Saturday, July 5, 2008

Thirty Inches

I redyed my weft yesterday -- overdyed the apple green with an off-black -- and it turned out just right. I have about two inches woven thus far, and yes, my arms and back already hurt from the 30" weaving width.

One thing that I know doesn't work for me is using a long shuttle. In my weaving history, I've rarely used one. Holding this long shuttle in my hand and drawing out more weft and maneuvering the thing within the Schacht's short depth of space between the front beam and the beater is like adding insult to injury for me. So I'm using my trusty shorter shuttle with 4" bobbins, and scooting the thing along through the shed from on top of the lifted warp threads when I must. Seems to be working just fine.

But my upper back is already feeling the pinch. Plus shifting from side to side with each pick to check the selvedge tension. I'm wondering how other weavers manage wide warps without using flyshuttles. If you're one of these folks, please let me know.

I really want to be able to weave wide(r) pieces although I realize weaving narrow panels and sewing them together would be an excellent alternative. I'm just thinking about those cases where one has a wide design or pattern in mind, particularly with a painted warp piece. Perhaps the key is to paint the warp at one time, then divide it in two sections and weave each separately. I might try that the next time.

Meanwhile, I've got six yards of 30" cloth -- two different pieces of fabric -- to manage before moving onto the next project. I am quite happy, though, with the painting and the way it is working up. I'll upload a photo on my next post.


Peg in South Carolina said...

The problem for you seems to result from your always have to lean way over to reach the shed to manipulate the shuttle through it? Can't you just shoot the bobbin straight through and catch it? 30" is not really very wide unless you have really short arms. Do you? In either case, I would suggest you lean forward from the hips only and not bend your back. Keep your shoulders back and down. You may have to do some stretching exercises for your buttocks and hamstrings in order to do this. Or you may have to sit higher at the loom.

Cate Rose said...

Thanks for your thoughts, Peg. I'm not having to lean way over to reach the shed and I can shoot the bobbin straight through. Sometimes though, with the shorter shuttle, it doesn't make it all the way across at this width. And if I sit any higher, I won't reach the treadles. But I'll definitely try bending from the hips only and see how that goes!
Most the problem seems to be working farther to the sides than I'm used to or physically comfortable with.
Thanks so much!

Kimberly said...

I'm doing a really wide warp now and was worried about it. I pulled out my new end feed shuttle (see my blog post 7-8-08) and it's working like a DREAM! It was pricey but definitely still falls into the "keep it simple" approach that you prefer. I did my header using a 4" bobbin shuttle and thought I'd lose my mind with it stopping halfway nearly every time. I don't have that problem with the end feed shuttle. Give it a try if you can.