It's working! The set-up for the Circle Scarf Pattern is working!
This is 2 pattern repeats of the circles
On Sunday, I was almost ready to begin weaving on this new project. I spent last weekend threading and tying on the warp. I had forgotten that getting ready to weave (preparations) takes as much time as weaving itself. But it's worth it!
This wkd, it was fixing broken warp strings and crossed threads and other necessary tasks. This yarn (merino and cashmere) is much finer than anything I've used previously. I am finding that the old glass Penzy's spice jars I use to hang repair warps off the back beam are too heavy for this yarn. Lighter alternatives are an old film canister, 1 plastic Penzy's spice jar, and 2 plastic canisters designed for bead storage. This way, I can wrap the extra warp yardage around the body of the jar, add a few pennies for weight, and secure the available length with the cap. Best of all worlds! No more broken warp strings! They seem to be working well for what I need on this project.
The next step it so set up the treadle sequences with beads, so I can keep track of there I am in the pattern. There are 36 picks to the pattern repeat, plus a black tabby pick between every row. I wonder if I'll have enough beads or room to track it all!
You might ask, "Why bother with beads, if you have the iWeaveIt program on your iPad?" Good question. I find that the action of swiping beads is much more akin to the act of throwing a shuttle. It would be a completely different action to stop and touch a screen. The beads work for me--and they are low tech.
The Red beads correspond to throwing the shuttle towards A treadle with the notation A< and the brown beads to B>. It helps me keep track of the tabby picks, and which direction I should be going with them.
Tieing up the Treadles
I used the pattern recommendations with 1 change. The pattern recommended the tabby treadles both off to the left side. I am more used to having those be treadle 1 and 6, at the edges of the treadle field. They call this a walking pattern -- I guess with a little wider stance than it would be if they were right next to each other. This also helps me keep track of where I'm going with the black tabby yarn. I am always throwing the shuttle towards the tabby peddle that is down. For example, if peddle A is down, I'd be starting on the right side, throwing the shuttle to the left. I also have to be conscious of the floating selvedges. The mantra for that is OVER the floater on the way in, and UNDER the floater on the way out of the shed. This is working out much easier than I thought it would.
Then the 1-2-3-4 shafts for the pattern are all in between the tabby peddles like so:
A and B are the tabby treadles lifting shafts 1+3 and 2+4 respectively.
1-2-3-4 are set up for the Red Circle pattern weave structure.
2 colors: Red and Black, which means 2 shuttles. I had planned to use my favorite Schacht cherry shuttles. I have one big and one small, but since the scarf is only 7 inches wide, the larger Schacht shuttle seems like overkill, and otherwise inappropriate for this job. My other smaller shuttles (the antique ones) are quite a bit lighter in weight than the Schacht cherry. The Padauk one might work as it is the most similar in size and weight, though not the kayak shape I love so much. Then again, it might be a good excuse to purchase a second Schacht cherry 11-inch shuttle and a few more 4-inch bobbins. I just got some birthday money in the mail!
The weave structure on this project is more complicated, too. A Shadow weave in a circle pattern. So it's not the standard straight draw threading for the heddles. I had to pay attention! The pattern was a kit from Yarn Barn of Kansas. I don't see it on their website anymore, or I would link you to it.
So last night, I wanted to run through the bead sequence that tells me what treadles to push, and what yarn (black or red) to push through the open shed. Just a test run to make sure everything is on track. The bead string is so long (36 picks of red, and 36 picks of black) that it runs almost the entire length of my beater bar. I was a little afraid that I would lose track as there's not much space between the done beads and the to-do beads. I'm learning to pull the beater bar where the beads open to make sure they don't shift inadvertently.
I can see why they call it shadow weave. The black threads are tabby, or common cloth. They hang out in the background and give stability and structure to the cloth, while the red strings make the gorgeous circle pattern. Every pick of the red gets a corresponding pick of the black to support it.
This time, I am also holding back on the overall tension of the warp, for fear of breaking more strings. I'm learning to be gentle with this merino as warp. I'm also being extra gentle with the reed, and not slamming the yarn into place -- just very gently pushing it in line. And it's working!
Every step takes thought and time, and every issue takes time to solve. But this isn't rocket science. I can work through it step-by-step, and get the problems fixed. Any setback is a problem to be solved and worked through, not a crisis that derails the whole project.
If you've stayed with me this far, let me say there 1 mistake in the photo at the top of this post. One line out of place. Can you see it? It doesn't look too bad, and I was far enough past it when I noticed, that I did not want to undo several rows in between.
I wanted a challenge, but I think I will be happy to go back to weaving rugs with a simple common cloth or twill pattern -- Then I can use up some of the Pendleton strips I dyed last summer.