I sat down yesterday and designed this pretty little piece in taquete:
I’m still debating whether to weave it up, though. Pros: I’d really like to have handwoven Xmas cards this year. Cons: I really don’t have much time for weaving them – there’s this weekend, and maybe a few days next week, and then they really have to be in the mail. And I would have to fiddle around to get the proportions right. Also, shafts #21 and 24 on my loom are acting up, which could be a real problem in a small, intricate piece. I really don’t feel like troubleshooting them right now, especially since I fiddled around some, unsuccessfully, while weaving up the fabric for the book. I could redesign the taquete piece around 20 shafts instead of 24, but that would be an annoyance.
Which brings me to my second, bigger choice. AVL is having a 40% off sale on the Compudobby IV until the end of December. That brings the price down from about $3000 (ridiculously expensive) to $1500+tax, which is also ridiculously expensive but barely within the range that I might pay to get this darn thing to WORK!! And the CD IV, from what I’ve heard, is considerably more reliable than the CD III. So I am seriously considering it. I have to do a bunch more research first, though. Fortunately, Mike just bought me Weavepoint, AVL’s weaving software, for Christmas – otherwise it would be out of the question, as Weavepoint is the only weaving software out there right now that can actually run the CD IV!
Anyway, I am not happy about the prospect of an upgrade (can’t the darn thing just WORK??), but it does seem to be a way out of having to constantly fiddle with the thing. Haven’t decided yet.
Meanwhile, I seem to have acquired an Ashford Knitter’s Loom. I’ve wanted a small rigid heddle loom for some time, mostly out of curiosity, and I stopped by a small studio’s clearance sale and found a Knitter’s Loom for sale very cheaply, far below market value, even for a used loom. So I bought it, and have ordered a number of reeds for it so I can tinker with multiple-heddle patterns and finer weaves. I doubt it will ever be more than a toy for me, since I favor more complex, loom-controlled weaves, but I feel it should be part of my fiber arts education, should I ever decide to teach. They are popular looms and I feel I should know more about them!
The additional cotton chenille is on its way. I’ve decided to weave white against black, and dye the resulting cloth, rather than dyeing the white yarn a solid color. I am a big fan of scrunch-dyed, yellow-orange-red fabrics, and am hoping that I can achieve that mottled flame look in a handwoven pattern. I think it will be quite handsome!
I’ve decided I want to weave this up in diversified plain weave, which allows for striking patterns while keeping the floats short, so the chenille doesn’t worm. Laura Fry suggested a sett of 24 epi and a 16/2 cotton for the thin yarn, so that’s what I’ve ordered. A floor-length bathrobe requires about 6-7 yards of 45″ fabric, so I would need to weave about 14 yards of 45″ fabric, which of course means weaving about 16-17 yards, allowing for shrinkage. At 24 epi, that’s 10 pounds of 1450 ypp cotton chenille yarn! Egad.
Another problem I am contemplating is managing the tension. DPW has a thick and thin warp, which of course will take up at different rates. I could wind them together on the back beam and use the weighted dowel method to keep them evenly tensioned, but I’ve never tried this method before and don’t know how well it would work, especially for a long warp with a big difference between the two warp threads. I have the feeling I would have to cut off at least once, as the dowel would hit the floor!
The alternative is to chain up the second warp, weight it, and hang it from the back beam. This would be seriously fiddly, and would require getting up every couple of minutes to advance the warp weights. Not full of enthusiasm for that option, either.
So…choices, choices, so many choices.