Thursday, May 3, 2012

Textile Thursday *ahem* and Weaving Questions Answered

Ok so this Thursday kind of snuck up on me, I have been sick for most of the week so most of my work is still exactly where it was a week ago. My weaving scarf still isn't fixed and my knitting has not progressed an inch! So I will leave you with a short post and a wonderful picture of my loom FULLY warped!! 

Warp still attached to dowel

and on the loom


Isn't she gorgeous????? This yarn is an alpaca boucle yarn in blue, navy and grey. When this grows up it will be a toddler blanket of 32" x 42" and snuggly to boot. I am however a bit fearful that it will be too much like a towel but we will see. The yarn has been sitting in my stash for about a year now and its time to shine has come. (I was going to use a Logan's Run phrase here but I figured my sense of humour is an acquired one and I don't know you guys well enough yet!)

I guess I should use this post to answer some of the questions I have been getting about looms.

Is it really expensive?
To buy the loom like anything else it can be budgeted to what you can afford. You don't have to go for a 32 inch or 42 inch loom. Mine was around 190 euro but its the second biggest Rigid Heddle you can buy. The smaller looms are cheaper.

Weaving itself is as expensive as you make it. My Brown Sheep scarf was under 10 euro with the beads. the Noro scarf was 17.95 and done in an afternoon and my Opal scarf was just under ten. Yes my Christmas this year is sorted :)

Is it really difficult? 
No not really, I completely agree with most people that if you can knit you can weave. The thought process is similar, instead of using maths to size a garment to fit you, you size a rectangle or a square to what you want. Mostly its time, patience and logic is all you need. If your looking for a particular type of math or calculation for a project, I will do my best to point you in the right direction, remember Excel is your friend.

There are some great blog posts out there on weaving math and calculating warp and weft so I really don't want to take away from them. Haley Studio has an online calculator here and of course Weavolution has one here. Feministy has some Excel spreadsheets here just to name a few :)

I have a loom but I just can't put it together....
There are many manuals on the internet. Most importantly you need to find the manufactures mark, name or brand of your loom. All Ashford looms come with step by step instructions and then some YouTube videos just in case you *loose* the instructions, so I really can't recommend these guys enough though there are other types of looms out there. In this case search engines are your friend and you can always throw a post up on the forums of Weavolution, these guys are great. 

 Here in Ireland its hard to get your hands on a supplier so this is generally the limiting factor. Kromski (harp), Schacht and Cricket are all different brands of looms and obviously different prices. If your interested there are many comparison sites out there from people who have woven on a few looms for example spinninglizzy has some great pictures on the Kromski and Schacht looms. 

Can I weave with any yarn?
Well this depends on your loom, in particular your heddle (or reed) the dpi indicated on your reed with tell you the thickness of yarn (wpi) that you can use.  The knitters loom in particular comes with wide dents so that knitting yarn can be used, though some worsted weight and chunky yarns are going to give you an almost bulletproof fabric. So yes you can use your stash if you want. I know Master weavers will say that RH looms or lap looms are toys and in comparison to their art they are but your loom is either your profession or your hobby and how you use it is up to you. Craft is all about trial and error and don't let anyone tell you any differently, as long as your having fun and enjoying your project then keep on loomin'.

Are there Weaving patterns?
Yes they are called drafts and you can download some free ones from interweave from http://www.weavingtoday.com/. Ravelry has not opened up on drafts yet (crosses fingers and wishes really hard they will soon) but there is a section on peoples project pages where you can see what drafts they used. Again I'll point you in the direction of  Weavolution for some more drafts. 

Reading weaving charts is another matter entirely so I suggest taking a class if your really interested.

:) And that is it for today folks...
Please leave a comment if you have any more questions, I'll be more than happy to point you in a direction if I don't know the answer. 

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