Projects, stories, memories and myths of knitting and crafts

Thursday, 23 June 2011

An accidental pleasure.

Somehow I hurt my arm. I awoke on Tuesday morning with it offering me pain and little movement. This meant no knitting, no weaving and no spinning. I moped around on the couch all day, watching meaningless television, feeling very sorry for myself.

That evening, I was on the Ravelry forums and I saw that one of the members had posted a woven band. I had been watching her work for a couple of weeks. It had lead me to download Laverne Waddington's ebook, Andean Pebble Weave which I had glanced at. I looked at her work and inspiration struck. It was small, easy and would not require wide arm movements.

I have been wanting to try this. I had discussed it with my weaving teacher. She told me that on the day that Andean Pebble Weave was taught, she was struck with altitude sickness. So I knew I was on my own.

As it turns out, I was not. Laverne has an amazing blog with great advice, instructions and tutorials on it.
You can find it here if you would like to take a look.

Yesterday morning, having read all the info on getting started and the finding the Backstap Group on Ravelry and explored that too, I rummaged around the house to find bits to fashion into a backstap loom.

I found a wealth of bits, the best being an old tapestry frame that I could use as the main frame.

I got my ancient inherited warping board out and wound a 26"warp in No 5 crochet cotton, with a cross in the middle, according to Laverne's instructions for double weave.  I decided to dive in at the deep end and try this first even though easier projects are recommended. I have woven double weave on my loom so I felt confident.

I inserted wooden skewers as cross sticks and taped them together before removing the warp from the board. I placed the warp ends on 2 large wooden double pointed knitting needles that I seldom use, one on either side and attached them to the pieces of the tapestry frame.

I do not have many heavy pieces of furniture in the house and my body does not allow me to sit on the floor for long periods of time anymore so I had to improvise a tie on area where I could sit comfortably supported in a chair. A dining room chair proved to be perfect and I added ballast by using Borneo's current carving project (that is a chameleon emerging from the wood) in its huge vice grip.

Now I was ready to tie myself in and start. That chair did not budge.

The first step was to make the heddles.

These open the shed to weave in.

I then got so excited that I forgot to take any more photographs of the process but here is my first row of weaving albeit it a bit blurred

and then it grew to this....

I had to leave home at this stage to attend a friend's birthday celebrations. This is how I left my loom hanging.

You can see all the improvised equipment quite nicely. The three small shuttles tied together at the top are the shed stick. They work very well because they can be secured in the yarn hole. The heddles are secured on another wooden skewer. The bigger shutter below is my beater which is holding the shed so that I know where I am when I start this morning, and the final shuttle next to the warp beam provides space for the fringe which I want at the bottom of the band.

I think it will be 2 key fobs when it grows up, or maybe a book mark or maybe I will just sit and admire it.... I am undecided.

This has been one of the most rewarding experiences that I have had. It has been doubly pleasing as it is such a versatile technique and is mobile.

I loved that everything I needed was available in the house and I did not need to purchase anything. I did buy cotton as I wanted stronger colours than I had in my stash. It all came together beautifully.

I struggled with the start as a result of my laziness and inability to read instructions properly!! I was, however, able to figure it out and then I saw that it was all there in black and white. READ THE INSTRUCTIONS PROPERLY. In my haste to start weaving, I skipped a couple of vital paragraphs.

Thank you, Laverne, for your wonderful instructions and your advice on the Ravelry group. It has made this so much fun.

I am off now to attempt a pattern....