Thursday, December 31, 2009

Which path will you choose?

Backstrap Weaving: a lesson in how. NOT.

So just before Christmas I dusted off Dorothy and brought her out from her storage room once again. I had recently read blogs about weaving with sock yarn and felt a burning desire to weave something. I wound warp from 3 left-over balls of yarn (last of 2 skeins Sara gifted me from her trip to Germany) and since there was not enough for a very wide scarf, contemplated which other left-overs to add to the mix. And then there was the question of which weft to weave with. I was thinking something to tone down the reds.

I day dreamed of a quick trip to our only local yarn store (LYS) for another skein of "the good stuff". AcMoore's limited choice of sock yarns was hit pretty hard by holiday shoppers. My biggest obstacle was the fact that my jeep was in Orono with Steph. Said yarn shop's location coincidentally. But I was not. No wheels, stormy driving conditions and holiday chaos* all conspired against me & Dorothy.

So Dorothy waits patiently. Out in plain sight in the living room; petted often and promised soon.

I explored many "weaving" websites in the process of waiting patiently and came across a Backstrap Weaving site, complete with tutorials and how-to-videos, done so well anyone happening upon them might easily be convinced: I CAN DO THAT! Might even lead to playing with power tools and an unexplainable compulsion to hunt & gather assorted supplies. Most of which promised might actually be readily available in the basement.

For days I poked around, looking for wooden dowels, rulers and rope. Rope turned out to be the most allusive actually but finally all things needed were gathered, measured, cut, drilled and ready to TRY. (I should preface this by stating I had a good time trying and there will be an attempt 2. What follows is how my Wednesday went...)
Backstrap weaving attempt 1:


My former girl scout knot tying skills need a refresher course. Also, very old ginormous wooden knitting needle did not prove to be a good choice to use as the back shed rod. Rolled around and was too heavy and tipped from side to side.

Not weighty enough! I thought our rustic coffee table along with some heavy books would anchor the back end in place. It did not.

Had trouble opening the back shed. Strings used to open the front shed DO NOT belong way down in the section marked off with cardboard for fringe braids later.
(I knew that.) I just couldn't figure out how to open the back half at first. I had my laptop down on the floor of the living room in my sunny warm spot - all ready to watch the helpful video on how to string the heddles once more. EXCEPT that sunny warm spot made seeing the laptop screen IMPOSSIBLE.

Yarn choice sucked. Piling & matting fiber beneath the heddle strings made opening the back shed a nightmare. But I can tell you the first time I actually got it to open was JOYOUS! They had been strung correctly, but with the wrong choice of yarn was clearly a setback.

Why is the shuttle yarn wrapped around my leg?
Once I actually had some weaving going on, I put down the shuttle at some point. (Answered the phone, let out the dog, let in the dog, took laptop to kitchen where I could see it in order to find out if the heddle strings were tied right, etc.)
Number of times I accidentally wrapped the shuttle yarn around my leg: 5!

No amount of fiddling can overcome this sorry first effort and I don't think I will continue struggling with bad yarn choice. Will TRY AGAIN using different threads, rather than torture myself with this and become so frustrated I quit.

And I have the jeep for the morning!


Needled Mom said...

I always hate it when I work and work and have nothing to show from all the time I spent.

Weaving is something that I have done so little of and would love to do more.

Judy S. said...

Have fun with the jeef! I'll bet your next attempt will work just fine. Happy New Year, Laurie.

Hanane said...

Hey you gave it a shot which is more than I have done. I am still contemplating. May make a run to home depot tonight for some dowels and see what I find to uses as a backstrap until I can weave one up. I am encouraged.