We've had more snow than we know what to do with here in Cambridgeshire. Admittedly, more than a couple of inches tends to bring the entire country grinding (or sliding) to a halt, but this is what my car looked like at 11am on Friday:
What's more, it hasn't all melted away yet, which is truly incredible.
Apart from a few necessary shopping excursions (dog food, salt), and the obligatory walkies (Kita loves the snow, but actually had a nasty fall attempting to corner on ice; Woody's just dippy in all weathers), I've been using the opportunity to dig in at home and make a return to my multi-shaft table loom, via some of the random stash I acquired recently. In fact, in a burst of wild optimism and enthusiasm on Sunday morning, I asked J, "So, how many scarves d'you think I can weave in a day, then?" Oh, hubris.
Sunday I spent attempting to get a warp on the darned thing. I'd forgotten how much more complicated it is than warping a rigid heddle loom, and in my arrogance, didn't refer to The Book until too late. In addition, after doing all the sums (twice!!) I suddenly realised I was halfway through winding a six yard warp instead of a six foot one, and had to begin again. When I did refer to the instructions, I started with the wrong set. Eventually, I got it on the loom, then quit for the day and went for wine and cheese courtesy of Geodyne.
When I got back, I started weaving and realised that the sett was way too loose for the pattern I'd chosen, and it looked like ass. I tried a couple of different wefts, and it still looked like ass, so I went to bed in a sulk.
Monday, I spent most of the day avoiding the loom and giving it evil stares whilst I wrapped presents, made a desultory attempt at packing and cooked a solstice dinner. I did decide that the only thing to do was to resley more densely (i.e. bring the warp threads closer together), and actually unwove all my experiments from the night before so as not to waste my precious warp. Only when I finished unweaving did it occur to me that I should have taken fail-photos for the blog. To fail is to learn, they say. Well.
I wove a fair bit, then decided the draft in the book wasn't giving me the pattern advertised. (Umm, it's at the bottom of page 71in the Handweaver's Directory; I liked the pattern well enough, but it didn't have the very cool travelling element that I loved in the sample). I unwove that, too, and still forgot to take photos. I figured the correct 'treadling' sequence out, and proceeded for a while:
Cool, huh? Then I spotted an error made whilst re-sleying:
That loose stripe pretty much down the middle of the frame is where the warp threads were left too far apart. You can see the wider spacing at the top of the shot, in fact.
Even over a very small area, you can see the difference it makes to the pattern; it loses all crispness, and looks very sloppy. If the whole warp is too widely spaced, the pattern is almost completely lost. I went to bed in a sulk.
Today, I cut off what I'd woven so far, fixed the sleying error and started over. I'd completed a full pattern repeat before noticing that, actually, I was no longer weaving the pattern I'd originally intended:
Spot the difference? Anyway, I've decided it's still good. No more unweaving, no more cutting off; I'll keep it this way. But by now my back was sore, and I had to stop weaving. So, three days; no scarf. I'm glad I'm not relying on production weaving for Christmas presents this year.
Speaking of which, I'm leaving the frozen South to travel to the frozen North tomorrow; Internet access may be limited. So have a wondrous festive season, whatever you celebrate, and I'll be back sometime before the New Year…