Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Picking up and placing a cross for stake warping

So, today I present a wee photo essay on picking up and placing the cross in multi-end stake warping.

When you first see this done it looks like magic and if you're like me and you started making warps one end at a time you'll be delighted by how much time you save here.

The first thing you need is a spool holder with an upper and lower section and an eyelet above each spool stand. You place your first end in the top and your second in the bottom, and so on, for each section of your repeat. If you have a lot of spools and a simple warp you can warp with as many spools as your stand can hold. We have an ex-industrial stake warping rig here at college that has about 100 pegs on it, but there's not often much call to use it as we designers don't tend to work in monotones.

Anyway, all this is is an explanation of picking up and placing the cross. I forgot to take pictures of the actual spool stand, I'll do that tomorrow

Firstly, get your hand between the upper and lower threads. You hand remains straight, you are only working with your thumb here.

Pick up the first thread from the top layer and put it under your thumb, then get the first thread from the bottom layer and place it over your thumb.

Now repeat until you have all the threads crossing over your thumb.

Here I am just demonstrating the way the cross works, but this is also the direction you will move your hand up towards the cross stakes

You place the half of the cross that's on the end of your hand over the first stake. And then the other half of the cross goes over the other stake. Remember when doing this that as you hold your hand in the position indicated, that it is the rightmost part of the cross that goes over the stake

Once you've done this you take the threads around the top post on the board and start again for making the top cross. Pick up the warp ends in the same way, doing your utmost to pick up the cross as close to the corner stake as reasonably possible. Then get your hand holding the cross like so, with your palm upwards and place one and then the other part of the cross over the cross-stakes.

Like so.

And continue.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Broken Ends

Before I start with the main body of this post, I thought I'd share this.

Don't you just hate the way selvedge threads are always breaking because you don't use a temple because they leave nasty holes in the cloth, are a pain to move and anyway, whatever?

This obviously doesn't apply to those blessed by the rolling temple, you lucky people you.

Anyway, check it out. It's an elastane yarn that's been twisted with 2 plys of worsted, to make a 2/48Nm yarn with a composition of 97/3 worsted/elastane.

The worsted has been competely worn away by the reed, yet the elastane filament holds out. Cool huh?

Now check out these awkward guys here.

The way this cloth is constructed is that there are 4 main blocks. The black is woven on the first 4 shafts, to make a 2/2 twill, and the colours are woven on 3 seperate 6 shaft blocks. the whites are on 5-10, the lights on 11-16 and the darks on 17-22. The back two shafts have some spare heddles for in case I felt like putting in a floating selvedge.

What's happening is that I am losing a lot of ends, more even than I'd expect to use from an awkward sod of a yarn like 2/32's worsted, which has never treated me with the greatest kindness, if truth be told.

But not throughout the cloth in total, just on the back sections. Which would lead one to think there was something wrong with the elevation of those shafts perhaps, or the heddles I put on them.

Except that it's only happening in the blue and the pink. Which would suggest that the yarn is weak.

But then why does it keep happening when I repair the ends with a different spool?

I just don't know, I really don't.

See that? That's how things should look. I've not broken a single end in any section except the deep pink and dark blue. Maddening.

Like I say, I suspect I have a couple of rubbish cones in there. Maybe they were sitting up there in the boxes for so long they've totally dried out and gone brittle, it happens apparently.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Kinda-sorta fixing a fault

What's wrong with this picture?

That's right, I made a boo-boo. One of those black bars is narrower than the others. It's not supposed to be.

So what happened?

Yup, I sleyed the same dent twice. I didn't do my checks thouroughly enough, I made a mistake and didn't notice it until I was several inches into the cloth.

Thank goodness I'm only designing and not producing, or else I'd have had to cut off, resley and tie on again.


I consulted with a classmate and she concurred with me that the simplest thing would be to simply cut out the extra white ends. That way the black would fill up and look better and the slight narrowing of the white band is not quite as noticeable either. Also, the handle I was going for is retained. So that's good.

Anyway, there we are. It's not perfect, but it'll have to do. It's quite possible noone would notice except me. Though I know I'm the kind of person who's going to be bothered by it, even if it wasn't my own cloth. It'll be ok though, it's just a design cloth so it's fine.

Sometimes the only thing you can do is make the best of a bad situation, analyse what went wrong and try to work better checks into your routined to prevent it from happening again.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Rags, rags, lots and lots of rags

So, yeah, a lot of rags.

The sewing workshop has recently bagged up a great deal of fabric waste, which I have taken, in order that my rug loom may never go hungry.

I am currently sorting these rags by colour. I am less than a quarter of the way through what i have the now, which is less than a tenth of what is available and i have a whole sack of black and a whole sack of beige, and half a sack of white and multiple bags of other colours.

It may seem a little mad for me to be filling me itny house with all this scrap, but the idea is that at some point in the future I'll be either partially or wholly unemployed (who knows what the future holds?) and this is my bank. When money is rare and time plentiful there'll be plenty time spare to weave rag rugs. Rag rugs from this kinda material are relatively time-consuming to make, but on the other hand you can be a bit more arty with them as you're only working with little bits so you can be a bitty tapestry-like with it and make all sorts of lovely patterns and that. Happy days.

It's probably worth mentioning that I also aquired three massive sacks of leather scraps and a half sack of sheepskinny scraps, from which I can expect to be making wallets and purses and the like for a long time to come.

Besides that I have had multiple recent enquiries about selvedge-rugs so I need to acquire some more loom-waste for weaving those things. And some 2-ply cotton while I'm at it, for warps. I also have two massive bolts of single jersey cotton fabric that need to be ripped down to rags for weaving too, who knows when I'll find time to do that.

It's nice to have something to work with.


Thursday, 7 February 2013

Sleying the Reed

This is how I always try to sley the reed. You can't do it this way on a table loom usually as that's the way they're built, but I expect there's always a way to work this way on any floor loom.

Firstly, I've removed the beater and breast beam from this loom in order to thread the heddles.

Once the heddles are threaded, I hang the reed in front of the shafts. This reed is 41" wide (I had to cut it down to fit, but that's ok, cos this is the widest of the beaters we have) and my warp is set 40" wide, so I just start, like, a dent or two in from the side, do all the difference it makes.

The reed, as you can see, is hanging perpendicular to the shafts (at right angles, if i'm using the right word, i think i am) in order that I can easily get in-about the heddles for to pull out the required number of ends for each dent. Also, not hung so low that my heddling hook has difficulty getting up there.

In this instance, I was threading up a pretty chunky reed so there were, like, 12 ends or something in each dent of mostly heavy yarn (this is a treble-layered cloth with 2 faces of heavy worsted and a centre cloth of 2/48's elasticated worsted) so the normal heddling hook was too petite and delicate for the job, so I found a mangled old heddle and cut it down to make a bigger hook with and used that instead.

The main  benefit to this technique in my mind is that it allows you to compartmentalise tasks and consequently increases efficiency. I used to thread up before I came here by laying groups of warp ends on top of the beater and pushing them down to be caught by the heddling hook, but this is so much quicker, it rarely takes me as long as an hour to sley the reed now, unless the yarn is being troublesome or i'm tired and distracted and make a mistake. Anyway, here now be the appropriate video, enjoy.

As always, I welcome feedback on these videos. Would subtitles be useful? Can you actually hear what I'm saying, or is my mumbled Scottish accent incomprehensible? If you can give me an excuse to remove audio from my videos and replace it with subtitles I'd love it, as I hate the sound of my own voice on videos.

Coincidentally, this video and all the others have been taken with my cheap and nasty wee phone. I continue to be amazed by how brilliantly ubiquitous high-quality computing technology is these days.

Monday, 4 February 2013

A wee aside


To raise money for the New Designers Exhibition, which some of our class will be going to this year in London, we're doing a wee exhibition/sale of work at the Textile Tower House, which is a kind of museum/gallery in Hawick which is obviously focussed on textiles due to the town's long association with the knitting industry. We were all asked to prepare some work to be presented in standard IKEA frames, to make everything nice and simple. These are what I'm sending out, which I took from last year's sketchbook. Just some little collages I did for colour development work in gouache. I think they're quite neat and tidy.