In which prayers are said…

Prayers that soaking/blocking really is magic for weaving, just like it is for knitting.

I started my first laceweight weaving project Friday night.  Shireen came over for a visit and offered to help me warp up my loom with some Malabrigo Silkpaca in “Archangel” she gave me.  Since I always find warping to be the most intimidating part of weaving, I took her up on her offer.  We moved some furniture and warped up a nice long, if narrow scarf-like piece.  It’s amazing how fast 440 yards goes!


Since she gave me two skeins of this lovely stuff, we decided I would weft with the other skein.  This meant I was free to practice without fear of making any sort of colour choices/mistakes.  So I wound the entirety of the second skein onto the bobbins for my boat shuttle (Shireen brought with her the prototype of an amazing machine that Tito made to help with that most boring of tasks) and got ready to go.



I got started with my leader yarn, and for some reason that seemed to take a LOT of yarn.  The gaps didn’t seem to want to close at all.  Once I did get them closed up, I started with my boat shuttle and words cannot express how much more enjoyable using that shuttle is, compared to the basic stick ones that come with the loom.  I had a problem with the left side of my shed…however I tied it, it seemed sorta loose and wimpy and there are a few inadvertent floats as a result.

But the bigger issue I encountered was not being able to get the weft to stay put.  I’d beat it down, and it would bounce back up.  I assumed either I was doing something wrong, or the silk in the yarn was rendering it so slippery that the threads just weren’t sticking together.  I messaged Shireen to ask her what I was doing wrong and her response was not to think of it as beating it down but rather “think of it as placing it on a line that is an equal distance from the one below it.”  I tried that, but I admit that I still wasn’t too successful.  That being said, I am fairly sure that the method I used to attach the warp to the apron bar rendered the start of the piece somewhat uneven.  I have already decided that even if it means less loom waste, I won’t be trying that method again.


So by the end of the weaving time on the weekend, this was what I had.  It’s way uneven (there are all sorts of gaps and you can see where the weft threads are actually wavy over on the right) and the edges are pretty ratty looking.  But, it’s also my first laceweight piece and I am hoping I (and it) will get better as the piece progresses.

Besides, that s$%# will totally block out, right?

A New Adventure

Last evening, Shireen offered to come over and help me get started warping my newly acquired loom.  Only fair when you consider that this is all her fault.  I kid, of course, but her enabling really is becoming quite legendary! 😉

She and Tito showed up, samosas and Indian sweets in hand, and the task of warping began with Game 7 of the Canadiens/Bruins series in the background.

I had watched an Ashford video yesterday on the subject so I did have some idea how the process worked, but having someone there who had done it a dozen times and totally knew what she was doing? Priceless!

She advised me to start off with a small worsted weight project to get my feet wet, and brought with her one of the skeins we hand dyed during our dye date last autumn.  We proceeded to set the loom up width-wise across my dining table and off we went.

Having a spare set of hands for this was awesome!

Having a spare set of hands for this part was awesome!

When we were done…this was what we had:

Warped Up and Ready To Go!

Warped Up and Ready To Go!

After weaving a few rows of “lead”, I started in earnest….just trying to get the motions down, and trying to keep the edges from looking like my dog had chewed them up!  I think that as this progresses, there will be a Zen-like relaxation that will come from this craft that will be similar to spinning (or, at least, similar to spinning when my newly spun yarn isn’t breaking due to fragility!)

I got this far before Shireen had one more lesson for me: hem stitching, which I am told will serve to keep the fringes in place later

Post Hem-Stitch weaving

Pre Hem-Stitch weaving

I actually really enjoyed the hem stitching, and after Shireen and Tito headed off for the night, I kept going just a little while longer.  I did find it gets addictive in the “just one more pass with the shuttle before I stop” sorta way.  In the cold light of day, I found I had woven quite a bit, considering how new I was at it.

Hem Stitched and all!

Hem Stitched and all!

I am sure it will take me a while before I am weaving scarves for 1000 yards of laceweight…but so far, so good!