Funny Farm

A fearsome foray into my fiber follies. I talk about weaving, knitting, spinning and dyeing. Some chatter about the sheep, goats, pigs and chickens.

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Location: North-east PA, United States

Sunday, October 26, 2008

More on rag rug weft

other joins:

continuous strip-- cut or tear the fabric warp-wise to about 1/4" from the end of the piece and begin another cut from that side and cut down the fabric in the opposite direction. Round the corners at the ends. The down side is that you get bumps or "ears" where the strip changes direction. This is a similar problem to the slot join

glued strips--join pieces using a glue stick. Overlap the ends 1.5-2". The glue sticks are water based so the joins are not hard or brittle and the glue washes out after the first laundering. I've used this method a number of times. If weaving a day or two after gluing the pieces may come apart when tugging the weft. If allowed to sit over a period of time I've found the joins to be quite strong.

Most join techniques are labor intensive for one reason or another. The only technique that is not as time consuming (other than just placing each unjoined
strip into the shed) is over-laying the strips and zigzagging the end. The only cutting is the thread from one join to the next. Mittering is the most attractive but the seam must be cut. Obviously, if you have a serger this is not an issue. I have no serger.

Reason for ironing strips when folding: only the right side shows. Some prints are much lighter on the wrong side. The wrong side showing on the woven piece can be a nice design element and other times just looks odd. I have read that one can place two pieces right side together in the shed but I haven't tried that yet. Fabric that is not "printed" has the color on both sides such as vat dyed fabric.

I have cut strips then wound them into a roll, right side facing out. Then reach into the center of the roll and pull out the end. The strip will coil, right side facing out, making a tube of sorts, while winding onto the shuttle. This works nicely if the strips were cut and not torn. I have used this technique only when using purchased fabric selveges and not pieced strips.

I have a commission for two large rugs with specific color requests. These are colors I've never played with so I'm testing DOS and blending. I started the "experiments" yesterday afternoon and they're batching. I can see that the ice blue needs to be stronger and the pink needs to be lighter. The lavender seems vibrant enough without being too strong. Each color is being tested for four different percentages of dye. Today I begin another color run for other colors.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Rag Rug Prep

It takes longer to prepare fabric for weaving than to weave a rug in most cases. I don't have an electric or crank cutter so I either rip the fabric into strips or use a rotary cutter. Some fabric cuts easily using the rotary cutter and other fabrics seem to have a protective barrier, like the old Colgate shield!

Lately I've been weaving with 1/2" strips. No folding involved. But it takes me a day to rip two full sheets into these narrow strips.

One inch strips get folded in half and pressed. Some weavers fold in half and wind the fabric onto a rag shuttle. I've tried this, but find that the strips open up in the shed. I suppose if the strips sat folded for a year they'd stay in place.

Two inch strips go through the bias tape gadget and pressed. Time consuming? You betcha! But the results are stunning. No frayed edges or long pieces of thread peeking out between the warp ends.

I'm weaving the second double binding rug and found I hadn't calculated the weft correctly. The blocks are a patterned white and a navy/dk green plaid. I had no more plaid of significant yardage so I grabbed a blue and white calico print and threw it into the dye pot. The sheet weighed a bit over a pound. A 4% solution of navy was mixed. I found it to be a bit too much on the purple side so added black. Though the dye looked great, next to my plaid strip of dk green and navy it just looked bland. I poured 200 ml of 2% gold into the pot. That did the trick. I left it overnight to batch. I really need to rescue that sheet from the pot, rinse/rinse/rinse, then dry it. Today while watching college ball I'll tear 1/2" strips. God be with me.

Joining strips. Strips 1" and wider get sewn on the sewing machine. I usually miter the join but sometimes I just overlap and zig zag. For the narrow strips I cut a slot at both ends and loop them together. I've learned through trial and error to leave "ear" at each end because the ends lie nicely under the warp. When cut short, or the slot is cut too close to the end (which is what I've been doing, silly me), the end bits stick out. Yeah, the edges could be rounded when cut, but I'm spending enough time with prep work.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Rhinebeck 2009

Charleen and I spent Saturday with Sara at Rhinebeck for the NY Sheep and Wool Festival. I've never seen it so crowded and it was impossible to shop. I did score 2#s of 5/2 bamboo, but that was it. We ran into Carolyn (now blogless), JR and "T" and ate lunch with them in the bleachers. Boy, do we know how to dine. We saw Pete and Carol and later ran into Deanna (you look mah-vel-ous). Marcy called in sick.
The short one on the right needs to cut her hair. And my, has her hair turned gray. I think I'll tell her to get some color on those tresses.
Of course we stayed at Chez Countrywool and were treated to hamburger soup and peach cobbler. If I tell you what we had for breakfast you'll want to stay there too, so I won't tell you. What I will tell you is that it was wonderful and I ate too much. Thank you Claudia and Jim for being such great people. I wanna go back!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

More rugs done

I've finally woven off all the rugs from the two looms

adopt your own virtual pet!