Sonntag, 3. April 2016

finally Abotanicity!


Spring is about to come and a perfect autumn wool dress is finished.

I started it 3 years ago.
Shame on me. But it is no longer an UFO. Finished.

Abotanicity. Originally a free sweater pattern from Knitty. But from the start I knew that I was going to make a dress out of it.

I used 4 skeins of Wollmeise "Türkise Markise".
This is definitly a dress for cloudy days when you need some colour in your life.

Sonntag, 27. März 2016

Monsieur Lapin


...weaving is still in progress. I like to weave with daylight and the busy time it mostly at the weekend. So far I think half of the warp is done.

In some of the still dark early spring evenings I like to knit. And for this Easter I did some crocheting. This is the handicraft I like the least. It is very easy and although it´s been very popular over the last years I dont´t like it that much. I am a big fan of Sewing, Knitting and Weaving. Decades ago I did some lace crotcheting for my mother-in-law.
And than never again. Until now.

Inspired by "Mollie makes" I did the cover bunny- Monsieur Lapin.

But without the moustache and with embroidered eyes- it was a present for my little granddaughter.

Have a nice time with your family and friends and enjoy the weekend!

Sonntag, 13. März 2016

Threading finished and Weaving has started


...this posting will mainly show pictures. I explained a lot so far. There is so much to consider and I only told you the basics. And I still have to learn so much.

Weaving is easy and the preperation for easy weaving is very labor-intensive and needs regular practice and a lot of experience. You wind and beam and make knots, always with the desire to keep every single thread in the same tension.

What I did so far:
  • started the threading of the heddles again (second mistake so far: threading of heddles only when all necessary threads are beamed!) and did it with 2 warps together.
  • Put the heddles in the middle of the loom, the warps at the left side and thread the heddles on the appropriate shaft


After threading the heddles I installed the reed again. Then every single end has to be threaded again- one thread per dent. Here the reed in front of the loom- all treads are still behind.

I was so concentrated that I forgot taking pictures while threading the reed. But I can show you first pictures of the weaving.

In my opinion the fabric looks like a chanel fabric. Wondering what Karl L. would think...

I am already thinking of the trims. Black? Grey? 4 Pockets? Which buttons?
And maybe I will change the pattern because of the horizontal stripes of the fabric.
Here are the two options of Vogue patterns of Claire Shaeffer:

Vogue 8804

Vogue 8991

And it is not just easy weaving. Every 3-4 inch I have to take care that all stripes are at the same hight. Because the tension of the warps is not 100% equal. :-(

Therefore I work with a fork. Maybe the first weaver? Maybe not :-)

Donnerstag, 10. März 2016

threading the loom


So far I was calling myself "advanced beginner".
And when I started beaming the second warp I felt as stupid as can be.

Normally every loom has one beam for one warp. In case you have different yarns it is best to wind 2 warps and beam them due to the different tensions of the yarn separately.
Here the Ashford loom: the normal beam with white and the attached second beam with black yarn. When I started to think of weaving my own fabric with not one type of yarn only I never thought about the order of beaming the two warps...

copyright Ashford Handicrafts ; second back beam

So I decided to start with the thinner yarn ( a very stable mix of cotton and Poly as a warp backbone) and did the beaming on the new second beam placed at the end of the loom. And I had to do it twice because the first beaming was not done properly. And thanks to the friendly yarn- the re-beaming and second beaming went fine!
Then I did the second winding on the warping frame with the boucle yarn- which I already showed you -and when I put the queue of yarn from the front to the rattle in the back, unraveled the bundle of yarn and fixed the 2 necessary sticks in the threading cross, I realized my mistake. I could not reach the second beam from the top because the yarn of the first was in the way.

Lesson learned: Never start with the last beam on the end of your loom. Use the one closer to the front.

It took me 2 hours to resolve my mistake by bringing every yarn end separately from the stick of the threading cross -through the yarn of the beamed warp- to the desired beam.
In the end it went fine without the fiasco of a disappearing threading cross and I did also the beaming all by my self. With the left hand I held the bundle of yarn and with the right hand I moved the wheel to wrap the yarn around the beam.

You see two warps on two beams at the back of the loom. The beamed yarns are protected by layers of paper and they both pass the raddle (big comb) which will be removed on a later time point.


To summarize the whole project so far (in case you got confused with all the writing):
  1. calculation of the warp
  2. winding the warp on a warping frame (taking care of the threading cross!)
  3. beaming the warp from the front of the loom to the back (first seperating yarn ends on the rattle!)
  4. threading the loom- yes, this was the topic of the posting today, so lets go on...

Here you see the ends of my warp (nearly all the yarn is already on the beam) of the boucle yarn.

I told you that the winding had to be done with equal tension. And I did my best to also achieve the beaming with equal power. But the ends are not having the same length as they should. I did some calculations and the statistics are not that bad:
I was winding 6,3 m in length and the difference of one winding to another is approximately 10cm. Therefore my deviation is under 2%. The yarn is also a little flexible and so equal winding went quite good. For an advanced beginner...


And now finally- threading the loom with help of heddles is bringing every yarn end in connection with shafts. They lift or lower the yarn in the weaving process. In general I have the opportunity to work with 8 shafts which allow a great variety of designs. For this chanel-like project I will use only 4 shafts.

The thinner white yarn is threaded already by using heddles in shaft 1 and 2
The fluffy boucle will be threaded using heddles in shaft 3 and 4
for a total of 222 yarn ends.  
I am using a heddle hook to bring every yarn in the eye of each heddle.
And I combined every 5 yarns with a loosly knot to keep them them in front.

The fluffy mohair is still lying over the shafts and tomorrow I will put it also in the appropriate heddles.

and then there is almost one step left in preparing the loom which will be explained in the next posting- threading the reed.
                                            be continued!

Samstag, 5. März 2016

winding the warp and beaming one


...when I learned one thing so far-do not trust the labels of wool balls. The stated length of 150m per ball was incorrect. Winding with the calculated 4 balls of wool I realised the mistake at the end- when only 4 ends were missing...
Therefore I had to order one more ball of wool for the second warp. And because of that I can´t finish beaming this weekend.
Patience. When you need one thing in being creative- patience.


But I will show you the progress so far and I am happy with my work.
Here you see the warp on my warping frame. To achieve even tension I took the yarn in my left hand an did the winding around the pegs with the right one. It felt like doing some kind of rhythmic dance while moving the hips from left to right and back...

Very important are two crosses of yarn you have to make, at the beginning and the end of your desired length. This will keep the order of the windings. With just straight winding around the pegs you would not be able to find your first round or any other.

There are some options to start as a beginner.
You can
  • take weaving lessons
  • read books (recommended in my last post)
  • follow detailed instructions of your loom manual. When I purchased my Ashford loom I got this nice little book which is of very great help. 

  •  or look for videos. Here are the 2 videos from Ashford Handicrafts which I can recommend and they describe my work so far with the same loom I am using:

Winding a warp

Bringing the warp on your loom

For the first of my 2 necessary warps I purchased enough yarn although I was lucky because there were only some few yards left.
Here you see the whole warp yarn lying in front of my loom ready for beaming. The blue yarn ends are keeping the warp yarns together. And most important: they fix the threading cross I mentioned above! 

I started the beaming of the warp from the back of the loom:
With the help of a fixed raddle (a very big comb you only need for beaming) I put all warping yarn to a width of 70cm in the order I did the winding and fixed the yarn loops with the help of a stick at the back beam. Then holding the bundle of yarn with even tension- done by my husband in front -I did the winding of the beam at the back of the loom.


Here you see the back of the loom:

the beam with yarn (and layers of paper and card sticks which seperates and protects the yarn layers) on it and on top the raddle which keeps the yarns ends in the appropriate distance to each other.



The first warp beaming is done so far, all the yarn is rolled on one beam (with hopefully even tension):




When the additional wool ball for the second warp will arrive I am starting to do the same beaming procedure with the fluffy yarn on the second beam. And for that purpose the raddle will not be removed. The two yarn types will lay together on the raddle and in the next steps the warp will be finished as one.

Threading the loom will be title of the next posting.
Putting the yarn ends through the appropriate heddles.
Heddles? I will explain it, don´t worry! be continued!

Sonntag, 28. Februar 2016

wrong e.p.i. and measure the warp part 2


Thank you for your response and the nice comments about my weaving experiment!

Yesterday morning I actually wanted to start with measuring my warp yarns. Impatiently I was waiting for the parcel with additional ordered wool and after a call at the shop and a predicted delay I changed my schedule.
To be sure if my calculations were right I started another weaving sample and cut it from the cardboard to see if the fabric is somehow comparable to the boucle in my stash.

To thin even for a summer boucle! I have to increase the ends per inch in my warp.


And there was another problem I did not consider so far:
My design of 3 white viscose and two grey boucle yarns for the warp has to fit in the appropriate reed.

What is a reed?
It is like a comb with a defined number of dents (depending on the fabric you are weaving) and while weaving you beat the weft yarns closely to each other. Ideally there should be as much ends per inch as dents per inch not to create marks in your fabric.

In this perfect Youtube video I found (copyright by brentusfirmus) you can see the beating with the reed to keep the fabric equally dense.

So, what went wrong so far?
With an calculated e.p.i. of 6 , a reed with 8 d.p.i. and a pattern of 5 yarns (OOOXX) I realised a big problem in equal distribution of the ends even with the possibility of free dents in my reed.

 To make it not to complicated for you to follow:
  • I had to increase the e.p.i. from 6 to 8 anyway with another design: OOXOxOXO (O=white viscose; Xx=2 different boucles). With this option I have 3 boucle yarns instead of 2 in one inch and this should increase the density of the fabric.
  • and I had a closer look at the fabric. In a balanced weaving you see as much weft yarns as warp yarns. If you use a fluffy mohair in your warp it should be visible on top. If you cover it with too much weft yarn it is a waste of money. Making sketches I realised which yarn should be more visible and which order of yarns and color is the most flattering. And I am limited by the yarns I already purchased and ordered so far. With a greater variety of different yarn types it would have been easier. Or not. It´s really hard to decide how the fabric should look like and how the densitity is perfect.

  • I will not use the pink yarn. I don´t like it. I will replace it with a mix of different grey yarns.
  • Then there is another issue which has to be considered from the beginning: every loom is capable of lifting  appropriate yarns in the weaving process. Shafts are those devices that will lift or lower warp yarns. You need at least 2 of them to achieve a fabric. Here you see a fabric I did with 8 shafts like with the loom in the video above. The more possibilities to lift different warp yarns- the bigger the variety of designs. 

For my boucle I will use 4 shafts only. And each of the 8 yarn positions (remember? 8 yarns per inch) already has a shaft number.   

O O X O x O X O
 2  1  4  1 3  1 4  1

So when lifting shaft No.1 you can see which yarns will be lifted. The process of connecting the yarn with the appropriate shaft will be explained at a later timepoint.

I know this is a bit too much information for someone who is not familiar with the technique.
Once you start your own first project this maybe will of some help...


With sunshine the whole day and opened windows I cleaned my weaving place on the attic and prepared everything for the next week. My husband was of great help fixing the second back beam on my table loom. With two very different warp yarns this is a good way of beaming them with optimal tension for each yarn. Beaming? Yes, I also will explain this later.

Here you see my warping frame already prepared with a cotton thread of 6,30m as a guideline for the yarn. be continued!
I am trying to write as little as necessary to make it not too complicated. Stay tuned- it will get easier once I have achieved the masterplan! :-)

Donnerstag, 25. Februar 2016

Measure the warp


The work for my first handmade chanellike fabric is about to proceed- I am very excited!
But there is also the fear of failure. I am an advanced beginner in weaving.
Is there really a chance to weave something comparable to a chanel tweed?
My chances are increasing with good preperation and calculation.
So let´s start!


Until one is able to weave the first row of werp (Schuss) there is the need of calculate the amount of yarn, setting up the warp (Kette) with even tension, bringing it on the loom (Webrahmen) and fixing everything the right way.

Even Tension and a perfect prepared warp -the keys to succesful weaving

First I will explain my warp calculations and the desired amount of fabric I would like to weave:


I copied all the pattern pieces of my Vogue jacket (1 piece only per required pattern number) and laid them on the floor simulating a fabric width of 27,6 inches (70cm). Of course I want to avoid too much waste when cutting my precious fabric.
By keeping a little space between the patterns in case of a rapport and considering shrinkage by quilting with the lining I finally calculated 2,51 yards (2,30m).

2,51 yards (2,30m) x 2 ( two pieces of every pattern) = 5,03 yards (4,60m) length of fabric

  • adding 10% of  take up = 5,53 yards (5,06m) 
         (take up = yarns go over and under each other- this will need more yarn for the distance you
  • adding 10% shrinkage after washing = 6,01 yards (5,50m)
  • adding loom waste of 0,82 yards (75cm) = 6,83 yards (6,25m)

I have to calculate yarn for a fabric of 0,77 yard (70cm) x 6,9 yards (6,30m)!

These two beautiful yarns I chose for my warp:

left: Lana Grossa Bambolino Lux (shown as x)
right: ON Line Linie 352 Sunlace (shown as o)

The warp yarn will alternate on the warp in the following way: ooo xx ooo xx ooo xx....

My project will have 6 e.p.i. (ends per inch).
6 yarns per inch= 6 warp yarns per 2,51cm

In case you don´t have a clue- just wrap warping thread around a ruler and decide how many threads you would like to have in one inch.
At first I was calculating with 7 ends per inch- but I am trying to avoid a very dense fabric.
I hopefully can manipulate with the weft yarns if everything is to loose. And in the end I will have an organza interfacing to stabilize my garment. Hope dies last :-).

For the desired width of 27,56 inches (70cm) I will need 168 yarn ends (6 yarns x4 x 7=70cm) plus additional 2 warp yarns at the left and the right side for the selvage ends of my fabric.

We are still not finished with math :-) 
How much yarn I will need in the end???

168 yarn ends x 6,9 yards (6,3m) = 1159 yards (1060m)
Therefore I need 463,7 yards (424m) of xx (Bambolino) and 695,5yards (636m) of ooo (Sunlace).
Warp calculations done!

How do I measure 168 pieces of nearly 7 yards?
With help of a warping frame!
I purchased my loom and the accessories from ASHFORD.
This is the warping frame with yarn on it:
copyright : weaving accessories;

And this is my warping frame, helping me to keep my sewing stuff prepared :-):


I love my table loom. The best choice if you plan to weave "bigger" projects without having to have an additional room for a larger conventional loom. 
You can easily transport it in the back of your car. This was of great help when I attended weaving lessons!
With a possible width of 80 cm you are able to weave real fabric- not to mention double weaving technique!

I will explain a little more about the possibilities of my table loom when I start to sley the reed.

My weft yarns:

I am curious how a thin copper bamboo fiber will influence the fabric. Maybe this stable yarn will give the fabric more strength. The weaving sample I already showed you in the last post will be my first choice. And then there is still time to change the sequence of yarns within the first rows...


The muslin of the jacket I started in parallel is made of a left-over fabric from a past project. I don't like making every muslin out of cotton. This chosen wool mix will hopefully simulate my chanel-like fabric-to-be.
So far I´m happy with the fitting. The bust alteration worked out well. In the back part of the jacket there are still some alterations to be done. But I´m not in a hurry!


And if you are looking for some really nice and helpful books I can recommend some:

I love to work with wool and fabric. I love knitting, weaving and sewing! For every kind of mood there is a inspiring way of beeing creative.

And if you would like to see a coat made out of self-woven fabric, nicely done by a german blogger, have a look here. I love it!!!