Monday, December 27, 2010

Snowflake Twill Silk Scarf

Mum and I dyed some silk warps in October with Procion MX and I have used one warp (Blog Part 1 and Part 2) and have one left. This one is 2/20 Bombyx silk dyed Moss, Plum and what was supposed to be Steel Gray but turned out to be Navy blue. I dyed the silk in patches that were shaped in triangles because I wanted more movement between the colours of the warp, no straight lines across the warp. The weft is slubby singles silk also dyed Moss, it is on the outside of the circle of the warp in the picture below. There was a little trouble with the weft; we pulled the weft on the warping board 3 yards long but no cross. It dyed beautifully but getting the weft into a ball was a little painful. The weft had to be draped over the warping board and gently teased out if it was pulled to vigorously it tangled! The weft is really pretty, lots of different shades of green and some browns even. It truly looks like moss. And I loaded a beautiful looking pirn that I just had to take a picture of because, well, it is rare that the pirn looks this good!
In the picture below the jagged warp painting can be seen. I really like Procion MX dye because the dyes are really well behaved, they stay where you put them so there is little to no bleeding therefore little to no muddying of the colours. The pattern for the scarf is a snowflake twill. It is one that I designed myself because there isn’t a lot of 12 shaft patterns! Looking at the back of the loom you really can see the pattern appearing in the heddles.
The snowflake is really pretty I like the big table in the centre, I just counted and there are 12 diamonds which I think is cool! There is a lot of texture to the pattern.
This is the first time that I have woven a snowflake twill and I can see why people love them. Watching the pattern appear with each pick thrown is really rewarding. Also the colours in the warp and how they are interacting with the snowflake is really fascinating.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Network Twill ~ Creating Polka Drops

I love this photo, when these shapes appeared in the heddles, I really got a great foreshadowing of my yardage project. I put on 6 yards of warp 30” in the reed, alternating navy and black 2 ply sport weight weaving wool. As I mentioned in my last post, the weft yarns I chose to use were quite different from each other both in colour and ever so slightly in grist. The only way I could effectively use them was to alternate picks as I wove to ensure that I used both wefts up at the same time and so that they blended in the cloth. I kept each of the wefts separate by labeling one of the shuttles ‘dark’. This helped me to keep track when I wove in the evenings and the light was less than perfect because they really did look alike at first glance. I was lucky to have 2 Leclerc rag shuttles that had been modified for extra large bobbins, so I could really load up the weft.I have woven this pattern several times in the past as scarves, but modified to fairly large grist wool has made the spots less distinct, so I’m calling this yardage Polka Drops as the dots looks a bit splattered to me! This is an 8 shaft network twill created by Alice Schlein and found in Twill Thrills. Polka Drops wove up quite quickly at 10 epi and 10 ppi, but I was definitely slowed down by the constant shuttle switching….what a pain! I was quite disgusted whenever I looked under my loom too….dustbuffaloes abounded. Seriously huge drifts of dark fibre everywhere I looked! The roll of yardage was really quite substantial and stood quite well on its own. Here is Polka Drops unfurled…..I ran out of weft at 5-1/2 yards so I wove up ½ yard with a mid blue weft. I don’t think that my calculations with the McMorran Yarn Balance were off at all, I just didn’t anticipate the amount of stretch that would occur due to weaving under tension. Not sure what purpose I’ll get out of my wee bit of blue yardage, but the main portion is destined to be a 1952 style swing jacket….

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

McMorran Yarn Balance

My stash has been an ongoing thorn in my side...particularly the older wool that I've managed to accumulate. I've noticed that it just sits on the shelf muttering to itself! I'm getting quite tired of the constant dirty looks that go along with the muttering that I've been getting, so with that in mind I decided that a wool yardage project was the thing to do - that'll shut it up and give me a bit of respite! Granted the Condon's factory closed wayyyyyy back when, but I was getting to it!
When I took down my medium grist wool bin (it was the loudest of the bunch) I found that I had about 1 pound of medium weight natural and about 1.5 pounds of sport weight natural. These are essentially the same weight, but they were slightly different colours of natural.
I also had 1 pound of black sport weight and 1.5 pounds of navy sport weight. I was beginning to get a glimmer of an idea for the wool yardage, but what would the ends per inch be and how much yarn would I need? Just how many yards per pound were there in each skein? The ends per inch were easily figured out by wrapping a 1" ruler but I couldn't start a project unless I was sure that I had enough warp and weft to complete it, so out came my McMorran Yarn Balance.
The McMorran Yarn balance is a small clear plastic cube with a lid and with a bit of sponge in the bottom which has a small lever arm tucked into it, you can still see the mark where the lever arm sits for storage. This tool will tell you the approximate yards per pound of any fibre. First off you pull out the lever arm and place the fulcrum point in the middle of the pivot on the notches dug into the top of the McMorran balance.
To start the process you cut about a 12 inch piece (more if it's very fine yarn) of yarn and place it on the lever arm, as you can see in the photo above, it's way out of balance. You just keep snipping off wee bits of yarn.
Finally after being quite ruthless I've got the balance arms pretty well level. Good enough for a gal like me at any rate!
As you can see, there was a lot of yarn snipped off, taking the piece of yarn off the lever arm is the next step.
You measure the wee bit of yarn left in inches and then multiply the result by 100, so in this case the result is that my 2 ply medium wool has approximately 800 yards per pound.
I did the same process for each of the different yarns and found that I had 1000 yards per pound with the sport weight yarn. With this information in hand, I could plan my yardage project with confidence!
Despite what Blogger says, this was posted by Lynnette, photos courtesy of Ngaire

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Transparency Workshop

I went to my first weaving workshop, it was on transparency. Transparencies are supplementary weft inlay on a sheer background, usually plain weave. The inlay techniques are used to create shapes and textures. I went mainly because I’d never been to a workshop before not because of what was offered. I didn’t have much interest in wall hangings . . . then!

In the mail I received the warp, which was beautifully tied up with different coloured ties to aid with the warping, I should have taken a photo! The warp was 12/1 linen. I have never used linen was warp so I was surprised by the liveliness of the linen. We also used the same linen as the tabby weft.

The first inlay technique is called Greek inlay (can also be called French inlay). It produces an intense block of colour. And on the left side you can see where I pulled the inlay weft too tight and it pulled the warp thread out of place. The first photo is on the loom and woven with the wrong side up.
The second photo is off the loom and right side up. The second technique is called Twill inlay. The inlay weft is laid down in a 3/1 twill. It produces a lighter coverage of colour but the texture and movement of the twill adds interest.
The first photo is on the loom and woven with the wrong side up.
The second photo is off the loom and right side up. The third technique is Greek inlay 2. It has double rows of tabby weft (the linen) which makes for a more diffuse colour.
The first photo is on the loom and woven with the wrong side up.
The second photo is off the loom and right side up. Here is a picture of the first three techniques and you can see that the coverage and colour is getting diluted.
The fourth technique is Ryss Weave, which has a three thread float. We were weaving with the wrong side of the transparency on top; a lot of these techniques can be used both ways. So on the top of the block I have flipped the pattern so now the three thread floats on the wrong side.
The next is Dukagang, which has two samples. The only difference is the number of tabby wefts between the inlay. It has a stacked block appearance, good for images.
The second sample.
My favourite style of the day was the Finnish techniques, there are four of them and I really liked all of them. The first makes little blocks of colour.
The second makes stacks of colour.
The third has a diagonal movement to it.
The fourth makes stacks of colour with a longer float then the second.
I was the only person to finish a cartoon that day. I did a butterfly in blue chenille. I used the third Finnish technique for the wings and Greek inlay for the body. Only up close can you see the difference. The white thread on the right hand side is the thread that I used to stitch the cartoon to the warp, it makes using the cartoon really easy to use.
When I got home I still had some warp left so I did some more cartoons, another two butterflies and two birds. Below the butterfly’s wings were done with Twill inlay and the body was Finnish inlay 1. The inlay weft is silk, both the green and orange.
The second butterfly was entirely done in the Ryss method. Again the inlay weft is silk.
The kiwi was done in Greek inlay and the inlay weft is chenille.
The shallow was done in Finnish inlay 1. The inlay weft is blue chenille and the beak is orange silk.
I was really excited at the end of the day and I really like transparencies. I have visions of transparencies in my future!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Beading the Handpainted Silk Scarf ~ Another Silk Thread

I just noticed that I’d forgotten to update you about the raspberry and orange silk scarf . My last post showed it on the loom, but now it’s completed. I’ve beaded the scarf with glass beads that mirror the different colours and shades of colours in the scarf.
When I was smoosh dyeing the scarf I didn’t even think about matching the halves of the scarf and so I was delighted (read giddy with relief!) when I saw that it does mirror image. In the picture it looks like there is a white outline to the colours but it is just hue variations, paler tones. The scarf definitely has two sides. The warp dominate side is on the left hand side and shows all the lovely colours. The weft dominate side really shows the pattern. The pattern is a 12 shaft dropped tabby that looks like an undulating twill. The pattern repeat is quite small and it really allows the painted warp to show through.
The process I used when dyeing the scarf also added interest to the scarf because the dye was applied with a lighter hand at the beginning. So the colours get darker along the length of the scarf.
One thing that I would change about this scarf is that I would have painted the warp on more of an acute angle to make the colour patches more jagged. I could have pulled some of the individual warp threads to make it more jagged, and I would do that next time. But the scarf is still very beautiful and I’m really happy with it and looking forward to weaving smooshed silk scarf number two!