Monday, 14 February 2011

Weaving the shoulder section

Weaving this section was enjoyable and didn't take too long. The stuffed shape sat comfortably propped between my knees and the coffee table. I kept thinking of a turtle as I wove around the dome!

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Getting ready to weave the shoulder section

The shoulder section is a strip which curves around the cap of the shoulders. It extends from the edge of the yoke to the point at which the sleeves and body separate . At the back it is about 15 cm deep tapering to about 2 cm at the front edges. 

The shoulder section viewed from the back
To get ready to weave this part, I laid out the loomskin on a large sheet of cardboard. Poking through the loomskin with pins, I marked the cardboard with the shape of the shoulder section. I cut it out and taped it into the proper 3-D shape. This I taped to the inside of the loomskin along the edge of the yoke. Then I wrapped the whole contraption around Frieda's shoulders (the dress maker's dummy) and sewed the loomskin closed across the neck, down the front and along the cut lines as far down as the bottom of this section. This produced a dome shaped structure which I stuffed with one and a half old pillows. Finally I attached a flat cardboard base. 
The warp pinned in place underneath
I pulled the loomskin down around the base and pinned it in place firmly to tension the warp. The rest of the length of the sleeves and body of the loomskin is folded away below the base.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Weaving the yoke

Once the tension problem was solved, weaving the yoke could commence. At the neck edge it was tricky to keep the pairs of threads in the right order. I had to keep following the warp threads down to the holding stitches at the edge of the yoke to check that they weren't crossing over. Once the first two picks were in place, the order was established and it was easier. Even so, as I went, threads got crossed a few times. Eventually I realized I could re-cross them in the next row. The surface is so tweady that this is not visible.

(So, in future, I need to establish the cross while warping to begin with. The order is obvious when the pins are in place, but it is very easy for the threads to trade positions when the pins are pulled out and the turns of warp are then held in place by yarn through the holding stitches. I could lay in a dummy weft in contrasting yarn while the pins are in place and before threading the yarn through the holding stitches. This one extra step while laying the warp would save a lot of frustration and unpicking while weaving.)  

The last pick at the edge of the yoke, I did as a row of locking stitches (under two threads and back over one, called Egyptian knot*) to stabilize the edge. In this tweady weave, this row is not visible, but it makes a slightly firmer raised line.

weave down to knots
I also needed to keep track of the points where shaping wedges are introduced into the weaving. I used contrasting yarn stitched through the loomskin and knotted around the turn in the warp to hold these extra warp pairs in place. These knots and their loose ends are proving very helpful at this stage. I can see when I am coming to the top of a new pair of warps and can make sure the knot is pulled into position between the correct warp threads. I weave down to it and two picks past before starting to include the new threads into the weaving. (I need to do this to account for stretch in the warp. If I introduce the new pair of warps into the weaving exactly where they turn, a hole appears when I release the warp from tension.)  

first row past the knots

second row past the knots

weaving including the new warps
* I found the name of this stitch in Needleweaving: Easy as Embroidery by Warner Dendel.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Getting started again

I've had the cast off my wrist for nearly three weeks now and have regained enough strength and mobility to begin weaving this project again.

The first thing to do was to solve the tension problem. I removed the duct tape at the collar edge and pinned it down firmly instead. Then I used strips of anti-slip mat to grip the warp and pull it taut. Pins in strips of cardboard hold it in place ready for weaving.