Waiting in Chains

The title of this post sounds like a bad romance novel, doesn’t it?  It’s not, it’s a reference the birthday blanket project from last year.  Remember that?  Things got kicked off with a wonderful birthday party, I came home that night and finished winding the rest of the threads into warp.  And then…the project sat all chained up and nowhere to go.

waiting in chains

The reasons are many, but primarily they come down to:

1. Fear of failure.  What if I try to weave this blanket, with all its tension irregularities from all the different types of threads and things go hideously pear-shaped?  Will I be tarred and feathered by the weaving community?  Will the folks who sent in handspun curse my name?  What about the fund raiser for Doctors without Borders?  If the blanket sucks, will I be letting down folks who really, really need help??

Tension irregularities
2. Moving house.  My husband asked me not to blog about this last year, but when I asked him again this morning while he was brushing his teeth he mumbled something at me that sounded like “whatever” so I’m running with that.  Last year the terrible housing market brought prices down low enough that Eric and I were able to move out of our “starter house”, which after kid and weaving was bursting at the seams, and into a beautifully odd house that no one else wanted but which suits us right down to the ground.  I gained a wonderful weaving studio, but had to break down the AVL and move it and reassemble it, at the same time I was moving every other thing I own and dealing with a rigorous summer teaching schedule.
3. Fear of AVL.  I don’t know if everyone who brings home a used AVL Production Dobby Loom with auto cloth advance, computerized shafts, auto tensioning, multiple beams, and a fly shuttle gets intimidated by it, but I did.  I’m a geek, I love learning new things…but still, this was a quantum leap of complexity beyond my Baby Wolf.  It took me a while, much encouragement from Laura Fry, and nine yards of chenille, for me to feel at home with this beast.

So the good news is that issues 2 and 3 are conquered.  And while reason 1 still holds sway, I figure that it’s better to fail than never to try.  So… after almost a year of “waiting in chains” the 40th blanket project is now getting dressed on the loom.

I absolutely love how all the colors look together in this.  My husband came by while I was enthusing over it and his expression was less delight and more “dang, that’s a lot of crazy to have all in one blanket” so I know it’s not to everyone’s taste, but I think it’s marvelous.

crazy sauce colors

I’ll be weaving two 13-yard warps for this project and piecing panels together to make the two blankets.  The first warp is 42-1/2 inches wide in the raddle.

In the old house, I barely had room to squeeze around the AVL in my studio.  In the new house, the loom has more breathing room, and better still (and don’t tell Eric, but this is one of the hidden “features” that made me fall in love with this house) it comes with a built-in warping valet (non weavers would call this a banister and staircase).  It’s perfect for stretching out this warp and giving the tension irregularities more room to even out.

warping valet

I had to stop at this point in the warping because I don’t have warp-separator that’s 45 inches wide.  Today is an errand day, so I’ll stop by the hardware store and pick some up, and hopefully get this beamed on tonight.

The birthday blanket project: waiting in chains…no longer!

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