Monday, September 27, 2010

Band spiral

I've known since early on that a twill band will tend to spiral on itself when not under tension, and that the way to counteract this is to have a few cards going in the other direction. EPAC mentions it (p. 68), saying:
Generally, at least two tablets at each edge are threaded in the opposite direction, or alternating S and S, to compensate for the twisting of the band which is inherent in this type of weave.
I'm sure I read elsewhere that alternating at one end of the band only was sufficient but I can't find a reference for that now. That's what I did for the "scrolling vine" band which was my first foray into twill bands. I didn't have any problem with spiralling so it seemed that doing a SSSSSSSSSSSSZ weave was sufficient to avoid any problems in that area.

However, the plain (no brocade) band I've just finished, which was threaded ZSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSZ, had quite an extreme twist on it. It turns out that the "reverse the edges" plan is really only sufficient for brocaded bands, which have a lot of stiffness due to the stiff metal brocade weft (not sure how well one with a fibre brocade weft would hold up, somewhere in between I guess).

So, now I know, a non-brocaded band really needs to be a near-50% mix of S and Z threading. I won't make that mistake again (This doesn't apply to bands that are twill threaded but the cards turn backwards as well as forwards, as in 3/1 broken twill, of course) .

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Card idling "satin" ribbon

Warp: Green silk (colourmart)
Weft: Green silk (colourmart)
Pattern: card idling monochrome twill
Cards: 17
Width: ~1cm
Length: ~1m

I decided a while ago that I wanted to have a go at the "simulated satin effect" band from Þóra Sharptooth's Three Tablet Weaving Recipes page. So I did- but it seems I did every imaginable thing wrong in the process! Here's a list:
  • No loom: because I was taking this band travelling with me, I did it backstap style. This is the only band I have woven without two fixed tension points (whether it be 2 chairs, my Oseberg loom, or an inkle loom), excluding the tubular cord I did around Christmas. The tension of this band was all over the place
  • Using a new type of silk: This was the first outing of the silk I got from colourmart. The silk from colourmart is great value and the customer service is very friendly, but this silk turned out to be a lot stickier than what I was used to (closer to how wool behaves) which didn't help anything
  • Failure to read the instructions: Well actually, I did read the instructions just fine, several months before I started on the band. Then, 10 cm in, when I was unimpressed with the result, I managed to confuse the "satin effect" band with the "monochrome twill effect" one directly above it", and decided the reason it wasn't working so well was because it was supposed to be twill. I switched to twill and continued that way for the rest of the band.
  • Overestimating how satiny the result would be: see above. I think my expectations of this band were too high which led to me getting pretty frustrated with it.
  • Warp density too low: My flatmate Sonya tells me the band would have looked better if it had been narrower
  • Band spiral: I will cover this in another post but in summary: yeah, once I switched to the twill, the band took on a pronounced spiral. I didn't notice until I had finished because I was winding the band around my belt as I wove it.
The end result of all this is that I tired of the band very quickly and ended up giving up on the card idling just so I could get the damn thing finished. Because I was so bored with it I didn't take much care when weaving it and the whole thing is very ugly and uneven (the backstrap weaving will have contributed to this. I have used the finished band as garters on a new pair of hose, where nobody will see them.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Victoria and Albert Museum "membership"

I don't know if this is common knowledge and I'm just out of the loop, but a friend recently pointed out to me that it was possible to get wonderfully high-resolution (specifically, 2500 pixels on the wider axis) photos of items from the V&A if you become a "member". It goes like this:
  1. Go to
  2. Click the "Log in" button at top right.
  3. Fill out the "Or Register" form on the right-hand side of the page. You are now a member.
  4. Search for the item in the collection you fancy and click on the thumbnail of the one you like.
  5. At the right of the page, below the summary information, there is an "Order this image" button. Click it.
  6. You'll be taken to the "Manage your orders" which is kinda like your shopping cart. You can add up to 30 images to a single order.
  7. When you're done choosing the images you want, click the the "Place order now" button. The first time you do this you'll be asked to fill out some more details like your address and your reason for wanting the images.
  8. You are taken to a page that says that in 15 minutes your order will be ready. If you wait that long and then refresh, you will be given a zip file you can download.