Solo Weaving the walls

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Syka is a new settlement of primarily humans on the east coast of Falyndar opposite of Riverfall on The Suvan Sea. [Syka Codex]

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Weaving the walls

Postby Ashka on December 19th, 2017, 1:12 am


4 Winter 517

Ashka tied one end of the skein of yarn onto the top of the wall pole and let the skein drop until it hit the floor. She knotted a small loop into the yarn at floor level to mark the length that a floor-to-roof hanging needed to be, and then unfastened the top end. She eyed the length of wall to be filled with a sigh. She was going to need to make a lot of panels before the walls of the house were complete, but with luck and care, she would only need to make this measurement once. Now it was recorded, she could re-use it each time she needed to set up a new warp to the right length for the project. The length of the warp dictated the length of the finished cloth, just as the width of the warp dictated the width of the cloth.

She set the long rods that would become the ends of her loom firmly into the ground, checked the distance between them was correct, and then slowly began to wind the figure of eight warp into place. After each circuit of the thread, Ashka stopped and checked the loop was taut enough to respond to the heddle, but not so taut that it pulled the rods crooked and left her with a warp that was shorter on one side than the other. It took several bells to complete the warp that was as wide as her loom would hold. Then she slid two thinner rods through the middle and tied them together so that she wouldn't lose the figure of eight shape before she could get the heddles in place. Once that was done, she eased the rods out of the ground, brushed them clean, and fastened one of them to a convenient branch.

She fastened the backstrap to the other rod and settled herself comfortably with everything she needed close at hand. The warp was too wide for her to wind the heddle onto her hand as she had with the belt, so she wound it onto yet another stick, and left the stick in place so that she could place an even lifting pressure on all the threads rather than one that would inevitably clump and tangle them.

She added a second stick for the second heddle and added a loop of thread to it that went over the warp and tied onto both ends of the stick so that it couldn't fall out. She also had a flat piece of smoothed wood called a shed bar to lift the warp threads up and down, because there was no way that her hand was wide enough to do that. The rhythm was much the same though. She wound a plain, sturdy thread onto her shuttle and slid it through between the layers. She eased the last loop flat against the edge, slid the flat wood between the layers and then twisted it in a quarter turn to switch the top layer. She eased the warp threads through where they packed close and clung, and and beat the weft thread firm against the bar.


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Last edited by Ashka on December 23rd, 2017, 3:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Weaving the walls

Postby Ashka on December 23rd, 2017, 3:07 pm


She rocked slowly as she worked to ease and tighten the warp tension as necessary. The cloth was still, just about, narrow enough that she could reach both edges without stretching or twisting, while still being wide enough to make a decent panel. If she wanted to make anything wider, she would need to create, find, or set up a standing loom that didn't rely on her body for tension. That in turn required a building to put it in, and that was something she didn't have yet. Maybe once the house was finished she could think about a larger loom but for now she would make do with what she had.

She had about a handspan of cloth woven when her stomach began to growl with hunger. She looked at the position of the sun and grimaced. She ought to eat, but weaving needed plenty of light, and she didn't want to waste the time left in the day by taking time out to cook. She could cook by firelight and moonlight. She couldn't weave by it. Her stomach growled again, and with a sigh, she unhooked herself from the loom and went to see if she could find anything quick. A brief rummage through her supplies came up with a handful of seaweed and a banana. She bolted the seaweed first, more tangy than salt tasting, chased it down with the banana and went back to work.

She settled back into the hollow that her rocking had worn in the dirt, wrapped the backstrap around her hips and hooked it onto the closer rod of the loom. She shifted around until she got the tension right once more, opened the shed of the loom, and picked up the shuttle with her right hand. She slid it into the gap between the two layers of thread, steadied herself so it was level, and sent the shuttle flying across the loom with a flick of her wrist. She reached up with her left hand and tried to catch the shuttle as it arrived on that side. It hit her fingers hard, end first, and she winced at the painful jar she received. She grabbed the shuttle anyway, and drew the thread all the way through. The last segment she pinched tight and eased into a neat, straight, border on the edge of the cloth.

She moved the shed bar from the front half of the warp to the back half of the warp, slid it into place and gave it a quarter turn so that the board stood on its edge and pushed the two halves of the warp apart. She eased clinging threads through with her fingers, beat the latest thread of the weft into place against the already woven cloth, and reached once more for the shuttle. Not wanting to hurt her hands again, she didn't throw it quite so hard this time. It turned out to be barely hard enough, for the shuttle didn't reach the far side of the weaving, and she had to reach in between the layers with her hand to grasp it and pull it the rest of the way.


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Weaving the walls

Postby Ashka on December 28th, 2017, 6:28 pm


Her groping hand closed on the shuttle after a moment that felt entirely too long, and she drew it through with the appropriate pinching caution needed to make a straight edge. The edges of this piece and the others that would eventually go with it were going to be on display to everyone that passed through her patch of land, and given its proximity to the Mercantile, that was just about everyone on Syka at some point. A piece of cloth done well, would be an advert for her trade to everyone that saw it, and that might lead to future work. A piece of cloth done badly - well, everyone would still see it but it woul not be the kind of advert that brought in more work. Taking care was something that slowed her now, but with any luck at all, it would pay off in the long run.

She drew the shed bar out of the back half, slid it into the front half, and twisted. She glanced up and down the beach as her fingers eased the warp through by feel, and spotted Chaya playing in the edge of the waves. She smiled wryly to herself, beat the weft into place and picked up the shuttle to do the next row. With her gaze back on her work, and one ear pricked to catch any sound of distress from Chaya, she fell into the rhythm of weaving. Throw and catch the shuttle, and try not to get hurt. Change the shed, ease the warp through, and beat the weft into place. Over and over, while the cloth grew thread by thread under her hands and it got harder to reach up to the working area.

Her arms ached from being constantly raised, and she paused to shake them out and rub the tired muscles before the aches turned into cramps and forced her to stop. By the looks of things, Chaya had grown tired of the water and was poking about on the beach instead. Ashka grinned at her. "Find anything interesting?"

"Not really," Chaya replied with a shrug and a wave of a sandy hand. Ashka made consoling noises and reached for one last stick that was most useful for long pieces like this. She slid it in against the nearest bar, unhooked the backstrap, and then rolled the two bars towards her body. The cloth that was already woven wrapped around bars as she rolled them, and that meant she didn't have to reach as far over it to weave the next bit. She stopped wrapping with about a thumb width of cloth still sticking out beyond the bars so that she could beat threads against it without risking a gap, shuffled forward to her new position, and replaced the backstrap. A moment to adjust the tension and she was good to go again. The next thread was easier to do, and she felt her aching arms approve. Next time, she reminded herself, it might be better not to wait quite so long to roll up the woven cloth.


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Weaving the walls

Postby Ashka on December 28th, 2017, 11:49 pm


Ashka managed to get several more inches of cloth woven before Chaya gave up on the beach and flopped down beside her. "Ash," her little sister complained, "I'm bored. Is there anything I can do?"

Ashka considered the matter. She did need to keep Chaya occupied with something, and something that kept her close by at that. It was just a question of what she could do without leaving her loom, because the weaving had to be done too. What had her teacher back in the pod done? That was an easy question, because her old teacher had taught several of them at once. Ashka wasn't sure she was up to that level of skill yet, but she supposed she could go over the basics again. There was no harm in that, at least. She paused her hands on the loom and gave her sister a nudge. "Hey, Chaya. How would you like a weaving lesson?"

Chaya's eyebrows went up. "From you, you mean?"

Ashka raised her own eyebrows in reply. "Why not? I might not be an expert yet, but I know more than you do."

"Do not!"

"Prove it then. Clean your hands, grab your practice loom, and show me."

Chaya jumped to her feet. "I will! What do I get if I win?"

Ashka tossed the shuttle across her loom with a casual flick of the wrist as she thought quickly. "Winner gets to choose what we have for dinner," she said. "Out of what we have available."

Chaya's grin was answer enough, along with her headlong departure. Ashka took a deep breath and swallowed down her desire to laugh. She hadn't planned a contest as a lesson, but it seemed to be working. Now she just had to make good on her claim to be better than Chaya. At least she'd remembered to limit it to what they already had available, so dinner wasn't that big a stake and they had to be eating something in the evening anyway. What they ate didn't make that much of a difference. To her, at least, food was food. Judging by Chaya's speed though, it did make a difference to her.

Ashka got that row finished, and the next, before Chaya returned and sat down beside her with a narrow practice loom. Weaving used much the same technique whatever width of cloth you made, so practice looms were made narrow so as not to waste too much thread. Right now there was an uneven, raggedly edged strip already on Chaya's loom, so she didn't have to set up a warp or a heddle before she could start. She just hooked her loom into position and grabbed her shuttle.

"First steps first," Ashka said, the phrase dropping instinctively from long repetition. "Go over your threads for me."

Chaya rolled her eyes. "Yeah, yeah, yeah. I got threads. Both of them." She glanced over, met Ashka's hard look, and sighed. "Ok, fine." Her voice took on a sing-song note as she chanted the memory verse and Ashka mouthed along to it.

"Here is the warp, going backward and for'rd.
It's called the warp 'cause it bends like a board.

Here on the shuttle is wound a long weft
You can tell it from the warp 'cause it goes right and left..."


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Weaving the walls

Postby Ashka on December 29th, 2017, 1:41 am


"This is the heddle that's made from a string,
And with it the change of the warp you can bring," Chaya finished. "Happy now, Ash?"

"Better," Ashka allowed. "Better. Now see how neat a piece you can weave. Keep the edges straight and the weave even. No holes, no bunching of threads, no loose spots. This isn't for speed or length, it's for quality. You understand?"

Chaya nodded eagerly, and gathered everything up. Her grin split her face as she dived into the work, and Ashka found herself grinning back. She fought down the urge to race anyway, to hurry the weaving so that she could be sure of winning. But what she at least needed from this was a good piece, not a quick one, and she schooled herself to a steadier pace. Shuttle and easing the edge into place. Shed change and beat into place. One, after the other, after the other. Steady hands, steady pace, smooth cloth.

She had to pause for a moment, unhook the backstrap, and wind up another section of completed cloth. That took her far enough along the warp that once she had the backstrap in place once more, she had to take another moment to gently slide the heddles along the warp thread, closer to the back, to make room to work in. That took longer than she wanted or liked, but it gave her the chance to look across and see how Chaya was doing.

Chaya stuck out her tongue, and forgot to beat the thread in her hurry to get another row done. That left a thinner, looser, patch in the finished cloth, and a chance that it unravel if it was cut there by a tailor. Ashka grinned at her sister, and went back to work, muttering the pattern of work not quite under her breath. Chaya looked down at her loom, saw the loose patch for herself, and made a wordless sound of frustration.

Ashka raised an eyebrow, but kept right on weaving and muttering, so that she didn't get so distracted that she made the same mistake. The cloth was growing under her hands, and she was so close to finishing. It wasn't the only length for the walls, of course, and it would still need to be hung in place, but it was the first big piece she had done here that she would be able to keep rather than sell, and she rather liked that.


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Weaving the walls

Postby Gossamer on January 21st, 2018, 6:02 am



The Fates Have Spoken
Here is your thread grade!


Ashka

Experience: Weaving +5, Planning +1, Childcare +1, Teaching +2

Childcare: How to Motivate Children, Teaching: Teaching Weaving


As always PM me if you have issues.


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