Ashford Handtowels

So I finished the handtowels from the Ashford book of riggid heddle weaving using the “8/2” weavers cotton from Ashford. I am so disappointed with these it’s not funny. They finished exactly how I thought they would, thick and not at all what I wanted or what was shown in the photos in the book. These feel and look more like a bath matt. 

This is the before washing (finishing) photo of the small towel

And the “finished” photo of the normal sized handtowel.

I was originally so excited to start this project, I was going to make new towels for our household and then more for family and friends. From the day the cotton arrived I thought it was too thick, but hay, what do I know I’ve just started learning all of this, so I continued as per the instructions in the book. Now I don’t know if the book “recipe” is wrong or if the cotton I was sent was wrong, but I’m going to get some 8/2 cotton from another company and see what the difference is. I really really wanted this project to work.

Now, my countermarch sample faired much better. 

So remember, my countermarch loom came with some warp thread still on the back roller. Instead of rewarping from the start I decided to just weave off this yarn. I threaded 1 end per heddle and 2 ends per dent of the reed. I used two treadles that did a simple pattern lifting shafts 1&3 or 2&4. All I wanted to achieve was a feel for throwing the shuttle, beating and changing the shed. After about 30cms of this I picked up some of the roving I had lying around and pulled off strips and wove that in with 3 picks between each strand of roving. The finished result is 3 blocks of plain and 2 blocks of roving strips, it’s quite a nice first time shawl or table runner. The selvedges are horrid for the most part but they do improve a little. For the last tiny piece of warp I changed my weft yarn from white to a small bit of leftover colour changing warp yarn, then a strip of the pink (the warp yarn although colour changing has mostly pink in it and I was able to get several rows of plain pink) and then I found I had some blue yarn that was very close to the warp thread.

If I was to weave this as an item of clothing or bolt of cloth I’d probably do the blue as the main weft just because you see more colour variation using the blue then the pink, but then I also like the idea of the border of multi and pink before the main body of blue.

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New book & mind blowing revelations

One of mine and Craig’s favorite things to do when we get into a bored slump in the evenings is to head into Auckland CBD, grab a good meal (usually at the Belgian Beer Cafe) and then head on over to Borders for some quality time with the books. So we did this on Saturday night, and I’m so glad we did as I have a new book called “The Big Book of Weaving” by Laila Lundell & Elisabeth Windesjo. It’s not the answer to all my prayers (those books are still on their way from Amazon) but it gave me the one itty bitty mind blowing piece of information that had alluded me about the treadle tie-up on my countermarch loom, now this is going to seem so obvious to weavers who have been playing with these things for years, but for someone who has only seen a loom used via Youtube videos this is an astounding piece of knowledge that had alluded us, it’s summed up thus:

  1. Upper Lamms = Lower Heddles
  2. Lower Lamms = Raise Heddles
Then it goes further:
  1. Upper lamms = Black boxes on a draft
  2. Black Boxes = Weft over Warp
  3. Weft over Warp = Visible part of pattern (if looking @ pattern from the right side of the work)
Now that we have that little bit of information straight in our heads we can actually start playing with tying-up the treadles for a basic weave.
The other book I found was Creative Weaving: Beautiful fabric with a simple loom, this is what the Ashford book should have been, at least the instructions in the first third of the book. It was so clear, full of important information for first time weavers. The only downside of this book was that although there were some beautiful projects with full colour lush photos, there were very few photos (in the gallery at the end of the book) of the full finished pieces, just close ups of the weave. Still, if I was fixed on only weaving with my Rigid Heddle loom, I would have purchased this book just to have it on my shelf.
Now it’s a beautiful sunny day, Craig has the day off, as does Buffie, so there will be some progress made in the big blue room & it’s gardens.