Friday, 19 December 2014

First attempts at weaving

I finally got my (dismantled) weaving loom last week, and, after putting all the pieces back together, then setting up a small warp (thank you Ashford for your how to video's even though my loom isn't an Ashford, the principle is the same), I got to weaving a couple of small test items with some alpaca wool that I purchased from another alpaca breeder.

We have ordered an Ashford (manual) carding machine and electric spinner (they appear to be the only make available in this country), so, once they arrive we will hopefully be able to process Miranda, Minky and Kris' fibre and I will be able to weave with that in future.
You can clearly see the warp thread that I couldn't
rectify - it had been threaded in the incorrect
heddle when RMan and I set up the warp.  Lesson
learned, Loom :)
It has been a fantastic learning curve.  The most important lesson I've learnt is that the warp (the thread that runs the entire length of whatever you are weaving) must be prepared correctly, be threaded through the correct heddle, and be tensioned correctly.

Whatever you initially do to set up your loom will positively, or negatively, affect the woven fabric produced.  Note to self - "Take your time setting up the loom, Dani".  Being new to the whole weaving thing, it is taking me roughly 4 - 5 hours to set up the loom.  Admittedly, I do not have a warping frame and use a stick tied to the back of a dining room chair to prepare my warp threads.  It's not ideal, and I'm hoping that RMan can knock me up a simple warping frame early next year.
The edges of the piece I was weaving are all
uneven.  No matter how much I try and keep
the tension equal, the edges are scruffy...
I can't get my head round why the warp should be prepared with +/- 10 separate threads at a time, nor why there should be a cross during in the preparation of the warp.  Plus I am having on-going problems with the edge - no matter how careful I am to keep the tension firm, the edges of the fabric are jagged.  Is there a weaver out there who can advise and assist?
Catching the incorrect threads on the shaft I'm
working with results in loose threads.  Again,
I've learned my lesson, Loom
I also discovered when I finished my first test piece that I had managed to catch some incorrect weft threads - resulting in the above picture.

Ah, well - it's all a learning curve :)

I have only woven using two of the four shafts.  I need to google how using all four shafts will affect the fabric produced by the loom.

And I need to find out low I can make the woven fabric more "lacy" and not so thightly woven.

But, with all the hiccoughs, I'm loving weaving, and have the loom set up in the dining room so that whenever I have a free moment I can sit down and continue weaving immediately...

Friday, 12 December 2014

Animals have feelings too..

... and this is amply portrayed by Minky.
When RMan has his morning cup of coffee
outside, Minky can't wait to greet him
Everytime RMan walks anywhere near Minky, Minky shows his pleasure by lifting his tail up high, walking / running over to RMan, and giving his head / neck / face a gentle sniff.

When we first took ownership of Miranda and Kris I asked the breeder if they showed pleasure / displeasure with any parts of their body (similar to a rhiino which lifts it's tail straight up to indicate that it is displeased, etc) - such as their with their ears, mouths, or tails.  She said no.

Minky the alapaca has proved her wrong :)

And this further proves the heading of this post.
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