It’ll Work Out

I have heard it rumored that several branches of the Dilatory Institute of Glitchbania have been popping up around the globe, and it gladdens my heart.  I hope to hear more about the certificates these weavers are earning, and how.

The nice thing about my studies at the Dilatory Institute is that it is at my own pace.  Therefore I can wait until the muse whispers, and once I realize that the tickling in my ear is not a bit of wax, I can get to work.  Sometimes the muse has to yell.

Over the past few days I have managed to get the warp for my first sample rough-sleyed.  This earned me the Inattentive Warp Winder Certificate.  Here are the gory details, which may serve as a cautionary tale to others. (Whenever you hear yourself say “it’ll work out”, it probably won’t.)

I started my adventure by locating a warping board since my warp was to be only 1.5 yards long.  I propped it up on my winding station, on which I normally put my electric bobbin winder.  To keep the winder from slipping I have a piece of rug gripper, the kind that is rubbery and has holes like waffles (except that waffles don’t really have holes, but you know what I mean).  Of course I also located my 16/2 cotton in two colors.


The warping board also needed slippage prevention, so I put it on top of the gripper.  This was not a good idea, as it turned out, because those little holes acted as an optical obfuscatory device, playing with my eyesight like one of those grids where you see gray spots where there are none.  It was difficult to see my cross and to count threads.  It’ll work out, said the devil on my shoulder.

I realized after a few dozen ends were wound that I was building up a false cross.  I was warping 2 threads at a time.  It’ll work out.

After the main color was wound, I wound the 22 tripled ends of the lighter color, one end at a time, crossing them every third end.  A false cross was also appearing here, but I could not think how to do it differently, without three thread supplies.  If I had been closer to a working electrical outlet and not nearly so lazy, I would have wound two supplemental supplies off of the cone.  I was not, I was not, and I did not.  It’ll work out.

The next day, I set out to pre-sley the light color in a 6-dent reed.  As I took the light warp off the board, I realized that the loop at the end was not a loop because of the way I wound it– there was one actual loop around the peg for every two completely separate ones, so I decided to use the other end as the loop that goes around the beam stick.  After all, it was only a short warp, how hard would it be to shift the cross a bit?


It didn’t work out.  I cast about for a solution and one presented itself in the form of a 16/2 linen of a nice light blue.  It would actually look better than the light gray-green, and I would only have to use one thread instead of tripling the 16/2 cotton.  I quickly wound 22 ends and began to pre-sley.

Here we must pause and go back in time just a bit (that garbled sound is me rewinding time).  When I originally made my plan, I read that the epi was 56, and that is what I calculated for.  Then, in a moment of lucidity, I decided to double-check that, since it seemed like way too many ends unless you were doing rep, in which case it wasn’t enough.  What the book really said was that the 16/2 cotton is sett 2 ends per dent for a sett of 35 epi in an 18-dent reed (well, it was a metric reed and the closest thing to it is 18 dent and we are going to ignore the face that 18 x 2 = 36, not 35…), and the 16/2 contrast cotton is set 3 ends in one dent for a sett of 56 epi.  Oboy.  I recalculated before I began to wind the warp. (fast forward again).

When I finished pre-sleying the linen, it looked like this:


The ruler is about 12 inches long (nevermind that it is a metric ruler), and my warp was planned for 11.5 inches wide.  I went upstairs and had a nice glass of wine, hoping for better results the next day.

The problem, as it turned out, was that I had calculated one contrast end for each of 22 repeats.  But in fact, there are two.  Then I turned myself into a robo-calculator and somehow miraculously came up with the fact that I needed 46 contrast ends; that the effective sett of combining 35 epi with 56 epi was about 40 epi, and that I should pre-sley in a 10-dent reed to make it easier.  It worked out for the linen, and then it worked out for the cotton.



Following advice from Tien and Joanne on Ravelry’s Warped Weavers forum, I used two beam sticks, one for each warp.  Next I will wind the warp onto the beam, being very careful not to listen when that little guy says “It’ll work out”.

What I Learned from This Experience

Future Sheila:

  • when you wind a warp, try very hard not to have a false cross.
  • before you wind another warp with multiple threads, review Peggy Osterkamp’s book on winding a warp and pay attention to it.
  • before you calculate yardage for warp, be sure that you double-check the sett and take note of any multiple setts.
  • don’t overthink it
  • don’t underthink it

The Dilatory Institute of Glitchbania — A New Direction

Time has flown!  I can hardly believe it’s been a month since I was searching for Max in the pod, but it has.  He of course was eventually found, but then I could not find a reed in the size and dent I needed.  The reed appeared a week or so later in the bottom of a box that held framed art.

Then I could not find a bobbin winder for another couple of weeks.  Meanwhile, the sewer line got plugged up (the main pipe is not aligned with the septic tank as it should be, as we found out) and the sewage backed up into the basement a bit.  Brian was not happy as he wet-vacuumed it up until I could find a plumber to come out and fix it. Luckily the sewage did not touch anything except the concrete foundation and since there is currently no flooring there, none was ruined.

That is a long way of saying that I progressed not one bit on Olds College work.  And after all the time and effort and travel and money expended for the Olds weaving course, I have admitted defeat and thrown in the handwoven towel.  I know this about myself:  I do not like to take classes all that much.  I am very good at self-directed learning, and I always have the sense that time is short and I need to make the most of it (unless I’m relaxing and wasting time on purpose). I have trouble focusing when classmates are around and the teacher is constantly telling us things; to do my best work I need quiet to think, and no pressure.

After much (quiet!) thought, I have created and enrolled in the Dilatory Institute of Glitchbania’s course of study in Handweaving (not to be confused with their other course of study in Handwaving).  Here is the course description:



Well then!  This curriculum seems tailor-made just for me!

I applied, was accepted, and paid the enrollment fees.  Then I began my Plan for Adequate Weaving. (You too can enroll in this course!  Please apply via this blog and I will forward your plans to the Institute).

What Will I Study?

The first assignment I devised for myself is to weave upholstery fabric for the dining room chairs.  We bought our chairs at a consignment shop in Seattle just before we moved, along with a teak table.  I love these chairs because they have great back support.  They are the same design as two chairs I have in darker wood that I use for spinning.  I will post a photo of them as soon as they can be brought out of storage and put in the soon-to-be dining room.

The fabric on the newly acquired chairs is wool and was once nice but they were a spill magnet for their former possessor, who did not bother to clean them up, and they are no longer very presentable.

Rather than engaging in my usual habit of hastily choosing a weaving draft and grabbing some yarn and warping a loom for the end project, my Dilatory Institute of Glitchbania (DIG) curriculum requires me to specify several possibilities (I chose 10) and sample at least half of them.  If none of the samples speaks to me as the right way to go for the upholstery fabric, I will continue to sample the other possibilities.  I may also have to weave some color gamps in order to choose the perfect color(s).

Once I have woven my samples (2 per draft, one wet-finished) and have made a selection, I will acquire the materials, weave the fabric and re-cover the chairs.


I gathered several of my weaving books and marked about 20 possibilities, then culled them down to 10, which are as follows:

Source Page Name
Björk and Ignell: Simple Weaves 103 Halvdräll “Star”
Hallgren: Kalasfina vävar 27 Hålkrus till stol och kudde (Hålkrus for a chair and pillow)
Väv: Weaver’s Delight 71 Choice Wool
Alderman: Mastering Weave Structures 40 2-block twill
Väv: Weaver’s Delight 42 Furnishing Fabric Brokamala
Alderman: Mastering Weave Structures 223 4/4 Basketweave
Alderman: Mastering Weave Structures 67 5-shaft satin stripe
Alderman: Mastering Weave Structures 11 4/1 basketweave
Eriksson et al: Warp and Weft 24 Droquet
Eriksson et al: Warp and Weft 8 Warp Cord/Twill Weave

I am very excited about this project, for I will surely learn a lot about structures that I haven’t tried, such as Hålkrus and Halvdräll and satin and Droquet.

I’ll also have to learn a bit of Swedish, as the book Kalasfina vävar is not translated.

How Will I Keep Track?

Before I could start any of the samples, I needed a sane way to keep records, so I created a record form for samples and projects, and a master record form as an index for the year.


I filled out as much of the sample form as I could for the first sample (the Halvdräll Star) and made a hand-drawn drawdown.


Yesterday I found all the parts to Girth the Glimakra and put her together.  Now to gather yarns together and wind a warp!


Where is Max?

I am currently looking for this:


in this:


Do you see him anywhere? You may see Abba, the Swedish band loom, there on the left behind the chest of drawers (or the “chester draws” as I have seen some Craigslist ads call it). And you may see the little maple bench right in the middle. And you can see the wheel part of the warping wheel against the right wall. But this poor guy is nowhere to be found.

The missing loom is named Maxmillian Van der Woof XIII, Max for short. According to our records, he should be hiding in the pod we are currently unloading. You may know already that we very recently moved to Hendersonville, North Carolina from Seattle, Washington. It is important to find Max because I need a loom that has all its parts put together in order to finish my class work for the Olds College Master Weaving Level One class I took in Yadkinville, NC the last week in April, and I think he is the likely candidate. Even though he already has a warp on him, which I will have to remove.

This pod is 16 feet long, so there is still much to be pulled out. I’m confident we will find him at some point today.

I’ll be telling you more about the Olds program as I go along, but right now I need to find Max!