Thursday, 25 December 2008

Ye Olde Portfolio

Christmas, and all that. Season's greetings, and so on

That's that out of the way.

Now, here's my prospectus. At the risk of sounding cocky, i should say that they sent me a letter saying they're giving me an offer. but it hasn't turned up in UCAS yet, and till it's there it's not official. So here's hoping for the efficient functioning of the higher education application process in the new year.

The back is made of rag rug, the pages are made of a plainweave check. i had to work very hard to get it full up in time and i was sitting in my room on the night before the interview sewing. but i got it done, and they seemed to like it. so here you go, i apologise for my poor photography. I am to the digital camera what Al Quaeda is to the middle-east peace process

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

a wee bit of this

is what i've been doing for the last two weeks. that's just a wee preview, cos they're sitting in my bag waiting to get cut up and sewn into my fat-ass fabric book.
i've taken the next two days off college, cos i'm not getting much done there, and i need to fill up the book, which means weaving between 6 and 10 samples in about two days. quite impossible if i'm just working at night, but perfectly achievable now i think.
the deadline is friday, as i'm travelling down on saturday. i could probably do a bit of sewing and cataloguing in aberdeen on sunday, but i'd rather not.
as the little people say
hiho, hiho, it's off to work we go
after a cup of tea, of course

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

the photo meme, amongst other things

trapunto suggested i join in the photo meme thing. 6th photo of 6th folder. so i had to create 6 randomly named folders and randomly shovel all the pictures in my college drive into them.
it's funny, when i used the photo uploader on blogger, i get ghandi, but when i use windows explorer, i get this charming fellow:

arbritary things these computers, aren't they? i surmise from this brief exercise that blogger is a force for good in the world, whereas windows explorer, and the system it's based on is Pure Evil. maybe's servers run on linux. must be

Anyhow, i'm well knackered the now, i've been weaving one sample and warping another most nights for the last week, in a mad rush to fill up the rest of my portfolio fabric book. i have about 8 sheets to fill, maybe 7. i'm not sure. and i now have 4 days left. i was up till 2 last night weaving, which was kinda aggravating because i sat through a dreadful American-Men-With-Guns-And-A-Strong-Love-Of-Freedom film and an extremely confusing romance while working and by the time i was ready to go to bed they were ready to show Grave of the Fireflies, which i've been wanting to watch for ages.

I don't know if it's realistically possible to weave 7 samples by saturday morning, i'd probably get very little sleep, so i don't think it's going to happen, but i do have plenty as it goes the now anyway, so i probably shouldn't run myself into the ground and spend all saturday standing behind the till yawning before falling asleep on the train, getting no sleep in aberdeen and turning up on tuesday morning at Gala all strung out and wild-eyed.

i'm having fun with texture the now, using this sort of bubbly yarn, you know the 2-ply type with one bit of the ply being straight and smooth, and the other pushing loops out at regular intervals. it doesn't look very nice on the cone, but it makes and awfy nice sorta fuzzy feeling. i'm setting it against regular yarn, particularly that silk/wool stuff i bought fae the texere yarns people, which is definitely the best and most consistent yarn i've ever used and has very very few knots and breaks in it. also, all the cones i've got in the line are the same weight, which really is something, cause i've bought selections of different colours from the same line before and they've not been the same weight, and that really Annoys Me.

I also did a wee bit of fun with putting thick-sett lines of 56 epi at regular intervals in a warp of 14 epi, on the theory that this would make it so that there were less picks to inch and create a lighter, sort of gauzy see-through fabric. it probably would've worked better with a different yarn, but it was an interesting experiment anyway. What i really want to make is that sort of sari fabric the fashionable muslim women use as headscarves. i used to live on the south side of glasgow in an irish/pakistani/gypsy (in that order, chronologically) area, and there were loads of fabric stores. asians really appreciate good fabric, in a way that westerners just don't

i've forgotten to take my camera into college with me again, i'm not too together in the morning, but i'll probably manage to take photos on thursday evening and post on friday, we'll see


Monday, 10 November 2008

back to work, finally

I put a rug warp on the frontroomloom the other week. but i didn't get round to doing anything with it for ages cause the wool took ages to arrive. Then the wool arrived and i wove an inch or so, before getting called down to edinburgh and dundee to go on a massively expensive and altogether regrettable orgy of drinking and, believe it or not, mediation and conflict resolution (that's NewSpeak for "keeping my mates from getting kicked out of pubs").

Now i'm back, sober and feeling reasonably optimistic. So i'm getting back to work

It's a relief. Anyhows, i think it'll end up about 5 or 6ft long. the loose weft ends are getting darned into the body of the fabric btw, in case you're wondering. it's nice to get a good rythm going, and i'm learning to really fling that shuttle with some force, because i still haven't managed to get a really decent shed. Before i put the next warp on, i'm going to have to have some serious time readjusting things and fine-tuning the tie-up. Great. Definitely my Favourite Thing. Not

I still have to re-tie the entire counterbalance mechanism on the backroomloom as well and clear the current warp from it, cos i want to make a big, fat, stupidly long piece on it for my portfolio. As it goes, i've built the book for holding my samples. It's backing is made of rag-rug and the pages are made out of that houndstooth check or whatever it was i made the other month. i've got all the fringes stitched up and i've started carting all my tat up to college so i can work on it up there, cos i never get any sewing done at home, and me and the tutor are both agreed that i could quite happily fail every module on this course as long as i can put together a folio good enough to get into galashiels. After all, that is the ONLY thing that matters just now, everything else is just trimmings.

Also, i fretted and fussed for ages over how to do the notes, cos i didn't want to just staple bits of paper into a nice portfolio, and i've settled on the time-consuming practice of embroidery. so i bought a wee embroidery frame and a suitable piece of fabric and i'm going to embroider my notes and stich them into the thing. It's going to be extremely labour intensive, but it'll probably be 3 or 4 months before i get an interview at least, so i've got plenty of time. And it gives me more time to weave more samples, which is nice.

Anyhoodle, that's that for now


Sunday, 5 October 2008

Galashiels Textile School

I went to galashiels' open day on friday. Galashiels is apparently one of the premier textile institutions in the country. and i want to do a degree with them

they've got loadsa cool equpment, for dying, spinning, and garment making. best of all though, is the weave room. here is one quarter of it
i was almost jumping up and down with glee when i walked through the door. and the weaving technician was very helpful and explained a few things to do with warping procedures to me. however, as i have a very poor visual imagination, i failed to take most of it in.

anyway, that's where i is going if i can. so i'm spending the rest of this year putting a portfolio together


Friday, 26 September 2008

help, anyone? (countermarch treadling)

I might as well start at the beginning...

When i bought my large floor loom, i was informed that it could be tied up for either counterbalance or countermarch treadling. not knowing what on earth that meant (having only used a jack loom), i went "oh, alright then" and that was that.

Now, when in plain weave, my counerbalance setup was working alright, but then i tried to set up a 2/2 twill and it all went wrong, as detailed in an earlier post. since then i haven't been able to get an even shed, even in plain weave. nightmare.

so, thought i'd try countermarch, cos at least it lifts the shafts evenly. so i downloaded the instructions trapunto directed me to and used them. or, rather, attempted to.

because, it turns out the countermarch tie-up needs to sets of lamms. and i have only one.

vexing is not the word.

so am i going to have to go back to finikity counterbalance tie-ups then? am i ever going to be able to use that horizontal countermarch castle without learning the brutish art of carpentry?

this is one of those moments at which i wish i wasn't a self-taught weaver and had someone else to turn to whose been through it all before and knows exactly what to do.

so, should i persevere, or is it impossible and should i just go and use counterbalance? and if so, do you know of any decent web resources for counterbalance tie-ups, specifically 4 shaft twills? i've got the stuff from glimakra, but it's nice to have as much as possible

thanks in advance for ANY advice you can give me, i wait with baited breath (and if you know what the root of that saying is i'd love to know, cos it makes no sense to me)


Monday, 22 September 2008

for crying out loud

Yesterday I decided to attempt to recreate a spiral twill i saw on stephanie's blog.

And, hooray! it's just a simple pointed twill, with warp and weft threads alternating one by one. ain't that simple.

What is slightly vexing however is that, having (as it turned out) threaded the heddles without error (through constantly rechecking everything throughout the whole process), i then proceeded, as you do, to Sley The Reed. Which is, i must admit, my single favourite part of the entire warping procedure. the rest of it being frankly tedious and footery as anything. Never mind that anyway

So, i finished sleying the reed, and stood up and had a cup of tea.

Sitting down again, i decided to finally tie on the the front stick and begin, upon which i discovered that

I'd sleyed the bloody thing back to front. and i never take the reed out of the beater bar because then i'd end up wearing the thread out of the wee holes the screws go into, cos it's all screwed down, not designed for the reed to be changed on a regular basis. So i had to take the whole bloody lot out and start again

But as i say, i like sleying the reed, because it's simple, and repetitive and there's not much that can go wrong, you just need to make sure you get the hook in the right dent, and that's simple as simon. So i got it tied on

Int at pretty? I hope you like my happy little weaving manny i've drawn on the castle, cos that's the closest any of youse in internet land r gonna get to seeing a picture of my face. See how happy i am with my shuttle? That's me that is. Anyway, happy little weaving manny finally got down to weaving with his happy little end-feed shuttles, alternating the colours in the weft as in the warp in a one-den-de-uvver pattern and a 12-forward, 12-back diamond twill treadling pattern. I don't know if i explained that properly, but the Result(!) speaks for itselfMaybe that doesn't come out too well on your monitor. It doesn't look very good in this wee editor window anyway. Needless to say, i am very chuffed with the result, and as i have a reasonable amount of that nice straw coloured yarn, i'm going to make a range of scarves based on this pattern and colouring, though i could change the blue for dark green, and will no doubt have to when the blue inevitably runs out long before the yellow does.

These are the considerations one has to make when one gets one's yarn from the town's charity shops.

Anyway, that's the way. I shall leave you with the Corries' rendition of Green Fields of France

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

pattern drafting

why didn't i think of doing this before?

Gives me something weaving-related to do while i'm in college and probably ends up helping me get into the next college. hooray! The top one is the sheperd's check, except the bit i've done already is a plain weave, and the draft there is a twill. i've got another couple of metres sitting on the loom waiting to be woven, and i want to do that in twill, but i can't figure out the tie-up to do it properly

long live checked paper


Monday, 15 September 2008

The curse of the faulty rachet-stop + The contractual obligation video post

I got the warp wound on the medium sized loom last week, and threaded and sleyed it this weekend

Now. The back beam is held by a ratchet. and the ratchet-stop is a plate of metal which is pulled up from the ratchet-wheel with a handle attached to the main upright. It seems that somewhere along the line of the last couple of weeks i must have bent the plate back a little cos it no longer holds tight against the wheel. i've tried holding it down with a piece of cord wrapped round the beam, but it's not having it and i've had the whole thing come loose while swinging the batten twice already. I've tried to remove the plate but one of the screws is held tight. I'm going to have to take it outside and hammer it flat on the doorstep. This is aggravating

On another aggravating note, the shuttle keeps flying out of the race and hitting the wall when i beat from the left hand side on the larger loom and i can't figure out why, cos i haven't changed anything from the other day, when it was working fine. grr

Also, if anyone know any free guide to countermarch tie-up i'd really really really appreciate hearing about it cos i'm just having no luck making a twill tie up at all with counterbalance

Finally, teacher says we have to post a video to our blog today, so in the spirit of co-operation with the forces of law, order and authority i give you "Timewaster" by 4-piece London punk outfit The Restarts

Enjoy, unless you don't like punk music, in which case, just ignore please

-Humblebumble (handweaving to the sound of heavy anarcho-punk and hard techno)

Monday, 8 September 2008

The Contractual Obligation Post

Teacher told us to post to our blogs.

I am actually doing a class in college on blogging. It's almost unbelievable isn't it? I think i saw a music video for some bog-standard american pop-metal band where they're all sitting in Blogging 101 taking pictures of themselves.

As it goes, I finally cleared the table loom at the weekend and put a wee silk sample on it. 200 ends, and 56epi on a 14dent reed. it's going a lot better than the last one. and i got the rug loom almost beamed. should finish it tonite, but probably won't get much more done on it till the weekend.

Ho hum. More pictures when i'm finished


Monday, 1 September 2008

Check off the loom

finally got the 2/2 plain weave check finished. Reasonably chuffed with it. I'll cut off the hanging weft trails and darn the remains back in 2nite then give it a soapy foot pressing in the bath before gently steam ironing it. Must remember this time to keep a copy of it in loom-state for future comparison

Having cut it off halway along the warp for the sake of starting off afresh with new tensioning, i have another 2 metres left to weave. I have decided to do this in straight twill. However, it occurs to me that it looks different on one side to the other. I am assuming that i threaded to loom with the draft pointing in the middle and that's why things are the way they are. Anyway, i like the effect and will probably try to create large blocks of colour alternating on each side.

However, before i do that, i have to sort out the hideous treadling problems with which this tie-up is being afflicted. This is the first time i've tried to do a twill tie-up on a counterbalance set up, i've only done it on my jack loom before, and there's no tie-up on that at all. You may guess from the following picture that i am not getting an absolutely perfect shed. And the lamms are clattering off the shafts. And one of the main pulley strings snapped towards the end of the last piece and the whole bloody lot came clattering down on the left-hand side, undoubtedly putting considerable strain on the warp. I am tie in rescue cords in future to prevent such an occurence from occuring

And here's two pictures of handsome animals, cos they're nice, and terribly noble creatures. The great white thing is Blot, my brother's dog, and the wippet with the fluttering eyelashes is Eris, my little girl. Aren't they pretty?

That's all for now. I'll post more on this when i get the treadling sorted out and all that

Thursday, 21 August 2008

The Sheperds Check

This is the first serious warp on the scary floor loom. Nothing complicated. Took me 4 days to dress the loom in my time after work. It's good getting a rythm going on the loom finally, it fairly clatters off when you get going. there's going to be about 4 metres. Is nice.

See that blue line on the right hand side? I thought that was a tension error. Turned out there was 6 ends in the dent instead of 3. So i cut 3 out, and there you go. It's ok now though, so who's to worry eh? I still can't figure out exactly how to put the pictures where i want them, it doesn't make any sense how the program arranges them. Very confusing. I think the left-hand selvedge is at low tension, it's all knackered. oh well, never mind, life goes on.

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Re-organising Heddles

Getting ready to put as large a warp as possible on my 4-shaft bigloom, it occured to me that since buying the thing, i've never counted the heddles. So i did, and it turned out they were unevenly distributed across the shafts, which isn't much good is it?

So, i took the frames apart, recounted all the heddles along with the spares and find i have about 1000 metal heddles. Which is nice. Making a warp of 30epi, as i tend to do (based on 2 ends per dent on a 14 dent reed on my table loom), that should give me a warp of a width of, ooh, let's see

1000 % 30 = 33.33'

So, about 2 and 1/3rd feet or so. which i suppose ain't bad. but if i want to ever consider weaving silk i'm gonna need a lot more heddles like.

Now, as i'm in the mood, i might as well calculate the metreage of a 4m warp of 1000ends

which isn't difficult, that's 4 KM of yarn. not bad.

Am i wittering?


Anyhow, I'm making a warp with blue and grey yarn running concurrently, to make a warp of blue, blue, grey, grey. Doing the same with the weft, i will create a fabric of tiny little squares. Which will, presumably, be nice.

I can't decide whether to do it in plain weave, straight 2/2 twill or back n forth diamond twill. So i think i will maybe just warp it as a normal 1,2,3,4,1,2,3,4 so i can do plain weave or a straight 2/2 twill at my leisure. see what works. I have high hopes. Maybe i'll at least get the shafts tied up tonight, and hopefully be able to work up the motivation to warp the thing up tomorrow.

Once that's done it's done, and i can batter away at it in my time off and maybe get it done by the end of the week with any luck. In the meantime i still have maybe 3 metres of a minor disaster to weave up on the table loom. I mixed up far too many colours and bolloxed up the threading of a varied diamond twill and have thus created a fabric that i find singularly unappealling. Oh well, lesson learned i suppose. It's difficult to use more than 3 or 4 colours together without ballsing it up completely, as i have done. But, i can't waste it, so i must finish it, cos it represents about £10 worth of wool and it'd be a shame to waste it. Maybe i could try a plain weave with a thin weft to maybe create a warp faced fabric, that might work i suppose. I guess i have nothing to lose and might as well just try whatever i can think of. I mean, it couldn't really get any worse.

Actually, it occurs to me that i should maybe be using a thicker weft for warp face. is that right? i'm not sure. See, this is what happens when you batter away at weaving experimentally with no tuition. Sometimes, you achieve excellent results, sometimes you create something ok, and occasionally you balls it up completely. Whilst, in the meantime, you just get confused and fail to take proper notes and forget what your lessons learnt were.

So, like i say, once I've got that mess out of the way, i'm going to attempt to recreate this which is a really lovely spiral twill doo-da thing. it looks to me like both warp and weft are running orange,black,orange,black alternately in a 12 and 12 pointed twill, maybe. It's bloody hard on the brain trying to analyse fabric from a Jpeg on a wee laptop screen. i think i might print it out and take it home and pore over it with a magnifying glass. Anyhow, that's just a tiny sample of that lady's nice work. She is well talented, really nice stuff and worth checking out

Cheers for now


Tablet weaving gallery

Sunday, 27 July 2008

My Loom Products

Nice scarves

I recently finished weaving my first finished pieces, a pair of matching scarves for my mother and a friend of hers. They're made with what I believe to be wool, at least i'm pretty sure the white is wool. what the purple bit is i have no idea, but it's lovely anyway, and it seems to work well. So there you have it. It's a 2/2 straight twill, nothing fancy. I'm still in the land of twill variations, they are a lot of fun, but i tend to progress very slowly and spend more time experimenting with colour than pattern, and almost never with texture. I'm just not a very adventurous boy really. Watch this space, however, for more. I shall doubtlessly put up a slideshow or some such thing, if it's possible, of my tablet-woven loveliness, and all the other experiments and fun i've been having with the looms in my house. Anyhow, my first ever finished product.

Actually, i tell a lie, this was my first finished product. Well, not a fully finished product, as i left sewing in the ends to the recipient of this lovely silk/wool wrap made on table loom, with a semi-basket weave (plain weave with two warp threads to a heddle). It's a very nice thing i thought, although it does require dye fixer for the blue, which seems to run like Linford Christie. Anyway, very nice stuff, wot's very reasonably priced actually. Tenner by the kilo, which ain't bad in my book, i used to pay that for acrylic rubbish from the pound store. So, sometime in the next couple of months there'll be more fabric made with this stuff, once i've made space on one of the looms. Hey, i've figured out how to post images! round of applause please. Thank you