Saturday, January 31, 2009

New Year's Resolution 1: Done!

You know how in January, after New Year's, you're feeling all motivated to make some changes, tackle new goals, and set your sights on the next big thing?

Some years I go totally nuts with New Year's resolutions - hiking the Grand Canyon, taking up running, being more prolific in my studio, being a kinder nicer, person.

This year, I wasn't feeling as goal-oriented.

I decided to just tackle 4 small house projects that have been bugging me. I told myself I could do them all in January - that would be just one project per week.

Here we are, at the end of January, and I have only one of the four projects complete! But 1 is better than 0!!

Yup - it's a lamp. Not just any lamp, it's a Lykta Lamp from IKEA.

It's next to some pens, so you can see that it's not very big. In fact, I'd like it better if it were twice its size.

Last winter, influenced by record-setting snow in our area, we repainted our bedroom in bright orange and yellow, got a tropical-colored comforter, and a new, more peppy-looking rug.

But our old lamp looked so out of place. It's been bugging me ever since.

Well, no more!!

This lamp is pretty cool. It seems like the whole thing is a piece of glass, with the light fixture inside it.

Here's a picture of it at night. It would be hard to read by that amount of light.

It does require a special lightbulb, that was displayed right next to it at IKEA. (Those are clementines in the bowl).

For as long as our tropical decorating theme persists, this light will be great!

1 nagging project complete.....3 left to go!!! (Good thing I didn't set my sights on harder goals for this year.....because you know none of them would be complete in the first month!)

Friday, January 30, 2009

Giant Step Forward

Today is the day that my Toika Liisa loom stops looking "like a child's bed", and starts getting more recognizable as a loom.

We decided to replace a plate on the loom. Ripley & Son Machine Shop did a great job with this - fast, friendly and a good price!

Plus they made me laugh. They asked how many RPMs (revolutions per minute) the shaft would be moving. It's the shaft for the warp beam, and I'm happy with even a revolution an hour!!

Jim re-designed one plate because the screws in the old plate were loose and crooked. We discovered that the original Toika plates had screws on opposite sides of the loom frame practically touching. Plus one of the holes was very close to the edge of the wood - so we were concerned we'd crack the loom frame.

Ripley's made the new, larger plate, and then Jim primed it, painted it, and installed it on the loom.

The new plate is just a little bigger than the old one, so the screws from each side of the loom frame don't interfere with each other.

A thing of beauty! (Never thought I'd say that about something metal that's not jewelry, did you?)

Once we had the warp and cloth beams and the brake in place, we used a mallet to stabilize the loom. It's a really cool design (which I think is similar to most Scandinavian looms). The loom is held together by eight pegs, so when it's time to move it, the pegs come out and the loom comes apart.

We added the back, breast and knee's really starting to look like a loom!

Tonight, to torment myself, I hung the first shaft on the loom. It needs a bit of clean-up and adjustment - so a warp thread will pass through the center of the eye of the heddles when the shaft is hanging normally.

That's definitely another project for another day!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Got Texsolv?

If you own a loom manufactured in the last 10 years or so, there's a good chance that you do.

Texsolv is a crocheted polyester cord, specially manufactured to resist stretching. The word "solv" in Swedish means "heddle".

On my Baby Wolf, the apron cords and brake cord are Texsolv.

On my rigid heddle loom, the apron cords are Texsolv also.

My new-to-me Toika Liisa has Texsolv used to connect the jacks and shafts, as well as Texsolv heddles.

Plus, even more Texsolv to connect the lamms and treadles in this bundle.

The previous owner converted the original string tie-up to Texsolv in the early 1990's. Some of the Texsolv has worn badly, and I want to change the tie-up system so that I don't have to spend quite as much time under the loom.

My loom came with lots of these anchor pins.

Thanks to the wonder of mail order, a package arrived from Vavstuga within days of ordering.

I ordered 22 yards of Texsolv and some straight pegs. This way I can replace any cord that's worn and experiment with straight pegs.

I've read different estimates about how much Texsolv it takes to set up a loom. I did some calculations of my own, and realized the reason the estimates sometimes differ widely is because looms with more shafts, require more Texsolv. My loom has 12 shafts....although I'm going to start with just 2, or maybe 4.

I'm just waiting for one more metal piece before I can start putting the moving parts of the loom together.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Double Trouble

Living where it's cold, I have a small collection of fleece headbands.

I'm trying to make fleece scraps from another sewing project into more headbands.

My favorite headband is from EMS. Love the shape and fit!

The edge trimming on the EMS headband is not something I want to duplicate on my homemade headbands, both because my sewing skills are somewhat lacking and those edges aren't as comfortable as the hem on this Columbia headband.

The hem may have been done on a serger, but an expert seamstress in my circle of weavers told me I could probably get similar results using a special needle, called a twin needle or double needle, on my sewing machine.

I made a couple of quick patterns out of velum from Staples, cut out some headbands and was ready to figure out hems.

I already had a twin needle in my sewing box, like this one.

I don't know if this is entirely correct, but I put two spools of thread (one of which I hand wound) on the spool holder, and threaded the machine with both strands.

I fiddled with the tension a little, to keep the headband stretchy, but the back of my hem isn't exactly textbook. More fiddling with the tension probably would have fixed that.

These hems are fine for my purposes - which are just to keep my ears warm when I'm playing outside!

One can never have too many aqua fleece headbands, right?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Fraying Hem, Fraying Nerves

Ooops! Before I washed this set of four towels, I machine-stitched across the end of each towel. But then I absentmindedly cut the roll of towels apart before washing and drying them.

This towel bore the brunt of my silliness....the plain weave intended for the hem frayed badly.

Wouldn't you know, this happened on a set of towels I intend to use in our master bathroom. It couldn't have happened on a single towel that would be hanging on its own.

I wanted to make the hems look the same on all four towels.

My weaving group came to the rescue with suggestions.

First I pinned the frayed area to a foam core board. (This is a simulation...the fraying was repaired before I took this photo).

With the frayed area pinned to the board, I used pins to work the threads into a better position, straightening them out and re-weaving them the best I could.

Next I used Lite Steam a Seam 2, a double-sided fusible webbing to stabilize the fabric without adding bulk or stiffness. Steam a Seam is available at my local Joann Fabrics, and probably many other fabric stores.

I positioned the steam a seam at the edge of the hem,

peeled it back to, then folded the hem into position.

Then I applied steam a seam to the other side of the frayed area, and folded the hem down a second time, as originally planned.

I pressed it to fuse the web to the fabric.

Then I hemmed normally - which for me, right now, means hand-hemming. Otherwise, the combination of me, my sewing machine, and my handwoven fabric can get pretty out of control.

After washing and using the towel, I am happy to report I can't tell the difference between the towel with the repaired hem and the other towels in the set.

I did not use Steam a Seam on the other towels. That product is very light and doesn't add much bulk to hems - otherwise the other towels would have felt different than this repaired towel.

Thanks weaving buddies for bailing me out once again!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Good Company

Two fun things in my mail today!!

I've been practically waiting by the mailbox to get the course catalog for New England Weavers Seminar or NEWS.

Every other year, the weaving guilds of New England host a regional weaving conference. I was lucky enough to attend my first NEWS in 2007, and I loved it. I plan to attend this year as well and I'm sure I'll love it just as much!

This year, as in 2007, NEWS will be held on the beautiful Smith College campus, in Northampton, MA.

As far as I know, the various regional weaving conferences are open to anyone, guild member or not, from the hosting region, or visiting. All levels of weavers are welcome, and the mixture of courses seems to have something for nearly everyone.

Definitely worth checking out if you get the chance!!

My other fun piece of mail was a catalog from Company C, which shows their fun and surprising combinations of colors and patterns in lots of home textiles, especially rugs, pillows, bedding and curtains. Definitely an inspiration!!

The store is even more fun in person if you're ever in Concord, NH and have a bit of time.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Sitting Pretty

Finally!!! I'm done knitting these Newfoundland souvenir socks!!! Wahoo!

I bought the yarn on vacation in Newfoundland in 2004, thinking they'd make a great souvenir. Only problem is, I had pattern trouble.....sagging socks, multiple do-overs, much unraveling, argh!!

But at long last, they are finally done!! I wanted to take a photo of me jumping for joy in the living room, kicking up my heels in my new socks.....but that seemed too dangerous.

(I definitely didn't want to explain any camera problems after such an attempt to Jim......Yes dear, I borrowed your camera to take a picture of my feet for my blog, and well.....Not a good idea!)

Bailey cannot believe I'm posting about socks!