Wednesday, 26 October 2016

'Geode (139:15)': First Panel

The weaver's cat does like a basket to curl up in......

I finished this first panel on Monday evening. I am pleased with the 'crusty' effect of weaving with sari ribbon. There are also amethyst chips and other beads embedded in areas. I will attempt to take some close ups next time I am at home in daylight. Yesterday I put the next pair of cardboard spacers in and wove the slim triangular area between panels which will become a rib when the piece folds up. Moving back into single warps for that area enabled me to use my new treadles again. After a busy day at the office, I am just re-energising myself with tea (M&S Extra Strong, loose leaf; splash of whole milk) before beginning panel 2. I received a parcel today with more stocks of the Coton à Broder which figures in the pink to mauve areas, so there is nothing to hold me back.

Location:Cuckoo Fields,Chichester,United Kingdom

Monday, 17 October 2016

'Geode (139:15)' : The Weaving Begins

As it turned out, making the treadles work on Lemminkäinen was as easy as tightening a bolt. The contortions necessary to reach said bolt are another thing! But they work, and made weaving the header so much faster than usual.

The cartoon stitched on, card spacers inserted, and the beginning of the first inner panel:-

The layout plan in miniature. The observant will notice that it is rotated 180 from the cartoon. There are fourteen panels; seven inner and seven outer. Starting with one of the inner ones, the join will be hidden inside the hollow form.

Location:Cuckoo Fields,Chichester,United Kingdom

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Restoring Lemminkäinen to Life: Part the Fourth

Tied onto the cloth beam; shed sticks made of scrap Perspex from WD workshop. I like to recycle and reimagine :-))

Ready to go....

And lo, she weaveth!! Only the scrap header, but even so. It is so great to be able to open a whole shed for this bit, rather than picking a few warps at a time. I already LOVE having heddles!

Location:Cuckoo Fields,Chichester,United Kingdom

Restoring Lemminkäinen to Life: Part the Third

Heddled and tied on to the warp beam.

Chained and secured with ladybirds :-) (I use clothes pegs of all sizes in so many ways)

Wound onto the warp beam with corrugated cardboard.

Ready to tie onto the cloth beam - in the next exciting instalment :-))

Location:Cuckoo Fields,Chichester,United Kingdom

Restoring Lemminkäinen to Life: Part the Second

All photos taken on iPhone for Instagram; apologies if quality is poor on larger scale.

Clamping the beater assembly to access the reed.

The reed marked for the width of 'Geode(139:15)' (Because, yes, I did decide to start with a smaller project!)

The warp (Weavers Bazaar linen, as used for 'Shrine') on my improvised warping board.

Chained warp (136 ends, 2.7m)

The reed sleyed and chained in bundles of eight. This is my first ever warping of a vertical loom, and, apart from my rigid heddle loom, the first sleying I have done in 10 years - that was on a 16 shaft Dobby loom at De Montfort.

I am hugely grateful to Tommye Scanlin's Tapestry Share blog for guidance:-

Location:Cuckoo Fields,Chichester,United Kingdom

Restoring Lemminkäinen to Life: Part the First

All built, but awaiting the heddles / shafts. 'Historic' warp from previous owner - now removed but will be recycled.

I had to remove and tidy away rather a lot of other stuff from the loom room, but managed to retain my drawing desk and the windowsill of curiosities.

Lemminkäinen's bee arrived in a parcel, so he can now be brought to life....

Location:Cuckoo Fields,Chichester,United Kingdom

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

On the Naming of Looms (and Other Equipment)

In my family, we have always given names to our cars, so it seems sensible to name other significant objects. In my weaving life it began with a custom-made plumb bob:-

Athena-Mae, named for the Greek Goddess who invented weaving, and Mae West for those curves! She was turned by Tjeerd, one of the WD clockies, from a sketch of mine.
When I needed a solid brass bobbin for beating heavy jute ('Lament'), Clockie David came to the rescue. A Clockie who shall remain nameless wanted it called 'The Penetrator', but we compromised on Zeus!

And so to Aragorn, the Ashford loom; made in New Zealand, close to where they filmed a certain film from a favourite book...

Lemminkäinen was made in Finland at some indeterminate time in the past, and came to me via Ireland. I listen to Sibelius a lot when I weave, so was familiar with the name, if not the legend. I read it the other day and it fitted so well; the hero Lemminkäinen is killed and dismembered, his mother finds all the pieces and reassembles his body, but it is only with the help of a bee and special honey that he is restored to life. My bee arrives tomorrow!

Location:Cuckoo Fields,Chichester,United Kingdom

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Lemminkäinen* has Landed (Dreams do sometimes come true)

When I was starting as a tapestry weaver, I felt very grateful to be able to have an Ashford tapestry frame loom (known as Aragorn), and then to work on a scaffold loom at WD and subsequently acquire one of my own (Sid). I never imagined that I would ever have a 'proper' two shaft tapestry loom to accommodate the big work I long to do. Yesterday, thanks to the wonderful 'Eaton Fund for Artists, Nurses and Gentlewomen' and fifteen crowdfunding backers, I received two packages containing a 2.0m weaving width Varpapuu two-shaft loom, of unknown age, from Finland via Southern Ireland.

The packages. Three of us. No hernias!

Added by a previous owner :-)

Beginning construction...

From left to right: cloth beam, upper beam, heddling bar and bits, warp beam. The linen aprons are in good order, with only some minor repairs needed to the loops. A friend is sending me a copy of her original instruction manual for the same model of loom; the only other thing is to make two new lamms to attach the other pairs of treadles as I do not think the previous owner had these (the lamms; the treadles are there). They should be easy enough to do, even with my minimal woodworking skills. The reed is my favourite sett, but is not full width (I knew this when I committed to buying it), so I will need to order one.

I need to find my rubber mallet in order to knock the frame together enough to fasten the bolts - I have the big spanner to hand. Am also revising my knowledge of making a warp and dressing a reeded, beamed loom with heddles. I have been using frame looms for seven years, so it is a long time since I beamed, sleyed and tied up :-))

I have not known whether to dance for joy or weep with gratitude! So many kind people believing in me and my work.

Now, of course, I am wondering whether, rather than launching straight into the large version of 'Shrine', I should try a smaller project and make 'Geode(139:15)' on Lemminkäinen* rather than Aragorn. The reed is plenty wide enough, and it will give me the opportunity to acclimatise to a different way of weaving and make any necessary adjustments to the tie up etc.

* I shall explain the choice of name in a later post; this one is quite long enough!

Location:Cuckoo Fields,Chichester,United Kingdom

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