Sunday, March 30, 2014


  I finished my cloth and cut it and started some sewing. I made a few samples on some scraps including cutting out and finishing the neckline. All of these "tests" are a good idea because I get an idea of how the cloth will handle. My original idea was scuttled immediately because the cloth did have the dimensions to do my original pattern, so no sleeves. I let the cloth rest on my dress form. This allows the cloth to relax and stretch. I keep repinning the side panels. This garment needs a belt and the perfect belt would be made from the same cloth. I just might have enough for that we shall see. I could go on about the fitting challenges I see in this garment but I won't.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Cutting Up

    Normally after I have finished yardage for clothing I have no qualms about going to the next step, its intended purpose, that is to make it into a garment. Handwoven cloth does not have all the commercial finishing chemicals in it that can change the texture of the cloth. Many a home sewer has been confronted with that reality when they buy commercial cloth and are advised to wash it first. The cloth might shrink more and the sizings to make it look better on the bolt disappear. It can be an ugly surprise. Sadly some commercial chemical additions to the cloth do not disappear and are marketed as "wrinkle free".  The alive and spongy quality of handwoven cloth can make it a bit challenging to sew. It is a matter of experience. I have made credible bound button holes with my handwoven so I know conventional sewing techniques work. Still there is a part of me that doesn't want to cut into this cloth. I have almost 6 yards.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Weaving the Cloth

    The weaving of this cloth is going very quickly. Yesterday my Netbook software and the Compudobby loom control software were not happy together. The loom control got stuck in a loop between two harnesses and made a puzzle out of the selvedges. I disabled the screen saver and the WIFI and with the removal of those interruptions the Compudobby is working properly. I only have a few more yards to go.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Serendipity: "The occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way." 

I am hoping for some serendipity with this warp. My 10 warp chains are made. Now this is supposed to be for a tunic and it might be nice for various reasons if one side of the garment looked like the other, a reflection from the center. This isn't gonna happen. I used up every bit of left over warp and as I ran out of certain colors I tied on a new one. I tried to keep an alternate contrasting thread order which helps with color and weave effects but honestly I am not weaving 7 yards of this with two shuttles. I have yet to pick a weft. The warp chains look nice I will see how it "reads" when I start weaving. I have some large cones of beiges and off-whites. I just don't want to wear something that makes me look like I matriculated from Clown School. Is that a calliope I hear?

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Odds and Ends

    I am sort of between projects right now. I really don't like an empty loom but I am waiting a bit on some commissions. Meanwhile I have some odds and ends on my spool rack and have wanted to try making a chenille tunic. I have enough rayon and cotton leftovers to make a short warp. I was thinking about which loom to use and I want to be more comfortable with my 60" AVL. So my project will go there. I have been playing with different designs. The computer on the 60" has some advantages because I can make infinitely long pattern sequences. On a treadle loom this would be possible but then you'd have to remember what you are doing. On the dobby loom, like my 40" AVL, the chain that controls the pattern sequence will not work well if it is too long. The dobby mechanism has trouble with the weight of the chain.
    The tunic pattern comes from an article by Virginia West in Handwoven magazine, Issue 105 May/June 2003. A length of 20" fabric is woven. The sleeves are made by cutting the panels in half. It is a simple pattern. I am not thrilled about the cutting and seaming of the sleeves only because it will have to be done carefully, but I have the chops for that.  The article shows a tunic made of 100% chenille. It looks nice so I know it is possible to do. If I set up the loom correctly I can exploit some design possibilities around the shoulder area. Lots to think about.