating.

The warp can be tied into the comb with string on top, I see no need to make a hinged attachment to go on top.

I may make other shuttle shapes tonight, and rethink the comb.

I am undecided about what material to get these things made in. I reckon the cards should be as thin as reasonably possible, 1mm acrylic perhaps. They will be breakable, but these things tend to be. In my experience the thinner a weaving card the better for the turning, especially when not mounted on a loom or board.

Annoyingly, I made the shuttle 190mm long instead of 1900mm as I intended. And it was a very pernickety part to make.

I've found a number of manufacturers who specialise in laser and waterjet cutting in the UK. I am going to get some samples of square cards made, if I find the finish and material acceptable then I shall have a larger number made of all three types of cards. But mostly the square ones.

Thje square cards are 7cm square and I welcome any expressions of interest in this product, it would be cool if I had a box of several hundred of these and just got a wee trickle of ebay earnings coming in now and then.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Found this video online. Just randomly. Check out the way she swaps the cards around, about 30 seconds into the video. Can't believe I never thought of that. Don't know what language this is. Also, I love those cards.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Think I might start using this blog again

I felt that when I started working that my journey was pretty much done.

But far from it, who was I kidding?

Think I was being a bit daft. To be fair, the original purpose of the blog was to chronicle my getting-to and getting-through college, and that's done now. But it'd be silly to think it really ends there.

A lot of good has been built up here, I've been coming to realise over the last year, in the friends I've made on the comment sections and the things I've learned from the other weavers, sometimes seeing other people taking on similar paths to my own. It's all good.

So why waste it? I may work in education for the time being, but why should I limit myself to one job when there's so much more to do? I realised this truth recently when I got an email from youtube telling me that one of my videos, Tablet Weaving Lesson 1, had gained 10 000 views, which was frankly surprising. To be fair, it's the first video I put any serious effort into in terms of production values (I had my partner hold the camera, rather then simply tying the camera to a chair or something) but the number of views is still surprising. I suspect it was picked up by some other high-traffic crafty site or mentioned on a reenactors forum or something like that.

Also, weirdly enough, and possibly largely driven by that video, traffic for this site has, with normal peaks and troughs, actually climbed somewhat in the last year of complete and utter inactivity on my part. Weird.

Anyway, that's that, I'm back. Again. Whoop!

I'm not doing as much weaving these days as I'd like, for myself that is. But I am learning a huge amount about industrial weaving on power looms, which is extremely useful stuff and will no doubt continue to be useful in the future.

I am still trying to figure out how to become self-employed as a weaver, and in months to come I may share some of my ideas. Others I may keep to myself until they're ready to roll.

In the long run I think education is going to be a big thing for me. Something I've come to realise is there's a lot of people out there that want to learn how to weave in a social environment. So setting up a series of workshops in the Highlands would probably be a good idea. I feel like I have enough experience teaching basic handweaving now that I can approach that confidently.

At the moment, I can teach Handweaving on all types of handlooms including dobbies both mechanical and electronic. I can teach interchanging double cloth design, drafting and construction. I can teach yarn setting theory, basic design methodologies for translating concept into colourways and onto cloth. I can teach basic tablet weaving, double-faced patterning and the backstrap method of weaving.

Running on from that, there's a number of advanced weaving techniques that I'd like to develop, both for my own benefit and in order that I can teach them.

Off the top of my head, there's Leno. I can use leno for edge-bindings, but that's about it. I'd like to learn more.

There's terry towelling. That looks like an interesting technique that requires careful control of warp tension on the pile beam and particular use of a light versus heavy beat. It's acheived in industry by a modified batten that allows the reed to slip backwards on the light beats. Very interesting.

I'm interested in finding out how many layers one can practically weave on a rising-shed shaft loom before everything just gets silly and the shed refuses to open. I'm just curious, as a platonically perfect 24 shaft loom could theoretically weave a 12 layer cloth. If that cloth was woven with one weft going through all layers one after the other, it seems to me that it would be possible to weave a cloth 382" (nearly 32') wide. It would be amusing to find out how close to that I can get. Probably by setting up a straight draft on 24 shafts and setting it in the reed for treble cloth (I know I can do double). Then weaving a wee bit and setting it down again.

I'd like to figure out a better way of explaining to students how to create double layered cloths with extra wefts. Some people are naturally good at mathy stuff like that, and grasp it easily. Some people aren't, and I need to find a more natural way to describe it for those people, because they are most people.

I need to get better at stake-warping wide cloths to avoid the slide-at-one-side thing. In particular I need to get better at beaming a long warp through a raddle.

I would dearly love to be able to make double cut-pile cloth. This involves a whole post in it's own right as well as some very serious loom adaptations (two different sheds, two different sets of shafts on two different layers, two cloth beams pulling on at exactly the same rate and a cutter to seperate the cloth as it's wound on). I suspect this may never happen.

That's just off the top of my head. Do you good people have any techniques you'd love to learn in a limitless world of perfect freedom?

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

I got a job

I'm the new weave technician at the college now.

How utterly odd, who would have thought things would turn out this way 4 years ago when i started studying here.

I am in charge of teaching students how to weave, weaving jacquard fabrics and eventually getting the hattersley working.

It is part time so I can create my own collections in my spare time, and begin some serious progress on the lifting box

From now on I shall publish videos on youtube and articles and so on on my own webspace

I shall at some point begin selling plastic tablet weaving supplies, don't hold your breath for that though. If you don't find out one way or the other then my advertising strategy shall be seen to be rubbish.

I continue to have a really scarce involvement in weavolution, but I'm mainly a youtuber these days.

I've enjoyed my journey blogging here and all the lovely people I've met. I started this blog to document my journey in learning how to weave. Now I am a weaving instructor employed at the university and shall be producing my own collections on an annual basis. I think my journey has come to it's natural conclusion, and with it my journey as a blogger, in this particular format

Thank you all, and I shall see you on the interwebs or upon the face of the earth, at one event or another.

The blog shall remain here until google eventually crashes and brings western civilisation crashing down with it. I shall continue to answer comments for as long as gmail keeps running. Feel free to get in touch with me


Andrew Kieran

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Transitional phase is beginning

So I sold the Dryad loom yesterday. It is gone out the door and shall not return. I also took back all the yarn I'm not absolutely certain I want back to the college because most of it came from there anyway. I retain a small amount of wool and silk and stainless steel yarn too.

This is all to say things are changing. We've been doing a lot of clearing out over here, I've sold many surplus books on amazon, only retaining the fiction and those which are definitely useful. Beginners weaving books are all sold but all the tablet weaving and historical clothing books have been retained.

In time I shall be moving my online weavey presence over to which shall predominantly be a place where I post notes on my progress in designing a jack loom. It's useful as I can easily give collaborators access to the page with which they can also post or edit. I'm not sure exactly how i'll be using this page in the future, but I suspect that it'll be tapering off.

I have work now, at House of Cheviot in Hawick, a manufacturer of fine country socks and kilt hose which promises to take up most of my time for the forseeable future. So it looks like I won't be making my living as a weaver after all, which is strange and ironic, but perhaps all for the best as I can continue to simply "Weave 4 Fun".

In time I expect to be able to export the contents of thi blog as an XML file or some such thing and send them to the new site to be hosted over there outside of blogger, but I haven't figured that out yet.

As far as weaving goes the main focus of my time will be on tablet weaving and on designing the jack loom. The jack loom if successful will be followed by a small jacquard lifter for ribbon weaving.

So that's that for now. I will be attending a living history fair dressed up as a 13th century cloth merchant this coming weekend, which should be fun.

I guess that's all for now, at some point the new site will be looking better. When I have a bit of time to spend on it I expect. For now it's just a postboard. See y'all around. I might be tapering off blogger, but I'm not going anywhere. I can still be found lurking on WeaveTech and weavolution so nae worries :-)