Saturday, 2 August 2008

Fixing threading and treadling errors

Where does time go? Over a week since my last post, and I've had these photos saved on blogger, waiting for me to write about them for nearly 4 weeks... there's never enough time for everything I'm trying to do!

More sample blanket pics - or as a review of Janet's book in the latest Journal of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers suggests it will come to be known: "The Phillips Blanket".

So, where am I up to? I'm about to start winding a warp for a colour and weave sampler. I have purchased yarns and made plans for the sampler after that one - which is simply a colour sampler. Should have some fun photos when I get weaving!

I'm knitting socks (a favourite project, as I enjoy wearing my hand knit socks). My sister and her husband were staying last weekend and very pleased with the baby clothes I knitted (baby is due end of October).

The cats are getting on well, although we have a sneaking suspicion that Annie cat was sitting in the road - again - this afternoon, when a vehicle was heard to hit the brakes out there and something black was seen moving at speed. It's a single track road, a quiet country lane used by walkers and cyclists as often as cars. I hope she learns about the danger without getting injured. My late cat Oscar learnt to look both ways before crossing roads but only after a couple of minor accidents. Phoebe, the beautiful, intellectual tabby cat has no interest in roads and traffic. Especially no interest in sitting in roads, but daft young dash hither and thither then stop suddenly wherever Annie...

And - back to weaving. I still have to tell you about a couple of major errors I had to correct in weaving the Phillips Blanket.

Firstly, a threading error, in the middle of the warp, spotted when I was reviewing the first few inches weaving.
It was just right of centre. I contemplated re-threading, but threading for this blanket is complicated and there were 4 other perfectly threaded pattern sections that I would have to re-thread in order to access this one.

Surgery seemed the best option. A more complicated job than I had ever tried before. I cut out the affected threads close to the front apron rod, pulling them back out of the woven cloth.
I took them, one at a time out of the heddles, and made new heddles out of bright red cotton. Why red? so it was easier to see what I was doing when tying them onto the shafts and easier to check everything was in the right place afterwards. Last time I did this task I used white thread and found it difficult to see - here's what I wrote about it, with photos.

And here is a red replacement heddle, on the correct shaft. I found it easiest to tie the knots for the centre first (carefully matching the size of heddle eye so it was about the same as the texsolv heddles), then tie the knot over the top shaft and weight the heddle with a metal bulldog clip - you can just see it in the photo below, before getting under the loom tie tie the bottom ends below the lower shaft.
This job required patience - six new heddles to make and carefully position, working around a warp on the loom. Then, I threaded the warp ends back through and used a needle to stitch them back (at a good tension) into the woven cloth header in the correct position.

Later, as I worked my way through the 50 different treadling patterns, on a few occasions I made treadling errors. In some cases, where I spotted them within a few picks, I simply un-wove and re-wove.

On other occasions I cut my way back through an inch or so of weft threads, cutting just inside the selvedge and pulling the weft out, and then re-wove.

But I also experimented with cutting out odd wrong picks and sewing a new weft through the warp. This picture shows an error I decided to correct that way, it's just about in the centre of the photo:

Stitching like this is a fiddly business and strains the eyes, unless you have very good light and remember to look up and rest your eyes every now and then:

The result was reasonably neat:

However, I decided that unless it is a long way back in the weave it is quicker to cut the wefts out and re-weave them. But, at least I know I can do it if I want to - with this weight of yarn, which is fairly thick (6/2 cotton).

I had some trouble with slack selvedges, I am sure the cause of this was careless, slack, handling of the yarn when I was winding it on the warping board. I wound the green selvedge thread sections the night before I took my old cat to the vet for the last time, and it's clear that I was struggling to concentrate on the job.

By the time I'd woven half the blanket, there was a small amount slack one side, and the other was quite loose. At the back beam of the loom, I jammed a shuttle bobbin under the threads on one side and a piece of wood under the threads on the other. I've used weights for the same task before (which I hang off the threads below the warp beam) but this worked very well and seemed easier.

I enjoyed weaving the sampler blanket - it looked super on the loom, the more I weave, the more I want to weave!


Anonymous said...

I'm very impressed with all your problem solving techniques and your determination to get the blanket exactly right. Great result.

Peg in South Carolina said...

I blew up the last picture and the whole thing, loom and weaving, looked so lovely. Glad you have another project waiting in the wings. You wouldn't want the loom to be naked for too long........ And I look forward to seeing the color gamp.

Jane said...

What a great miniworkshop this post is. Very nice of you to have taken the time to photo-document it all and share the problems with your solutions.

I can't wait to see the blanket off the loom.

Weave on!