Another strap started. This one I chose to do in black and red perle cotton, and I’m now working on a clear plastic clipboard. It anchors the work perfectly, with the added bonus that I can see through it to the book beneath. It doesn’t get any better than that!
This one will be a good bit longer than the others; I’m hoping to use it as a tassel belt for Aneira. If all goes well, there will be a diamond pattern in the very center, with chevrons to each side of it. So far, not so bad. The chevrons on the present working side are going pretty well, although using black might have been a tiny mistake. The lighting in my studio is not the best all the time, so seeing which thread I need to work next is difficult when the color is so dark.
I have figured out the secret to working a successful chevron though. When I’m doing the chevrons, my bottom shed always has the outermost threads, so when it’s time to change sheds, the first thread I pick up always comes from the bottom. In a chevron, your weft weaves from the center outward; you’re taking two threads from the very center of the piece. The one on the right goes through the shed to the left, the one on the left weaves through to the right, leaving a gap in your upper shed. When you reach that gap during the change of shed, once you pick up the last upper thread before the gap, you’re going to pick up two threads before continuing to change the rest of your shed.
I don’t know if I’m explaining this clearly. Let’s try this. Let’s say you have a piece consisting of sixteen threads, which is eight upper (U), and eight lower (L). Your upper shed will only have six, because your two upper center threads have gone on a trip through the shed in two different directions, leaving the aforementioned gap. Starting from your outermost thread on the lower shed, you’re going to switch them out. Uppers are going to become lowers. So you’re working this way:
The two Ls you just picked up in the center become the two center Us, which will be the next ones to go on vacation through the shed in opposite directions, leaving a new gap.
It might help if I explained quickly how you’re going to change the sheds in the first place. Your warp threads will be in one hand, held separately so that you can see which are upper and lower. You’re going to use the index and middle fingers of your other hand to pick up each thread of the warp. Your index finger always picks up the lower shed, your middle the upper. Whichever shed has the outermost thread, use the corresponding finger to pick up that thread and work your way across the warp until you have all the threads on those two fingers. The two vacationing threads are not included; they should be up out of the way.
Look at your fingers. Between them, there’s a cross, right? Take your free hand, and slide your index finger into the space occupied by your other index finger. Slide your first index finger down to separate the threads, while leaving the second in place to keep upper and lower separated. You’ve now changed sheds.
Let me just say, learning to change sheds alone was a royal pain. It doesn’t feel natural, and you will fumble it a whole lot before you get it right. Well, you might have better luck than me, actually, and get it right away.
I honestly didn’t mean to turn this into a tutorial. I tend to think of tutorials as being made by people with some expertise, people not me. I’m no better than a novice myself. Truly told, it’s probably more honest to say that I aspire to be a novice! My original intent was just to write down my own observations of what I was doing, for anyone interested in trying it, and somehow it turned into a tutorial. So I hope it helps, and if it doesn’t, let me know, and I’ll see if I can explain it better!