Wednesday, June 7, 2017

What a Mistake ~ Linen Warp

This is a tale of how things can go terribly wrong on the loom.  Frankly, looking back on what I will call the ‘big mistake’, I should have known that I was setting myself up for failure.

It all started with my trying to use up stash....
These are various amounts of 16/1 linen, the colours ranged from bleached white to natural.
My thought was to pull the warp in increments, the first bout would contain all the yarns in the group and would be the centre of the warp.  When one of the yarns was used up, I’d stop that bout and make another bout with the remaining yarns and then split the bout and put 1/2 one each edge.  I did this process until all the yarns were used up ending up with 7 bouts each smaller than the last.  The final edge bout on each side contained the yarn of only one type.
The first heads up that should have given me reason to pause, was that the ball of yarn shown in the photo was full of knots, so I had to toss that one out right off the bat, thus reducing the amount of yarn I had considerably.  The second heads up I should have taken note of was that even though I was separating the yarns as I came to the cross on the warping board to keep them in order to make sure they weren’t twisted over each other. I could see at the cross that the some of the linen was a tad hairier than I expected....but of course I plowed forward.
Pulling the warp on the loom proved to be a lesson in perseverance...every three inches or so I had to stop and use a blunt needle to clear the bridging that was happening between the yarns.  Nope, this didn’t make me stop and this a good idea?
This is just a small sample of the chaff and fluff I was pulling off the warp as it went through the raddle.  By the time I was done I had a good handful of linen fluff.
This is the start of the weaving and you can see a line of fluff across the web where I have unwoven, and this was my eventual downfall.  Each time I had to unpick due to a bridge forming between yarns I got this line of fluff.  On the edges where I was using just one type of yarn, of course it had to be the hairiest and bridgiest yarn of them all.
This is the pattern that I was weaving, a lovely straightforward and dramatic twill with dark green cotton weft.  Alas, it was not to be, because every time I tromped the treadle some thread or another would bridge and stick causing a skip, then when I unpicked I got the line of linen fluff if I was even able to pull the weft out!
After about 20 inches of weaving I surrendered....I cut off the whole nightmare!  Of course this couldn’t be the end of it.  In my fervour to get the darn thing off the loom, I cut right through the texsolv lines on my back beam.  The final blow!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Creamy Shawls in Broken Basket Weave

When Microsoft changed my Windows 7 to Windows 10 some pictures disappeared into a weird folder and I just found them so here is the post to go with the missing photos.  If it seems a little familiar I think that I weave these creamy shawls every year.
The warp is enough for two shawls and it is 2/20 Tencel/Cotton blend in Natural with a white Rayon knop yarn.  This time I had some trouble with the warp even though I followed my own instructions.  The reed that I usually used pulled the knops on the rayon and even frayed the 2/20.
I had to change to a larger reed that would let the knops through.  But that lead to the problem of the 2/20 threads being sleyed three per dent and having reed marks show up on the shawl.  The threads almost look braided together.
The solution was to weave about two inches and then move the threads by hand with a needle into the correct spots.  It was very slow going but I had a time line for this shawl because it was a custom order.
This shawl also had the additional problem of the right hand floating selvedge shredding.  So I had to pin another floating selvedge on but I left the pin head sticking out a little bit and I looped the weft over it twice!  Sometimes it seems that I spend more time unweaving then weaving.
The shawl gets cut off and finished to meet the time line for the custom order.  It is really pretty with the freshwater pearls and seed beads in the fringe.  It was sent to a lady in Australia and she loved it!
For the second shawl I didn’t change the reed, hand manipulating the threads worked and you couldn’t see any reed marks in the finished shawl.  The trick was to not weave too much and run the needle along the thread gently moving it into a more open position, almost like strumming a guitar.
This time I managed to loop the weft around the paper clip temple three times!  More unweaving.
I did make a rather terrible mistake on the second shawl.  I stepped back from the shawl and noticed a weird line going across the second shawl.  The weft thread had gotten thinner at the end of cone but I didn’t notice it until I had woven it into the shawl.  The mistake was that I left that line of thread in; I thought that it would bloom in the water and you wouldn’t notice it.
Well it didn’t wash out and it was noticeable in the finished shawl.  I should have pulled it out but I didn’t so I had to figure out a way to fix it.  First the shawl had to sit in the cupboard for a couple of months.  But then inspiration struck.
Mum came up with the idea of doing an embroidery stitch on the shawl.  The stitch is called Scroll Stitch and it looks like little knots going across the shawl.  The thread used is a fine cotton and silver thread that adds a little extra shine to the shawl.
The finished design was four lines of silver stitching that are four different lengths.  The back of the Scroll Stitch is a plain vertical stitch but it does add sparkle.
The shawl is quite pretty and the Scroll Stitch is very subtle when the shawl is being worn.  For Sale.
Final Garden Shot are large purple Alliums - they are a new addition to the front garden and they make quite a statement!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Clasped Weft with 8 Shaft Undulating Twill

This is another post of a forgotten project from when I was a part of a study group on Inlay last year. While technically Clasped Weft isn’t Inlay you can use it to get a look very similar to Inlay without all the problems.
The scarf warp is 2/8 Tencel in Straw and I choose a simple undulating twill for the pattern.  Clasped Weft is usually done with plain weave but I wanted a more interesting design; but it had still had to be simple.

I used two end feed shuttles that had 2/8 Tencel in Straw and a small bobbin with thick and thin hand dyed Silk in various shades of oranges and golds.
The centre panel of the scarf is the orange silk that is clasped to each side of the scarf.  I gently pulled the warp threads apart to place the silk bobbin inside of the shed.
I would then pull the bobbin to the right side and then back to the left while unraveling thread to create a loop.  Leaving the bobbin on the left side of the warp.
Then with the shuttle from the right side throw the shuttle to the left side, then clasp the silk and throw the shuttle back to the right side.  Be careful to miss the floating selvedge on the left side but use the one on the right.
With the clasped silk thread you can manipulate it to where you want each particular pick to lay.  Set the pick with a gentle tap of the beater.
That is only half of the pick done, now move silk bobbin back through the shed to the right side creating a second loop.  Use the shuttle from the left hand side and capture the silk loop.  And pull the clasped weft into position on the left side.  Set the pick with a gentle tap of the beater.
Last step is to remove the silk bobbin from the web.  Then you can change to the next treadle and start everything again.  If that seems like a lot of steps and time, well it was!  It took me about an hour to do one inch!  Near the end of the scarf I was able to go a bit faster and do two inches per hour. Tedious doesn't even begin to express it!
I didn’t have a plan on where I wanted to have the orange silk, but I did have a couple of rules that I followed.  I didn’t go past one inch from the edges and I used the strong pattern changes to help hide to clasped weft loops.
The twill pattern became a texture because each pick was a double thread pick.  The texture is still part of the scarf even after washing and steam pressing the scarf.
The scarf is incredibly graphic and it really showcases the variegated orange silk beautifully.
But it is a very time consuming scarf so I don’t see doing another one ever again!  For Sale.
Final Garden Shot is the Fothergilla in bloom, it has loads of sweetly scented bottlebrush blooms.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

8 Shaft Crackle Orange and Pink Silk Scarf

This scarf is hand dyed silk that was dyed 2/3 orange and 1/3 pink.  The colours are very bright and lively.
I knew that I was going to have to use navy blue for the weft; it was the only colour that I could think of that would go with both colours.  In the stash is two different manufactures Navy Blue Tencel, and I tried both.
The weft on the top is the darker navy and is from Brassards.  The bottom weft is the lighter navy and is from Webs.  And the decision goes to the lighter navy, it brightens the whole piece.
The pattern is Crackle; as to be expected because right now I am doing a study group!  It is actually a pattern that I have used before but it is much loved.
This scarf has more of a classic look; areas of of crackle with the areas of plain weave interspersed with twill.  You can see the classic crackle blocks with the 4 different half tones.
It is a pretty scarf with a lovely sense of movement.  The painted warp is adds to the flow of the pattern and the pattern is very modern and nontraditional.
I do love the big organic shapes that were created with the Crackle pattern.  For Sale.
Final Garden Shot is a pretty little tree called Red Bells (Enkianthus 'campanulatus') that is just starting to set flowers.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

10 Shaft Crackle Scarf

From the last dye day that we did in June, I dyed two 96 thread yellow Tencel bundles in really pretty colours of teal, turquoise and purple and another in shades of orange and brown.  My plan was to use each of the painted bouts to make a shawl. I was going to use a complementary solid colour tencel to make up the width needed for the project
Unfortunately I couldn’t figure out how to add the stripes without making the shawl look like a Frankenstein monster of three individual scarves mashed together.  So I felt my best option was to just make a scarf highlighting just one of them.  I added aqua coloured Tencel bands to the edges to make up the width needed.
I found a lovely Crackle design on that is a large diamond motif; they are large enough to show the colour changes in the painted warp.  The weft I chose is navy Tencel. The diamonds have a lovely embossed feel to them. and I think it really looks lovely.
The scarf is two sided, a dark side highlights the navy blue diamonds and the light side that highlights the hand dyed warp with the splashes of colour.
The finished scarf is quite lovely.  I like the framing that the blue Tencel gives to the scarf.  For Sale.
Final Garden Shot is a wonderful explosion of colour.  The new lime green of the ornamental grass against the last of the purple flowers on the heather.  It is nice to see some colour in the garden because it has been a very grey spring so far.