Well, now that the travel posts are done, I can get back to blogging events that are actually current! We're moved in to our rental house, mostly unpacked, and fairly settled. There are a few boxes still in the garage, but for the most part, it feels like we're home.
One of the first things I did the first week we were here was (of course) to set up my new-to-me loom. It was sheer torture to have bought this two days after we moved out of our house in Friday Harbor, and right away have to put it in storage for two months. I used the loom as incentive to keep unpacking- I had to unpack X number of boxes, then I could play with the loom. It worked well.
It came with a warp already threaded on it, but only partially wound on. So the first thing I did was to finish beaming that warp. I figured that I could use it for practice, just do a bunch of samples and get the feel of the loom. I wasn't really sure what I could make with that yarn (a thick 4/4 cotton), so I was just going to sample. I also had to figure out what the threading was, and what the tie-up was, because obviously the former owner had done those parts, and I had no idea what pattern she was planning to use. It was a good educational step, recreating a draft based on what I saw actually on the loom.
Once I had the threading and tie-up noted in my record book, I could sit down and weave! I tried a couple different treadlings, and a couple types of yarn (first I used the same yarn as the warp, but it was too hard to see the developing pattern, so I switched to a contrasting color). I also changed the tie-up a couple times (which was not nearly as big a deal as I thought it was going to be), just to see what that threading could do in different configuations. The second and third tie-ups and treadlings I invented myself on graph paper. I'm sure they are by no means original, as they are very simple, but I didn't copy them out of a book. Basically, I just played around.
From one threading and three tie-ups, I came up with 9 different patterns, and I have a feeling this is just the tip of a BIG iceberg. But when I got to the last pattern, the red and white one on the far right of the above picture, I liked it so much that I sampled it again in the warp yarn. I still liked it a lot, so I did this:
4/4 cotton warp and weft
16 epi warp
10 ppi weft, using a firm double beat on the closed then next open shed
13.5" x 18" on the loom
12.5" x 16.5" after washing
I love before and after pictures of wet finishing weaving. It's like an act of faith to throw your finished piece of fabric, that has taken a not insignificant chunk of time to make, into the washing machine. I mean, I liked the way it looked before I washed it; what if something horrible happened and it shrank up to nothing or came unravelled, or the yarn disintegrated or something??!! You have to trust your yarn and craftsmanship. (And, obviously, not do something stupid like put a piece of wool fabric in the washer for the complete cycle and expect it not to felt. Know your yarn.) But this was cotton, and my logical mind knew that it would be OK.
I'm very happy with the finished placemats, and Shaun has said several times how nice they are. They are thick and protective, and will be our everyday mats. It makes me feel very proud and satisfied to see them on our table.
In other news, Emma and I had a momentous event about a week ago. We both got haircuts! Here's the before:
And here's the after:
I cut Emma's hair, and Shaun cut mine. Love having a simple, straight-across haircut! I lost 16", and Emma lost 8". This was a huge deal for Emma (well, more for Shaun and me- Emma doesn't really care), because this is the first time she's had her back hair cut. It was time, though, because the ends were getting really fragile and splitty. Not to mention all the peanut butter and yogurt she kept getting in her hair. Emma's ponytail will be going in her keepsake box, mine will be going off to Locks of Love. Since 2001, I've donated 44 inches of hair to them (in three batches).