Friday, August 19, 2011

"The Dog On The Loom"

Sampler for Liturgical Stole
Those of you who are weavers who read this blog, probably know what "the dog on the loom" means.  For those of you who aren't weavers, it doesn't mean that cute little pooch who sits beside you waiting to be petted has jumped on the loom!  What it does mean is a warp (which is the group of yarn threads which make the lengthwise of the woven fabric) is "mis-behaving"!  And not only mis-behaving but giving you so much trouble that you are ready to rip it off the loom, say a few expletives and throw it away!  Now what could cause such a temper tantrum?  Well ------ when threads stick together in the shed (opening when weaving) making it difficult to weave without skipping over threads or when threads keep breaking while you are weaving.  It could be that the tension is all wrong and can't be easily fixed.  In any event the warp gives you lots of problems and it takes you alot longer to weave the piece and your patience wears thin.

Recently I had a "dog on the loom".  I started a project in May.  It was to be a stole for my husband who was celebrating the 40th anniversary of his ordination. The first problem I had was running out of the gold yarn that I was using.  It was an older yarn that I had pulled off of my shelf and I thought I had enough to do the job.  So when I ran out and I knew I could not get any more of this yarn, I had to go back to the drawing board and be creative. This should have been my first clue that this was not going to go well. But being the "let's make lemonade out of lemons" type I perused my shelves for an answer. I found another yarn on my shelf which after a little redesigning of my original plan worked fine.  I actually liked that yarn better.  So part of the gold threads were made up of the old thread which was a white cotton thread with gold wrapped around it and the new gold thread which was all gold.

Gold threads going onto the beam

Close up Gold threads going onto the beam. White threads are already beamed.

Two beams are wound with yarn

OK, I thought I was good to go until after my first 12 inches when the gold on the gold/white thread broke!  One repair didn't bother me but when it kept happening over and over again, I was annoyed and frustrated.  Why were they breaking?  This didn't happen when I did the sampler. Was the yarn too old and the rubbing against the reed was causing it to break? Again, this didn't happen in the sampler.  So what was going on?

After this happened several more times, I realized that one big reason it was happening was I had forgotten to add one piece of equipment to my loom that I needed while using the second beam.  I had put the gold yarn on a second beam because I knew the tensioning of it would be different than the white tencel.  What I forgot to do was add the second back beam so the two yarns would be separated as they traveled from the back of the loom to the front.  This caused alot of friction on the gold threads causing them to POP!  Hence "the dog on the loom"!

Second back beam

Well, I was unable to finish the stole for the anniversary, we went away to Florida for 2 weeks, and then life invaded my weaving time, we went on vacation for 3 weeks, and life again invaded my weaving time until finally a few days ago I was able to finish weaving the stole and take "the dog of the loom"!  A few Hallelujahs were said along with some dancing and the warp was off!

Now I just have to finish repairing all those broken threads (ugh) and sew the stole in time for my husband to wear it the next time the liturgical color of white is worn which I think is Christmas.  Can I get it done?  I think I can, I think I can, I think I can!

T-pins hold the broken threads

Close up of broken threads ready to be repaired

Wish me luck! When it's finished I'll post a picture.  Stay turned.