Tangled Skein | Yarn notes

If you recall, about a week ago I was frustrated as a newb guy trying to get into weaving by the lack of comparisons with different yarn lingo and parity with the online sales, which seemed to throw much of the jargon out the door.

Here’s a tidbit of info I found in case others stumble onto this page looking for similar information (wool and cotton and synthetics may all be slightly different). I don’t know how accurate this is and I can’t recall where I jotted it down from:

  • 8/2 yarn is roughly the same as #0 lace yarn
  • 5/2 yarn is roughly the same a #1 sock or fingering yarn
  • 3/2 yarn is roughly the same as #3 DK yarn
  • “Worsted” weight is roughly #4 yarn [personal discovery, store visit]

I had purchased some 8/4 yarn based on a website recommendation for newbies using 8-dent heddles but, when it arrived, it is a pretty damn small diameter. I’ll use it, but not until I get a 12.5- or 15-dent heddle (thinking of getting 2, 12.5-dent heddles for my first set after I find my mojo so I can weave some finer fabrics).

So, for a newbie like myself (and working on the 7.5- or 8-dent single heddle), getting #3 or #4 yarn from the big-box stores is all someone needed to say. For some reason no-one says it. “Worsted” and “DK” are what is referenced, which I found very few stores online using either in their yarn description, e.g., JoAnn uses “medium” and eschews most number systems completely, or some would be listed as DK (or worsted), but not all in the same “weight” group for other vendors. Only weaving stores used the X/Y system, but no one told me, for example, that 3/2 would probably be a good starter yarn for my first loom.

I also discovered that the whole “must use weaving yarn for your warp” was more than slightly anal retentive. Almost all the earthy folk say that as long as it doesn’t bust easily, any thread will do because there is far less tension on the warp on a rigid heddle loom than on bigger looms.

And I did consider I was maybe being dense, but I saw others on FB groups asking similar questions.

So, here you go, a total amateur who has yet to even try weaving anything, trying to decipher things so you don’t have to. I apologize for any misinformation above and I will correct it (if I remember to) as I continue to learn. Any errors are completely unintentional.


©2021 Michael Raven

he promises me
grievous bodily harm --
that bare-chested 
slab of meat with
more hair on body
than on head
weary, arms sagging
 i tell him
okay -- be done with it
so i can go back to
the business of a
dreamless sleep

the flies/

©2021 Michael Raven

so many years of
wasted time
it was me it was me
it was always me
trying to please
left desiccated
desert dry
friable clay
etched by the winds
acid fallen rain
my words, black flies
obscuring dark skies
for the door knock
thresholded on
the other side of

Tangled Skein | And so it begins…

I’d about given up hope of the loom arriving today when I saw the FedEx tracking had not updated since this morning and the location of the loom was “on van for delivery” since 2am, local. Usually, I get some kind of estimate as to the delivery time part-way through the day and none had been forthcoming. Then, the dreaded “Delivery date: Pending”.

For the record, FedEx used to be a pretty reliable delivery service in our area but, lately, the estimated delivery dates have been woefully off by one or more days in the past few years and the “Pending” note at the end of the day usually means, in the best case, “whoops, delivery tomorrow” and every once in a while, “Dammit, we lost track of your package”.

So, hangdog, I decided to see how many days needed to elapse before the seller would fix a missed delivery.

And the truck drove up.

I was joyous again! At least until I picked up the package and heard a major shifting sound, which never sounds good. I almost cried when I opened the box (melodramatic much, Michael?) and saw:

“warped” end

Interesting enough, absolutely nothing appeared damaged when I opened the box. I was sure I was going to find kindling rather than a loom. Instead, all of the parts seemed in awesome condition:

inside the crumpled box

Aside from a bit of cardboard that had been thrown from its place to protect a metal pin sticking out of one of the side panels, everything was in place and passed muster — I’ll mention, however, that the wood they used, New Zealand Silver Beech hardwood is fricking hard. I was glad for the predrilled pilot holes, as this stuff would have SUCKED to work with otherwise and I’m pretty certain you wouldn’t forget a good rap on the head if one was applied there. And yet, it’s pretty light (I’m used to hardwood being closer to oak, which weighs a ton in comparison).

Here are wood parts supplied:

from L to R: two shuttles, two warping sticks, cardboard warp spacers, right loom side, reed support blocks, warping post and block, left loom side, back rail, front rail, reed, two rollers

It also came with some hardware, plastic cogs and pawls, table clamps, a plastic threading hook (boo!) and some literature:

clockwise from “north”: first project (scarf) and manual, sandpaper for those rough spots, an Ashford catalog, Ashford-publication The Wheel, assembly instructions.

The assembly went pretty well, and would have gone more efficiently if I had actually read the instructions which (for once) were written in competent English and addressed several of the pitfalls I actually created for myself. I learned quite quickly that I could trust these instructions instead of basically ignoring them and looking at the pretty pictures to guess how to assemble the thing. So, anyone reading this — you can actually understand the assembly instructions from Ashford and they have helpful hints on how to put it all together.

Needless to say, I won’t be warping anything tonight. I turn back into a pumpkin in less than half an hour and I already lost a glass slipper.

Quick details and then I’m off to fight dragons in my dreams: this is a Ashford 24″ Rigid Heddle Loom that comes with a 7.5-dent heddle and (with additional purchase of about $12 US) direct warping on the underside.

G’night and let the adventuring begin.

baba yaga/

©2021 Michael Raven

shambling through
knit one pearl two
under the hill
laying aslumber
tangled hair, dirty feet
dirty hands, tangled 'neath
she takes in her children
with a loving black stare
rocking rocking
the night away


And like that, it seems like the portable time sink has latched onto me and I feel like — for all the work I’m doing — that I’m not getting much accomplished at all.

Yesterday was one of those kinds of days and today feels similar. Yesterday, I went to the craft store early to beat the crowds on a Sunday, finally found the yarn I was looking for, but then opted for my other choice because the black was blacker, though the teal was tealer. Mixed and matched brands, which is okay. But, as I was debating this, I found an absolutely stunning tan color made of wool (instead of the 100% cotton I was planning on). So… I had to… had too… buy it as well.

And now… I think I might have to warp it and weft with my black. Or by itself. The color online is a bit off, so I can see why it might not appeal to anyone, but in-person, it looks homey (and feels it, too).

That was the last moment I felt relaxed.

I bought this in anticipation of the loom arriving yesterday, which turned out to be a shit-estimate by FedEx and it is now “on the truck for delivery by the end of the today” and has been since 2am this morning, but the truck is not out for delivery when I checked tracking. Anyway, it was a respite — as now I’ve had more time to agonize over which to do (black and teal, black and brown, brown only, grey and brown).

My daughters seem a bit baffled by dad’s excitement. Ooookkaaaaaaayyyy is the look they give me as they back away slowly.

Then, as I was doing a shit-tonne of work to prep the house and yard for my daughter’s birthday part next weekend, my mother decides she needs to “quickly drop something off”. Two hours later, I am regretting the decision, as nothing got accomplished aside from adding to my sunburn (outdoors though vaccinated) and I’m frustrated because my father expects me to adjust to his lingo when I ask about slipping in a cabinet in the place where I don’t think I will replace the dishwasher that went tits up. It was a simple question: How would I handle a prefab cabinet that matches the width, but is a 1/2″ short on the height; would I somehow shim it to make it work? No, we had to debate everything but the question at hand, even the color choice (“Good luck with matching that color.” [translation: It’s not gonna happen]). Sometimes I wonder why I ask questions about DYI work when he seems determined to be on everyone’s side but mine. Actually, in typing that, I realize that’s one of my persistent problems with my father — he’s less interested in helping me be successful than he is interested in being right. Doesn’t matter if it is science, or sliding in a makeshift solution to an empty cabinet space — he’s the smartest guy he knows and everyone else is an idiot.

Time to switch gears before I get angry about this epiphany.

To add to the busy-factor, I had a work project that I was given a week to get to review stage (normally a 40+ hours project) in addition to my normal work, but had been told I had ten days when I accepted the challenge. Apparently those ten days included the preceding weekend and the Monday before the hot potato landed in my lap and was calendar days instead of working days. I found this out this morning and tomorrow is the “due” day. Luckily, I had it mostly done, but I had been pacing myself, expecting the end of this week and not the beginning of this week. All morning, frantically tweaking the 70-page technical document (with regulatory review) and correcting references, and getting information from the client’s partner to include. That was on top of filling in my time card and some personal drama at home.

And then there’s this “kid” (20-something, I think) of an old classmate who wants to buy a high-end graphics card off me because they are impossible to find with all the bitminers out there. I could probably have sold it to him for twice what I am asking, but I don’t want him to feel ripped-off when he finds out that 3-4 generations ago, it will only be slightly better than a PS5. Amazon has used ones selling for $450-600, and I am selling it for $150. I’m a pushover. But he’s maddeningly inconsistent with his communication skills. Of course, he wants it today and, of course, the best time is while I am cooking the dinner for the family.

When, really… All I want to do is start playing with my new toy that has yet to arrive.

Or sleep. Sleep would be nice.


©2021 Michael Raven

with a devil inside
she lashes out
shrieking and
turning insides
to water

I found myself with nothing compelling to do last night and decided to watch Titans on HBO, the “dark take on Teen Titans”. I generally dislike super hero genre media, especially those films and shows from DC, but part of me has always kind of liked the idea of Teen Titans, or at least their characters (especially, for personality more than any other reason, Raven). If you haven’t watched it yet and are considering watching Titans, it is a lot grittier than I had expected, even given the description. The above was inspired by one of the scenes.