You know how it is, right? You have a grand plan, for a weaving project, you spend time doing calculations, making adjustments, choosing the materials and the colors. In your vision it is all perfect and everything works out like magic.
AND sometimes it really does! The first time I made these log cabin towels (using the colors in the book of Black, unbleached, turquoise and burgundy) I had a warping disaster, chucked the entire mess and started over — Now THAT was a really bad day. This month when I tried it again, using my new Glimakra Standard loom, and all my own color choices, it worked like a dream, there wasn’t a single glitch — not one.
I learned many things at Vavstuga for the 3 times I have been there. One of the most important things I learned is that mistakes happen, find them, fix them and move on to happy weaving. In each of these classes there were
Like my husband (the cook) I always follow the “recipe” the first time through. The most I do is add yardage so that I’ll have a few items left to put into the shop. My warping mill (thank you, thank you Paul) made by a good friend does 3.5 yards and this project called for 5.5 to make 6 towels. I decided to go for 2 complete turns of the mill and 2 extra towels. Just so you know THAT part worked out perfectly — I had 8 towels and some left over for my sample bin.
There were a few winding issues. I like to hold 2 threads, but the warp stripes were 2, or 3 — hmmm. Those threads were held as singles, with lots of ties on the weaver’s cross side. I double knotted them in paranoid frenzy. In my zeal to make sure I had the right number of threads for each stripe, that I had KNOTTED them well when changing, I MISSED that there was ALWAYS a section of 3 unbleached threads when changing colors. I was following the warp order chart carefully, which I had recopied to be larger so I could see it, had a missing section of white around the central stripe of brown.
RATS! I discovered this error after beaming, and before threading, so I had to use the hanging film cans stuffed with quarters solution. I used more quarters than I thought I should to give the right amount of tension — which, I have to say worked out very well. I wound all three missing threads onto the cans, and aside from untangling them periodically, it was pretty hassle-free
Threading seemed to be going well and was easier than expected. I found a “pattern” that I could follow. HOWEVER, I misread the threading instructions and started in on the textured part too soon — 18 threads too soon. The lace section of the towel is surrounded by a plain weave border. I discovered this AFTER I had completed the entire center section — so — ripped it all out and started again. This gave me time to REMEMBER how I should hold the threads while threading. I had forgotten my training! Becky has us hold a larger group of threads wrapped through the fingers of the left hand (with tension) so that it is easier to pick out the thread you want. You also use your left thumb and forefinger to help stuff the thread in the heddle. I was dickering around with putting 2 threads between each finger and working that way — very slow and inefficient. Rethreading was a good opportunity to recall my Vavstuga training.
Sleying was quick — I forgot to double check that I had not missed any dents, because I was kinda on a tight schedule to get the loom dressed and towels woven — never a good excuse. Checking saves time, because fixing TAKES time! Yep, you guessed it, there were a few sleying errors. There was a missed dent on the right side of the work, which I caught while tying on. BUT there was a more subtle error on the left side — 3 in one dent, 2 in one dent and 1 in one dent. It’s supposed to be 2 in every dent. I did not catch this until I was weaving and noticed an area that looked like there was a missing thread.
Once I figured out what was going on:
At this point most of my troubles were over. I was happily weaving away, trying to get my beat just right to make square towels when near the end of the 6th towel, I noticed a little snake in the warp above the fell line. Hmm … that looks like a broken warp thread — RIGHT in the middle of the weaving. It took a quick internet search to refresh my memory, but I put in the temporary warp thread, tied it at the back beam with the rest of the broken thread and moved on — this was the EASIEST and FASTEST fix so far!
I realize now that most of my troubles were preventable (of course!) but there were even clues that I ignored once the error had been made.
The winding error was the easiest to detect while winding — the stripe sequence seemed different before the center section than after — STOP AND LOOK for the reason — because there is one!
The threading error was simple too — I was bundling in groups of 20 — count and see how it matches up with the threading diagram.
Of course the Sleying error was also simple — check check check.
BUT errors are not necessarily bad — I once heard a saying “we fail forward to success” You can learn from errors and they make you better when you do.
Many know me as Dakota Skipper -- that's my Cowboy alias. I LIKE to write and I like to share. Please enjoy reading about my frolicking fiber adventures!