I spent an hour threading Grace yesterday, and am now almost halfway done:
Ricki is coming over next week and hopefully will be able to make even more progress. Between the two of us, I want to get Grace threaded and sleyed by the end of March. Of course, then there is the debugging of threading and sleying errors – another Eternal Slog…but fortunately it only needs to be done once, then I can tie on and pull through forevermore.
After that, there will be a ton of prototyping before I can weave velvet on Grace. Mike and I will have to design and refine a lot of velvet-weaving equipment first, which will take months. Discouraging, no?
However, this morning it finally occurred to me (genius that I am) that I don’t have to wait until Grace is ready. I have two looms! Fancy that! And I can do a lot of the prototyping on Lady Ada.
Here’s what Mike and I need to figure out:
- How to tension the velvet warp threads individually, so I can weave figured velvet. The take-up will be different on each thread, so they need to either be on individual weighted spools in a spool rack, or they need to be weighted separately to take up the extra slack between the warp beam and the fell (edge of the woven cloth). Bonus: I need to figure out how to make all that work with the automatic tensioning system of the TC-2.
- If I use the individual weighted spools in a spool rack (which seems likely), design the spool rack, and design the spools to fit the spool rack. 3D-print the spools. Did I mention that I will need 440 spools?
- How dense should I make the pile warps relative to the 20/2 cotton I’m using for the ground warp? What yarn should I use for the pile warps? If I use the rayon machine embroidery thread that I’m currently planning to use, how many strands?
- What size monofilament should I use as velvet rods for the pile warp, once I figure out the right density? What if I want shorter or taller pile? Or a mix of cut or uncut velvet?
- What size velvet knives would I need for each diameter of monofilament? (Bonus: 3D-print each knife handle in a different color, with the size of monofilament and the number of strands of weft thread printed on the handle so I don’t get confused.)
- Is the rayon embroidery thread suitable for my purposes? Some rayon embroidery threads are not washfast or lightfast. So I want to embroider swatches of each color and then test for both.
As you can see, there are just a few variables involved, and I was not looking forward to the 3-4 months it would take me to sort all that out after preparing Grace. However, most of that can be figured out by putting a 14.5″ warp onto Lady Ada, my 8-shaft Baby Wolf, in the same yarn and at the same density as the warp going onto Grace. So that’s what I plan to do.
The other thing I’ve realized is that the reason I was making no progress on any personal art projects was that I was trying to fit in my personal projects in after the business stuff was done. Since there is more than enough business stuff to fill 3x the time and energy that I actually have, I never got to the fun stuff!
I’m now reaching the point where not not every business thing is screamingly urgent all the time, so I think I’m going to start injecting a fun goal into each day’s work, in addition to taking weekends (mostly) off.
Meanwhile, since some people have said they’re suffering from Fritz-and-Tigress withdrawal, here is what Tigress is up to right now: demanding that I do my One Job. (Which, in this case, is playing with her and/or giving her cat treats. Never mind that I did both just half an hour ago. What have I done for her lately??)