14 December 2011


Dressed loom from the work side.
Back in the summer, I bought a loom. I'd been looking at weaving for awhile. Getting into weaving is a little difficult, because looms are expensive and there are a lot of loom manufacturers. (The same could be said of buying a spinning wheel.) I ended up with an Ashford table loom. This is a rather nice little loom, in that it folds and can be slid under a bed or stacked along the back wall of a closet. This also means it can be easily transported to workshops. And the 24-inch/60cm width is just right for a folding card table.
Dressed loom from the back side.
The loom sat in my home from mid-summer to mid-autumn. In November, I decided that it needed to at least be put together. So I did that. After another two or three weeks, I bought some Kauni yarn, put a warp on the loom, and wove.
This is just a basic sampler. I used a straight threading (i.e. shafts 1-2-3-4 in order left to right front to back). As you are looking at it from left to right: tabby, 2/2 twill, 1/3 twill, 3/1 twill, Swiss twill, zig zag twill, basket weave, rib weave, 1/3 & 3/1 hopsack, and double-faced twill. The different lengths on the fringes indicate the differences in loom waste. As you can see, I can work the front of the loom with very little waste. Even the back isn't bad. If you find the right spot, you can make a shallow but passable shed and have less than 12 inches of waste.

I bought two colors of yarn. One is white throughout. The other is a brown that is rather reddish. I didn't realize until I had warped the loom that the pinkish brown and white together made it look like bacon! So I guess this is my bacon weaving sampler.

05 December 2011

Off-Topic with the Tigers

My home has been rather chaotic this holiday season. I decided to take a little mental health break and run down to ZooAtlanta on Friday afternoon. It was a nice day, cool in the morning but warming up to comfortable autumn weather by afternoon. I specifically went to view Chelsea and her five-month-old cubs, Sohni and Sanjiv. I had hoped to see them a month ago during Po's birthday celebration, but tiger father Kavi was out on exhibit that morning, the weather was extremely fine for November -- more like late summer than autumn -- and Kavi was not about to give up the yard and go inside.
Sumatran Tigers are a smaller sub-species of tiger, but they still have all the majesty one expects in a big cat. Unfortunately, their numbers in the wild have diminished to about 400. Like so many apex predators, tigers require significant space for territory and plentiful prey. With seven billion people on the planet, there are fewer resources for other species. This is true in the Unites States as well as far-flung places like Sumatra. (After all, when was the last time you saw a Florida panther or red wolf?) Places like ZooAtlanta provide more than a safe place for endangered species. ZooAtlanta works in cooperation with universities and conservation organizations to conduct research that helps both captive populations and those still in situ.

For the moment, this happy feline family represents a lot of hope. Big cats do not stay little and cute for long. By springtime, the cubs won't be little anymore. Right now, Sohni and Sanjiv are at the adorable and playful stage. I spent more than an hour watching their antics. They were thoroughly entertaining as they chased each other as well as their very tolerant mother. I am sure the cubs won't be out on exhibit in very cold weather. So, if you are in Atlanta and the afternoon is seasonably pleasant, it is well worth your time to scurry down to ZooAtlanta for a wonderful mental health break.