Friday, July 15, 2016

Rigid Heddling

This summer I'm working at what for me are extremes.  I've enjoyed very simple weaving on one of my (now three) rigid heddle looms.  I like them because some of them (the ones with narrower weaving widths) are very portable.  A project can be kept in a tote bag anywhere; if I'm ready to begin my workday but have ten extra minutes I can squeeze in a little weaving right now.  They're great for weaving with yarn that is expensive because there is minimal yarn waste.  And as long as there's no hurry, it's a rewarding way to weave something with beautiful yarn because I believe that you're handling the yarn more with this type of loom.  And lastly, if other aspects of one's life, including other weaving projects, are complex... it's nice to have the simplicity of a rigid heddle loom project for unplugged, restful weaving.

Speaking of complexity, I recently purchased Fiberworks for Mac and am picking (literally) my way through learning how the program can help me.  More on that later.

Back to rigid heddle weaving.  The project above was being woven on a new-to-me eight inch Ashford Sampleit loom.  This was my most recent RH loom acquisition, bought because I believe that it is the most portable of the RH looms.  A part of what I mean by portability is the ability to be able to weave with the loom on my lap without the use of a table edge for a prop.  I wove my project on my boat, outdoors overlooking the garden, and at my desk (this time propped) right in front of the desk top to be sure I'd stop when it was time to leave for work.  

I do find, however, that when the loom is flat on my lap it's not as easy as I'd like to get the heddle into the lowered position because the lower edge of the heddle bumps into my thighs.  So... a minute or two with a pool noodle and a bread knife took care of that little complaint.  If you look carefully in the top photo you can see the blue pool noodle.  It fits right in the bag with my loom so all is good.

My project was what I call a mini mobi: a small mobius scarf.  I find many scarves overwhelming: too long, too wide, flopping and falling.  Long snuggly scarves are great for outerwear on a cold blustery day, but for indoors I like a mobius that is just large enough to fit over my head.  The warp yarn for this scarf was purchased in 2011 and put aside until I could come up with a project that would really spotlight its colors.  It is 60% merino and 40% silk from Biltmore Wool Barn in Brewster MA.  I paired it with a weft of polyester sewing thread in a blackberry hue.  Rather than stitching after the turn required to create a mobius scarf, I twisted the fringes together.  I'm happy with the results although I won't be surprised if this scarf pills with wear.

Here it is below on another recent acquisition: a dress form, bought from someone who had advertised on Craigslist.  I've been wanting a dress form for some time.  Unfortunately, although this one is sized as small, it's still substantially bigger than I am.  It will serve for the purpose of draping woven fabrics and designing simple clothing but I need to keep my eyes open for one that really is my size.