Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Starting Another Long Run

Starting a set of blankets is like starting off for a long run. Once the blankets are ready to weave, there's already been a fair bit of time invested in warping the loom - winding bobbins, beaming the warp, threading, sleying, tieing on and then weaving a header. Oh, and fixing any little threading or sleying errors. :-)

Then we go. Shuttles are lined up, pattern is fresh in my mind, the rhythm begins. Mmmm.

For a long run (going by memory, certainly not by recent experience), usually there's been some prep time to rest, then I plan my route, dress for the weather and I'm off.

It's physical, psychological, even a bit spiritual. A long warp waiting for me is like the open road or a beautiful trail. I just need to remember to pace myself to get myself to the finish line with a smile.

Thursday, 17 May 2018

One - No, Two - of My First Blankets

I visited a friend recently and spied a vintage piece of my work, her well-loved blanket, a housewarming gift from almost thirty years ago. She had it hung perfectly neatly on a blanket stand and it looked great.

This had to be one of the first blankets I wove on my Leclerc Colonial I loom. I bought that loom in Vancouver, used, in 1988 and had it shipped north by a moving company. I was dying to expand my projects from my 36" Artisat loom to a 60" loom and with the extra four harnesses I added to the original four.

This blanket would have been woven pretty soon after setting up the Colonial loom and starting with some small projects. The weave structure is turned twill, which I call twill blocks - the threading alternates between 1234 and 5678 to create blocks, with different weft colours to highlight the differences.

I looked up the blanket in my big binder of vintage projects, and there it was. The project of seven blankets took from Nov. 1989 until the following September. My notes itemized all the problems I faced, the delay while I pondered what best to do, and how long it took me to warp and then weave each blanket. Wow, I am quite a bit wiser and more efficient now, good to know!

Anyway, this blanket looked great, all fringes still tightly twisted and knotted, and the owner loves it.

It washed up well and feels much softer and nicer. I did an overnight soak, lots of gentle washing and rinsing, and hung it up to dry outside in the Cariboo sunshine. I returned it to my friend yesterday and was rewarded with a nice latte and chat together.

Update: Coincidentally, I spied this blanket at my brother's house.  With a much busier household than my friend's place, this blanket has taken a bit of a beating but it's held up well.  I fixed some fringes and enjoyed giving it a little TLC.

The light in this image really shows the slightly bubbling mohair stripes, which didn't pull in as much as the wool woven in the rest of the blanket. It's a nice effect though.

Amazing and very interesting for me to see these two very early blankets within only a week or two.