The last few days have been a grim struggle with the fine-threads warp. The threads were sticking together, so I sized it. Whereupon the sizing glued the threads together (as I should have anticipated). I spent a few days un-sticking the threads, but to no avail – they are still sticking together, and I don’t think it’s the fault of the sizing. I had sett at 80 ends per inch, based on a sample from the Fine Threads Study Group that was woven at 90 ends per inch, but I think it’s still too dense. Peggy Osterkamp’s sett tables in Winding a Warp and Using a Paddle, which are the best sett tables I’ve encountered, suggest a sett of 62 (!) for plain weave at a reasonable density. Now, you can get away with a lot more variation in sett in fine threads than in thicker ones, but the difference between 80 and 62 is pretty dramatic. I think I will re-sley to 64 ends per inch, 4/dent in a 16-dent reed. But I am not looking forward to re-sleying. Another eight hours plus debugging before I can sit down and weave. Plus my 36″ warp will now be 45″, which I am not sure I can weave without a fly shuttle. More things to try, I suppose! At worst I can always drop some threads off the edges.
Perhaps the delay isn’t such a bad thing, though, as I may be changing knitting machines! Faced with the prospect of knitting miles and miles of 120/2 silk into blanks, I had started looking for motor attachments for my knitting machine. Eventually I found a White 1602 knitting machine – with motor – on sale on eBay. It had been mislabeled as a White 3800 (which doesn’t exist), which perhaps explains why no one was bidding on it, but I got the machine + motor for about $400. When it arrived, I found that rather than the petite, simple, single-bed knitting machine I expected, I had a double-bed, electronic monstrosity with all sorts of gizmos in addition to the motor (intarsia carriage, garter bars, etc.). Egad. I’m guessing it’s worth at least $1500-2000+, if it’s tuned up and working properly. However, the bells and whistles are completely wasted on me since all I want to do is knit stockinette. I’m sure I will incur the karmic wrath of machine knitters everywhere by wasting the potential of such a machine, but really, all I want is a simple motorized unit to knit stockinette.
So anyway, I need to figure out how the machine works and whether it needs repairs. Since I know essentially nothing about knitting machines, I’ve made an appointment for this coming Saturday to get it inspected (and repaired if necessary). All that means that I won’t be able to knit sample blanks and get started on the “real” weaving for a week anyway. Which means that re-sleying, while frustrating, won’t slow me down in the grand scheme of things.
Meanwhile, in book-land, I have started putting together a project plan. The resulting schedule is pretty tight – a month and a half to conduct interviews and write a prototype chapter, two months to write the next two chapters (that includes a month off for chocolate season + holiday travel), and five months to write twelve more chapters. After that, two months of polishing, following which I’ll turn in the final manuscript. It doesn’t sound completely gruesome, but there isn’t much room in it for slacking, either.
Anyway, I’m talking to the publisher about my project plan tomorrow or Tuesday – hoping to get that settled so we can get to work immediately. Not a moment to lose! As a project manager, I simply loathe last-minute heroics – especially if the “hero” working late nights happens to be me. So I’d rather get started immediately and set a steady pace now, rather than stressing over it later.
As if that weren’t enough, I’ve been bitten by the jam-making bug again. This time it’s six pounds of Concord grapes and fourteen pounds of pears, plus fifteen pounds of quinces that I’m picking up on Tuesday. Plus some Eureka lemons to add the necessary tartness. I’ll be making the Concord grape jelly today, but the pears will need to ripen for a few days before they’re ready to use. So I’ll probably be making pear jam and quince marmalade next weekend. Gotta do something to keep myself out of mischief!
And, finally, in cat-land, here is a video of Fritz engaged in one of his favorite activities: drinking from the faucet! For some reason, even though he has his own drinking fountain (a cat water dish with a pump that continuously circulates water), he loves fresh water from the bathroom faucet. I am always amazed by how deftly he drinks from a running tap. I feel a bit guilty about giving him water that way when there’s a drought on, but our overall water usage is down 25% from last year, since we’ve switched to drip irrigation and stopped watering the lawn, so I suppose a few small indulgences are tolerable. And he does enjoy fresh water!