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Archive for December, 2019

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Ruining a large warp is on a par with falling off of a horse. Having done both, I can tell you that this is a truth.

Another truism is that when you fall off of a horse, you have got to get up and get back on as soon as possible, or you will never do it. I was a teenager when, during a horseback riding lesson, the belt of my sweater came loose and its flapping against the horse’s side drove her up a wall, and she took off with me. And though I usually, at that time, had to be told to loosen up the reins, this was the one day I’d had them not only loose, but too loose, so when she bolted, I had no control. I fell. And I distinctly remember watching her rear left hoof pass my face by inches.

I wasn’t hurt, not even bruised, particularly thanks to the fact that said hoof did not come down on my head, but the terror of watching it flash by the way it did made quite the impression on my psyche. As in, no one was easily getting me back in her saddle.

Her name was Penelope, a pretty little dark chestnut mare who was really as sweet as pie, but falling off her, though the fault was more mine than hers, changed my view of her into that of a slavering monster who wanted to kill me, and everyone wanted me to get back on??!!

I did, though, that same day. It was that, or give up horses forever. Given that I love horses, that was not an option. And though I shivered and cried, I got back up on Penelope and finished the lesson. But, obviously, I have never forgotten that view of the underside of her hoof while lying on the ground beneath it.

Ruining a warp as big as the one I’d made was very like that. Not terrifying in the I’m-about-to-die way, but traumatic nonetheless. The largest warp I’d ever done previously was probably no bigger than 125 ends, if that, and I didn’t ruin it. This is the first time I’ve ever tried to create a large warp, and it looked so pretty on the warping mill. I was so proud of myself, never dreaming that I’d done it wrong, and that made the following discovery that much more traumatic. Add the fact that I wasn’t using an inexpensive yarn, and you have more insecurity still. Ruining a cheaper warp hurts, but you can shrug it off a little bit easier. Ruining expensive yarn that you can’t readily replace is a different story. It makes me want to go back to just hoarding the yarn rather than using it.

I haven’t created a new warp yet. I’ve played with the idea for a few days, and then I received an excuse in the mail: stainless steel rings for a commissioned chain. Now that, I’ve already begun, as you can see. But the excuse won’t last for very long; the pattern I’m doing is one I can do in my sleep, and the only reasons it’s going to take me a little longer than usual is that it’s longer than I’ve done before, and it’s stainless steel which, barring grade 1 titanium, is the hardest material on my hands I’ve ever worked with. I can only add a few segments at a time, before needing to rest my hands. So that’s the current excuse for not getting back on the horse yet, so to speak. And if I don’t get the chain done fast enough, the next excuse will be getting ready for Yule. It is around the corner, after all, and I am the chief cook and present-wrapper. We haven’t even gotten the tree out of the garage yet.

I will try to finish the chain quickly, because I do intend to get back on the horse and take note of the lesson I learned. Like horses, I love weaving too much to give it up.

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Ambition can be a good thing. It can push you to work harder at something, make you do something outside your normal comfort zone, do something entirely new.

It can also, as in this case, be a bad thing.

I wanted to weave a twill. I had a pattern chosen from a book of 8 shaft patterns. And I wanted to use the good thread that I’d been hoarding against the day that I started to use a big floor loom, so I pulled out a very pretty teal linen for the warp. 32 wraps per inch (WPI). For the project, the warp was going to be a little over 6 feet long. The finished project would be about 20 inches wide, and I was using a 12 dent per inch (DPI) reed. That means that with the thread I was planning, there would be multiple threads per heddle and per dent. So my project needed 432 threads.

It almost sounds like I know what I’m doing, doesn’t it?

Well, I didn’t. First, I wound what I thought was a beautiful warp in 100 strand bouts, with the final bout being 32 strands. That took me three days, with one thing and another. I took a day away from it, then yesterday started to dress the loom.

This is when I discovered that I hadn’t paid enough attention to the video tutorial on using the warping mill. I don’t know how to explain what I did. Suffice it to say that as a result of that snafu, this warp is a thorough mess, and there is no saving it. Once again, I am back to the beginning, and I am furious with myself. The first time was one thing. I wasn’t happy about it, but it was my first time, and it was inexpensive cotton.

Linen ain’t cheap. And 432 ends means I used a good portion of the cone. Yeah, I’m feeling a touch peeved with myself. But I am determined to not only get this right, but for it to become less of a chore to dress a loom. So I am starting again, gorram it!!

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