…I have been at home on annual leave from work – I was booking the day off for last Monday and realised that I had not had a whole week off at a time since last Christmas! No wonder I’ve felt so knackered recently.
Anyway, the whole week was duly booked and approved so I had plenty of time to do all those little things that I just never seem to get round to whilst working, or so I thought.
Lucy came home for the weekend because it was my birthday on Monday, and to celebrate we went to a little Italian restaurant that has recently opened in Newhaven – Padella d’Oro – highly recommended, if you’re ever down this way.
On Monday, in order to try and help me come to terms with the fact that I am no longer in my mid-forties (it’s now late-forties, sniff sniff) we had lunch at Temptation in Brighton, which is also where our knitting group meets on Wednesdays. Lovely home-made soup for Lucy and me, Sussex Rarebit for Bethany, followed by wonderfully rich home-made chocolate cake certainly helped take my mind off the fact that 50 (yes, FIFTY!!!) is looming ever closer…less than three years now…
The rest of the week has mostly seen me occupied with my new toy, a Kromski Harp rigid heddle weaving loom, which was a birthday present from various members of the Up Knit Creek family. At 32″ wide, it seems to take over the whole living room when set up on its stand, but will give me the flexibility to weave larger projects when I know what I’m doing (she said, hopefully). So far I have produced a six-feet-long scarf in burnt orange and multi-coloured sock yarn (shown in the first two pictures below) and am now part-way through the brightly-coloured second project, which I hope will eventually become a bag of some sort. The scarf went very well; warping was easier than I thought and the finished item is not at all bad for a first attempt. The improvements as I went along are extremely visible to me, especially in terms of colour-changes, but overall it turned out pretty much as expected.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the second project, which has made me realise just how much there is to learn about the craft of weaving.
I warped up using some black linen yarn which was chosen to give a good contrast to the multi-coloured sari silk yarn of the weft (some stuff that I spun about two years ago, if memory serves…). The warping appeared to go quite well but once I started actual weaving, it became apparent that something was drastically wrong with the tension of the warp. I cut off the 3 or 4 inches already woven, unwound the warp and tried to re-wind it more tightly, this time with my glamourous assistant, Bethany, providing the tension (in more ways than one). Again, warping seemed to be successful and the first bit of weaving was nice and even, but as it progressed, I became aware of the same problem – the warps at the very edges were really, really tight, whilst the ones in the middle were decidedly loose. Rather than cut off yet more warp and re-tension as before, I have come up with a bodge-up temporary solution in the form of rolled-up fabric wedged under warp as it goes over the back beam… it’s kinda working and the resulting fabric is OK. A quick search on t’interweb revealed a very simple and blindingly obvious way of avoiding the same thing happening again – weights on the warp threads as you wind it on! As I said, I have a LOT to learn…