Sunday, October 18, 2015

Dogs: Weaving and Otherwise

Scottish weaver Shielagh Tacey's
"assistant," Aggie.
   dog (noun). 1) a domesticated carnivorous mammal that typically has a long snout, an acute sense of smell, and a barking, howling, or whining voice. It is widely kept as a pet or for work or field sports. 2) a warp on a loom that is proving difficult or less than interesting to weave off.

   I am dealing with a dog. I happen to like dogs--we had dogs when I was growing up, and we had a couple terriers for many years. A dog's happy, "Yay! Everything is great!" attitude meshes with my personality a lot better than the "I am ruler and you are staff" attitude of most cats. (Oddly, I've been "where food comes from" for a series of cats over the past 40 years. I may not be terribly fond of cats, but they seem to like me.)
   Dogs usually go with weaving. We trained our dogs to stay out of the studio (and the kitchen), but I could leave the studio door open, and they would lie in the hall, watching me from the doorway. There's just something nice about that kind of supervision--perfectly happy to monitor what I might be doing, but always ready to jump up and go for a walk, even if it was just downstairs to check the mail and get a drink from the kitchen.
Sixteen towels (and the sample).
   However, the dog I'm dealing with isn't a four-legged friend, it's a weaving problem. For some reason, I decided that a 35-yard warp wouldn't be that terrible to weave off. Yes, 35 yards is a bit longer than most of the warps I weave, but I'm limited by what will fit in the washing machine as a single load, and more than 20-22 yards doesn't fit. But this warp is towels: I can cut the woven towels off at some point before I get to the end.
   I put this warp on the loom in July--it's now mid-October, and I'm still working on it. Part of the reason was being laid up for nearly a month with a torn Achilles tendon, but I've been out of a cast for 6 weeks, and I'm still staring at this same warp. Another part of the problem is how Mongo is behaving. I'm having some problems with the friction brake--the cable is binding up and not releasing when I step on the brake to release it--but I've already spent several hours messing with it and don't want to spend more time while I still have a "money" warp on the loom.
   Another part of the problem is the tension: it simply isn't as even as I like. I didn't use the warping wheel to measure out this warp--instead, I used my tension box and creel. It's a quick, easy way to get a warp onto a loom, but I don't don't like the results: the tension is a bit uneven in spots, and while it doesn't affect the appearance of the cloth, it's making me crazy. I don't want to work on it, and I'll come up with nearly any excuse (including doing the ironing, which I detest)
to not sit down and throw a shuttle.
   I'm somewhere north of 65% on the warp: 16 towels are on the cloth beam, and it's starting to bug me that my knees are hitting the roll of cloth. That normally doesn't bother me, but this is a dog, so everything about it is irritating. I'll weave a couple yardsticks into a new header, then cut off and wet-finish the towels. Then I'll get back to work on this dog, and see if I can get those last 8 to 10 towels woven off.

On The Looms: Fancy Twill Napkins and Huck Towels, all out of 8/2 cotton.
On The Needles: Heliotaxis Shawl out of cashmere (lace knitting); My Favorite Scarf out of handspun Romney-Coopworth (drunk knitting).