Sunday, January 28, 2024

Adjustment, mid course

Of course I eventually got the mistakes sorted and the warp tied on. By Friday evening I was set to go, after a good night's sleep and all that. I did wind all the bobbins, in readiness for the next day. Saturday morning, after breakfast and emails, I started out.

Can I still throw a shuttle thirty inches, catch and turn it for a return throw? Yes. Is it easy? No! My shoulders ache, my hands hurt and my brain spins from attempting to keep my place in the pattern.

When supper came, I was half way down the first column. Each number represents the treadle to use, and there is also a shot of plain weave between every row.

I got up this morning, full of resolve! Went to breakfast, came back, put in a load of laundry and sat down to the loom. Tonight I am at the end of the second column. My shoulders and hands are shot.

It will be lovely, but not for me to do. Back to texture. It's what everyone loves, so let's do it. I'll mix that rose with a fine cotton slub I asked Ann to send back. She kept it, years ago, hoping to weave cuddly baby blankets. That was twenty years and a dog kennel ago. And she may still; I think she had a case of it.

Speaking of good news, I noticed the other day that the ladder to the roof has been removed from the construction site. Ladder:

There has been construction six and sometimes seven days a week. Young men went up and down that ladder as often a going through the door. But now, no ladder:

Siding is going up. Some ladder will have to come back for the second story and for the roof and the missing balconies. Lots of work left, but they may make a spring opening after all.

Monday, January 22, 2024

Where I stand

First, what a weekend, outside. We had snow for two days. Actually, it began snowing Friday afternoon and did not stop until Sunday evening. No possibility I would go out in it to take a picture, but from my second floor vantage into the atrium, a picture for you.

A bit confusing from overhead. Blink a couple of times and you can see the several inches on the chair seat, and then on the table.

Meantime, snug in my room, I am making progress on the loom. All thirty six inches of warp are on the back of the loom and through all the heddles.

On the whole the threads are simply hanging down toward the floor on the other side of the loom. They next must go through the reed, which spaces the threads evenly apart. Finally, the threads must be tied to the front beam. That part is a bit in the future. What I'm doing now is called sleying the reed.

Sleying the reed is not a fun job. I don't realize the muscle strain when I'm leaning forward, isolating the threads and drawing them through the reed. But when I go to bed, my chest aches, my arms ache. Probably my back, too, but it always aches. But by the end of the week, I should be able to weave.

Sunday, January 14, 2024

Back at it

The thread arrived yesterday and I tucked right in, setting up the spool tree, getting thread on and through the tension box. This all took too much time, actually. It has been one year since I last did this. How I remember the great warping adventure with Caroline, on her birthday no less, which I totally forgot. I just sent her a Happy Birthday text!

Last year I also had a timid cat, who hid in my bedroom until all guests were gone. This year I have a cat who is In Charge. She knows Every Thing that happens in this house, Anticipates It and then Supervises It.

Dressing a loom is quite new to her. She doesn't know what is going on. Being in trouble, being yelled at means close to nothing in this circumstance. There were a substantial amount of close to depleted tubes of warping thread. I left them scattered on the other end of "her" sofa. This morning I found them scattered on the floor.

There has been no attempt at the trick I fear most, reaching up for one of the lines of thread. So, counting my blessings, fingers crossed, I soldier on. My hope is to get across the beam today, but that really is a small possibility.

I have removed the small tubes of thread to the chair, and barricaded them, after a fashion. They survived the night, and that is good.

However, another foible cropped up yesterday. Kitty is addicted to paper. It's not a good trait, for either of us. She gets sick, probably from printer ink, and I lose my information. This began some time ago, and I learned to avoid the problem. Until yesterday.

Weeks ago someone gave me a copy and it was left on this chair, When I came in after supper, the chair and the floor were covered with confetti. I dutifully cleaned it up, telling her for the half hour what a pain in the ass she provided. And life went on.

Then one day I printed the heel instructions I would need for Shelly's sock, and thoughtlessly tossed it on the chair, where I would watch Netflix and work on the sock. Back from supper and a total spread of confetti. It's smaller than "real" confetti; those little teeth make little shreds! Lesson painfully learned; I would never put a piece of paper on the chair.

Yesterday I consulted the clipboard with all my notes, to "remember" when to add the extra thread. Tossed the board aside and began winding on a bout of thread. Together with the swish of thread I could hear crunching. I suddenly realized--PAPER!

I turned and yelled at her. Kitty engaged her selective deafness. I approached, yelling. (My approach is an extremely slow shuffle!) She watched me, and continued shredding. At the last instant before a boom descended Kitty abandoned her project and sailed away. I stowed the clipboard on a high shelf and finished the bout I was winding.
That one bout turned out to be it for yesterday. I told myself it was a fairly successful day, setting up the thread, loading it, rescuing it. Today I simply would not invite Kitty to the party. As if.

Sunday, January 7, 2024

Dratted batteries

You can imagine I am at very loose ends of late. Brassard et Fils won't even open for business for another three days, and even then my order is at their mercy. Small as it is, it probably goes to the end of the line. And what kind of a company comes back from vacation on Wednesday, I ask you. As my friend Ann, who went to school in a Swiss boarding school would say, "Only the Frenchies!"

Ah, well, in due time my new thread will arrive from Quebec, polar jet streams and panhandle hooks notwithstanding. Yes, the bad weather has settled in. All that stuff we did not get last winter has assembled for a new year blast. It has snowed the better part of the day and the temps are sliding to the teens by the end of the week.

All the heddles on my loom have been threaded. I've checked the threading heddle by heddle and found the missing thread. I decided to make a replacement heddle, rather than rethread the first hundred and fifty or so heddles. There are "replacement" heddles available, but I no longer own one. So, I made one.

Do you see it there? A safety pin in the middle, tied with cord to the appropriate heddle bars. I considered tying an old fashioned string heddle, but that would involve a search of YouTube on the off chance of finding such an esoteric tutorial.

Anyway, I'm ready to get on with it, and nothing left to do. After an idle morning of petty little tasks, I finally hit on the sock project. One day many months ago, Shelly brought me her knitting bag with two sock cuffs, on needles. It was an old project of hers, a UFO she no longer remembered how to finish. Why search for hours on YouTube for the mathematics of socks when you have a mother.

So, her knitting bag has hung on the corner of my sofa for the last year. In fact, I see it is visible through the harnesses, immediately left of my improvised string heddle. I would settle myself in for a lovely day of Netflix while I turned her heels. I retrieved the remote from the crevice in the chair, aimed and clicked. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.

It's probably been at least a year since I watched the damn thing. I searched the battery basket. No triple A's. So, I ordered them, and threw in a couple of shirts and a pair of shoes for good measure. Since I am without batteries until Tuesday, I rounded up my MP3 player. At least it has a plethora of new books on it; no need to wander CleveNet for an hour.

I can report, the shorter cuff has the same number of rows as the longer cuff and has several rows of heel flap knitted. I am astounded at Shelly's gauge. I can't believe I taught her to knit, maybe thirty years ago. Her knitting is so tight!. I gave up copying it when the cuffs were an equal length. Her heel gussets will be what they will be! And between you and me, she is a much better knitter than I am.

Monday, January 1, 2024

Slow start to the new year

My biggest wish for this new year is to be weaving the new project on a new warp. I suppose it's half accomplished; the project is settled on. It will be fabric lengths in a lovely overshot pattern. However, I need more thread for the entire warp, and Brassard is on vacation and will not ship before they open on January tenth. Even then, I will be in line after all the earlier orders.

I decided to get a head start on next year and use the loom waste from the towel warp to get all the heddles threaded. There are 522 heddles involved this time, not that many more than the towel warp. However, threading heddles is my weakest suit.

The pattern is taped to the take up beam. There are six repeats of the pattern and I am part way through the fourth. I work until the harnesses get muddled in my brain. Shelly stopped to see me last week and helped me. We worked half way across. 

When I checked it later, there was a mistake in the first pattern. Out everything came. Janice came to help me yesterday, and we re-threaded up to part way through the third repeat. Now I am half way through the fourth, and checking each as I go.

Last year, around Thanksgiving, I resolved to go down to the Bistro for breakfast, instead of having bread, butter and jam sent from Heinen's, and often some impulse pastry. It's fifty dollars a month I don't need to spend, since breakfast is provided, if I get up early enough each day.

If I just got up and dressed and went, it would be simple. But Kitty is accustomed to having her breakfast and her kitty abode cleaned before I have breakfast. I set up that schedule to assure she was fed and her box cleaned regularly every day. Doing it before I eat means I don't forget. But it also means getting up half an hour earlier to be downstairs before breakfast is over. Sigh.

Nothing has changed with Kitty. If anything, she is more settled into her routine of pressing me to remember her treats. They are served only twice a day. However, she pressures me into breakfast, a treat when I get up and one after I eat supper. The remainder of the time she sleeps or plays. Or both.