Friday, January 20, 2017

Weaving Tips

The following tips for weavers were shared on the Weavers of Orlando website.

•  Bent-handle scissors are perfect for snipping loose ends off your web while it’s under tension on your loom. The duck bill prevents you from accidentally cutting other threads. The bent handle allows you go get the cutting edge absolutely parallel to your web. And the position of the cutting edge allows you get flush with the fabric.

•  Sometimes it’s best to remove your rings when warping or weaving, so that ends don’t snag on them. If your rings won’t budge, squirt a little Windex on the rings and they will slip right off your finger. Since they will be slippery, they could get away from you, so make sure you do this over a towel, and with the sink stopper in place and the toilet lid down. The Windex also will clean the rings. I learned this trick from a jeweler who needed to make sure the rings being trying on in their store didn’t get stuck on anon-buyer.

•  The easiest way to break a thread exactly where you want it to break, is to tie a knot in the thread where you want it to break. I know this sounds counter-intuitive, because you would normally tie a knot to hold two threads together. However, when you tie a knot, the fiber right next to the knot is weakened by being bent in the direction of the knot. Then when you pull on the two long ends, the weakest “link” is what will break first, so one of the threads right at the side of the knot will break.

When would you use this technique? When winding a bobbin, for example. You want the end of the thread on the bobbin to be broken and frayed just a little bit, so it beds down nicely in the fabric. A cut end tends to poke out of the fabric. Some yarns break easily, but for those which don’t, I’d take the bobbin off the bobbin winder and tie an overhand knot in the thread between the bobbin and the cone of yarn. Then I’d pull the thread on both sides of the knot, and it will break where the knot is and the knot will come undone.

The easiest way to untie a knot is with a pair of scissors.There is no point taking pins and trying to pry the knot open, as you’ll just fray the yarn. And for what? To save 2 inches of yarn? Just cut it cleanly with a pair of scissors. Doing it in this manner will save your sanity.

•  After dyeing fabric with indigo, the excess indigo often “crocks off” and turns your skin or underwear blue. One way to prevent this is to paint the fabric with soy milk. Let it hang dry, and don’t wash it out for a month (three months is even better). No, it won’t smell. The proteins in the soy milk act like little coils that bind the indigo to the fabric, and they bind tighter and tighter the longer you let the fabric cure. When you finally do wash the fabric, the soy milk and any residual indigo will
come out in the wash, and you’ll be left with a fabric that will not turn you blue.

•  If you have a Schacht Standard, Mighty Wolf or Baby Wolf loom, the little nuts that hold the shafts in place can be tricky to remove and replace because they are so small. They also get loose and need to be tightened periodically or they work themselves off and disappear under the loom never to be found again. I’ve replaced all my little nuts with size #8-32 wing nuts. The wings make them easier to tighten and loosen, and because they are bigger, they are less likely to get lost.

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