93) Kracking Krokbragd, Grommit!

So after extensive re-organisation of the studio, I spent a good chunk of yesterday figuring out how to weave Krokbragd on a rigid heddle loom, with two heddles:


My word, I think I've got it!!

Krokbragd is a weft-faced weave woven on three shafts.  Just like with the 2-1 twill I experimented with a while ago, a rigid heddle loom with two heddles on it has three shafts.  A 'regular' loom needs a harness for every shaft it uses; the rigid heddle gets an extra one for free, because the threads that pass through the holes in the heddle can be pushed down as well as pulled up, leaving the threads in the slots behind.  With two heddles, a thread can pass through slots alone (let's call this shaft 1), through the front hole and the back slot (shaft 2), or through the front slot and the back hole (shaft 3). 

Krokbragd is threaded on a four-thread repeat, over the three shafts, in a pattern that repeats 1-2-3-2.  That looks like this on our rigid heddle threading:


Use a 1-2-3 lifting pattern, and you get something like this:


  Which doesn't look an awful lot like the first picture, does it?  Well, my lovelies, that will have to wait for another day.

88) F is for…



The Rampton Bag gave me fits as I was finishing it up.  I went through all kinds of phases: I loved it, I hated it, I thought it was awesome, I thought it sucked so badly…  I thought the weaving had let the spinning down; I thought the spinning was badly suited to the woven cloth; I thought the making up was letting the weaving down!

I hadn't really thought too hard about how I was going to sew the seams up, and I certainly didn't make the fabric wider at the edges to allow for a regular seam allowance (duh!!).  I ended up making an overcast edge, sewn up by hand with the very yarn used to weave the fabric:


Originally, I intended to have the overcast edges turned to the inside, but the stitches looked too visible 'in the ditch', even in the same colour as the warp, so I decided to keep the ridges on the outside.  Then, I decided it would be fun to have each seam stitched up in a different colour:


The jury's still out on this idea.  I think all the same, low-contrast colour would have been good, or possibly, all different, high-contrast colours.  Given that the first seam was supposed to blend in, having the others be contrast-y probably didn't give it an ideal balance!I will admit to some concern that if I ever wash this bag, the sewing thread will be very keen to full and the seams will pucker.

The silk lining was sewn up in the same way, and the two layers are held together by more overcasting all the way round the strap:


I'd learned my lesson by this time, and used the warp colour for the overcasting along each edge!

The lining was cut just a little shorter than the main fabric, so that the edge of the lining could be enclosed in a folded over edge of the body fabric:


I originally meant to fold the edge twice, but I decided that this would be too bulky in the end, so I'm just hoping the wool fabric is fulled well enough that it won't fray too badly.

I thought about adding a button and loop closure to help the bag stay closed, but it doesn't really hang right for that, so I didn't!

Knowing how this bag would be constructed, as a single strip folded back and forth, I wanted the horizontal colour bands to match up at the seams so they would run right round the bag without interruptions.  To do this, I figured out where the strip would be folded, and reversed the order of the weft colours at those points:


I wove each colour band to have the same number of picks (weft throws), and tried really, really hard to keep the beat the same throughout.  It worked!!


I am *very* smug that this aspect of my fabric design worked as well as
it did.  I didn't dare mention this whilst I was weaving it, for fear I'd jinx it, but it all worked out fine in the end.

And after finishing and pressing, I can happily say I *love* this little bag!

I actually have quite a lot of the yarn left, so I will be knitting some happy, stranded fingerless gloves or something.  The weaving might have worked out fine in the end, but I think this yarn will work really well for a knitted fabric, too.

82) And lo! there was a lining!

After wet finishing the body fabric of the Rampton bag, I decided it was a bit soft and springy and would soon stretch out of shape.  I hate saggy bags – that's one of the reasons I don't knit 'em.  But this was wool, of course, and somewhat lightly fulled, so it was always a risk.

Having a slight overachiever-moment, it suddenly became clear to me that what this bag needs is a sturdy, hand woven lining.  Something tough, un-stretchy, simple, maybe a bit rustic.  Like silk.  No- stop laughing!

I already had a couple of cones of bourette silk lying around.  Bourette is a kind of silk spun from waste generated in the silk reeling process; in fact, it's even lower grade than that.  Silk spun from reeled silk waste is often called schappe silk; this is the waste from that process.


It's really coarse; rough, lumpy, lustre-less.  Completely different from the image most folks have of silk.  The best guess I've had as to it's identity was 'linen'.  The two ply version comes in at around 25wpi, so should be set at around 12.5 epi for a plain tabby weave.  Coincidentally, because that's *exactly* as fine as I can go on my rigid heddle loom whilst using a single heddle.

In spite of the fact that this is finer than the yarn for the main fabric, it's taken me much less time to weave it.  In fact, less than 48 hours; warped on Friday evening, off the loom Sunday evening.  Swapping out all of those colours must have really slowed me down!


So, how do you wind *your* stick shuttle?

81) Off the loom!

Another real 'quickie' today; I cut the bag fabric off the loom this morning!


I brought it to work today, and will be knotting the warp ends at lunchtime so I can safely wet-finish it tonight, and start sewing up the bag at the weekend.

I would have finished a day earlier, but due to my own stinginess I ran into two problems….  Firstly, I tried to use the dodgy bit of yarn at the end of the ball for one of the warp stripes, and it gave out when I had about 10cm left to weave.  And secondly, I didn't *quite* put enough warp on the loom to give me the fabric length I wanted.  I got there in the end, but was reduced to needle-weaving for the last few rows, because my shuttle wouldn't fit through the remaining shed any more!


And finally: an apology.  I have been unbelievably remiss in replying to comments and keeping in touch generally, recently.  I no longer have regular access to my personal email at work (though sometimes I sneak a peek), and combined with the recent Typepad comment-weirdness, a new job, the fact that the last thing I want to do after sitting in front of a computer all day is boot up my laptop when I get home, and just Life In General, I have been pants.  I am just about managing to work, walk the dogs, feed myself and J, and occasionally play with wool in my minimal downtime.  Sometimes I go for a run, or brew beer.  I have about 300 posts to read in Google Reader.  I owe so many people blog comments, emails and/or phonecalls, it's just not true.  I'm sorry.  All I can say is, "Be glad you're not coming to stay with me any time soon", because the astute will have noticed that 'housework' did not feature anywhere on that little list.

And I *will*, at some point, get back to you.

80) Eye candy Sunday

I'm actually visiting my folks this weekend, but since I'm so behind on blogging, I thought I'd do a little post-ahead…

The weaving on my Rampton project is about 75% done, and it should take no more than another evening to get it off the loom completely.

Copy of DSC04280

This photo totally doesn't do it justice, though I have to say that, in some ways, I loved the warp more!  I did have plans to weave a lining for this bag, but I don't know that I'll have time, realistically.  Maybe it can be retro-fitted to the 'finished' bag once I'm done – we'll see!

2/1 Twill: First attempt

Back here I started talking about my attempts to weave twill on a rigid heddle loom, using two heddles.

So, I have a threading that results in three sets of threads:

  • one goes through the holes on the back heddle and the slots on the front heddle
  • one goes through the slots on the back heddle and the holes slots on the front heddle
  • one goes through the the slots on both the front and back heddles

To weave a simple twill, each set of threads must be lifted (or dropped) in turn.  Notice that on a rigid heddle loom, you have the option of creating either a rising shed (threads in holes are lifted above the neutral threads) or a sinking shed (threads in holes are pushed below the neutral threads).

The order I came up with was as follows:

  1. back heddle up, front heddle down, weave in rising shed
  2. front heddle up, back heddle down, weave in rising shed
  3. both heddles down, weave in sinking shed

**Theoretically** this works.  The crucial problem with my scheme, as described, though, is that in steps one and two, no heddle should be *down* but, rather, in neutral.  Otherwise, you get:

  • tension issues
  • one shed is wrong; thread from rear heddle gets blocked by front heddle and deflected.

Resulting fabric is pretty, but not a twill…

2/1 Twill: Getting started

A while back, I posted about the possibility of doing a simple twill on a rigid heddle loom with two heddles (the original post is here).  I never did try a two-heddle tabby, just launched straight in to attempting the twill.  Perhaps, if I had tried the tabby first, I would have ironed out a couple of the issues I had initially, but then again, I might not.

A 2/1 twill has weft threads that go over two warps, then under one and so on (or over one and under two – depending on which side you look at).  Each row, the pattern is offset by one warp end, so you get the diagonal lines typical of simple twill fabrics – look at regular denim for a good example, or the following diagram as an alternative:

To weave a 2/1 twill on a rigid heddle loom, you need either to use pick-up sticks or two heddles.  I’m using two heddles.  This way, I can thread three warp thread paths:

  • one goes through the holes on the back heddle and the slots on the front (red)
  • one goes through the slots on the back heddle and the holes slots on the front (green)
  • one goes through the the slots on both the front and back heddles (blue)


Or that’s the theory, anyway.  Notice that you get THREE ends per dent in this threading, instead of the usual two.  My yarn worked out at 19wpi, so using the handy-dandy calculator from The Weaver’s Companion, I worked out that I should be looking at a sett of about 11 to 12 epi.  That means a 7.5 dent heddle is about perfect (11.5 divided by 1.5 is 7.6).

But I don’t have two 7.5 dent heddles.  I do have a 7.5 and a 15, though, and the astute will note that 7.5 is half of 15.  So my threading now looks something like this:


my original plan was to talk about the actual weaving of this piece tonight, but I reckon this post is long enough already – it’s certainly taken long enough to write! – so I’ll have to save that for another day…

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