The wool blanket is off the loom and in the washer. I hate this part: waiting to see how well it fulls, how much it shrinks … gah! It’s spinning right now, so the Big Reveal shouldn’t be much longer.
While I wait, let me tell you what I have learned so far:
- beaming on the warp took me about 2 hours (this is a full 38" wide warp, so very wide)
- threading and sleying took another 3 hours
- tieup and lashing on was about 30 minutes, maybe a little more
- sampling is a good thing: I had originally used a non-standard twill tie up (it's threaded in regular 1/2/3/4 twill progression, and this tie up made sort of a basketweave kind of appearance in the twill) but the shed wasn't opening as wide as I needed, so I switched back to regular twill
- threading the edges in basketweave makes nice selvedges, without having to fuss with a selvedge thread
- in an hour and a half I can weave about one foot of fabric on a warp this wide (it’s much faster on a narrower warp, as the shuttle doesn’t stall out partway across as often and I can go faster)
Oh, and one of the cool tips I learned from a library book on weaving has to do with how you tie up to the treadles.
When you treadle the pattern, you step on treadle 1, pass the shuttle, treadle 2, pass the shuttle, treadle 3, pass the shuttle, treadle 4, pass the shuttle. Normally, you tie up the treadles so they go left to right (or right to left, whichever) 1 2 3 4. However, that means that when you treadle you use the left foot twice in succession then the right twice in succession, or you have to scoot sideways and criss cross your feet. Simple solution to this: thread the treadles so that, left to right, they go 1 3 2 4. This way you go left foot (on the leftmost of the 2 left treadles), right foot (on the leftmost of the 2 right treadles), then left foot (on the rightmost of the 2 left treadles) and right foot (on the far right treadle). They called it 'dancing the loom'. It's really way more comfortable! Sometimes I hit the wrong treadle, so I'm working on getting used to where '2' is under my feet, but it's working pretty well.
Ooooh the washing machine just chirped the “all finished” noise!
: rushes off to check :
HEY, IT WORKED!
There’s a close up of the fabric. But what’s really awesome is the drape!
It’s got a lovely hand to it – it’s not dry yet, of course (we don’t own a dryer, Mother Nature takes care of that for us at no cost other than patience) but I held it up and let it move around and I can tell it’s just what I was after. Lighter than I expected, this might be more of a fall and ‘nice winter days’ kind of coat, but most of the world doesn’t hover around –25C all winter. (Come to think of it, we haven’t been hovering around –25C much this winter either, knock wood. We’ve had very strange weather.)
There’s a lot of shrinkage – which is expected with this much wool. About 10% in length and almost 30% in width (because there’s draw -n on the loom as well as the shrinkage from the washing). I should be able to ease up the draw-in a little by modifying my weaving technique.
The blanket started out at 38” in the reed, and was 34”x51” before washing (4” is too much draw in, I’ll have to work on that). After washing it measures 27.5”x44” … which is possibly too small to be used on an actual horse, I’m not sure (most saddle blankets are 32” square). If no horse wants it, it’ll be a fine ‘over your legs in the back seat’ kind of blanket, I’m sure!
Okay, off to do some math and figure out what I need to do for warping up the loom for the coats. But tonight is knitting: I have a sweater on the needles that needs finishing!