Friday, July 29, 2011

Washing and then winding the wool.....

 20 Skeins of handspun were washed last week  - 
 This was an accumulated pile of hanks from a few years of spinning - I'm definitely not a speed spinner if that was what you were thinking!
 Then came using my new setup from Nancy's Knit Knacks:
The Heavy Duty Skein Winder is currently mounted on a table - but I also purchased the optional stand which is really great.

Heavy Duty Ball Winder
For years I've used the inexpensive plastic ball winders.  Sure they worked, and occasionally the plastic center cone would fly off while winding, but I didn't realize that there were bigger and better winders out there.  About a year or so ago - I sold off 3 used plastic ball winders and decided it was time to give Nancy's Knit Knacks - Heavy Duty Ball Winder a spin.  I had read good reviews on this winder, so the expectation was high.  After receiving it - and giving it a try - immediately differences were recognized compared to the past ball winders I had used.  First and foremost - the smooth operation in the winding process.  Next, the ability to wind large balls and finally last but not least, the visual beauty of this tool.  Two thumbs up for this one.

Then a couple months ago, when fumbling around with a wooden umbrella swift, trying to wind off hanks into balls for an up coming weaving workshop, I thought of Nancy's Knit Knacks once again.  Off to their website - I sat watching all of the product videos that Bob (from Nancy's Knacks) has produced.  A phone call with Bob, a delightful discussion on their products and my yarn winding needs - and another order was placed, this time with total product confidence since the ball winder has been nothing short of a great investment.

The next day an UPS delivery tracking email was sent to me with the tracking information.  Wow - the Skein Winder with optional stand, Electronic Rotation Counter and Electronic Yarn Meter were already on their way!  It was time to reorganize in the Studio a bit to make room for my new winding area.  I had 2 Schacht winding Stations, so I decided to put them side by side to line everything up.  

Last week when I began winding from a plied bobbin to a niddy noddy (knowing from the start that there was more yarn than the niddy noddy would hold), Jim asked why I was doing that when I could wind directly onto my new skein winder.  Duh! - So out to the Studio I headed with bobbin in hand.  I must say, this was a easy and slick way to wind a skein - it seemed much to easy and knowing immediately that there was 214 yards of plied wool (by reading the rotation counter) made this experience even more awesome.  

The real test was yesterday when I needed to wind from 20 handspun hanks into balls.  This would have been a lengthy task if I were using a standard umbrella swift, but with the ability to adjust the arms on the Skein winder to the size of the hank - the job was nothing short of simple and enjoyable.  Again noting from the reading on the Electronic Yarn Meter the accurate yardage immediately.  The only other tool that would have been a valuable asset during this process would have been The Motorized Power Base that can be added to the ball winder.  

A bit of an investment - but I must say - "you definitely get what you pay for".   I would highly recommend any of these noted products from Nancy Knit Knacks.  If you have questions as to what these items are capable of doing, the product video page and home page  will give you more than enough information via video, to make a educated purchase.  Also I should add that if ever there is a question, Bob is just a phone call away - the customer service it great!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Ogle Design's - Lazy Kate

 Ogle Designs Lazy Kate
Showing storage area
Yesterday we decided to head down to Milwaukee (where we are originally from) for some awesome Mexican food and totally delicious Kopps frozen chocolate custard.  We were not but 5 miles from the Ogle Designs - gal who makes the Lazy Kate - so I took a chance and called her.  She was so nice.  When we got there she had her inventory of lazy kates set out for me to choose from.  This maple one called my name!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Even Cinderella needed a bit of help.....

So, last month I decided to be involved in an on-line estate auction.  There was an AVL loom (16 harness - 40" production dobby) identical to the one I currently  own, amongst other things that belonged to a weaver that no longer was able to weave.  The auction (therefore the loom) was located over 300 miles from us - so viewing it prior to the bidding - for us was not practical and bidding beyond a certain amount could be a financial disaster.  The photos were not very helpful - oh, what to do.  I had an amount in my mind that I was willing to gamble with.  For 3 days, up until the last few hours, I was the high bidder, and then the bidding war began.

3 minutes before the auction was over - I was outbid.  I was done.  Jim looked at me in surprise.  "Really, you're letting it get away?" he asked.  "Yep" I said.  "Ahhh, just bid $100 more" he said.  "Ok - but that's it", I said.  Well - needless to say - in the end I owned a loom.  We loaded up the trailer and headed out for a 10 hour round trip the next day.

It was sitting in an old storage warehouse - the surroundings grey and dingy.  The loom itself was pretty dingy and dusty to say the least.  I was not impressed.  I was actually feeling disappointed and sorry for the $ spent.  But keeping a stiff upper lip we loaded it up and hauled it home.  Photos were not even an option - it was too ugly.

So the job began the next day.  Disassembling the harnesses and removing the dirty texsolv heddles.  They needed to be washed for sure! Next was cleaning all of the wood with Murphy's oil soap.  Little by little - something began to change - there was a warm wooden glow underneath all of the dust and grime.  With each dumped bucket of dirty water - the more excited I became!  Yes - this was a diamond in the rough.

The finished loom!

What was the most ugly part of the loom is now the most eye catching feature - the harnesses are beautiful!

16 Harness Mechanical Dobby

Now I wish I would have taken the "before" photos to show the difference.  A few minor parts were missing - so a call to AVL to place the order - and when the parts arrive it will be good to go!
Heads up to anyone in need of AVL parts - they are not a cheap date! 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Shadow Weave Gamp / Towels

Shadow Weave Gamp - from Handwoven Magazine
Pattern From:  Handwoven Magazine 2004 - Jan/Feb pages:  42 and 43

Shadow Weave gamp warp
Ready to thread through the heddles and reed.

Warp going thru raddle on top of loom
This angle shows how the built in raddle on the David is used.  It is convenient  and so easy to use.
I am participating in a Weave Along in Ravelry focusing on the structure of Shadow Weave.  This project will be a gamp.  Later in the summer I will weave another pattern of Shadow Weave dish towels.

Warp and Weft Colors
Colors used.

Section One

Section 2
Section 2

Section 3 - Shadow Weave
Section 3

Section 4
Section 4

Section 5
Section 5
Section 6
Section 6
Section 7
Section 7
Each section contains a different treadling / color sequence.  

Here are the two sampler shadow weave towels (the pattern was for a runner in gamp form) that I just completed hemming this morning. I didn’t just want to do a gamp as it would have just been folded up and put aside, so I decided to make these into a useful objects (beyond just testing out the different threadings and treadlings).

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Studio Photos...

Since my original blog has been lost due to hitting a few too many delete keys - I thought I'd post a few photos to show what the Studio is looking like these days...
Untitled by macweaver
AVL 40" - 16H Mechanical Dobby
Wide Angle View by macweaver
Over looking the Studio from the library area.

Louet Megado and Delta by macweaver
Louet Delta 51" 12 H and Louet Megado 51" 32 H - Electric Interfaced.

AVL, Harrisville Design Rug Loom and LouetDavid by macweaver
AVL 40" - 16H Compu Dobby, Harrisville Rug Loom with Shaft Switching Device 45",  Louet David 35" - 8H.

DSC_0002 by macweaver
Louet Jane - 15.5" - 8H
14 Yarn trees by macweaver

Weaving Yarns by macweaver
2 rows of yarn trees - each holds 105 cones.
Sewing Machines by macweaver
Sewing machines.
Thread and Hooping Station by macweaver
Thread and hooping station.
BMP8 by macweaver

Cutting Area by macweaver
Cutting Area.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Louet's Flying Dutchman Shuttle

Flying Dutchman Shuttle by macweaver
In my travels and loom acquisitions - I came home with 3 of these.  They are quite unique to say the least!

My questions to all of you are:
Have you ever used one?
When would you ever use one?
Do you like using these?

They feel good in the hand - but that is as far as I have went since I haven't any weaving projects in the works at this time.

It measures:  13.5" x 2.77" x 2"

I've gotten these responses so far:
  1. Yes I have one .I use it if I have a sticky wool or mohair blend warps as the metal wire helps clear the shed. It is cool.
  2. Agree with Nickolena …and it’s design also helps keeping it from taking a nose dive (through a loose or spaced-out warp) and hitting the floor!!!!
  3. That’s also a function of those blunt ends. I have blunt end shuttles from Weaving Southwest that I’ve treasured for 20 years because they solved the problem of the nose dive through rug warps.