Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Warping a threaded in pattern, and some thoughts on 4F/4B patterns

This is a basic 4 forward 4 back pattern that I took from http://malarkycrafts.blogspot.com/2012/12/holiday-bands.html because I needed something quick and easy to weave for my boyfriend’s mom for Christmas.

I know several people have a hard time warping their loom if they can’t do a speed warp, so I figured I would document how I do it.  As with everything else, there is no one true way, but hopefully seeing pictures of how I do it will help.

I use my loom as a warping board.  My other looms have projects on them, so I just had my daughter's loom available, but wanted something longer than it makes.  For extra length, I usually use a chair placed however far away I need it, but it is actually easier to get a consistent warp length just using the loom.  On this loom, I wrapped around the top center peg, to the back peg, then to the bottom center peg, and back to the end peg, before also wrapping around the base.  In case it is not clear from the picture, the back peg has two sets of string wrapped around it, and they also cross when they wrap around the base (this won't actually be a problem).  To determine the number of strings of each color, I count the color blocks on the pattern, and make sure I wrap that number of each color.  Make sure you are consistent each time you wrap, otherwise you will wind up with some strings that are much shorter.  If you catch this, just add an extra wrap, and consider the short piece waste.  I cut my strings just in front of the base board, because that is where I initially tied off.  When you cut, make sure to hold the strings between the front peg, and the place where you cut.  Otherwise they tend to react messily to the lack of tension when you cut.  Once you cut, remove any knots holding individual strings together, then tie all of the strings in a loose knot to keep it from becoming tangled.  I usually do this every two to three feet.

I wrapped around one of the bars twice.  Believe it or not, this is not a problem, as long as you went there from two different pegs.
Loosely knot the strings together before and after the area they cross.  Slip them off all of the pegs, and gently pull them straight.
 Lay the strings out straight, and remove the loose knots.  I recommend the floor, but a table will also work.  From the center, count out the threads needed for the first two cards, and gently lift them.  When you get more practiced, you can do this for larger sets of cards, but for beginning, I recommend using two cards worth (eight threads). 

Use one hand pressed flat against the ones on the floor to keep them from moving as you continue to separate the ones you want.  Avoid combing the threads, just lift them a little at a time, until the threads you want are in their own group.

With the strings you selected laid out straight, thread each card, and tie the ends you just threaded together.  For this pattern, you can ignore S and Z, until the strings are attached to the loom.  I usually transfer blocks of four cards onto the loom at one time.  I don't want to waste string, so I use a doubled string passed just behind the knot (two threads above, two below) to tie the beginning onto the loom.  I lay the cards in the working area, attach the extra string to the closest peg, then loop the rest of the string around the first peg, tie to the second peg, and wrap as normal until I get to the last peg.  This peg I knot around twice.  The knots will help keep your tension tight.  Repeat this process until you have all of your cards attached to the loom.  In this pattern, I have 24 cards, so I did 8 blocks of four cards, but you can do them in whatever blocks work best for you.  I'm going to assume anyone reading this knows how to follow a pattern, so flip the cards to S or Z and rotate them to put the A color in the top hole closest to you.

When I first attach the warp to the loom, I wrapped the string once around the first peg.  It keeps the tension tighter when you begin, and the first time I run out of working area, I can just pull it off the first peg (leaving it passing above the peg), and only tighten the string I used to attach the beginning to the loom.  Yes, I believe in being lazy.  ;)  I always keep a knot on the second peg, because only using a knot at the end doesn't keep it tight enough to make me happy.  I like my warp really tight. 

Because I purposely made a longer warp, I am going to have extra string, so I use a daisy chain to keep them from tangling.  To start, you are basically going to make a partial slip knot.  Lay the extra strings over the back of your hand, and place your fingers over the strings coming from the loom.  Now roll your hand to make a loop, and use your fingers to grip the loose string, bringing a loop of it through the loop you just made.  Now with your fingers still through the new loop, bring another section of the loose string through, making a new loop.  Continue doing this until you run out of loose string.  When the remaining string is too short to make another loop, bring the entire remainder through the loop to lock it in place.  You can also just leave it as a loop, but if you pull on the string remainder, the entire chain will unravel.  Which is what you want to have happen, but not until you are ready to shift the strings on the loom.

This is what the finished pattern will look like.  Most patterns don't tell you if you should start rolling your cards forwards (away from you) or backwards (towards you).  It doesn't really matter which direction you start, because looking at your weaving will tell you which direction gives which half of the pattern, and most people require at least an inch or two to set the width of the band.  You can use toothpicks, or waste string to make it easier to remove this section from your finished band.  I have a very good idea of my finished tension, so I just pull the first two weft passes tight.  I suggest practicing this with your toothpicks or waste string, so eventually you won't have to unweave the beginning of your bands.  Most of the time that you have a border, you will want to keep those cards rolling in the same direction as long as possible.  However, 4F/4B on the border will still lay flat, so make it easier on yourself, and just keep them moving with the rest of the pack.  I pulled a bit tighter on my weft when I changed directions, because I wanted the edge to look more scalloped.

I don't count card rotations, because I think the string does a better job of telling you where you are, but you can also check the fourth card to make sure the green thread is in the A position.  It will be in this position every time you need to change the direction you are rotating the cards.
Rolling your cards four towards you (backwards) will give you the left side of the wreath or the bottom since it is sideways to you.  When you have two white threads between the red edge and the green at the top of the wreath, it is time to rotate the cards away from you (forwards), which will give you the other half of the wreath.  When all your threads are white, it is time to shift back to rolling towards you.  It is really obvious if you roll one time too many, so check before you pass your weft thread.  That way you just need to reverse the roll you just made, then do it one more time to change the direction.  Remember that when you have changed direction the threads will not be slanted, so if you get lost, use this to tell you how far to back out. 

You have run out of working space, now what?

First tie your cards together.  I lay the string on top, cross at the bottom, then tie them on top.  This holds the cards pretty tight, but you can also use a large safety pin, or whatever else you have come up with to keep the cards from moving while you aren't weaving.  Then untie it from the loom.  Because this is a 4F/4B pattern, there is no twist build up, so nothing needs to be combed out.  Therefore, I leave the second peg knot, but loosen it so it can be moved along the strings.  As an added benefit, it keeps it obvious which strings belong to each set of cards.  Reattaching the strings to the loom is done the same way you initially did it, but you may need to add some extra string to have your beginning reach the next peg.  One the beginning is reattached, I slip the knot back around the second peg, then tighten everything up, knotting twice around the last peg.  I leave the daisy chain until I need the extra string to be able to knot around the last peg, then if I still have extra, I re-chain it.

Once everything is reattached, go back to weaving until you once again run out of working area, then repeat.  Yes, it is a pain to have to keep moving the working area, but that is the price you pay for the convenience of carrying your project around on an inkle loom, and it gets pretty fast after you have done it a few times.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Gluten free chocolate chip cookies

This was done in error since I just happened to grab the wrong flour, but since everyone loved them and I know a bunch of gluten free folks, I figured I would save it here.

2 1/4 cups soy flour, 2 sticks of softened unsalted butter, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 cup dark brown sugar, 2 duck eggs (chicken eggs work), 1 tsp salt, 2 tsp vanilla (I use the alcohol free), 1/2 tsp baking soda, and 2 heaping cups of chocolate ships. 

Beat the sugars into the butter, then add the salt, vanilla, and eggs.  Next add the flour and baking soda, followed by the chocolate chips.  I use a kitchen aide with the paddle for everything except adding the chocolate chips.  Bake for 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Fig jam and cookies

Just putting this here so I can remember what I did. Depending on how busy I am, I will try and add pictures and actually edit it later.

Jam: An approximately 9'diameter, 3" deep basket with figs from our tree. Some not fully ripe, because my picker was very enthusiastic. I diced up the figs, leaving the skins on. Put them into a pot with 1 gram of apple pectin, 2 cups water, 1/2 cup sugar, and the juice from one large lemon. Brought to a boil, and simmered till desired thickness. Then I used the vitamix to break up any chunks, so the jam would be smooth.

 Cookie dough: For the cookie dough, I added 1/4 lb of butter to the bowl of the kitchenaide, along with 1/2 cup of sugar. Beat them together until mixed. Added the zest from both sides of the lemon I juiced, 1 tsp vanilla, and one egg white (though I think next time I am going to just leave the yolk and see what happens), beat again. Added 1 1/2 cup of flour a 1/2 cup at a time while the kitchenaide was running. I was in a hurry, so I put the dough in saran wrap and into the freezer for about 30 minutes. Then I rolled it thin, cut out 4" wide strips, added a line of jam in the center, then folded it onto itself, and cut the roll into fig newton sized chunks. I also did finger print cookies, because a certain kid needed something she was better at helping with. Baked at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.