This is my blog to share my adventures, misadventures, exploration, and experimentation with fibre- and as it turns out, with life as well. There is some of both. One thing leads to another. Collecting, spinning, weaving, dying, learning, building a web of relationships. Here we are: welcome.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Dornick Project

I decided to do something a little challenging, as a special gift to someone who has done a lot for me.  I asked her if she would like a table runner (YES!), and together we selected a twill pattern that pleased her and would be fun for me. She selected the colors: the warp an 8/2 cotton in camel (a lovely soft warm golden brown), and the weft, an 8/4 cotton in cream.  Finished, the runner would be 16 inches wide and five feet long, hemmed. 

The twill is a "broken" twill called Dornick's (perhaps to honor some long-ago weaver, as this is a very old pattern). A broken twill is one in which the twill lines are offset or "broken" in some way.  Here is the weaving draft I made up for the runner:

click for a larger view

As you can see, the angled lines of color do not meet.  I think this adds visual interest to the pattern.  The colors in the draft are not exact, but give an idea of how the pattern will look when woven, how it is threaded on my 4 shaft loom, and what treadles to push in what order!  It is really easier than it looks. 

Now, a quick review of the steps in making this project.  You'll find the same thing in any book on weaving, but I wanted to share my enjoyment in making this particular project by showing you pictures of it at various stages, thread to finish.  You won't learn how to weave from this, but I hope you will get a sense of my involvement and pleasure. 

The winding on of the warp: 

On the winding board
Warp shanks ready for loom

I divided the number of warp threads by 4, and wound four shanks on my board. The blue thread you see behind the warp is my guide thread.  It shows me where to wind and where to turn so that I don't have to think about it too much.

As I finished each shank, I chained it, and set it aside. You will see in a moment why I made up the warp this way.

Warp chains wound on breast beam

I am winding on front to back, so I wrapped the shanks around the front (breast) beam to hold them in place.  The looped ends are cut, and one by one, I thread them through the reed.  In this case, since the threads are smooth, I will also thread them through the heddles at this point, in the order called for by the threading draft.  I have four shafts, and each of them will be used. (My dream is to have an 8 shaft loom someday).  

Here is a photo of the other side of the shafts, showing the threads hanging in small tied bunches where they have already been threaded.  Others are waiting at the reed to be threaded into the heddles. 

Back of loom as warp is threaded

The next step after all the heddles are threaded is to tie on the bunches to the warp beam.  I somehow failed to get photos of this part!  I think I was anticipating the next part, which is a lot more challenging: winding the warp on all by myself while retaining even tension on all the warp threads.  Fortunately, there are ways....

Warp under tension using secret method
The secret: water-filled jugs!

Warp winding on

And voila, the warp is pulled to the loom evenly, with rulers inserted between layers to keep them separate and maintain an even tension during weaving.  Magic!

When the jugs are close to the loom, the warp can be untied and brought carefully to the breast beam.  Then it is tied in small bunches in front of the reed to hold it in place.  Each bunch is then carefully tied to the front apron rod, making sure to keep the tension even (this usually required retying 2 or 3 times). 

Then the weaving commences. First, some stray material is woven in to spread the warp evenly.  In this case, I used the dreaded blue warp. (Actually, I liked the effect of the darker stripe, and the next time I make a runner or mat using dornick's, I am going to try adding contrasting stripes at the ends.)

Spreading the warp for weaving
And the first few feet of dornick's twill emerges:
The red thread marks the first foot of weaving

And a few days later... voila!  The finished web:

It drapes well, don't you think?
And the finished runner, hand-hemmed and in the home of the recipient, who is very pleased with it.  That makes me happy!

Dornick's twill runner, hand-hemmed.
A close-up of the pattern:


Cat's Glass said...

Gosh that is beautiful. I am just learning, on a 10" rigid heddle Cricket loom. I would love to do what you did.

Annie Delyth Stratton said...

Thank you so much! You will have a lot of fun with the Cricket. There are a lot of things that you can do designing with stripes, plaids, and borders using just one heddle. And as you gain experience, you can even do twills on the Cricket if you get a second heddle. By that time though, you may be ready for a 4 heddle standing loom. Keep an eye out: I bought mine used-- and cheap-- from a weaver who was closing her studio to pursue other interests. Enjoy your weaving and beware: it has a tendency to take over!

Annie Delyth Stratton said...

Got curious about your name and checked your profile. How ironic: I used to do warm glass too! Still have the equipment and kiln as well as a lot of BE glass. I loved doing it and was doing well. Unfortunately, an accident damaged my shoulder and I'm unable to cut glass because of the kind of pressure it puts on it. That's when I took up weaving after many years away from it. I still get my color and texture fix, and the fun of hanging with wool folks!

Morticia in France said...

Hi Annie,
I am so pleased to have found your excellent warping method.
I have recently been given a very old, roughly 1850, 4 shaft floor loom, it was once my great grandmothers. I am very new to weaving and especially warping gives me a few problems. I have a new warp to be added to the old remaining warp so I will definitely try your secret method.
Thank you.
Suzie B. in France

Annie Delyth Stratton said...

Suzie ,I confess I happily lifted the idea from others! It's amazing the variety of techniques weavers have developed to make warping a loom by oneself possible. We are indeed a creative lot. I am envious that you have the great fortune to weave on a loom once used by your great grandmother! Old looms are treasures, but more so when they have such a personal history. Please let me know how it goes. I need to warp up again and update this blog-- or post more of my spinning!

Morticia in France said...

Hi again Annie,
I managed to get the new warp onto the loom and I have just finished the last set of curtains, I am quite pleased with them. there is so much I need to learn, the actual weaving is such a small part of the process.
I have just purchased a small, second-hand Glimakra Hobby floor loom, not quite half the size of my old one and am hoping that this will be a learning tool, I bought Deborah Chandler's book on Learning to Weave and have just dressing the loom to start on the lessons
Best wishes
Suzie B3064

Annie Delyth Stratton said...

Suzie, I am so impressed that you wove curtains! You said "last set"-- how many did you weave?! I'd love to see photos. Let me know if you post them.

You are so right that the actual weaving is only a small part of the whole process-- designing, charting, selecting materials, warping up (many steps to that alone!), and then finishing. But it is so satisfying.

I envy you your Glimakra loom! I would love to have a narrower loom to do most of my work on, one with at least 8 heddles so I could try out more complex weaving patterns.

Debbie Chandler's book is an excellent one- I refer to my copy frequently. Have fun!