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Color Gamp Blanket

Where does my time go?  Wasn't it just Monday like yesterday?  That kind of sums up my week.  So much going on, all of it good.  Including my weaving class.

20100328_ColorGampBlanket.jpgI am finally weaving my color gamp blanket.  I also finally understand what it means to throw a shuttle!  I've got 40" of fabulous weaving width to cover with every shot. 

I love love love weaving on the dobby loom.  It makes the production crafter in me sing!  It's so easy to develop a rhythm and just go.  The use of treadles makes me incredibly happy.  The same feeling I get as when I spin, with hands and feet in motion together.  Dobby looms aren't quite the same as other looms when it comes to treadling (the treadling is more about advancing the pattern and there are only two treadles, the one that raises the harnesses and the one that advances the pattern).

The gamp itself is interesting to look at.  From this direction, it looks as if the color in the warp threads is dominant and as if the weft threads hardly even matter.

When you look at the warp from the weaving position, the weft is much more prominent.  I believe this has to do with the reflective qualities of the 3/2 cotton I'm weaving with. 

The pattern is a huck lace variation separated by plain weave.   Simple, but effective.  In fact, I like it enough that I am considering finishing up the weaving on this project and then tying on another warp in my favorite colors and making a longer blanket.  This one is baby sized, but it would be nice to have one that was a longer throw.  This project is a delight to weave, and is weaving up quickly, thus providing gratification to many of my senses at once.

And it's really making me want a big ol' floor loom. 

Y'all won't mention that to my husband, right?

Tied, Sleyed and Pegged

Amazing how in the wrong context, weaving verbs can sound a bit... off color. 

Dobby looms, such as this AVL, are essentially primitive computers using technology not all that different from punch cards -- or even old fashioned music boxes.  Pegs are placed in the holes in the sticks.  The sticks are attached to a pair of bands in treadling order and wrapped around a drum.  As the drum advances, the sticks advance and the miniature "treadles" are pressed, resulting in the raising of the shafts represented by the pegs.  There are only two treadles, and treadling is a two step process.  Depressing the right treadle advances the drum and raises the shafts.  Depressing the left treadle releases the shafts so the cycle can start again.

As you might imagine, the geek girl in me was enjoying setting this up a great deal, even if I did develop a blister from yanking all those pegs in and out of the sticks with pliers.  The weaving process has not yet begun (and won't for two weeks since I'm out of town next Thursday), but pretty much everything is set to go now.  It's just a matter of adjusting the final tension and treadling away.

P.S.  I'm going to be in Washington, D.C. Wednesday morning through Friday afternoon.   From what I can tell, my hotel is in the area near the National Zoo.  Any suggestions for "can't miss" attractions in the area?  Or good restaurants?  Good restaurants are really a plus.  I have no idea how much free time I'll really have -- likely not very much since I'm traveling for business.  But, just in case, I want to have some ideas on deck. It's been so long since I've been in the D.C. area -- I think the last time was high school -- so I'm actually looking forward to it.  Even if the weather isn't likely to be any better there than it is here in Chicago.

Putting the Heddles to the Mettle

Once you have your warp all ready to go, it's time to start this:

20100205_HeddleThreading1.jpgI have now started enough weaving projects to realize that I really don't mind warping looms.  If you need to clear your head and refocus, warping a loom is a perfect activity.   At one level, it's very "lock and load", the tasks are simple and repetitive, hands are engaged.  On another level, you are forced to keep both brain and hands in action, especially if the pattern you need to use when threading your heddles has a longer repeat.  For the color gamp project I am working on, the final product will be a huck lace blanket.  Each section is made up of 40 threads of the same color and the heddle threading pattern is 40 ends wide.  It's memorizable, but you have to pay attention.   I've done the heddle threading for all but the last two color sections (I could have kicked myself when I found that I left my camera at home last night) and I've had to pull the threads out and re-start on three or four of the colors because I found that I was off somewhere.   Whenever I let my mind drift off, it's easy for something to get out of whack.

And that makes this the perfect perfect project for me right now.  There's a lot spinning around in my head these days and projects like this help me put that stuff into another compartment and keep me centered -- not to mention provide me with some color therapy... Chicago has been nothing if not unremittingly grey this winter. 

I'm also making good headway on my Blooming 9 Patch.  All the strips have been sewn and I'm starting on the process of sewing them together.  I got three of them sewn together yesterday and looking at them made me feel so good!  The lines and seams are mostly where they should be and the colors are just blowing me away.   And like the weaving project, this project requires focus now, careful pinning and careful sewing. 

John's Aspinwall is coming together, too.   It actually looks like a real sweater and it is now clear that I won't run out of yarn.   A collar, a zipper, the sewing in of ends and a good blocking are really all that stand between this sweater and it's owner.

I know my blog posts have been a bit infrequent of late... I appreciate those of you who are bearing with me on this.  I do enjoy your comments any your email and hope to get a little better at being regular on posting and responding soon.


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