Wednesday, October 25, 2006

I don't usually cover the news, but it looks like New Jersey's Supreme Court approved for same sex marriage (or as MSNBC puts it, "punted" the issue) for the legislature to write into law either as expanded marriage language or some form of civil union.

Interesting this should come about two weeks before the midterm elections... is this the October surprise that will roust the conservative voters to turn out in droves? Only two more sermons til Election day.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Heritage Days
Every fall down at the lake they have a big pioneer/crafts/history festival called Heritage Days. I love it, but this year it was miserably cold and I was underdressed. Since I've seen most of the stuff going on, we made a quick afternoon of it, but spent quite a bit of time with the rug hookers. C. was/is much more interested in it than I am, but I love that they use all wool fabric, and other than a few of the more "country charm" looking pieces, I think it really is great artwork. One woman used wool from her recently departed mother's favorite red winter coat in a piece to give to her brother. It seems that a lot of the better pieces had some element to them that was personal, either in the design or the materials, so I have to appreciate that.

Other highlights were the handspun yarns and they had someone weaving on an antique loom that is part of the year round display at the visitors' center. It was interesting in that the beater had rocker feet rather than being attached. they were kept aligned by a strap of leather than was nailed to the bottom of the rocker and then nailed to the side pieces. The reed was also literally reed. I have an old reed just like it and the slices of reed are held in and spaced by twine which has been wrapped around and through the pieces. The thicker the twine the wider the sett of the reed--clever.

As much as I'd love the opportunity to weave on this historical loom, I'm in no hurry to get one.
I ordered a serger online from Hancock Fabrics. It was a sweet deal (discontinued) for $179.00 marked down from $399. So probably not a bad machine, and all of the online reviews of it were good. It's a White 1634D. It has differential feed and up to 4 threads, so for what I need (basically just finishing the edges that will be tucked up inside the hem, it should work just fine. My partner pointed out that considering the edge is hidden, it doesn't need to be particularly fine and if I need a better machine later, this would make a nice back up machine. For the price, I couldn't argue.

I am concerned, in that most of what I've been reading about sergers is that they are hell to thread and they have a steep learning curve. I've got access to a good sewing teacher locally, so if I really have to, I can shuck our some modest cash and get a lesson or two on sergering.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Rethreaded at last
Well, after a near marathon session last night, I finished up my rethreading. It's now threaded as a straight draw of six rather than eight so that I can use shafts 7 and 8 for my selvedges. yeah, it just kills me to waste them on that little half inch selvedge, but in the end it's the right thing to do. I'll eventually add harness so that I can get a more complex pattern out of it.

Granted, if these samples look like crap, I'll do that anyway, or come up with some method of shedding a selvedge or making a floating selvedge happen.

BEST tool tip of the day. Being a guy, I don't have long fingernails, so I went out and bought a set of metal guitar finger picks. They are perfect for picking out and separating the heddles and the individual warp yarns. Since they just wrap around the finger tips, they really don't get in the way and I'm able to maintain the position of my heddle hook, which I tend to use to grab yarns with or to separate the heddles. I ended up with one on each of my index fingers, but they might also be good on a middle finger, depending on how one warps up.

Tonight I get to use my other favorite tool, the auto reed denter--genius, that little thing is... maybe I'll use it in conjuction with the finger picks... ah, weaver geek bliss.

I figure I have enough warp left to do a decent sized sample of each of the new 6 harness weaves. If they work out, then I go into full force production.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Weekend weaving

Ended up taking some great photos of the weaving samples, some outside and some as bed dressing. It was actually pretty tough. The pillows I used were fairly colorful and tend to draw attention away from the blankets. I tried to shoot as many of them at a low angle to get the blankets to dominate the view. I've made a website with them and hopefully this weekend will give me a little time to get that posted.

We're in town this weekend, so I'll spend as much time as possible in the studio getting set back up, adjusted and re-threaded... have I mentioned how much I dread that? Speaking of, I must say how much I love my autodenter... the best $46 I've spent. It's an ingenious device--the hook never leaves the reed.

I've got a warp up on the LeClerc, and I'm having a hard time remembering what I was going to do with it... it's a shadow and weave scarf in an undulating twill pattern. I'm sure it'll make someone a lovely Xmas present.

Speaking of Xmas presents. I'm contemplating making either an intarsia knit or a rug (or hell, both) from some of the designs from Christopher's company. They are beautiful abstract designs intended for a stationery line, but a lot of them would be perfect as textiles. This might be a top secret surpise project...

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Back on track
I got some great pictures of my samples this weekend and will be putting together a little website. I'll post it when I've got it up. With the beautiful fall leaves down at the lake, it makes perfect backdrop for the blankets. I'm going to take a few more with the blankets in use--set up some linens and bed shots instead of them hanging on a tree.

The metal piece from AVL arrived on Monday, so I need to get that installed and get re-threaded. I think I mentioned that I hate re-threading... arg.

Also heard from the company that does my wool processing. They are ready to do another batch for me. This will be the light gray. I've very excited about this color.