Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Sad trombone shawl [Scarf 8]

A couple of years ago, a customer ordered a black shawl for a Christmas present but then changed her mind between the time I wound the warp and put it on the loom. I've been sitting on the warp ever since, trying to decide what to set it at. I originally planned to set it at 8 EPI but I don't have an 8 dent reed for Joey... so I've wiffled and waffled over setting it at 10 or at 6 or at some other thing and somehow have never gotten it onto the loom, even though this black wool is The. Softest. Stuff. Ever.

But now with the Scarfaday gig I'm using up all these old warps that just want to be loved, and this black warp in particular was asking for some lovin' this morning. "Weave me!" it said. "But you are a shawl, not a scarf!" I replied. "So what!?" it said. "So what indeed," I replied. I'm making the rules here, and my rules say that shawls are just really wide scarves, so on went the shawl. As a nod to the scarfa deal, I sleyed it at a very open set of 6 EPI with extra spaces in the reed to emphasize the lace, so that it's airy enough to collapse into a scarf and be worn around your neck rather than your shoulders. Incidentally, the warp was only long enough for the one shawl/scarf, so this truly is a shawladay in every sense of the word: I started dressing the loom this morning, wove the shawl in the afternoon and cut the warp off just in time to take the shawl with me to my weavers' guild meeting tonight.

I say that like it was easy as pie, and dressing the loom was. The warp was short and there were only 96 ends so it took hardly any time to wind on, thread, sley, tie on and sit down to weave. Down I plunked, quite happily lovin' up my nice black warp. And then everything went pearshaped! I could not for the life of me figure out the right walking tie up for the simple broken twill I wanted to weave, the weft is a balled knitting yarn and they all tangled up into a terrible mess when I tried to wind the bobbins, a shaft that has never stuck before began to stick every time I stepped on one of the treadles, etc. etc. etc. It was a never ending series of sad trombones:

I kid you not, it took hours to get the first few inches woven. If it weren't for Scarfaday I would have given up and gone back to bed or spent the afternoon surfin' or reading or doing anything but weaving. Still, I persevered 'cause I knew (or at least hoped) that someone would be looking tonight to see what I'd gotten done - how's that for motivation? Different sort than I've had lately, but I'll take whatever I can get.

So I stuck with it and by mid afternoon it was going much better and then, out of the blue, a friend called and asked if I wanted to go out for coffee. Oh Boy Did I Ever! Thing is, not only was I running out of time for the scarf, but I was still in my jammies with hair sticking out in 2400 different directions. You see, that's why friends are so great: instead of going out, she came over here, I got a much needed break from the loom, and not once did she snigger at my hairdo. After she left I went back downstairs and it was like someone had flipped a switch. I got the last 60 inches of the shawl woven without a hitch and I got warp #2 wet finished.

So. Perhaps this was karma, getting me back for being so smug about having a good day yesterday, or for doing a shawl instead of a scarf, or just giving me an excuse to use the sad trombone widget I discovered yesterday and promptly fell in love with. Whatever it was, it seems to have run its course. Which is a good thing, 'cause tomorrow I get to dress the loom all over again!

My shawladay went like this:

12:04 pm: Rough sleyed and wound onto the back beam. Looks harmless, doesn't it? Ha!

12:33 pm: Threaded, sleyed and ready to tie on. Fast and easy, so well behaved. HA!

1:42 pm: Got some heading in to spread the bouts. Hmm... something looks a little dodgy with the tie up... (and so it begins)

Can you see the extra empty dents I left in the reed between every four threads? Maybe if you squint... Those were intentional, not part of the trombones - helps to emphasize the lace pattern.

1:45 pm - 4:00 pm: All manner of foolishness with tangled balls of yarn, incorrect tie ups, howling cats, endless phone calls from 1-866 numbers that were surely telemarketers, etc. etc. etc. During this time, I managed to get approximately 36" woven:

And then the phone rang AGAIN. I ignored it and just let it ring. Then it stopped and my cellphone started ringing on the table behind me (I had it handy so I could tweet about my travails). This was odd, so I answered... and the rest, as they say, is history. History over a cuppa - the best kind.

6:15 pm: One good visit + two cups of tea + about an hour of weaving = 60" or so woven and one shawladone!

This one shows off the spaces I was leaving in between every four shots as well, to match the extra spaces in the reed. I just eyeballed the space and left a wider gap between the two plain weave shots in the repeat.

Note the loom waste again here - even shorter than last time! Only 9" or so, but I measured that after taking the tension off 'cause this didn't look good:

Poor heddles! I hope they're not bent. :| This time I definitely did have to hold down the shafts with one hand in order to get any semblance of a shed and there was only barely enough room to squeeze the shuttle between the beater and the fell. Still, I never like a skimpy shawl, so I squeaked out as much length as I possibly could.

6:22 pm: The finished shawl, shown way up at the top of the post. Here it is again, in case you've forgotten:

The lace should open up even more after it's wet finished. I might put some beads in the fringe, too.


Sue said...

Yep! I checked to see what you did today, but didn't think you'd be up posting at 2 a.m.! The shawl looks very pretty. What are the final measurements off the loom? G'nite! OXOXO Mom

Laura said...

Hi Janet,

I'm checking in too - doesn't it feel great to get those lonely well aged warps woven off???? :D



Life Looms Large said...

Wow - way to push through some challenges!!! The shawl looks great....I'll be interested to see how finishing it changes it.


Janet said...

Yay! Thanks guys! :D

Mom-Sue: It's currently 15 1/2" x 85", but it hasn't been washed yet. It was 18" wide in the reed and I wove it close to 100" long. Also, that 10 pm is my time, not yours. Was blogged and in bed before midnight. I'm an early-to-bed, early-to-rise kinda gal, you know! (HA!)

Laura: Wow - checking in while traveling? That's so great! Yes, it feels wonderful to be emptying out that big box of pre-wound warps. Not too many left, and only a couple of them scarves.

Large-Sue (er, wait now...): I'll keep you posted on final measurements. In fact, I've been meaning to post those for every scarf, plus more fibre details. More on this soon!