I timed myself this morning, out of curiosity: 28 picks took about 45 seconds, so I’m weaving at about 1.6 seconds/pick (plainweave on a treadle loom, 20″ wide warp). This is considerably faster than my previous speed – for example, the dress fabric was weaving up at about 2.75 seconds per pick. Not really a fair comparison considering that I had to double-beat each pick to clear the shed, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this week of study takes half a second per pick (or more!) off my weaving speed. Considering that I was estimating the 20 yards of dress fabric at 60 ppi to be about 43,200 throws of the shuttle, that could be 21,600 seconds saved over the course of the weave, or about 6 hours of weaving time. Pretty hefty savings, especially if my speed improves further.
Another piece of advice Laura gave me was to have the AVL switch sheds when the shed is open rather than when it’s closed. This makes perfect sense to me, but I might have to purchase the Fiberworks PCW AVL loom driver to do it – I use WeaveIt Pro to drive my loom and I’m not sure whether it has the appropriate setting. And my laptop just died so I have no access to anything right now. (Sandra, if you’re reading this, can you tell me whether this can be done in WeaveIt Pro?)
At any rate, I wove off a 5-yard warp today, along with finishing up my first bobbin lace bookmark and starting a new bobbin lace bookmark with some different stitches Laura’s been showing me. (Don’t look too impressed about the warp; it was a plainweave sett at 20 epi, with a relatively thick weft. I also wasn’t making any particular attempt at good selvedges, etc. – the purpose of this warp was purely to concentrate on ergonomics, technique, and get the “feel” of weaving smoothly and rhythmically. It’s definitely not my best weaving.)
I will post photos of the bookmarks tomorrow, I’m hoping to finish the other one tomorrow morning, early, and be able to post photos of both at once. I botched one segment of the first bookmark (I think it was my second bobbin lace motif ever, so I have some excuse) but the rest of it looks GREAT! I’m very happy. Also thinking about how I can fit bobbin lace into the dress. LOL! I’m definitely not going to replace that gorgeous Alencon lace with my beginner attempts at bobbin lace, but maybe an edging around the bottom of the dress?
Or maybe not. Who knows?
Tomorrow we’re going to have some fun sampling. I wanted to play around with differential shrinkage and collapse weaves (basically anything that does dramatic things when it hits the water, since Laura is the expert on wet-finishing), and Laura has two new-to-her Lycra yarns in the studio, so we’re going to warp up the loom with those two yarns and some 12/2 cotton, 1-inch stripes of the two yarns alternating with 1/2-inch stripes of the cotton. Then we’re going to weave with a variety of wefts, including a highly twisted singles, a Lycra yarn, a wool yarn (etc.) just to see what happens. This sounds absolutely delightful, and a good opportunity to practice ergonomic weaving on plainweave.
(Why am I weaving so much plainweave, since I love to dabble in complex structures? It’s to simplify learning the ergonomics: having to remember a treadling pattern distracts me from focusing on my body, “reading” the movements of weaving and seeing how one flows (or doesn’t) into another. Also, plainweave most closely approximates my home weaving, since I have a computer-driven loom.)
Now, to answer a couple of questions:
I’d love to see some photos of the warp going on and actually staying in the beam sections.
The warp that went with those photos wasn’t beamed into the sections; it was beamed using the sectional beam as you would a plain beam (ignoring the dividers). So the ends weren’t fitted neatly into the dividers, though I have some interesting ideas for how this might be managed if necessary.
Ruth wanted to know exactly what steps were “counted” and how long the warp was in the 15-20 minutes to beam the warp. I was speaking specifically about beaming the warp (not rough sleying or winding the warp), and I’m not sure of the length – Laura’s out of the house right now so maybe she can answer that later. I’ll time things on the sample warp I’m winding (though it may not be a good example, being only 5 yards long) and maybe that will provide a better idea.
I am, however, COMPLETELY sold on the warping trapeze as an alternative to the “crank the beam, walk around to the front of the loom and jerk on 1″ bouts of all the threads the entire width of the loom, walk to back, crank on 1 turn and repeat” method. THAT drove me nuts when I was working with a plain beam – aside from taking absolutely forever (I was working with very small back beams, usually about 2-3″ in diameter, so even one yard would be 4 turns of the beam!), it gave me blisters on my fingers. I’d never go back to that method, having seen this one.
Off to bed! Tomorrow, bobbin lace, and winding/beaming that warp. I have two more days left here, and want to get in as much as possible before leaving.
This is GREAT – I’m learning tons and getting to dabble in a lot of different areas of weaving. I’ve already gotten some interesting ideas for things to explore once I get home.
And Laura is a WONDERFUL teacher. Do study with her if you get the chance!