Wednesday, May 8, 2013

All Tied Up

For the last few VERY LONG days, this was my view. The masking tape on the left is holding the order of the threads coming from the new beam. The heddles on the loom hold the order of the threads on the previous batch. All I have to do is match them up in order and tie them together.

I'm working out a trade with a yoga teacher who can develop specific routines to undo the damage that I sustain after something like 20 hours in this position.

And it's done! Today I will sley those two sections that go over the beater, wind bobbins and weave a sample blanket, and work into the night weaving a garment to offer for sale on Saturday.

As I looked around the studio this morning I saw a few things that people don't usually get to see. Here they are...

When I trim the knots as the sections are tied on, I line up the trimmings in a bowl. I enjoy looking at them for a few days and then I throw them away.

As I tie the sections on, I cut off the knots that held them in the heddles. These I keep in my home as a sort of sedimentary record of my work over the years.

I really don't know how people wove before masking tape. Here's this week's pile, beautiful in its own way.


Hilary said...

Blossom, is there a sectional under all that warp???

Blossom Merz said...

Yes, Hilary, there is. I use 2" lengths of aquarium tubing stuck onto the pegs to extend them. Once two sections are wound, the threads lay against each other and let me remove the tubes. The limiting factor now is the diameter of the wooden disk on the end of the beam. I'm considering replacing them to give me even more warp per batch.

Shelly said...

I was blessed to be able to purchase one of your exquisite garments yesterday at Folklife Festival! Your work is amazing, and show the love that you put into it.
For those bits of excess yarn bits that you keep around and eventually tossed out, have you ever thought of giving them to the birds? I have a friend that places her bits and ends in a bird house of sorts for the birds to take and use for their nests.

ahhhh your work is a treasure, and I look forward to enjoying this item for many many many years. Thank you!

Blossom Merz said...

Thanks, Shelly!

It's funny. That is exactly what I do. They go onto the ground in front of the tree swallow nest boxes in the Spring. There are a lot of comfortable designer nests in these woods!

Andrew Kieran said...

Hi blossom, glad to see you're still working away :-)

in answer to your question of what people used to do before masking tape, here it is (i can't help myself)

industrial warping is typically done sectionally, in a very similar fashion to how you do it. The way they keep the cross in order at the end is fairly simple. basically, the warp goes from the creel, through a reed (to neaten them up for the gauge and heddle), a tensioning gauge, a rigid heddle (to make the cross) and another reed to get the section to the exact width it's needed. basically at the start they feed it through, tie it on then advance a little, open the heddle one way, add a string, advance the warp a little more, add another string, then wind the warp the required number of turns, and repeat the process. if done properly the crosses will all be in roughly the same place and one string can be pulled through each side of the cross of all the sections, so you have a cross at each end. one to tie onto the last and one to tie onto the next.

The joy of this of course, if that you then take the old warp and the new one and lay them into a knotting frame and a machine can tie all the knots in about 10 minutes if things are done well.

pretty cool, though beyond the reach of us mere handweavers i suspect.

Blossom Merz said...

A knot-tying robot that does three days' work in 10 minutes? If I didn't maintain a commitment to working in the forest with a tiny amount electricity from a solar panel, it would be mighty tempting!