Friday, July 18, 2014

8 Shaft Advancing Networked Twill Scarf

This was such a great silk scarf to weave!  I used some of my own hand spun silk that I dyed medium blue with purple and red patches. 
The silk is about the same thickness as 2/6 cotton, so the sett was 20 epi; so needless to say with a sett like that it wove up very quickly.
As usual for me, I had to try several wefts before I was sure that navy 2/8 tencel was the right one.  This makes the scarf essentially warp faced, but with hand painted silk, that’s a good thing.  I just noticed that my shoe in the picture matches the warp!
The pattern is on that I’ve woven before and loved….8 shaft 10 treadle, advancing networked twill.   This pattern is treadled very similarly to summer and winter or overshot because you treadle a tabby pick between each of the pattern picks.  This gives the fabric really lovely structure.
This is ‘freeform weaving’ in that as long as you make sure to put in the tabby and to run the sequences in order ~ advancing or declining~ you can treadle it however you like.  I love to have the ability to make each scarf completely unique.  I have enough shafts that I could turn the draft to make treadling easier, but then I wouldn't have the ability to free weave as easily ~ a conundrum to say the least.
My Tour de France socks are progressing nicely and I will probably finish them tonight on Stage 13….the first thing in my Christmas Present stash!
I bought a 100 gram skein of sock yarn and split it into 2x50 gram balls and before I started to knit I lined up the sequence so my socks would match. I'm trying something new for me ~ I knit the instep of the socks in ribbing to help keep them in place and not bunch up in's hoping it works!

Just a pretty garden shot to finish up ~ this is Masterwort (Astrantia major ), don't you love the little native bee!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Cream Wedding Shawls

So that New Year’s Resolution to do micro blogging hasn’t really worked out for me! But here’s a post . . .

I put on a warp for two white shawls in 2/20 natural creamy Tencel/Cotton blend (50/50) and rayon knop.  The warp is really fine and delicate, although I had to use a large dent reed because the knops are too large to fit in a smaller reed.
I am using the same 2/20 Tencel/Cotton as the weft.  The pattern is a modified basket weave that weaves up beautifully!  For the second shawl I was going to use another weft, a silk bamboo, but it didn’t look any different from the Tencel/Cotton and it would have made the price go up. 
I love how the little knops pop up giving the shawl a lovely texture.
The fabric was drawing in a little so I used a simple homemade temple to help.  The temple is made from a film canister with pennies inside to weight it down and a long piece of cord and a paperclip.  The paperclip hooks into the web and the weight of the canister gently holds the web open; you need one for each side.  Just like a regular temple you move it every inch that you weave.  It works really well for delicate webs and is really easy to use.
I had pulled the warp with two threads missing so I had to add them in later and to keep the two threads separate hanging from the back of the loom.  I used a piece of cardboard with two holes cut into it and a slit to the edge and added the threads.  I worked really well to keep to fine threads separate.
A pretty garden shot to end the post – can’t be bad!
Oh before I forget here are Mom's Tour de France socks!  She works on them in the evening as we watch the Boys in Spandex ride.  These are up to Stage 4...

Friday, July 4, 2014

10 Shaft Undulating Twill in Silk

I’m working steadily through the silk warps that I painted last summer!  Such a fun afternoon!
This warp was dyed with ProcionMX in gold and yellow and although it the colours looked really different when it was painted, they mellowed out quite a bit after washing so now it is a bit more subtle.
I chose to embrace the sunshiny yellow colour and I gravitated toward orange for the weft ~ I know, it’s a bold move, but someone’s gotta make it!
The pattern I’m weaving is 10 shaft undulating twill.  I modified the pattern by making the threading really weird so that I could weave it with a straight 1-10 treadling.  That is such a bonus because you really can’t get lost in the pattern.
The scarf wove up in no time, but once it was off the loom I could see some real texture forming.
I even got the fringe twisted in record time!  I decided the twist 3 bouts of ends together for a cord fringe. (I can really recommend these books to any foodies out there!)
The scarf has two distinct sides; this is the hand painted silk warp dominant side.
And this is the weft dominant side.
Nothing is prettier than a good close up, right?

Amazing what a good pressing does!  Surprisingly I was looking at a few of the blogs I follow this morning and Cindy at Eweniquely Ewe has woven a very similar scarf this week….great minds think alike… that’s my opinion!
I’ve already got the next silk scarf on the loom….it is handspun silk about 2/6 in grist in dark blue and purple from the same dye day ~ can’t wait to see what it looks like woven!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Clearing the Handspun Decks

Weaving hasn’t been consuming all of my time lately ~ I’ve reconnected with my Lendrum Spinning wheel and I’m truly enjoying it!

Before I could spin the Louet silk that I dyed a few weeks ago, I had to empty up some bobbins that had been languishing for yonks.
I believe that this single on the bobbin is spun from a colourway called Teddy Bear and frankly I can’t remember if Susan gave it to me or if I bought it at a spinning day….either way it was just taking up a bobbin and looking very stripey.Teddybear merino wool is spot dyed brown and pink with cream and a bit of yellow and when I spun it I got a nice long marl moving from cream to brown to pink in every possible permutation.

I didn’t want to lose that beautiful transition and if I plied it with itself I would tone the whole thing down and blah it out I think.
I chose to ply it with this super fine cashmina which is a wool and cashmere blend.
Because the cashmina is very, very fine compared to the handspun merino wool, I got a really great spiral yarn.
I’m really happy with the result!
After freeing up my spinning wheel; I now have all of the silk spun and plied with itself.
The effect is an all over pale pink.
But when you look closely you can see a bit of orange and cream.  I think I’ll use it as weft for a scarf.
After all that spinning I was really stoked about weaving with silk and so a few days ago I warped up this hand painted silk.  The silk was painted with ProcionMX in Old Gold and Yellow so it is very sunshiny and I'm ready to weave!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Tartan Yardage Completed ~ Lynch Tartan

My tartan yardage has been off the loom for awhile now and I just remembered that I haven’t shown you the finished product.
It made a lovely looking log of tartan as I pulled it off the loom.
I ran out of the Ancient Blue wool weft when I was well into the 8 yards; I substituted grey/olive marled wool in the same grist for the weft that I luckily had on hand.  You can definitely see the difference between the two wefts; the true tartan wool is much smoother and has more lustre than the run of the mill wool weft.  However, the grey/olive weft shows the green up much more than the Ancient Blue.  This photo is before washing to full the cloth.

The definition of Ancient colours is that they are distinct from modern colours by being less saturated in tone and lighter in shade.  The term ‘modern’ refers to the aniline dyes introduced around 1860 which produce darker greens and blues and richer reds and yellows.  The term ‘ancient’ should no be confused with the age of the design.

I thought I’d give you some weaving statistics for this yardage.  I sett the warp at 28 ends per inch, 2 per dent in a 14 dent reed.

The On loom Width was 32 inches ~ The On loom length was 8 yards.

The Off loom width was 30 inches for the Lynch Tartan ~ The Off loom lengths was 5 yards 29 inches.

The Off loom width was 30 inches for the Plaid piece ~ The Off loom length was 1 yard 12 inches.
The Loom waste in the warp was 15 inches at the end and 4 inches at the tie on for a total of 19 inches.

I washed the yardage in my front loader machine on a cycle that took 25 minutes.  I want the yardage to be well fulled and this was the least time my machine could do, and frankly I just wasn't prepared to do it by hand.  I used the tiniest amount of organic laundry soap in the wash. Ahhh, I’m wishing for the days when I could open the top of the machine and pull my weaving out when I thought it looked right, sadly those days are long gone and I have to wait for the full cycle!
I folded the yardage a few times so that it fit on the drying rack and put it outside in the shade to dry.

The finished width was 29 inches for the Lynch Tartan ~ The finished length was 5 yards 24 inches long.

The finished width 27-2/4 inches for the Plaid piece ~ The finished length was 1 yard 10 inches long.

The secondary weft caused more shrinkage than the Lochcarron Wool weft; but overall there was very little shrinkage ~ not even 1%!
This is the tartan before it was pressed.
 You can see a huge difference in the fabric after just one pass through the steam press.  This yardage is amazingly supple and light and has a fabulous sheen, really lovely.
My plan for much of this yardage is to frame a piece for each of the members of the family and maybe get a garment for myself.

The Europeans have a phrase for one slow truck trying to pass another slow truck on the highway ~ an elephant race ~ well, this yardage and Ngaires shawls were our elephant race!  Thankfully, both are off the looms and we are ready to weave again!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Dyeing Louet Fibre with Gaywool Dye ~ Part 2

Finally the continuation of Dyeing Louet Silk Top with Gaywool dye story.  I was trying to get enough silk spun for the final photo and the sunny days kept pulling me outside, hence the lengthy delay!
After waiting for 24 hours to allow the dyes to penetrate the silk I unwrapped the plastic wrap to finally get to see the result of my dye sprinkling. I removed it from the plastic wrap and coiled into a bowl for rinsing.
The first rinse had a bit of extra dye, but surprisingly not that much.  Most of the very liberally sprinkled dye has done it’s job and coloured the silk beautifully.
I must admit that I loved the colour of the water as I poured it off!
After I rinsed the silk out completely I laid it on a towel covered drying rack in the shade to dry which took about 6 hours in our marine climate.
I’m really impressed with the colours now that it’s dry enough to spin.
I had planned to have some undyed sections of silk, but I see that I should have opened up the silk roving just a bit more when I was applying the dye.  The dye took beautifully on one side but didn't seep all the way to the center of the roving.
Finally I’m ready to spin, and don't you just love my nifty plastic bag apron?  I find that silk fibres stick to my regular cotton spinning apron so a clear plastic bag does the trick!
I pull off a section of roving about 18 inches long and gently tug the sections between my fingers all along the length. This opens up the fibre enough to make the silk fibres moved easily as I spin.
I’m really pleased with the colours as I’m filling the bobbin ~ a lovely marled pastel pink and coral is what I’m seeing right now, but I’m sure the effect will change when I ply it.  I’m aiming for a 20/2 grist for weaving, so this is quite a fine yarn.

Monday, May 26, 2014

There and Back Again ~ Warping Mill Prototype

When we were in New Zealand in March we stopped in for a studio visit with Diane Dudfield ~ she writes Diane’s Loom Talk blog which is well worth a visit!
This is Diane (on the left) and me, in her amazing studio right on the peninsula in Katikati NZ! We had a great visit with lots of loom talk and show and tell.
Michael spotted Diane’s warping mill tucked in beside her loom and she graciously took the time to set it up for us to see. My husband was in the process of designing a warping mill built for my specific needs and he was able to get a few ideas from watching Diane set up her warping mill.
Diane gave me this great cheese of 110/2 Merino yarn to try and a wonderful copy of her artists statement.  I feel a collapse weave scarf or a woven shibori in my future!
Here is the prototype, which is made in softwood, for the warping mill that Michael is designing for me. It is done and ready for its maiden trial and  I will finally get to try it out as soon as I finish the Lynch Tartan which is keeping me occupied for now!
Michael has made it very lightweight while still maintaining structural integrity and has figured out a way for me to take it apart and fold it flat for storage. He has had his work cut out for him because I’m small and not all that strong, so I needed to be able to lift it onto the dining room table and then take it apart without help.  Once I make a few warps and we knock out all the bugs, Michael will make it in maple hardwood with stainless steel rods and fitting…..gonna be a beauty!
Today I finally ran out of the Ancient Blue yarn that I used to weave the family tartan ~ talk about poor planning on my part!  I had some really lovely steel gray/olive green marl coloured wool of the same grist so I’ll carry on and weave the rest of the warp off using it.  It will no longer be the Lynch family registered tartan, now it is just a humble plaid!