Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Weaving Holidays

Thank you for the comments on the new shawl! I surprised myself as well with the result.

To speak the truth I can hardly tear myself off the loom to write anything. I can’t begin to describe how much I love all this at the moment. The whole world around me seems to be full of different weave structures and I must learn all of them. Today when queuing at the grocery store before the cashier, I was looking at a woven scarf a woman in front of me was wearing… I could hardly stop myself from touching the scarf.

After finishing the shawl I did not dare to let myself into this ”not having anything under way”-state and stress and right away put another warp on the loom. I had beautiful spools of cotton/linen blend waiting and a pattern picked out from another Taito magazine. The yarn is Bockens Nialin (22/2 or tex 80x2 – this tex numbering is a lot easier to me, the other is a bit puzzling at the moment) and it has a beautiful colour chart. This warp – hopefully – will turn into pillow cases. I was trying to look for a name for the weave structure in English from The Weaving Book by Helene Bress but did not find anything I could call it, I'm sure the pattern is in the book, I just could not find it. This book has nearly 3000 different weave structure variations, so I guess it could be called the “Barbara Walker’s” in weaving. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe there are even more comprehensive books that I don’t know of.

I’m not familiar of the way the structures are marked or charted out in the book. I’m used to different kind of pattern writing and to understand this book I need to study a bit more.

Why I call myself a beginning weaver is the fact that I don’t have a clue of what I’m doing. Or why I’m doing what I’m doing. I’m having a hard time following the instructions in the patterns. And after following the pattern as well as I can, I watch in awe what I’m making. Very entertaining but at the same time I’m at the edge, anything could happen, anything could go wrong. But I do love all of this. I have piles of weaving books and every night I fall asleep thinking what I’ll do next. I’m hoping that I will get the hang of this in the coming months. Right now I could not design anything, I could not pick a weave structure and make something out of it. I don’t know eg how to add more stable selvages if need be. I don’t know how to make any changes. Well, maybe I could make wider or narrower cloth if I wanted but that is about it.

All the weaving yarns are new to me. When I pick cotton yarn to knit something out of it, I somehow can picture beforehand how it will look, will it drape, how hard it is on hands etc, but here I know next to nothing. I know that linen is a difficult yarn to work with because it breaks easily.

This is a good week for weaving. The children are off school, the skiing holidays, as they are called here, and this means that we are all off schedule. I hope I can get a lot done this week.

Yesterday morning when I was waiting for the girls (at least one of them) to wake up to help me to warp the loom, they kept on sleeping and sleeping (teenagers and their abilities to sleep!). It was perfect moment to spin and I started with this Merino/Yak blend. The roving is beautifully prepared and very easy to spin and the singles seem very very soft. I was thinking of plying it with some other wool to give the yarn more structure, but I don’t think I have anything in my stash that I would think worthy enough.

All the agony I had with the Merino/Silk (left) is washed away now when I look at the skein - abt 130 g(4,6 oz) and 870 meters(966 yards). The yarn looks nice and feels nice but so far I don’t have any plans for it (since my number one plan to knit a shawl out of it did not work out).

And here finally the socks. These are Pomatomus with 2,5 mm needles of Rowan 4 ply soft.And these Embossed Leaves Socks (IK winter2005) with 2 mm needles from Koigu.

And these I will go and have with a cup of fresh coffee. My daughter's treat!

And then back to the loom again.


  1. Pomotomas socks look fabulous in white and the Embossed Leaves are perfectly lovely in pink. Nice work. The rolls look so good! YUM.

  2. Julie17:53

    You described exactly how I felt when I was learning to knit: I didn't know what the heck I was doing, and I could make some huge mistake at any time, but I was absolutely compelled and couldn't stop. :) Can't wait to see your pillowcases!

    The socks are fantastic!

  3. granny purple17:56

    Lene, the nialin is a wonderful warp to work with--I love to make tea towels, using it for warp and weft, or using pure linen for the weft. They are the perfect project for trying out weave structures and colour combinations, and having something functional at the end (I'm big on function!) One bit of advice--when you are beaming your warp and weaving, it gives off a lot of dust, so wear a particle mask for safety. It'll keep your airways from getting irritated.
    The socks are fab, & I can't wait to see the next weaving project. Isn't fibre wonderful!

  4. Your spinning is beautiful! I really need to take the plunge and put the fast whorl on my wheel. I'm very much looking forward to seeing your next weaving project! I'm sure it will be beautiful.

  5. I'm so glad I was led to your blog!
    I've only done simple rigid heddle weaving, so I can't help you at all there, except to agree that it's wonderful. (And being I learned a little about weaving from my Scandinavian relatives, I felt so silly calling it "woof" in my first weaving class.)
    I wonder if Taito is available in the states?

  6. Give me a minute - I'll be over for coffee! Yummy looking rolls! You know "anything could go RIGHT" in your weaving too.
    Love the Pomotomas socks.

  7. Ellen in Conn19:20

    Some linen-weaving hints:
    Gently boil a small handful of linseed (flax seed) in a liter of water for about five minutes and then strain out the seeds with a sieve. (You can put the seeds in bread or something now.) When the goopy water (called size or sizing) is cooled, brush it onto the warp that is behind the harnesses and then let it dry. Then use a hairbrush to brush and separate the threads from each other. (A comb might be too harsh and break a thread or two.) When these sized threads come to the weaving side of the castle (harness-structure) they will be strong and resilient and you should have no trouble weaving them.

    But they will also be stiff, so that the weft-yarns will not pack in well and you will have a loose fabric. So, now you can soak your bobbin (plastic, not wood or paper!) of weft in water so that as you weave, the warp of the woven part will be damp and bendable and the weft will be able to pack in.

    You could size the whole warp all together before putting it on the loom, but I have only done that once, in a workshop with Kate Smith in Vermont, many years ago and I have forgotten the method she used.

    The finished fabric should be washed well to get all the size out, but never put in the dryer, as that will break the shine and sheen and crispness that makes linen so lovely and unique, and it is lost permanently - washing and then line-drying the next time will not bring the loveliness back. It is gone forever.

    ps. K - "woof" is a perfectly good name for the weft, although it reminds me of my dog. But it is correct.

  8. M. Gail19:34

    Glad you're enjoying so many fiber arts! Everything looks great -loved the woven shawl. I neither weave nor spin and it looks very complicated to me. The socks are great. I'm wearing my flannel gray "Embossed Leaves" socks today.

  9. On my way over for some of those rolls. Yummy! Loved the socks and can't wait to see the next weaving project.

  10. I don't know what those lovely buns are, but they look delicious! The Pomatomus are lovely in white. I haven't tried this pattern yet but I am very intrigued. A light color seems to show off the texture best.

  11. Oh yum, yum, and yummier!
    I love watching your weaving take shape and appreciate that you share all of this with us!

  12. Oooh a plate of pulla! mmmm, I can smell them from here.
    Your socks are so beautiful and the yak/ blend singles look very soft.
    Your spinning looks very even and better than the name brands at the yarn store!

    Will you eventually be able to use the yarn you spin in your weaving?

  13. Alena Wagner21:16

    To add stable selvedges: when you warp your loom add an extra warp yarn at each side of the piece and then always wrap the weft yarn around the edge and that will give you a nice straight selvedge. These yarns just float along your warp and are not part of the pattern. I hope this works and keep up the beautiful work!

  14. Beautiful socks!! I love them in solid colors. It's hard resist the lure of gorgeous multicolored yarn. I'm not a weaver but I can relate through my kniting. It's wonderful the peace and joy and happiness creativeness can make you feel.

  15. Never mind your lack of knowledge and experience of weaving, it's your enthusiasm and will to learn and your natural creative ability that will take you far.

  16. It all looks wonderful!

  17. marjorie02:01

    So many "w" words--warp, woof, weft, I think they all sound lovely although I don't know what they mean! But I do understand those buns, they're pulla, and I know they're delicious. I especially like them with cardamom in the dough.

  18. Barb in Texas02:09

    I am so glad you're happily engaged in projects gain!

    As usual, your socks are masterpieces of precision. And they're pretty, even better. I need to hurry up and finish a couple of pairs of plain old socks so I can try the pomatomus in cotton.

    What are those yummy looking rolls? Sweet or savory?

  19. Beautiful socks!

    My grandmother used to weave; she really enjoyed it, and she made lovely things. She sold her loom while I was in college, but now I wish she still had it so I could learn.

    Yummy looking rolls! Nice daughter!

  20. your version of both pairs of socks is wonderful! very inspiring.

  21. Esther16:57

    Thanks Lene for this long and, how can I say well, kind of demonstation that, despite all we have done before in textile arts, we have so much too learn and... isn'it beautiful !
    I, also, am not used to pre-understanding the weaving patterns and , what's the english wod for "montage" ? I mean this capability to view, just in reading the instructions, what it will be, off the loom, if there's not a good looking picture by the side...

    Good luck with a future work on your loom, I' m still going on with mine and often forget the time running out !

    By the way, thanks a lot Granny for your advices, you're a strong help for all of us, beginners ! I do love linens... I have some linen tableclothes weaved(right orthograph ?) by my grandmother, (born in 1887)before she got married in 1913...Still so good looking and strong !

    Lene, your socks are like gorgeous lace...love them ! You have "des doigts de fée" !


  22. Esther16:59

    I forgot to thanks Ellen ! soory !

  23. Ellen in Conn21:09

    Past tense of weave is woven. Past tense of spin is spun. Or maybe spinned. LOL My spell-check says spinned is wrong. I think both are right. Even us native speakers of English get it wrong, or at least confused, sometimes. Often.

  24. Anonymous21:19

    The socks are gorgeous and the buns look delicious!!!

  25. It is so nice to read of your joy with the loom!

    I'm so impressed with the Pomatomus socks in the solid color! I want to make a pair and I hope they will be worthy of a photograph when I am done. I have a navy blue sock yarn in stash that I'm hoping will give the right gauge.

  26. those pomatomus socks are beautiful!

  27. Martie in Taos17:57

    Lene: I have heard that Navajo weavers believe that if you leave a loom without a warp for more than a week, it will lose its spirit...is there a legend like that in your part of the world?

  28. Oh, Lene, such beautiful socks! :-) The Pomatomus pattern is really striking in pure white.

  29. I want to make my next pair of pomatomus either in yarn that I've dyed myself (heathered, not all kinds of colors) or plain off-white wool. Yours are gorgeous!

  30. DomesticShorthair08:41

    Really like your Pomotomas socks! How refreshing to use a light solid color; it really shows off the pattern. Embossed leaves socks are equally lovely.