Tag: weaving cross

Reed-y?

You know, thinking up a title for a weekly blog – not so easy! And sometimes, just sometimes, all I can come up with is something sounding ridiculously corny. But, I’m guessing if you’ve read this far, you are OK with a little corn and we can all simply carry on, ignoring the crazy title! And here goes! (p.s. I am up for suggestions, if a brilliant title for a weaving blog comes to you in the middle of the night… just saying!)

And here are the players for today's sleying!
And here are the players for today’s sleying!

Today is sley-the-reed day!!!! Best day ever! I love this part of the process. I’m not sure exactly what makes it so appealing. All I can figure is that sitting at a table organizing hundreds of yarns just does it for me! I like to tell folks that to be a weaver, you have to be a little bit crazy… and I would guess my prior statement puts me firmly in that category! And I’m OK with that!

Lease sticks slide in.
Lease sticks slide in.

To sley a reed, you need a reed (rectangular frame with evenly spaced slots that will fit into your loom), lease sticks (a pair of sticks with holes in both ends meant to be a place holder for the cross that delineates the order of the yarns), and a pair of scissors. That is the bare minimum. But, for me, I always include a cup of tea, my project journal to track my time, and either a TV show or a little music to entertain me!

The view from where I'm sitting (aka, the view from my belly button!).
The view from where I’m sitting (aka, the view from my belly button!).

First up, the lease sticks slip through the cross I made on the warping board. I tied everything in strategic spots so I could locate the cross once I was sitting at the table. (Those ties get cut once I start sleying.) So now, the lease sticks are keeping the yarns in order! The reed sits directly in front of me with an edge hanging off the table to make the threading easier. The trick is to avoid knocking the reed over onto the floor. You can always tape it down if it makes you more comfortable!

Each yarn is placed in a dent of the reed.
Each yarn is placed in a dent of the reed.
Lots of little ends in this project!
Lots of little ends in this project!

Because I had a lot of color changes at the warping board, I have a lot of little ends that typically pull right off before the yarn goes into the reed. (I thought this particular pile was very pretty! And sometimes, that’s all you need for a bit of happiness – a pretty pile!)

Just, yum...
Just, yum…
I made it to the other end!
I made it to the other end!

I like to knot the yarns every inch or so just to double check my math. Like most folks, I don’t enjoy the process of undoing and fixing a project. So, I try to put as many checks and balances in place as possible along the way!

Ready to go to the loom!
Ready to go to the loom!

Next up, I’ll reunite the reed and the loom, bringing it all together! It’s going to be good! Talk to you soon…

Run 14 Sleying 8

Don't mind me while I get dressed…

When a weaver is in the process of setting up a loom, it is called “dressing” the loom! And there is your interesting nugget for the day! Now, on with the show!

Winding on the next chunk...
Winding on the next chunk…
Love the background! A sea of tubes of yarn!
Love the background! A sea of tubes of yarn!

To take the yarn off the warping board, I do a twisty thing. (Is all the technical talk making you woozy?) I’m sure there is a more precise description for it. But basically, you start at the bottom of the board, create a loop and pull another loop through it, and then repeat until you reach the top. With one good yank, it will come undone. I think it’s crochet-related – does that sound right? It took me awhile to get the swing of it. But, it is very helpful in this instance!

Twisting it off!
Twisting it off!

Before I take anything off the board, I mark where the cross is located (see below) and I like to add a choke tie at the top. Choke ties are just what they sound like – a piece of yarn tied really, really tightly around a portion of the project. I like putting at least one in place. And if you are nervous about the yarns shifting too much, you can certainly add more! Weavers preference! (Kind of like what you put on your hot dog… mustard and pickles, of course! Or, if the place does Chicago style dogs, adding tomato and celery salt, too! Makes me drool a little thinking about it…)

Tying the cross
Tying the cross

Once all the parts of the project are off the warping board, they all converge at the table – hopefully in order! It looks the colorful chaos. But, there is a method to the madness – promise!

Let's all meet up at the table!
Let’s all meet up at the table!
Yarn soup!
Yarn soup!

It’s a short one today! But, the break in the action seems to make sense! Next up, I’ll be sleying the reed – my favorite! Can you feel the excitement buzzing? Talk to you soon…

Run 14 Sleying 3

Making a "dent" in the project…

Hello, friends! I’ve just started a project including a variety of purples sandwiched in between sections of pale blue. I was feeling the cool colors, if you couldn’t guess! The project has been measured on the warping board and is moving to the table to sley the reed!

A warp, a reed and a pair of lease sticks walk into a bar...
A warp, a reed and a pair of lease sticks walk into a bar…

So, here are the players – the project (I have mine in 2 chunks because of its size), the lease sticks (this pair of sticks will help keep the cross, therefore maintaining the consecutive order of the yarns), and the reed (a long, skinny, metal frame with evenly spaced slots to keep the project width the same). Some weavers like to use a sley hook for threading, too. But, I’m using a reed with fairly wide slots, so it’s not too tough to get the little buggers in there!

In go the lease sticks!
In go the lease sticks!
A close up of the lease sticks book-ending the cross.
A close up of the lease sticks book-ending the cross.

When I was winding everything on the warping board, I carefully kept each yarn in order by using the “cross”. So, I don’t want to lose it now that the project has been moved! Here is where there lease sticks are critical. I’ve tied a contrasting yarn around the 2 sides of the cross so I can tell where the sticks slide in. From here on, the lease sticks will stay in the project until I’m nearly finished dressing the loom! (“Dressing the loom” refers to the process of setting it up. You know us weavers – we can’t just say “setting it up”! It has to sound old and formal and like we’re drinking Earl Grey with our pinkies in the air… or something like that!)

We're ready! Let's sley!
We’re ready! Let’s sley!
Threading the project into the reed!
Threading the project into the reed!

I am using an 8-dent reed for this project, which means I have 8 slots per inch. I’ve planned for each yarn to get their own dent, with the occasional doubling up! Once upon a time, I unintentionally put multiple yarns in a dent. Now, I do it on purpose! Funny how that happens!

Each yarn finds a home in a dent...
Each yarn finds a home in a dent…
It's all in!
It’s all in!

In the weaving world, there are 2 opposing camps when it comes to dressing the loom – front-to-back (go through the reed, then the heddles, then wind on), and back-to-front (just the opposite). I’m a front-to-back weaver, which allows me to tackle this stage sitting at a comfortable table versus leaning over a loom. I’ve always appreciated that perk! I’m sure there are various benefits to going the opposite direction. I’m just not as familiar with them. Of course, I am completely biased. So, there you have it…

Next up, the reed & the loom will converge!
Next up, the reed & the loom will converge!

The reed has been sleyed! (It always sound more exciting and violent than it actually is!) Next up, I’ll slide it into the loom and pair up the yarns with the heddles. Ah, sweet progress… Talk to you soon…

Run 15 Sleying 9

Something borrowed, something new…

Ok, so I sort of butchered the title phrase! But, I think my version accurately applies to the next project! In the past, I’ve created fabric using traditional yarns in the shuttle, and I’ve created fabric using recycled materials – specifically men’s neckties. What if there was something in between? A hybrid, if you will! Let’s see what that might look like! First up, creating a warp!

Step up to the warping board!
Step up to the warping board!

Because the last project was all about the warm colors, it only seems fitting that the cool colors get a chance to shine in this round! A variety of purples mixed with a pale blue (the blue looks sort of gray in some of my photos) will be just the right blend to create something interesting… At least, that’s the goal!

How 'bout a few cool colors?
How ’bout a few cool colors?

The brilliance of the warping board is found when the weaver can measure out a lengthy project, ensuring that each individual yarn will be the same length as its neighbor.  Like so many weaving tools, it doesn’t look like much. But, it is used for big, ambitious things! Yay, warping boards!!

The starting peg!
The starting peg!

When you change colors, you cut and knot the yarn at the beginning or ending peg – at least I do! I suppose there may be a way to have the yarn hang out to the side until you need it again. But, I prefer to keep things simple and hopefully, tangle-free. So, I just chop it, tie it, and move it away from the board until I need it again. But, as I design a project, I don’t usually consider what hassle that might be if I’m changing colors every 4th yarn! Ah, artists…

The ending peg!
The ending peg!
Twisting off the first 1/2!
Twisting off the first 1/2!

There aren’t really a lot of rules to the warping board! Yet, the point of this step is not only to wind on hundreds of yarns all the same length, but also to wind them on in order! And you need a cross to do that. The cross is the point where all the yarns intersect – one in front of the next one. Because they come from opposite directions, you should be able to “read” the order once it’s off the loom. A little tricky to explain in photographs. For all my non-weaving friends, just know that it’s important. For all my weaving friends, I’m happy to expand if you have questions!

The infamous "cross"!
The infamous “cross”!
My own little racetrack of yarn!
My own little racetrack of yarn!

When taking the yarn off the warping board, I start at the bottom and do a little twisty thing until I get to the top. My weaving teacher tried to explain how the twisting motion was similar to a crochet stitch. But, since I’m not a crochet-er, I’m sure I looked at her with glazed-over, non-comprehending eyes. So, she just walked me through it about 50 times until I got it! Teachers are so patient, aren’t they?

Second 1/2 of the project!
Second 1/2 of the project!
Only takes a few flicks of the wrist!
Only takes a few flicks of the wrist!

All right! The yarn has been measured and is ready to go into the reed! Next up, we’ll be sleying! Makes me so happy!!! Talk to you soon…

Run 15 Warping 13

Golden girl

Hmm… maybe for this project all the titles will need to start with a variation on the word, “gold”… I’m up for suggestions!

The starting peg!
The starting peg!

When we last chatted, I was busy measuring yarn for the project on the warping board. Because not all the yarns will fit in one fell swoop, I divided the project into two. This is the second half!

The ending peg!
The ending peg!

You’ll notice that at the beginning and ending pegs, the yarn either wraps around and keeps going, or it is cut and knotted. Typically, I’ll cut and knot when I need to change colors, or I’ve run out of yarn and need to start a new cone. You want to avoid knots in the middle at all costs – it means knots in the middle of your weaving! (Gasp!) Knots can be at the beginning or the end. If you end up with one in the middle, you typically have to do some creative problem solving to hide it! And that’s hardly ever fun…

Somewhere-in-between peg!
Somewhere-in-between peg!
Twisting it off the warping board
Twisting it off the warping board

I do a little twisty action to take the project off the warping board and transport it to the table. Because I have 2 sections, it usually takes me a minute to figure out which one goes where! You want them in order – always!

Moving the show to the table!
Moving the show to the table!

So, we’re ready to sley! Yay! Here’s the list of items I recommend – a reed (I’m using an 8 dent), lease sticks (simple, but awesome!), pair of scissors and a measuring tape.

Meet the sleying players!
Meet the sleying players!

The lease sticks are just (2) sticks with holes in the end where you can tie them together. Their incredible destiny is to be in charge of keeping the project yarns in order – no small task! So, I’m sliding the (2) sticks through the yarn where I’ve marked the cross and then, tying the ends. This will give me a fighting chance at figuring out which yarn comes first, or second, or forty-second… You get the idea!

Sliding the lease sticks in
Sliding the lease sticks in
Through the cross!
Through the cross!

(The yarn on the outside is always first up. So, as I pull the yarn out of the bunch and thread it through the reed, I can tell what’s next by the new yarn on the outside! Sounds sort of complicated, I know. May need to do a video at some point to explain it clearer!)

Close-up!
Close-up!
Lock it in!
Lock it in!

The sleying has begun!!! Next up, I’ll finish assigning everyone a slot in the reed and move the fun to the loom! We’re getting down to business now! Talk to you soon…

Run 13 Sleying 7