Saturday, 8 December 2007

Weaving books by Peggy Ostercamp

I've been reading more than weaving for the past week.

During November, I've was learning to design and weave advancing twill patterns. This came about because the Online Guild of Weavers Spinners and Dyers were running a workshop. I shall tell you more about this in due course, for the meantime, you might like to at Leigh's blog for an explanation of twill weaves and advancing twills.

As I was weaving, there were various little difficulties I came across, some I worked on and resolved, others I don't understand yet. For example, I've been having difficulty getting the lashing on technique for attaching the warp to the front apron to work well. I'm not happy with the way I manage selvedge tension at the moment and want to try different things. I need to learn more about managing / controlling the draw in at the edge of the weave - I find it varies a lot, especially if I leave my weaving, go away and do something else and return to it later. I have learnt to expect it to vary with different weave structures, but I should be able to keep it more constant within a length of the one pattern. I'm learning to be more consistent about how far from the front beam I weave and how many inches of cloth I weave before winding the warp on. Every day, issues like this arise.

Several times I have seen Peggy Ostercamp's books recommended. I'd looked at Peggy's web site before, to see what these books were about. However, I got the wrong idea. I thought from the list of simple topics covered that these were books to tell beginners the basics. Well, that's not entirely wrong. It's just that they are so much more than this, so very much more that they are now I think the most exceedingly useful books I have, and I am constantly picking them up and learning more from every page.

So, what am I learning at the moment? As well as looking up particular issues that I am conscious I need to know more about, I'm making the effort to systematically read these books. I have learnt things I didn't know I needed to learn. This should lead to big improvements in my weaving. One thing I must try is changing my lease sticks for thinner ones. Mine are fairly thin, at 7mm deep. But I had notice before that they separate the threads vertically, and that this makes a difference at the heddles and in the open shed. Peggy says that when she worked with Jim Aherns (of AVL looms - loom designer and weaver) he had her using lease sticks so "thin and light I was afraid they would break". She recommends lease sticks of 1/2" wide and 1/8" thick. These are less than half the size of mine (1/8" equals 3mm). So, before I get on with weaving I am looking for new lease sticks, and reading on, learning more every day.

1 comment:

Leigh said...

Well, I hate to say it, but I'm glad I'm not the only one who seems to continually struggle with my selvedges. I struggle with the draw-in too, as I often seem to pull too tight. Then when I do get good selvedges, I really can't say why they turned out well.

I should take your cue and read Peggy's books all the way through too. They are some of my favorites.