Thursday, May 7, 2009

Introducing the SNRH!

I'm officially going to stop saying "tomorrow I'll post blah blah blah" since this month is clearly not going to arrange itself into tidy days that allow for regular posting, what with Mom visiting and Vanessa working here six hours a day (often on my computer) and the shop opening in ten (10!!!) days and and and... ooph! Also, I'm declaring the entire month an MFM (Mixed Fibre May) 'cause I have no idea what I'll be posting when. There will be scarves - there may even be guest scarves! - but the timing thereof will be dodgy at best.

Now that business is out of the way, I'm dying to show off the SNRH, i.e. my Spanky New Rigid Heddle loom! As you may recall, Mom scored me a second hand but never used Ashford Knitter's loom and brought it for my birthday present. As she feared, I didn't let her save it for my actual birthday; instead, I plunked myself down in her hotel room and waited anxiously while she unpacked her bags then practically tore it out of her hands and started assembling right there on her bed. Let the poor woman sleep after a long international plane trip when there was a new loom to be warped? Are you kidding?

Assembly was easy peasey but figuring out how to warp the loom was a smidge trickier. Mom's room had a sort of flip-top desk we were able to clamp it to (carefully, since the desk was almost certainly an antique)

but there was no other surface to clamp the warping peg onto. Fortunately, Ron was as obliging as ever and anchored a wooden chair so that I could clamp the peg to one side.

I'd packed a couple cones of looped mohair to weave with since I knew the loom came with a 7.5 DPI heddle. I usually weave mohair at 6 EPI but I figured this would work just fine. I snuck the cones into Ron's luggage without him noticing until we got to Halifax. He evidently hadn't got word that Friday night was Weaving Night so was rather surprised to discover coned yarn in his suitcase when he opened it on Thursday hunting for a toothbrush. He's quite used to me buying yarn and packing it home on our trips but it isn't often that I actually leave home with the stuff.

So I had yarn and I'd also packed scissors. The loom came with shuttles and all the bits and pieces it needed... but I'd totally forgotten any sort of packing to go on the back beam between the layers of warp. We hunted around for some hotel stationery but, alas, there was none to be found, nor any kind of sticks either. We hunted around for anything flat we could use and first spied the long plastic sleeve that my new 8 dent reed came in (another gift from Mom - my cup runneth over!). There was also a large Ziploc freezer bag, so that went on the beam next. Then we had to get creative. We tried a t-shirt bag...

...which seemed to work okay (at least until the end)...

...but after that we were really scraping the bottom of the barrel. I considered toilet paper but ruled it out as 1) too narrow and 2) too soft. Then, since I was in the bathroom at the time, I glanced over at the toilet and spotted the only paper product the hotel had provided. A couple quick snips with a pair of scissors later, we wound up with two of these:

Necessity is the mother of invention and all that.

It felt a bit daring to use mohair for this project in light of previous mohair-for-first-project horrors1 but am happy to report that the tension was fine in spite of the unorthodox packing material and warping equipment and the mohair worked great without any trouble at all.

By this time it was Pretty Late so I took the loom back to my own hotel room and let Mom get to sleep. I spent an hour or so weaving on the bed with the back of the loom propped up on pillows but that was hard on the back.

Eventually I realized that the foot of the bed was high enough that I could sit cross-legged on the bed and prop the loom against the foot...board? which worked a treat until I just couldn't keep my eyes open any more. I kept weaving the next morning (this time sitting on the floor with the loom propped against a wing back chair since I figured sitting up on the bed might wake up Ron. ;)) and then finished the scarf up in Mom's room before breakfast, wedged between her bed and the flip-top desk.

Here's one last look at my SNRH baby, this time in its natural habitat, i.e. the kitchen table. Although perhaps that's not really its natural habitat since the idea is to take it out and about and weave away from home on it. At any rate, here it is, complete with its Spanky New Rigid Heddle Bag:

And a last glimpse of the scarf fabric:

In other news, work on the stole continues apace and Mom's been weaving up a storm on a warp of shawls much like the Sad Trombone shawl, except that the wool is slightly finer and white, and no sad trombones have been required as yet.

1. The very first time I ever warped a loom it was with brushed mohair. I had some rather alarming problems with that warp which I think you might be able to hear more about in the next episode of WeaveCast. OoOoooOOooo!


barbara said...

Great to meet your SNRH - you were brave to put the type of yarn you used in the warp; would be kind of sticky. You made it work. Have fun with your SNRH!!! You have a busy month ahead - we will hear from you, when we hear from you. You can't do everything - Mom is important, Hubby is important, friends are important, time for Janet is important, the shop is important, weaving is important ....When you have the chance, I for one love to read your blogs - I for one don't want to see you stressed out ..... so pick your priorities!!!!!
Weaverly yours ..... Barbara

Laura said...

Hi Janet,

I much prefer mohair loop - so much more friendly than brushed mohair. :)

And you're right - Saint Ron is a - well - saint!

Say hi to Sue for me. I'll hope to see her in Sept/Oct. I'm hoping to make the Sept. SWG meeting this year. :)


lisa said...

Hi Janet -
What fun - tell Sue that Alex and I are spending another weekend weaving - I am warping with fine wool I spoke to her about. We enjoyed your blog today.

Life Looms Large said...


Just checking in. I was thinking "Janet's awfully quiet....too quiet...hope everything's OK." But now I see from your latest post that you are really busy....which is one of the problems of May.

Hope you're having fun and doing cool stuff! And I'll be happy to read about it, even if I have to wait til the snow flies again to do so!!!

Happy Summer!!!