Saturday, 30 January 2016

New adventures

Well, two weeks after my visit to Diss and The Saori Shed , yesterday saw a delivery to our house.

That decision didn't take long did it?  I was lucky enough that Kim at the Saori Shed had the loom I wanted in stock so it was here within two days.

First of all came unpacking and reading and re-reading.

The instructions that come with the loom are very clear and detailed but it helps if you really read them properly and pay attention to the photographs. It comes out of the box with only a few bits to hook on, clip on or slot on and a few bolts to screw down.

Once you've attached the bobbin winder you take hold of what's called the inside set which is the heddles (those stringy looking metal things), the reed and the warp on its support.  You may spot the deliberate mistake in the photo above.  Those hooks holding the heddles are supposed to fit through the holes on the heddle bar.  Error number one but not too serious as I eventually spotted it.  Happily I got the heddle the right way up indicated by the blue colouring across the top.

Unhappily I got this fitting of the warp roller wrong.  That lever is the brake and is in the wrong place at this stage.

This is what it should look like. It stops the warp roller from coming loose which turned out to be rather important.

 This is where things started to go a bit adrift.  You might be able to see above that the warp is already hanging rather loosely behind the loom.  

This pre-wound warp is supposed to go on really easily and normally it would but messing about with the roller meant that part of the warp sprang loose and I had a bit of a mess.  

It was looking a bit of a mess at the weaving end too.  You know how it is with something new and unfamiliar to you.  You think you have an idea of what needs to be done to sort it out but you're too scared to try in case the whole lot (of warp in this case, all 6 metres of it) ends up looking like spaghetti on the floor.  I gave up last night other than asking a Facebook group for some help which one lady in particular gave and which I had a go at (and which was sound advice.  

Today Kim kindly rang me up and talked it through and the answer, which I knew really, was to wind all the loose warp towards the front until I reached the tauter warp.  Then it was a question of pulling and combing at the tangles until it was all smooth and then getting a glamorous assistant aka my husband to hold it all taut while I wound it back on the warping beam.  Success!

That looks better!

Not my best weaving but so much better than I thought I was going to get to today and I didn't lose any warp! 

I am busy quilting too, have no fear, and I've almost finished a baby quilt.   No, not for me ;-)

Saturday, 16 January 2016

The Saori Shed

Well, I managed to get there despite the cough and I've had a fabulous two days at the Saori Shed in Diss, Norfolk.  I'd never been to Diss before and was pleasantly surprised to find a really lovely market town with many historical buildings and houses and a beautiful mere (lake) in the middle of the town park.  Unfortunately I didn't have time to be much of a tourist so I don't have photographs except for one of the market on Friday morning.

The church sits on a hill above the market place, higher than it looks in this photo.   The Saori Shed was past the market and up the hill to the left, a bit of a challenge first thing in the morning!

The Saori Shed sits within what used to be a department store in Diss which now houses Designer Makers @21.  The atmosphere is welcoming and friendly and people were popping in all day although I was so busy there wasn't time to chat other than with Kim and the fellow weavers.  Kim was a great teacher and also a great supplier of a constant supply of tea!

My aim in taking the workshop was to discover as much as I could about different techniques as well as getting the feel of using a floor loom. By way of keeping the techniques in my memory I'm going to record them here. ( I'm short on photos so may come back and edit this tomorrow).

 Above, I learned how to make a window in the weave and will be wrapping the groups of warp currently adjacent to the yellow which don't have any yarn on them.  The area to the right above the window has an additional warp added in and you can pull that warp to one side to make a detail.

You add the additional warp from cones placed behind the loom.
I liked the effect in the orange area which was achieved by tensioning the warp behind the heddle.  It's either a two man job or you can achieve the effect with a rod.  The pink and blue yarn above this area was made using the bobbin winder.  It's a bit fiddly but fun to make and very random in its result.

Equally this chevron effect was achieved by winding two yarns together on the bobbin winder and then reversing the direction of wind.

Over the course of the two days I managed to produce the piece above which is about 6 feet long.  It is purely a collection of techniques and won't be made into anything.

The Saori Shed is an inspirational space for a new weaver with lots of lovely yarns to tempt you and Kim's work hanging on the walls to inspire.

 I didn't get time to try this effect but know how to go about it and I really like it for a different finish to a scarf or even clothing.

Of course, some of you will probably be wondering whether I've already ordered myself a Saori loom, being the impetuous type.    Weeeeeeeell!  Actually, no, not yet.  That's not to say I won't ,but for once I'm taking my time.  Watch this space!

PS I stayed a short walk way from the centre at Cobwebs Bed and Breakfast on Fair Green. I hadn't realised I was staying in such illustrious company.  If you follow this link you can see the owner of the B&B I stayed at, a valued member of the Diss community  She has the nost beautiful black cat too and a beautiful home, a perfect base for a short break which I hope we night take before too long.  Diss is definitely worth a second visit.

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Saori Banner

One year into the new year and himself and myself are already sick.  Ok, it's nothing serious but we've both got the really disgusting cough and cold that's going about and it's so debillitating!  So far we've missed a new year holiday and a party tonight so we're not happy bunnies.  Who knew a cough could get you so low?

OK.  Moan over, we are on the mend after all.  Well, almost.  Before the germs hit we had a quiet but enjoyable Christmas with some friends.  It seems a long time ago now.  Fortunately I got lots of chocolate which I've heard is good for coughs so I will have to force myself to eat it.  Cough!

This last week in between feeling rotten I've been working on a banner for an event at Norwich Forum in February.  I found out about the event through The Saori Shed at Diss where I am hoping to go next week if this cold is under control.

I tried a few new things with this banner.  I havn't worked text or shapes before so thought I'd have a go.

I've also incorporated a floating weft, as it's called.  You carry the weft (cross thread) from row to row so that it hangs loose.

This fabric needs to be washed tomorrow and finished but I'm very happy with it and hope Kim at The Saori Shed will like it for the display.  It's about 6' long, although I havn't measured.  I'll hope to get a photo of it hanging tomorrow but I was impatient to show it off.