Sticking with it

After a spectacular failure that I am not sharing with the world I really wanted my next project to be successful, or even if possible flawless. However it didn’t get off to the best start. I’d been thinking about having a go at Perugia towels for some time but hadn’t found a local source for the cottolin that was my preference for this. So on a whim I purchased some rolls of cheap and nasty cotton from a bulk craft and fabric shop to have a first go on. I thought that it was the same as the Ashford 5/2 mercerised blue cotton that I already had and would work with that. Alas however it turned out to be significantly thicker which meant that there was no way the blue would work as a brocading weft which needs to be thicker than the woven weft. So wrong materials. Never mind, I thought, I will make it a Faux-rugia towel and simply weave a band of blue without brocading.

Then the next issue arose. I had the loom all prepped after spending a significant amount of time jiggling with the lames, peddles etc to get it sitting and shedding better. The tie up was ready to go but i was under no urgency. Until… Kit rang and wanted to bring the kids out and L, she said, was keen to see the looms in action. Now I was on urgency. I needed to get it warped over the course of a week. Beaming etc went easily as I’d wound a very short warp and cotton, bless its socks, has none of the stickiness that wool can do. However threading was another story.

See I hadn’t decided to do a simple 4 shaft diamond but a far more complex 8 shaft diamond with a half return pattern in the centre. I threaded the 310 warp threads but it wasn’t right and didn’t end in the right part of the design. So I did it again. Still wrong. Again, almost right but a couple of things were still out. That’s right I ended up needing to rethread it four times. I thought that i was going out of my mind. Needless to say it was not ready to go for the visit, but that was OK as L turned out to be less interested than i had thought.

Not only did i have issues with the threading but even the sleying had to be redone a couple of times. After tieing it on I did a full pattern repeat in some waste yarn and found that I had crossed a couple of warps so that they were unable to open fully. So unwove the waste yarn and fixed that.

Waste yarn to check the pattern.

Finally I was confident in the threading, sleying and had it tied up with a nice even tension. I was ready to begin… clicked the beam to tighten it up and bang, the cords at the back broke and the half length beam that I had it attached to at the back fell away from the main beam, luckily without dropping all the warps on the floor but it could have been the last straw.

On the loom, hem stitching done

I’m not sure if there’s a moral to this story apart from don’t let circumstances rush a project. Or maybe it’s that if you want to be happy with a product sometimes it takes persistence. After a couple of unsatisfactory projects I am pretty happy with this one, but I certainly sweated over it.

Close up of the pattern
Finished with a short fringe.