Archive for February, 2009

I am somewhat proud of my four Cottolin tea-towels which have emerged despite horrid warping trials and tribulations. They are the first things which I have planned, bought yarn for, and wet  finished. I am surprised at the weight and the density of the fabric. These are heavy duty, last for a lifetime old fashioned towels. Iam not sure I want them wet and dirty….but after I’ve gazed at them , handled them, shown them to friends and family,  possibly I will be able to descend to earth and dry up a plate or two!

Here are all four of them, washed, pressed and waiting to be brought into service (but not yet!)


 I have a cone of red Cottolin left and some black and white. I will probably use it to explore Huck or Spot Bronson threadings, though I’ m not sure a colour like red is going to show up the self coloured patterning. But that is for later.

 My next project is Summer and Winter and some more cushion covers.

I have already made two small cushion covers in Overshot, which was another  learning experience. I suppose I am exploring different weaves but trying to create something useful as well.

My armchairs and sofa are recently handed on gifts from my 90 year old mother who moved from a large house to a small flat two years ago. Being my mother she got rid of all her furniture so that she could have the pleasure of buying new!!!  She had recently had the chairs recovered in a traditional but pretty fabric. I want to add cushions which will both compliment and ‘ginger ‘the mood up a bit.  Here is the chair fabric which I am working with.


The base colour is a brown/ecru with a pattern of blue , coral and olive green mixed in. When I wove the Overshot I bought three  colours in a mercerised 2/6 cotton, which I thought would go well and was disappointed when they arrived . They were too bright and obvious. I gathered cones of yarn from my stash some of it left over from my machine knitting days. Some was wool and only suitable for the weft and not strong enough for the warp. I am cautious about spending too much money whilst experimenting. The Cottolin was so lovely to weave with but not cheap!!!  I also get a kick from using up, recycling  and ‘making do’  The spirit of the patchwork maker and the rag rug weaver I suppose.



These are the yarns I have selected as being within the colour range which I hope will  relate to the chairs. I am not going to take the easy route and order to match. I will be interested to see whether I am able to create a  complimentary palatte with what I’ve got! 



Before doing anything I  have to get to grips with Summer and Winter. I have struggled with my weaving books and was finding  it impossible to fully understand the structure. I kept thinking   that I was there, I had understood, but soon accepted that I was still  was unable to start threading a loom with a  full awarerness of the reasons why this shaft or that treadle was required!  I  finally re-read Leighs beautiful descriptions and photos of  towels using  Summer and Winter.  I made my own her explanation of designing with the Fibonicci sequence ,which produces a balanced and yet apparantly random warp and threading.

I also realised that I needed to weave a sample, something I have always put off doing . All that work to set up a small warp which isn’t going to be anything.


Here is my little sample piece, a bit ragged because I got fed up weaving ever onwards once I knew that my threading and treadling  would work , and the colours looked good together.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                but

I got so much pleasure from the way the colours intermingled. I found that the brash coral (its more akin to salmon pink!) lost its rawness when sludgy browns and olives were woven over the top.img_1792 


I did think that it would look  good enlarged as a Summer and Winter patchwork lookalike quilt, but I would need a much wider loom ,and wherever would I put it in our tiny house.  This is not a  fantasy I need to dwell on just now.

I am going to weave three cushion covers in different colour combinations, starting with the one which is closest in relationship to the chair.

  img_17941The warp here is a mix of coral pink, light brown and crinkly bottle green, The weft is a thicker mix of brown wool and some wierd pink/brown knitting yarn. The tabby weft is a brown/beige mercerised yarn of unknown origin.




img_1796This is pinkier and there is more olive green . The pink is toned down and muted with the olive green. I’m not sure about the red but I think I have a deeper wine red colour somewhere which I will try. The thing I like about the red is that it challenges the slightly restrained mood of the chairs, delivers a shout or a giggle or something a bit subversive……

I hope to have woven something by my next post

PS. As I was finishing my towels I saw that the beater on my Bergman was crooked. On end is higher than the other. I hadn’t noticed this before.



The right hand side of the beater is not square with the breast beam.

I investigated and found  that there was a deliberate block of wood in the end of the beater upright where it slots over a bolt in the base of the loom.




This is the beater turned upside down to show the block. I would be grateful if  someone could let me know if this is

 a) normal in a beater. Are they designed off true to counter some unequal pressure in the beating movement.

b) something fitted for the personal beating method of Margery the previous owner.

c) or that there should actually be a similar block in the other side and it was done to lift the height of the beater. It does look as if it was added post manufacture.

I particularly field this question to  spinninglizzy   and Trapunto.as fellow Bergmanners

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I have just emerged from a week of idiotic mistakes,as I struggled to put a new warp on my loom. I am embarrassed at my lack of concentration and carelessness. The only good thing is how much I have learnt and the eventual accomplishment of an even warp and a sense of relief!!

Confession time. I am doing something wrong when winding my warp. I have a Leclerc warping mill and I think I am  either not being consistent in going over or under the posts at the cross or removing the warp with my hand in the wrong part of the false cross which appears next to the raddle cross. I have been making two crosses a threading cross and a raddle as recommended by Osterkamp. I have been threading back to front. My warp  becomes hopelessly tangled. I have been winding a warp for dishcloths (or over here tea-towels) in black and white Cottolin. I sorted it into a raddle on the floor and realised how tangled it was. Then I lost the last 4″ of the raddle cross due to tension and frustration.

I spent ages semi-sorting it and tied it on and beamed on. Thought all was well and realised that the warp was not central on the back beam. I am sure that most weaving bloggers will despair of my stupidity  but I am still not that aware how one problem leads to another. Or more to the point I kind of hope that the loom won’t notice and it will be OK. I know this is extremely childish and it is becoming involved in weaving  which has shown me some of my personal traits which I had not really admitted to myself.

This is where the Zen comes in. I have learnt that involving emotions in mistakes, shouting at a tangled warp DOES NOT SOLVE ANYTHING. Detachment is the key! I knew I had to sort it or abandon my weaving career. I patiently wound the warp back onto my cloth beam simultaneously working the lease sticks through the warp. This was horrendous due to tangles but I did it. I did not look at my watch to see how much time it was taking. I did not become distracted in other tasks. I chopped off the end loops and straightened the ends and tied on in neat bundles. I measured the beam, end stick and back bean, centralised everything and beamed on. I tightened the warp from the front at the reed and I ended up with the best warp I have ever had.



This is the Bergman warp beam with a much more ordered warp in place, accompanied by a huge sigh of relief!



I will NEVER EVER rush again. I will re read my weaving books and check I am doing things as they should be done, and I will not allow  my emotions to rise up and destroy my sanity.

I have tied on my extra 4 shafts which gave me great pleasure though its all a bit fiddly under the loom.



This is just a picture to show the forest of strings under my Bergman. When I’m under there its a tight squeeze.



I was going to try a Summer and Winter threading but after my nightmarish warping decided I should progress slowely. I want to get the feel of the extra shafts so I threaded a straight draw and decided on a simple towel from The Ashford Book of Textures and Towels.








I like the split black stripe and I will play with some other colours and weft stripes. My problem now is maintaining good sheds particularly on the first treadle, but I need to fiddle with all the shafts so there will be plenty of opportunity to practice detachment and patience!!

Well its an admirable aim……!!!!!!!

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