Tuesday, November 06, 2012

The Warp That Gave Dogs a Bad Name


Please bear with me. I've spent the last five days wrestling a warp that was so nasty I'm calling it a wolverine, no dog could be that bad. I finally got a clear shed after umpteen rethreadings, so I'm celebrating with a wee glass of Irish whisky and hopefully clearing my karmic deficit with an honest confession.

I suck at weaving. I love cloth, I love thread, I dream of being Ariadne in another life. But God knows, in this  life, I am blind, unable to count, impatient and have no short term memory to speak of. These traits do not a weaver make. Please remind me of this next time I talk about starting a project.

My dear landladies, Susan and Julia, asked me to make them some aprons to wear when they do demos and cheese tastings. (They are the proprietors of Moonstruck Cheese, a fabulous artisanal cheese company, with lovely gift baskets perfect for Christmas giving, by the way.) They wanted black and white striped aprons aprons just like I made the chef last year.

"Oh", I sighed. "Do you really want handwoven aprons? You could get commercial ones for twenty dollars." They assured me handwoven aprons would be just the ticket. "Well, okay. Are you sure you want black and white? You could have any colour combination imaginable." No, black and white is just fine. With a pocket." I guess there's no arguing with the classics.

So, 500+ ends of 2/8 cotton later, I remember why I don't weave anymore. My back is screaming, I feel like an imbecile, and I am swearing like a sailor. Having always been a warp from the front sort of person, I thought I would try Jane Stafford's superior warp from the back method. Only I forgot to wind the stripes in the warp as I went. So I had to warp from the front anyway. For some reason only the weaving goddesses know, the four white ends I have crammed in one dent have decided to intertwine themselves in a dense cord. I got the whole mess through the reed and heddles and tied on before I realized that I somehow missed a 12 thread section right in the middle. So I made hand-tied emergency heddles and re-threaded. Then there were half a dozen broken threads as I wound on, and a truly evil number of crossed threads.

Obviously, I am not up to the task. But I have got this far, and I am going to make two of the most beautiful aprons you have ever seen, and Susan and Julia will sell a lot of cheese wearing them. If it kills me.

P.S. For the non-weaver's amongst you, a nasty warp is called a dog in the weaving world. No disrespect to the joyful, loving creature that is a dog in the rest of the world.

5 comments:

  1. Oh my. This reminds me why I have never actually taken up weaving, although I admire everything about it. I have no idea what most of your description means, but I know any of my attempts would involve a lot of swearing too. Enjoy your whiskey, you deserve it.

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  2. Congrats for sticking to it, Heather! It looks lovely and they will be sure to sell a lot of cheese wearing their fabu aprons.

    I think the problem is not weaving often enough for it to become automatic. Like me unfortunately. Wish me luck - I'm starting to wind a warp for the full width of my 45" loom at 20epi for bedroom curtains. First time in about 5 years. Yikes. What am I thinking?

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  3. I salute you Heather! I too love the concept of weaving; but have neither learnt it, nor feel there is enough time left in my life to begin learning it! Funnily enough, I'm about to suggest to a group I work with, that we do some card weaving....it's about the only level I can manage! Cheers!

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  4. onesmallstitch11:02 AM

    oh, oh, I'm sorry but I had a little laugh! sometimes everything just seems to go wrong, I wonder why anyone wants to weave!! think Louisa is right - the more you do it the better you get. I try to avoid black warps, they are so hard to see weaving mistakes - and I'm just about to put one on, too. cheers to the Irish.

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  5. Anonymous4:06 AM

    Drinking whiskey and swearing like a sailor! Love it! Do you say, "Ar! Ar!", a lot? Do you have a dead parrot perched on your shoulder? Maybe you can embroider some small skull and crossbones into the aprons when their done so the cheese ladies know what you went through to weave them.

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