Monday, March 30, 2015

Weaving Around

          Sooooo, I just purposely deleted a half-finished (incredibly funny, of course) post from 5 months ago. It was all about those dishtowels I showed you the wound warp pictures of.  Since then I can hardly believe how many projects I have done on my lovely, mid-century vintage Arthur A. Allen folding floor loom.  Which brings me to a big sigh.


          I need to sell it.  The good news is that it is because I love weaving so much that I have purchased a different loom.  I am hoping that I have moved up a mini-notch on the loom ladder and not just betrayed my one true love.  Time will tell.


          So this post is going to be all about how I have improved and woven on this loom for my exciting first year of discovery of weaving around the weaving world. It may well need to turn into several posts. Or if I do manage it all at once, feel free to skim and/or read it over several visits!

          I bought this loom and immediately signed up for a 3 day intermediate weaving class at fiber arts retreat called Fiber In The Forest, run by the local weaving shop, The Eugene Textile Center.  I figured I had better whip something out pretty quickly at home in Rose Cottage before driving into the wilds of Oregon with it to be sure I could get the thing to function at all!
Weaving Tips I learned from this project:
*Handwoven dish-towels are 110% better than store-bought.
*I love weaving!

In the collage below, look at the pictures counterclockwise starting with the cones of yarn on the stairs
Weaving tips I learned from this project: 
*You can take apart your teeny warping board and screw it to your fence to make it larger. 
 *You can also use it to hold your reed on a table to sley the reed.
 *Using 2 very different threads in your warp is extremely difficult because they would be happier with different tensions. 
*Doubleweave weaving is difficult, but fun.  
*You CAN do a 3/1 treading on this loom even though it is counterbalance, but you have to watch the shed carefully (especially if you can't get the tension tight enough). 
*Madelyn VanDerHooght is an excellent teacher.
*This loom needed a little TLC and rehabilitation.

      So, upon return from Fiber in The Forest I set about the beginning of the loom rehabilitation.  Overall it was in great shape, but the wax cotton cords for the treadle tie ups, roller bars/harness hangers were gross and hard to handle.  Also, the brake didn't work very well, which really contributed to my tension problems.  Over the course of the year I managed to fix all of those things to my great satisfaction (just in time to sell it). This collage makes it look like it was all really fast, but it took several projects to identify problems, a lot of head scratching, trips to various shops and plenty of help with tool loans and a second set of hands from my handy husband.
Arthur A. Allen Counterbalance Loom Rehabilitation Tips:
*Don't try super-gluing sandpaper around your back beam to increase friction on the friction brake. It helps for about 5 minutes, then you can't get it off easily.
*Heater hose from your local funky auto parts store is the perfect replacement for the rubber tubing.
*Use a couple of zip-ties to replace the wax-string wrapping that keeps the tube bent around the bolt (you'll understand this only if you are actually rehabilitating one of these).
*Attach the brake tubing to the spring with a tiny cheap something that opens--try various size carabiners--to get the exact right tension and make it easy to remove rather than lashing the darn thing through the spring-end-hole (again, this will only make sense if you really need it to)
*You don't need little plastic connectors for Texsolv cords.  Use loops (see top center) and the holes.
* I re-inforce sewed the apron/wavy metal rod then lashed on a hollow 1/2" aluminum rod cut to length for a normal apron rod (you can see a tiny end of it sticking out of the cardboard by the brake)  You could remove the canvas aprons, but I like to keep as much intact on vintage things as possible.
*It's worth it and you feel good about yourself when you accomplish little mechanical tasks.

          Wow, I feel like I am starting to weave around nearly literally after staring at the computer screen so long.  Perhaps now is a good time to pause and publish. Given my previous record on "coming right back" to the blog, perhaps I should end with one shot of the loom in full, just in case I don't make it back super soon. If you have any specific questions about any of these things, shoot me a comment!

Now, wouldn't she look cute in YOUR craft space?

Fleece out,

Friday, March 13, 2015

Vitamin D Deficiency Prescription

Around the darkest days of the year we got a wild hair (hare?) to visit Hawaii. 
We started North of Kailua-Kona at Puako Bay.
There were strawberries at the Waimea (Big Island) Farmers' Market.
Not to mention bananas, papaya, rambutan, oranges and lillikoi (passionfruit).
It was Mid-January.
We saw honu (turtles) and whales.
I practiced Tunisian Crochet on the beach.
We smiled A LOT.

Then we got in our little rental car and drove around the north side of the island to Pahoa.  On the way we saw Akaka Falls where someone had left a little yarn bomb friendship ring on the rail.  
One of the highlights of the whole trip was seeing brand brand new bits of Earth's crust.  Excitingly, it is headed right for the little town of Pahoa where our friends live.  No big rush or danger, but it may well cut off the highway in a while, and after that, only Pele knows which way she will flow, or if she will stop and simply head elsewhere. 

While we were in the area we went to the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden. 
There are a lot of invasive plants and species thriving in Hawaii, and most of the botanic garden was non-native, but it was a pleasant way to  spend a few hours.
Two cuties pies were spotted amongst the ferns and bromeliads.

  After Hilo/Pahoa we kept going south on the ring road to visit the center of Pele's domain at Volcanoes National Park. On the way we saw where she had obliterated a favorite black sand surfing beach and an entire semi-occupied subdivision in the 1980s and 1990s (maybe you watched this on a National Geographic special) and replaced it with fresh pahoehoe and a new mini-black-sand beach.

On to Volcano!
Steam vents!
Sulfur Dioxide!
Hydrogen Sulfide!
Magma glow!

Volcanoes National Park is not overly huge, but there is plenty for a few days.  
The next day we drove down the chain of Craters Road.
 We stopped at a Lava tube within a native Ohia Tree forest.
We leaned that the fluffy stuff from new fern fronds was used for nice soft bandages and such. 
We saw pictographs, which are largely associated with blessings of new babies. 
We saw every shape of lava imaginable.
 Best of all, we saw Nene which are an endangered native goose.

      We continued to continue southward. Stopping at yet another black sand beach (yes, the sand gets really really hot),  I watched a sea turtle haul itself out to bask (I think I stayed 30 feet away like the sign said, so the zoomed in photo may be a little pixelated).  Then we drove out a tiny one lane road to South Point.
  Southernmost point in the U.S.  
Next stop, Tahiti. 

Our last few days were spent south of Kailua-Kona at a nice B&B, Kawa'aloa Plantation. We chilled out, watched geckos check out my collection of  new Tunisian Crochet, gecko colored dishrags,  and watched sunsets before heading back home to good old dark Eugene. 

It was just what the doctor ordered.

To be taken annually for best results.