Friday, August 29, 2008

Barcode Waffle Weave Off The Loom

By Leigh

My waffle weave fabric is finally off the loom, washed, dried, and ready to be cut and sewn into towels.

Leigh's barcode WW fabric off the loom.
I used 10/2 unmercerized cotton, sett is 30 epi. That weaves up into a nice thirsty feeling fabric. You may recall that this is for a towel exchange withing the Western North Carolina Fiber/Handweavers Guild. You may also recall that I got the stripe pattern .....

Leigh's interpretation of the barcode below.
Barcode for the Western NC Fibers/Handweavers Guild
.... from a barcode of the Guild's initials. I think it translated quite well.

The finished towel size for the exchange is to be 18 by 24 inches. I figured the width in the loom based on my sample, which had a draw-in and shrinkage of about 30%. After weaving a bit on the towels, I recalculated, and was worried that the finished fabric would be too narrow. That's when I came up with a way to widen the warp on the loom (that post here.) OK. That slowed me down a bit until the added warp sticks were firmly wound onto the cloth beam.

Ironically, the wet finished cloth now off the loom measures 19 inches in width. The original 10 inches that I wove on this warp (the one I thought would be too narrow), is 18 inches! So I had it right the first time.

So. I'm just going to chalk this one up to "lessons learned." :)

Related Posts:
Waffle Weave
Light Bulb Moments with Waffle Weave
Barcode Waffle Weave Update
List of all my Waffle Weave posts

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Cotton Spinning Update

By Leigh

This is how I kept my hands busy while watching the Olympics -

Cotton lint red #1
Cotton lint red #2
Cotton lint orange #1
Cotton lint orange #2
Cotton lint yellow
Spinning cotton lint . These are from my experiments for the Online Guild's recent "Dyeing Vegetable Fibers Challenge" last June.

I'm spinning the approximately 100 gram amounts long draw. So far I've completed two reds and one orange. I'm ready to ply the second orange and then start on the yellow. That leaves me several greens, blues, and purples left to go. Progress is slow and won't be very steady, but I'm enjoying it just the same.

Related Posts:
Summary of Procion MX Dye Experiments
Spinning Cotton Lint
More On Spinning Cotton

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Update on Stolen Content (& a little more info)

By Leigh

Yesterday I checked on the status of my stolen blog posts. This is what I saw:

What a relief. Since mailing a formal complaint to the site host, I have been checking the site every day.

Prior to filing that complaint, I had contacted the site's owner. Even though they never replied, after several days I found that "View text" links had been added at the bottom of all the stolen posts:

A sneaky way to link back to the original author.What this did, was to link back to my original post, though you wouldn't know that from the name of the link. The "Add Favorite" linked back to the offender's home page, while "Close" did nothing.

This type of link back is a popular scraping technique, in hopes that the author of the original content will think, "Oh well. At least they linked back to me. Maybe I'll get some traffic out of it." However, it doesn't give proper credit in regards to authorship. Sometimes they will use the author's name as the link back. Whether or not this is acceptable is up to the original author.

If you own the content you have the right to choose if and how it is used. Creative Commons has several licensing options, whereby you can choose how you want to allow your work to be shared. I've looked these over, but still, I would like to be asked first, especially considering I don't know where my content might end up. For example, I don't want my posts or photos being used on a site which sells viagra or promotes adult only content. Actually, my preference is that they just say that the content exists and give a link to it.

Even though the site which used my posts has been suspended, I was advised by the host that
If a Counter DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) is submitted, the site will be reactivated & it will be up to the two parties to figure this out.
In other words, if the thief can provide "documentation" that the content was originally theirs, then I have to find another course of action.

When I first discovered the splog, I spent a lot of time tracking down and contacting some of the others whose content had been stolen. Some of these were interested in doing something about it, others didn't care. I figured that if several people complained rather than just me, we could permanently shut down the site. Hopefully that is the case.

However, because a thief can file a counter-DMCA, I'm not sure that copyright notices are enough. After all, blog post dates can be changed or the stolen content can be edited. That's why I finally decided to register with MyFreeCopyright. This free online service offers 3rd party proof that you hold the original copyright to your online work.

I registered my blog via my blog's site feed url. With each new post I publish, I am emailed dated documentation verifying my ownership of the material including publishing date, title, description, and a digital fingerprint which I can present as proof that I am indeed the original author. MyFreeCopyright keeps this information along with a copy of the original, so that I have 3rd party copyright proof. Hopefully I will never need to use it.

So that's what happened. In some ways I hate the bother of having to add copyright precautions to my blog, but on the other hand, I'm not willing to make crime easy for someone else.

Now, I don't know about you, but I'm ready to get back to fiber and textile content! I've still got waffle weave on the loom, and I'm still spinning that cotton lint. More updates on those soon.

Posted 23 Aug 2008 at

Related Post:
Stolen Content
A Note About Watermarks

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Barcode Waffle Weave Update

By Leigh

Let's see. In the last episode of my waffle weave adventure (before my little detour after finding some of my blog posts stolen), I had figured out a way to both correct my waffle weave threading as well as widen it. The warp I added for width has been pretty successful, though not without some problems.

What I have had trouble with has been a curving fell. "Fell", for you non-weavers, is the leading edge of the cloth on the loom; the line of fabric made by the last weft thread. It needs to be perfectly straight, or the weft won't beat in properly. Sometimes it curves upward at the selvedges, so that your weaving looks like it's smiling at you. This is the case if the warp at the edges is too loose, or if the weft is pulled too hard through the shed so as to cause unnecessary draw-in.

Initially, I assumed it had to do with the amount of water in my milk jug weights. However, even after adjusting the amount of water and taking care with the weft didn't completely correct this problem.

In analyzing the problem, I realized that the sticks I added to tie the extra warp to (photo here), are not supported by the front apron strings. I suspect that that may be the problem, because those sticks still flex somewhat under the weight of the warp tension.

My solution was to add a second set of sticks in the tabby sheds......

Sticks added to help correct my fell problem.
Close-up of problem & solutionHere's a close-up, in which you can really see the problem with the fell. See the upward curve of the bottom cloth? As a beginning weaver I had this problem a lot. Oftentimes it was simply uneven tension in the warp, especially if I didn't wind it under an even tension for its entire length.

The other problem I've had to learn to correct is excessive draw-in. This appears to be related to either the shuttle itself or how I throw it. For finer warp threads like the 10/2 I'm using, I use boat shuttles. My favorite (because it holds the most yarn) is my 13.5 inch Gilmore shuttle. It holds six inch bobbins, which are almost too snug a fit in the shuttle, though they still rotate freely. With all my boat shuttles, I find that I must take care with the amount of weft pulled from the bobbin before I throw the shuttle. If enough isn't pulled out, there is a tendency for the selvedges to pull in too much.

All this means that I need to pay attention to what I'm doing, which is probably a good thing anyway. However, even taking care to correct these two things, I was still having the problem. So far, my added sticks seem to be working, and I don't have anymore curves to deal with. Hopefully that will remain to be the case! I'll let you know how well it actually works.

Related Posts:
Waffle Weave
Light Bulb Moments with Waffle Weave
Barcode Waffle Weave Off the Loom
List of all my Waffle Weave posts

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Stolen Content

By Leigh

This post has absolutely nothing to do with weaving, spinning, dyeing, or knitting. But it is the reason why I haven't gotten much accomplished in the past several days.

The other day I checked my free StatCounter account, and was browsing visitor paths. This is often interesting as well as useful information. Imagine my surprise when I clicked on one referring link, only to see this (click on the picture for a closer look) -

Yup. It's my entire Computer Hex Code Dyeing 2: Wrestling With Recipes on another website, stolen along with about 4 or 5 other of my posts.

I took a look around this site, and quickly figured out that almost all of its content was stolen from other blogs. In other words it is a "splog" (spam blog). A number of the stolen posts showed copyright information and symbols, but this were stolen along with the text and content.

The question is, what to do? Evidently this is a fast growing problem, much to the frustration of folks like us, who respect one another's intellectual property and just want to have ours respected in return. Is it possible to try and fight back? Well, here's what I've been doing about it:

First I did a whois search at Network Solutions, to try to find someone to complain to....

This gave me the administrative and technical contact whom I emailed, asking them to remove my content. I received no response and neither was my content removed.

My next step was to contact the blog host to report the theft. Toward the bottom of the whois information is an IP address link -

From there, I found this -
This tells me who is hosting the offending website, and how to contact them with abuse problems. After emailing their abuse department, I received a quick response with instructions of what to document and where to send it. By law, they will have to remove it, unless the offender offers a counter claim. Then it's left up to the two parties to duke it out.

In the meantime, I have discovered Who Is Hosting This? You can type any URL into the search box and are immediately taken to that website's host. If the offender doesn't remove the stolen content upon your request, the host is the next one to contact.

Another possibility is to contact Google's AdSense, if that's what the splog was set up to take advantage of. Complete instructions of how to do that can be found at What to do if you're getting as sick as I am of having your blog copied by Ian in Hamburg.

In researching all this, I learned quite a bit. Some folks honestly don't understand about copyright. Others, like sploggers, do it intentionally, without regard to copyright. Sploggers often use hacking tools such as 1-More Scanner or Site Import for Dreamweaver, which find and copy content from all over the Internet. It appears that in my case, the scraping (content stealing) software searched the internet for text with certain keywords. The keyword in my posts was "recipe" (as in dye recipes), which is the category the filed my posts were under on that website.

The only reason I found out about it, is because someone clicked on one of the links in that post which brought them back to me. I have been purposely doing this with every post I publish, and for that very reason. Thieves and their hacking software usually just copy and paste, which leaves links intact (though I have learned that some hacking software can ignore the links).

While links back to yourself might alert a reader that the content has been stolen, they don't necessarily let you know about it. Another helpful online tool is Copyscape, which searches for duplicate pages on the Internet. They allow a couple of free searches a day, or unlimited searches with a subscription.

What else am I doing? Since most theft takes place from feed readers, there are two options.
  1. Change the settings so that only a summary of the post is seen in the reader. This may be a minor nuisance for folks who like to read entire posts in their reader of choice, but it allows only the first paragraph or so of a post to be scarped. For Blogger, click on "Settings" then "Site Feed." Look for "Allow Blog Feeds" and choose "short". Then save settings.
  2. Leave the blog feed setting to "full" but put a copyright notice in the post feed footer at the bottom of the site feed settings page. This notice will show up at the end of each post in the feed reader, which means it will be scraped too.
For the moment, I've chosen to do #2, being sure to include my blog url, (in addition to my blog name, Leigh's Fiber Journal) in the feed footer. This is in case the scraper copies the text without their links.

You also probably noticed that I added "By Leigh" at the top of the post, and a posted date and "by" at the bottom. Both link back to my blog.

While there is no way to stop content theft, we can all take measures to protect our digital property. Here are some articles that have been helpful to me, so I'm passing them on to you:

5 Content Theft Myths & Why They Are False
by Jonathan Bailey
The 6 Steps to Stop Content Theft by Jonathan Bailey
Fighting Scrapers With Your Left Jab by Darren Rowse
People Stealing My Content - Blah Blah Blah by TheLostGirl
How to deter thieves from stealing your images and server bandwidth by David Airey

If you do find that some of your content has been stolen:
What Do You Do When Someone Steals Your Content by Lorelle

Since most scraping takes place pretty quickly (sometimes almost instantaneously) after publication, adding all this to back posts may or may not help. I'm still trying to decide whether or not to add a copyright or watermark to all my photos. More bother.

Anyway, that's my tale of woe. I hope all of this will be useful to you!

Posted 17 Aug 2008 by

Related Posts:
Update on Stolen Content (& a little more info)
A Note About Watermarks

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Light Bulb Moments with Waffle Weave

By Leigh

OK. So the waffle weave sampler turned out pretty well except for the bleeding red yarn. With the information it gave me, I pressed on to the barcode inspired dishtowels with confidence.

Waffle weave selvedge oops.However, after several inches of weaving, I was puzzled when my selvedges looked like the photo on the left. Even though I am using a floating selvedge warp thread, I was having a problem catching the outermost warp thread (which is not the floating warp). What was the problem? This hadn't happened on my sampler.

I rechecked my threading, but everything was fine there. No mistakes in the point twill threading. I decided to take another look at waffle weave in Mary Black's Key to Weaving. It didn't take long to diagnose my problem.

Yes, I had threaded in a point twill, but I had started at the center of my loom and threaded going outward. Due to the number of ends I had, my threading ended on shaft four, like this.....

The other selvedge was the same way, so that the threading started and ended on shaft four.

What it's supposed to look like is this ......

Threading is supposed to start and end on shaft one. It would seem inconsequential, but because of waffle weave's tie-up and treadling, it's not!

That was light bulb moment number one. Light bulb moment number two came while trying to decide how to correct the threading. I didn't know if it would be better to add or subtract some warp to have it start on the first shaft. To decide, I decided to recheck my project width math.

From sampling, I had learned to expect about a 30% loss in width after washing and drying. To determine the width of my warp, I had taken my project width (18 inches) and added 30%. From that calculation I measured 702 warp ends, which measured 23.5 inches in the reed.

This time, I subtracted 30% from the width in the reed (23.5), and was surprised when the result wasn't 18 inches, but about 16.5. Well, duh. 30% of 18 is not the same as 30% of 23.5. 30% of 18 is about 5.4, while 30% of 23.5 is 7. Light bulb moment number two was in realizing that how I calculated draw-in and shrinkage made a big difference in the final width of my project.

My challenge then, was to add enough extra warp for my finished project to be 18 inches, while starting and ending the threading on shaft number one.

There may have been an easier way to do this, but here's what I came up with:

What I did was to use Peggy Osterkamp's 2-Stick Header, and tie my additional warp on to it. You can either click on the above photo to enlarge it a little, or there's a close-up below.

I weighted the two bouts of warp in the back with half gallon milk jugs filled with water. I was able to experiment with the amount of water in each jug until I got a straight, even fell.

This does widen the borders quite a bit, but who in the world (besides my readers :) is gonna know that I didn't plan it this way in the first place.

Next time I would use a stouter stick to tie the warp onto, although hopefully there won't be a next time. And perhaps someone has a better idea? Two enlightening flashes of understanding are enough for me in one day. I'm rather worn out from it all.

Related Posts:
Waffle Weave
Barcode Waffle Weave Update
Barcode Waffle Weave Off the Loom
List of all my Waffle Weave Posts

Monday, August 11, 2008

2nd Hex Code Dyeing Experiment

I started these experiments with a theory, that I could use computer hexidecimal codes as a basis for a dye recipe. My first experiment led me on quite an unexpected journey (that series of posts starts here). After some trial and error, I got close enough results to want to try a second experiment.

The second color I chose, was also from my original Cedar Waxwing photo palette ....

Click on image to enlarge. ... gold. The hex code for this color is #EE9628. From the online Color Converter, I learned that the CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, key black) breakdown for this code is:

magenta - 0.37
yellow - 0.83
black - 0.07

I learned a lot from the first experiment, but even so, I decided to follow the same procedure, to see if there is a pattern to the results.

I based my dye recipe on totaling the above and calculating the relative percentages from that total.

0.37 + 0.83 + 0.07 = 1.27
o.37 is 29% of 1.27
0.83 is 65% of 1.27
0.07 is 6% of 1.27

These percentages gave me the starting point for my recipe, substituting fuchsia for magenta, and turquoise for cyan.

From the first experiment I had learned that fuchsia is very strong in it's dyeing power compared to the other colors. I found that to get the yarn color to match the computer color, I had to adjust the percentage of fuchsia (see this post for details on that). Since I wasn't ready to draw a conclusive ratio based on that one experiment, I started with this second recipe "as is," and adjusted the fuchsia for subsequent samples.

I used those percentages to calculate milliliter measurements of individual dye stocks, based on the weight of the yarn I was dyeing for my samples.

The top sample used the percentages as is. In the next sample, I cut the amount of fuchsia by one half, in the bottom sample, by one quarter. Although the last sample is closest to the target color on the left, in actuality, I think it could use just a touch more fuchsia, perhaps up the percentage to 10%(?)

My conclusions? Well, based on only two experiments (which is not a very scientific statistic), I think that hex codes can be used as a basis for developing recipes, though not as recipes. The first step is to adjust any magenta (fuchsia) in the recipe, and that a decrease to 25% of the percentage in the computer hex code is a good starting point for approximate results. There may be other factors involved, but I would need to experiment more to determine that.

I'm not sure yet if I'm going to try any further adjustments on this particular color, or if I'm going to move on to another experiment. Summer seems a good time to dye, and since I have quite a bit of it left, I plan to make good use of it.

Related Posts:
Dye Recipes From Computer Color Codes: A Theory
1st Computer Hex Code Dyeing Experiments, series starts here

©  August 11, 2008 by  Leigh 

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Working With the Barcodes

By Leigh

In the comments to my Stripes! post, several of you asked about how I used the barcode to calculate the stripes for my warp. It's possible to just visually guesstimate the relative width of the stripes, but for those of you who, like me, want to be a bit more accurate, I'll show you how I did it.

The easiest way is to apply a grid to the barcode. I did this by opening the barcode image in my photo editor (GIMP), and adding a grid (View > Show Grid). I had to try several different grid sizes to get the bars to fit.

Any grid can give you an approximate idea of the relative width of the stripes, even if they don't fit the grid exactly. To get an accurate measurement, I found that the best grid size was one pixel.

This meant that I had to zoom the image 800% to see the grid. As you can see however, that's a lot of pixels to count! Being the lazy/impatient sort, I decided to try resizing the image. In the photo above, the narrowest stripe is three grid units wide. To simplify counting, I resized the entire image to about 1/3 the original size.


My narrowest stripes were now one grid unit wide, and the widest were six. Much easier to count. I ran the barcode off on my printer, and wrote the down the number of units on the printout as I counted them.

The next step was deciding how many warp ends to make each unit. To get the required 18 inch width for the towel, I needed 702 ends for waffle weave in 10/2 cotton, sett at 30 epi. I had a total of 112 units in the barcode, not counting borders. By dividing 702 by 112, I discovered that I could make each unit six warp ends wide and have some leftover for borders. That means that my narrowest stripes are six ends, and the widest stripes are 24 ends.

In reality, as I've written this out, I have realized that I made some mistakes when I counted the units. But! When visually comparing my warp to the barcode, no one will know. Which goes back to visually guesstimating, which would work well too. After all, if we don't point out our errors, very few folks will see them on their own.

Obviously this would be a whole lot easier for knitted stripes. For weaving it just took a little more counting and calculating.

Does this make sense? If you have any more questions, just let me know. And let me know when you post photos of your barcode projects!

Related Post:

Monday, August 04, 2008


By Leigh

As textile artists, we simply cannot get away from stripes. But who would want to? Stripes are fun! And designing stripes is even funner! (Sorry! I don't do "corny" very well ;)

I'm sure most of you are familiar with The Random Stripe Generator. And of course, Fibonacci sequences for creating stripe patterns. Another idea came from my friend Ruth, whom I met through the Blue Ridge Spinners. Ruth sometimes uses barcodes for stripe patterns. She's used barcodes right off of products, such as peanut butter and jelly, but I thought perhaps I could find an online barcode generator and create my own barcodes.

I tried several and liked this one the best -

Free Barcoding Generator by Barcoding Incorporated.

To test it out, I typed in "Catzee" and got this -

Catzee's very own barcode.So, if I used that for the stripe pattern with her tortoiseshell coloring .....

However, she's not for sale.I could create a Catzee sweater, or blanket, or vest, or anything striped.

When I signed up for my area guild's towel exchange, I decided on both waffle weave and stripes. For my stripes, I wanted to try this barcode idea.

My first idea was, that since the exchange was going to be in November, to go with a holiday theme. So I got the barcode for "Merry Christmas."

A Merry Christmas barcode.I was concerned that the code was a little too long, so I used a section of it with my waffle weave sampler ...

Waffle weave sampler in Christmas colors.The red and green are the stripes in the barcode. However, after washing and measuring, the stripe pattern did prove to be too long for the width towels I need to weave.

After a bit of experimenting, I was able to use my guild's initials for the stripe pattern .....

Barcode for the Western NC Fibers/Handweavers GuildI've been able to work this out to the required width (after shrinkage!).

The warp for the barcode striped towels.I'm using 10/2s cotton, alternating blue and green for the stripes, with unbleached natural. So far the warp is wound on to the back beam and is ready for heddle threading. I plan to get started on that tomorrow.

Posted 4 Aug 2008 at

Related Posts:
Working With The Barcodes - how to calculate the stripes
My Fascination With Fibonacci

Friday, August 01, 2008

Book Review - Creating Color: A Dyer's Handbook

If you've been reading the comments to my recent series of dyeing posts, then you've seen this book recommended by several people. If you have the book, then you know why. If you don't have it, but are at all interested in Procion MX dyes, then this book is a "must have!"

Creating Color: A Dyer's Handbook by Judy Anne Walters, deals exclusively with Procion MX dyes. Walters herself is a quilter who dyes her own fabrics. She has written a well organized book, loaded with useful instructions, charts, and projects.

Her "Introduction: Where to Begin" (Chapter 1) and "Quickstart" (Chapter 2) help a new dyer get up and running. In subsequent chapters, she goes on to explain exactly what Procion MX fiber-reactive dyes are, safety procedures, how to set up a dyeing area, equipment, ingredients, characteristics of the individual dyes, step by step "how to," and troubleshooting. She also explains her basic concentrate system, record keeping, basic color theory, and color mixing.

Other chapters include frequently asked questions, washing machine dyeing, abbreviations and equivalencies, suppliers, bibliography, and glossary.

The charts are fantastic. There are a couple for dyebath ingredients, a sample recipe card, a dye weight chart, a dye class chart, and washing machine dyeing chart. The color comparison chart, lists the various names and codes for individual colors as used by several dye companies. I found this was helpful when looking for sepcific MX codes at ProChem (which doesn't use the MX code numbers).

The Dye Class Charts are what prompted me to buy the book in the first place. There are six classes of dyes, based upon the relative density of the dye powder for various colors. Class I is the densest, with 18 grams of dye powder averaging an equivalent of four teaspoons. Class VI is the least dense, so that it takes an average of nine teaspoons to weigh 18 grams of dye powder.

Put another way, it takes one teaspoon of a Class I dye to create a deep hue value on one yard of fabric. With a Class VI dye, it would take 2 and 1/4 teaspoons to produce the same hue value on the same amount of fabric.

This explains why my first samples were purple instead of blue. The fuchsia is much denser, and therefore more potent than the turquoise.

The book also contains 20 projects, especially color wheel and color gradation projects. I understand that Judy Walter does workshops too, and I would jump at an opportunity to take one.

All in all, this is a really useful book. I like the way it is laid out. I like the charts and tables; everything is easy to find. A real boon to Procion MX dyers.