Thursday, 9 March 2017

February Bead Journal Project 2017 reinvented

So my 2017 Bead Journal Project has undergone a reinvention. It looked like this:

But now it looks like this:

So what happened? Well, I struggled with it in the beginning and had all sorts of problems setting up the loom as I didn't have the instruction but I managed to do January and I was quite pleased with it. When February came I did the next section but as soon as I started I knew I was unhappy with the whole thing. There were two problems, Firstly, the colours of the warp weren't right - the grey had sparkly bits in it and the blue and white were a bit baby wool coloured. Secondly, the whole thing was loose because not only did the wool stretch, but the three different yarns stretched in different amounts so I couldn't just tighten it. I was also annoyed with the loom because I'd tried to ignore the groves cut out each end but they kept catching on the yarn. All in all, I didn't enjoy the process and the thought of adding to it each month didn't inspire me.

At this point in the tale my son walked in and when I explained my thoughts he suggested I start over again. So I did.

To begin with, I tried dyeing some cotton I already had but I knew it was really too thick and there was no point getting it wrong again. Unusually for me I was patient and waited till I could get into town the next day where I bought some neutral coloured thin cotton yarn.

I started to dress the loom. I took it off and started again. And again. Every time, it just didn't feel right. I kept going on the internet to look at videos but none of them had the grooves that my loom had and it just wasn't working. Then I came up with the revolutionary idea of trying to use the grooves instead of ignore them. After quite a bit of thought I came ups with a theory and threaded it all up again and .... it worked. Look.

Lovely and taut, the heddle works, the warp doesn't sag and the whole thing is just much nicer to work with. I feel as if I'm working with the loom instead of fighting it.

And it only took five hours. Result.

After that I had to go to bed, but the next day I set about recreating January. As you can see from the top pictures it looks quite different, and in some ways I miss the chunky, rustic feel to it, but the payback in terms of how nice it is to weave is well worth the difference. I did another little adjustment as the sticks for winding the weft on were very long and unwieldy so I took a hot knife to a plastic ruler and now have a nice short shuttle. At last, I'm looking forward to working on it each month.

And what's February about? Well, February turned out to be much tougher than I expected so the grey represents some kind of rock face and the beads are the little bits of steely determination needed to get through the month. Time for a close up.

And a couple of close ups from the new January.

And I'll finish off with the poor old cast off.

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