Friday, July 25, 2014

Shedding Don't Get You No Shed.

Don't let its innocent façade fool you.
Feeling totally empowered (read: cocky) from the success of my first successful woven fabric, I decided to weave something a little more challenging: a clasped-weft plaid blanket. Sounded challenging enough to keep me interested, but not too hard (no colour changes in the same row or anything like that, no lace... just simple plain-ish weave).

The warping process went... well, I got all the threads on the back beam in any case. A couple of them - I actually mean practically all of the wine threads - were lost along the way and I had to fix them (fixing warp threads. Before I even started weaving. I can't believe I didn't notice the signs, honestly) but I got all the threads in order enough to thread the eyes. Tied all of them onto the front, and went for the up shed. A couple of loose threads, but that's fine, I said. I'd manage. Went for the down shed. Uhhh....

That's narrow. Already weighted and all, too.
 So I cleared it and forged on ahead. After a couple inches of inching the shuttle across hoping it didn't catch stray threads, I decided to start weighting some of the threads. It started with one little glass jam jar. One of those sample sizes. Put a thread around the offending warp thread or two, shoved the thread into the jar, and shut them in, dangling the jar off the back beam. So alright, I'm learning something new: weighting warp threads. Hurrah for problem solving!

Then I ran into some other troubles. Both of my warp threads are singles. One of which (the grey one) is a soft, stretchy singles (note: don't use stretchy threads as a warp!) while the other is a rather tightly spun singles that is relatively tough in comparison. Now I'm pretty sure there's something somewhere saying that if you're going to use two rather different yarns in your warp, you should use two back beams, but I've just got my humble AKL, so I went ahead with it. You don't know if you don't try, right? (And to be honest, differences in tension has been the least of my problems.) So what I'm trying to say is this: the constant friction against the yarns by the rigid heddle (beating, changing sheds) caused a not very modest amount of shedding fibers: it was pilling. And fast.
I know you're all buddies, but give each other some space!
I shrugged it off, though. Pilling? No worries. I'll just advance the warp every couple of inches so the place of friction changes often enough for that to not be a problem. It kind of worked? But I'm really not sure if it's because of that, or because I clear the shed in the back and front of the reed with my hand after changing sheds before passing my shuttle through, or maybe because of all the miscellaneous items curiously dangling off the back of my table:

Wrenches, jewellery, film canisters, mini jam jars, you name it.
There are actually more issues (I had a lot of trouble keeping the selvedge even at first with clasped-weft, since both yarns were crazy sticky and resulted in a lot of pulling in when I just tried to pull everything into place; breaking warp threads did not stop at the beaming on stage: there are currently 6 broken warp threads in the section I'm working on right now, and that's not counting the thread that somehow got lost from the very start (I found that I had somehow missed a thread while threading the holes), or all the threads I've had to fix before this point, as well as the ones I will most likely have to fix from now on till the end), but it's a bit painful, so I'm going to stop. No amount of shedding (tears at this point, really) is going to get me a proper shed, after all.

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