I'm back from Weaving Camp. It's not a real camp. It's a small gathering of weavers that get together with Judith Mackenzie every summer for some dedicated weaving time. I was lucky enough to be invited to join them this summer.
To refresh your memory, I am a failed weaver. I've tried my hand at here and there and other than a few nice scarves off my Cricket rigid heddle loom I've never had success. I brought a big bag of yarn with me, my Rasmussen table loom and a shred of hope.
First attempt: I wanted to make a simple scarf with this Kauni. I discussed it with Judith. We tested the yarn to see if it was strong enough for warp. I measured my warp and got it on the loom with lots of guidance. A warp thread broke before I started weaving. I learned to fix it. Another broke. Then two more. At this point I still haven't done any weaving! We look again at the yarn and see that it has many bad joins in it that are too weak to stand the pressure of the tightened loom. I cut it off my loom and throw it in the trash.
Second attempt: I have two skeins of lace-weight alpaca in two colors that have been in my stash for about ten years. I wound them for a striped warp. Then I didn't like the way they looked. They were blah. So I overdyed the whole warp. (Photo from yesterday's post.) I love the new color but I couldn't weave it at the retreat because it had to dry. I also don't know what I want to use for the weft now.
Third attempt: I try my hand at a "miracle warp." The idea is you throw a bunch of yarns together into a warp that is twice as long and half as wide as you want your finished piece to be. Then you thread both ends making a mirrored warp. I missed the part of the instructions that said the warp should have a cross at both ends. I made my warp with one cross like one would normally. When I was ready to take it off the warping board someone said, "You have to tie your second cross." I stood and blinked. Second cross? What second cross? A great deal of time was then spent trying to fake our way through a second cross. This made the warp a tangled mess. I got it sorted out and through the reed and heddles but not before realizing that I had miscounted and it was too wide for my reed. I pulled threads out. Then I broke a few threads. Fixed those. Then my edge threads started fraying and breaking. Pulled those out. Tension problems came up. Basically every problem a warp could have came up at least twice.
Then I started weaving. Judith wanted me to try a boat shuttle but it would not work with the mixed warp. It kept falling through when it would hit the stretchier yarns. So I'm using a stick shuttle and it's very slow going.
It's not really my colors, is it? No, it's definitely not. I'm planning on overdyeing the whole piece with black to make murky, autumn-y greens when I'm done. But who knows how long that will take.
I also did a lot of dyeing. I dyed some old handspun, some newer handspun, commercial yarns I never liked the look of.
So I learned a ton, dyed a ton and got not weaving completed at all. But it was great and I hope I'm invited back next year.