Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Only 463 To Go
I loved the last towel I wove so much that I decided to make some more. The pattern is from Handwoven, March / April 2002, and features five towels that can be woven from the same warp. This means that I can "dress" (thread) the loom one time and get five different patterns from the dressing. This is very good as it takes a bit to get the loom ready. In fact, I already have three hours into these new towels and the loom isn't even dressed for weaving.
The pattern, for a 20" towel, takes 488 ends (threads). These are each six feet long. After they are each measured on a warping board or wheel (we have wheels -- me and Evelyn), they are carefully taken to the loom, put in a the little "cross holder" that Deniece made us, and then plucked off and tied to the warp still on the loom from the last towels.
If I were starting from scratch, I would have to thread the reed (the bit in the front that you see the threads tied against) and then again, following the pattern, through the heddles (you can't see these in this picture; I'll try to get another one when I have the loom dressed so you can see it). Then, the threads are tied to the back beam and carefully wound around the beam until it is nearly all taken up. Next, the threads are tied to the front beam, tension checked, a header woven to separate the threads, and then, off you go!
While this seems very tedious, once the loom is dressed, it is possible to weave forever, if you like the pattern, from the one dressing. As much as I love these towels, it is possible that I will see if it is true.
The fiber I am using is a French linen, a little thicker than a good quilting thread. Before you think I am extravagent, I purchased the leftover fiber from a guild member when she finished a project. I have just enough for the warp (the bit I am doing now). The weft, which is what I will weave with, is different in colour, being a more creamy beige. However, I think the two will blend nicely. We'll see. If I don't like it, I can always use another fiber for the next towel.
As I sit working on loom Roanoke / Evelyn, I think about our great-grandmas and their spinning and weaving for their families. Do you know that in just one day of spinning just the yarn for enough material for a dress a woman would walk more than 20 miles using a walking wheel (that great big wheel -- think "Little House on the Prairie")? Then, after all that walking, she would have to dress a loom with more than 25 miles of thread before she could even begin to weave the fabric that she would process into garments. Makes shopping seem so, well, easy, doesn't it?
What are you working on these days? Are you keeping your "hands to work and hearts to God"?