Monday, February 11, 2019

Weaving Mixed Fibre Yardage

In September of last year my weaving guild’s study group, Exploring More, decided to look at sewing a handwoven garment.  We have also decided to have a little fashion show for the guild at the February meeting so I guess that I better get started!

To start, I’ll talk about the yardage that I am using which I wove it in 2012; and looking back at the blog, it seems that I have never shared anything about it.  So I am going to piece together its story from the photos and my memory.
The warp is based around this large cone of variegated cotton.  The cotton is white, rusty brown and green, and is surprisingly pretty.  I added stripes in brown chenille and a shiny rose boucle rayon.
Going by the pictures, it looks like Mom and I had found the sewing pattern before weaving the yardage.  We then used the pieces to find out how wide and long that I would need to weave the yardage.  Pretty smart if I do say so myself!
The stripes are narrow and the overall warp looked quite brown.  The weft is a pretty pink 2/20 merino wool and once it was added the fabric really lightens up.  The pattern I chose to weave is basket weave.
I remember that I had trouble with the tension for the chenille stripes.  I used a tightly folded towel across the warp beam to try to even out the tension.  The towel allows the tighter threads to bite into the towel to give some ease of tension.  It seems that I still had to add individual weights on the chenille stripes.  Horrors!
A pretty shot of the yardage on the cloth beam.  I carefully washed it in the bathtub and let it dry flat and then ironed it.   Then it sat in the closet waiting, and waiting, and well you get the picture.
I have periodically taken the yardage out and looked at it and put it back into the closet.  So when my weaving study group started a topic about sewing handwoven garments I was excited to finally have a reason to start on the sewing of this yardage.  Mom and I talked about it and we decided that the yardage was too loose and open.  So this time I put the yardage into the washing machine and then for a brief stint into the drier to get the cloth to be firmer.  It is definitely firmer but still has a lovely drape.
I have finally started cutting out the pattern.
Final Garden Photo is of all the snow we are getting, the local schools and library are closed due to the snow.  Also all the ferries have been cancelled for tonight.  Just last week I was working in the garden weeding!  The picture looks like it is black and white but just a very grey day but the red of the stop sign is popping out.

Monday, February 4, 2019

12 Shaft Fancy Snowflake Twill

I am a little behind on my blog posts; I wove these scarves in October.  But they are so pretty that I still think that they are worth a blog post.

The first scarf is a hand painted silk warp, it is actually the last one from a dye day in 2016.  The bottom two warps have already been woven and blogged about here.  The warp is a really pretty blue and soft green.
I thought that a weft for this warp would be really hard to find, but I really lucked out.  I only had to try two wefts, a dark teal and a light teal.  Right away I could tell that the dark teal was the winner.
The pattern is a 12 Shaft fancy snowflake twill; the pointy jagged diamonds in the dark teal really highlight the shifting colours, especially the green.
The finished scarf is really spectacular.  The pattern definitely highlights the painted silk warp and it is one that I will use again.  It has sold.

The second scarf is from the same dye day but it is a Tencel warp.  We had two large cones of buttercup yellow (I don’t know why) so we pulled yellow Tencel warps to over dye.  This warp was split into five stripes, and then two of the stripes were flipped before dyeing.  After the warp was dyed the two stripes were flipped back and that creates the striped effect.
I like to get out all the bins of Tencel so I can see every colour that we have.  The bins have been separated into colour families.  There is a neutral/yellow bin, a red/orange bin and not shown are the blue/green and purple bins.
This warp was dyed in autumnal colours of brown, orange and gold with some of the original yellow showing through.  The brown dye has broken a little and there is some green too.  There is a lot of brown in the warp so picking a weft colour was a little tricky.  I tried straw, gold, taupe and orange.
I went with the orange, I know that a lot of people hate orange but it was the best choice for the scarf.  The pattern is the same tie up and treadling as the first scarf, but I changed the threading.  I like to change up the threading or treadling and reuse the tie up especially when the tie up is for twelve shafts!
The scarf is very bright and autumnal.  It has also already been sold, but this time at my weaving guilds Christmas Sale.

Final Garden Shot is the two hummingbirds that have staked out our humming bird feeder.  We have two feeders and we switch them out every hour so the hummingbirds can have unfrozen food all during the daylight hours.  We also bring them in at night.  This week is the first cold weather we have had this winter, it is our version of the polar vortex, it is going down to -8 C but feeling like -15 C.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Eight Shaft Tea Towels

January is synonymous with tea towel weaving month for me, so very satisfying after the holiday season.  I take the time while weaving a straightforward pattern to make sure my posture at the loom is correct.  Weaving tea towels is  comfortable enough for me that I can concentrate on my throw and really think about technique, balance and comfort.

To that end I wanted to put on tea towels that used only one weft, so I found a pattern that would give me lots of interest without any colour changes.  I found this lovely 8 shaft Scandinavian pattern called Korndräll.  FYI  dräll in Swedish means twill.
I put on a 535 end warp in white 2/8 cotton and put enough warp on the loom to weave 6 tea towels.  Working towards my ‘always years’ resolution (because I make this one every year) to use up odds and sods of weft, I wove each in a different colour.  I know I have enough weft to finish a 36 inch long tea towel if I have more than 2 ounces on the tube of cotton.
The pattern really shows off the warp colours and is the same on the reverse side.
Here they are just off the loom.
Ready to stabilize the hems and wet finish.
All done.....you’ll notice that there are only 5 in this photo; and that is because the wine red towel ran like crazy.  The white warp still has a slight pink tinge to it even after soaking in warm water with dye catchers.  Lesson learned, no red and white; and yet another tea towel for me!  Another lesson learned is that this pattern has quite substantial width take up; I put 22 inches of warp on the loom and after tumble drying I ended up with 16 1/4 inches of width.  The upside of this is that these are beautifully lofty absorbent towels.
I have already pulled the warp for my second batch of 4 tea towels using what was the same colours that were left over from the wefts on these towels, minus the wine red.  I did however, take the pattern and made each square larger and made the warp 601 threads,  I am still debating about weft.

The final garden shot is not a living plant at all.  This is all that is left of my lovely Himalayan Birch tree that we had to remove last autumn.  What a lovely reminder of a lovely tree.

Monday, January 21, 2019

The Guild of Canadian Hand Weavers Samples for 2018 Overview

Woven during the Summer of 2017, but we saved the posts until the samples had all been mailed to the Guild members, because  we didn't want to gazump them and spoil the surprise!

The Qualicum Weavers and Spinners Guild decided to do the samples for the Guild of Canadian Hand Weavers newsletter to be mailed out in 2018.  There are four newsletters per year with a weaving sample in each one.

The sample theme we went with is how many different weave structures could we weave using the same threading and tie up?  We decided on a 4 shaft threading and a 2/2 twill tie with plain weave.

The first sample is the base sample, a 4 shaft crackle threading woven as drawn in. This one was Mums.

The second sample is woven as twill, using a M’s and W’s treadling and was woven by Linda Wilson.

The third sample is woven as Swedish Lace and was woven by Pat Collins.

The fourth sample is mine and is woven as polychrome crackle woven with a traditional crackle.  I had intended for this sample to be polychrome crackle with an echo treadling, which it kind of is because the traditional crackle treadling is interleaving of a twill and plain weave but . . . it is stretching the definition of an echo weave.

It was really fun and easy to weave the samples.  In the previous posts I’ve shared how we did it so if anyone is interested in doing the newsletter samples will have an idea of what to expect.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Guild of Canadian Hand Weavers Bulletin Samples Part 2

The samples have been woven and this blog post is about what happens next to the samples.  I put the finished fabric on the counter so I could make sure that I had enough samples.  Thankfully I hadn’t miscounted otherwise I would have had to put on another warp!
Then the monster sample was washed and hung it up to dry.  It quickly dried in the summer sun.
The next step is to iron a small chunk of the samples, I did about 10 rows.  Then place a piece of plastic between the ironing board and the sample fabric.  Make up your glue solution 1/3 Elmer’s School Glue and 2/3 water.  Using a paint brush, brush this solution onto the waste yarn between the samples.  We then used a blow dryer to speed up the drying of the sample.
When the glue is dry remove the plastic sheet and add rotary cutting board in its place.  Cut the small section of samples free.  Repeat the steps of ironing, gluing and cutting until done with the large sample piece.  I have to admit that this took awhile!
Almost done, just need to cover a table with a plastic sheet and place the now small sections of samples on it.  Use the same glue solution to paint the lines of waste yarn between each sample.  The glue will sit on top of the yarn so a paint brush is needed to force the glue between the fibres.  Be generous with the glue.  I placed it outside to dry and move onto the next section.
The sections are dry and now it is time to cut all the samples apart.  We found it was easier to use scissors then a rotary cutter as it dulled the rotary cutter immediately and replacing that can be expensive.  If you have a friend or a loved one to help to it goes quite fast, about an hour.
Now the samples are all separate and  ready to be sent to the Bulletin newsletter editor.
We sent three out of the four draft samples in one box.  Each set of samples was wrapped with plastic to keep the samples dry and a paper copy of the draft was attached.  An email copy of each draft was also sent to the Bulletin newsletter editor.  And that was it, done!

Final Garden Shot is the strikingly veined leaves from the Lords and Ladies (Arum italicum).  Spring is in the air!

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Guild of Canadian Hand Weavers Bulletin Samples Part 1

Now that the Guild of Canadian Weavers has had a chance to mail out their newsletter for 2018, I can tell you all about making the samples for the year. A small group of us from the Qualicum Weavers and Spinners Guild decided to volunteer to weave the samples for the year.  We chose to use Orlec for the samples as it has lots of bright and bold colours, it is also very easy to use and readily available in Canada.  Mum did the math and worked out that for each set of samples we would need 3 8oz tubes of warp, 3 8oz tubes of weft and ½ tube of contrast yarn for spacers in both warp and weft.  To be on the safe side we choose to order an extra tube for the warp and weft as it would be the same dye lot if we needed it.

The warp length was 8.5 yards long and 606 ends for each of the samples.  Mum did the Spring 2018 sample and I did the Winter 2018 sample. Each warp was six samples wide.
I pulled each bout of samples separately, 96 threads plus the 6 threads of the separating yarn.  I had two thread colours in the warp so it took a little longer to pull but each bout took me 40 minutes, so fairly time consuming.
The warp pulled on beautifully because of the smoothness of the Orlec, which is orlon fibre.  We did 6 samples across, for a width of 25 inches.  The samples were 4 inches wide in the reed; we decided that we liked large samples, so the recipients could really see a good section of the weave.
The sample is a four shaft crackle but I separated out the samples onto 8 shafts because I don’t have enough heddles on shafts 1-4 to do them all.  The threading took 15 minutes for each set of samples, with only 100 threads and on four shafts it was quick.

As the samples are not much wider than a tea towel warp putting the warp through the reed and tying onto the cloth beam didn’t take too much time, but I forgot to time it, I'd guess it was about an hour in all.
The samples are an absolute joy to weave.  Each four inch sample only takes 10 minutes to weave.  It was really easy to find to time to do a couple of repeats at a sitting.
My sample, Winter 2018 was the polychrome crackle.  The warp colours were purple and green and the weft was orange.  Really bright and cheerful.
I did 55 passes of samples to make a total of 330 samples.  There are a couple of extras which is good because I had 3 samples that had errors.  The samples are great also because you get to leave your ends hanging out as they will be clipped later.
The finished fabric is crumpled up on the counter and you can see some of the iridescence starting to appear.
I will leave the samples here for now.  The next blog post is going to be about preparing the samples for the newsletter.

Final Garden Shot is our first snow of the year on the New Zealand Flax.