Monday, November 29, 2010

Jane Stafford Textiles Tea Towel Exchange

I joined the Jane Stafford Textiles (JST) tea towel exchange on Ravelry last month, mostly because my friend Susan suggested it, but also because I just love exchanges. I am the exchange coordinator for the Guild of Canadian Weavers and I find it so exciting to see what weavers out of my area are producing.

The first participant to post her colours chose some lovely yellows, greens and black, her inspiration was a beautiful photo of laburnum flowers. So, running with her flower theme I decided to use the lilac bush in my garden with pink tulips growing under it as my inspiration. Not wanting to reinvent the wheel, I used the same pattern as I used in my Stainless Steel tea towel warp, just changed up the colours and the colour placement.
The tea towel exchange called for 6 towels to be sent to the coordinator in February, so I pulled a 13 yard warp so that I could have a few extras. And being one of the ‘better too early than too late’ group I started right away.I used a new to me warping board, a 14 yard Leclerc and although it did the job, it had a hidden design problem. I pulled the warp in two separate bouts, and as you can see from the photo, the pegs on the warping board canted inward as the warp was added. Seems that as I piled up the warp, they just kept pulling in…..I lost almost 10 inches of warp from the first pass to the last over the 13 yards! You can clearly see in this photo the start of each bout and the end....amazing. This is not something that has ever happened to me before, so I don't believe that I pulled too tightly as I made the bouts, just bendy pegs I think! I’m going back to my old warping board, that’s for sure! The warp did pull on beautifully though and I just love the look of the warp through the built in raddle on Lily Louet! I decided to weave the first 6 tea towels, those intended for the JST exchange, using white weft with different coloured plaid stripes for each pair. Two have 3 green stripes at each end, two have 3 pink stripes at each end and two have 3 purple stripes at each end, each towel is 36 inches long. Then for myself I wove 2 using lilac weft, 1 using slate blue weft and 3 using white weft. I did cut the first 2 tea towels off the loom to take to a guild meeting, and after losing that bit of warp needed to retie, and the warp loss from the warping board, I ended up weaving right up to the heddles to get towel number 12. I find it amazing that my Louet Spring can still give me a great shed when I weave this closely! Here are the final 10 all snug and happy wrapped around the front beam. I have taken them off the loom and washed them, so now the hand hemming begins!
Next time I’ll show the finished product.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Spinning Study Group Part Two

We had our second session and our study group took on Chapter 3 in Deb Menz book Color in Spinning. We skipped Chapter 2, Immersion Dyeing as we felt that we had adequately covered the topic over the past few group dyeing days.

Chapter 3 is titled Painting rovings for multicolored yarns. I chose to take on Series 3 – complementary colors. The problem reads as follows. Using five colors for each roving, do six rovings in all, one for each of the following pairs: yellow and violet, yellow-orange and blue-violet, orange and blue, red-orange and blue-green, red and green, red-violet and yellow green. I was excited and ready to have some fun, and since there was room for interpretation I decided to go for the gusto!

As I am primarily a weaver, I chose to dye some great 1/6 tussah silk that I had recently purchased, rather than just wool roving for spinning. I started by soaking my tussah silk in soda ash and water for 30 minutes.
I decided to do some fine pencil roving so that I would have it to use for later exercises in the book. The wool was soaked in vinegar and water for 30 minutes also.I used Procion MX as that is my dye of choice and I have all the colours. The Procion MX booklet says it will dye wool, just not very well, and that was good enough for me as my goal was to get some lovely silk yarn dyed.
They were both squeezed dry after soaking. I put plastic wrap on my work surface and laid the silk and the wool side by side and followed this process for all 6 samples.Then I mixed the dye, and I decided to do a gradation of colour. I made up a 100% yellow dye, a 25/75 violet/yellow dye, a 50/50 violet/yellow dye, a 75/25 violet/yellow dye and 100% violet dye. Using sponge brushes I painted equal(ish) amounts of the dye staying in the same order on the silk and then did the same on the wool, and I did this painting sequence throughout the exercise on all the dye lots. I repeated this exact ratio of dyes for the yellow-orange and blue-violet dye lot.I decided to change the ratios for the orange and blue dye lot as I was getting a bit bored with it by now; and did 100% orange, a 1 to 6 ratio of orange/blue, 2 to 6 ratio of orange to blue and 3 to 6 ratio of orange to blue and 100% blue. I did the same ratios for the red-orange (I used scarlet) and blue-green dye lot. For the red and green I used Crimson and Maiwa standard green. I again used 100% crimson, but wanted less colour change so tried ¼ tsp to 1/8 cup crimson/green, ½ tsp to 1/8 cup crimson/green, ¾ tsp to 1/8 cup crimson to green and 100% green. I was starting to get tired and just wanted to get done….I also changed up the length of my painting repeats, yup they were getting bigger!

My last dye lot was red-violet and yellow-green and I was done with measuring and done with painting by now, so I made up 100% red-violet and then added 1 drop of red-violet to 1/8 cup of yellow-green, then 3 drops to 1/8 cup of yellow-green and then 6 drops red-violet to yellow-green then 100% yellow-green. I was definitely getting slap dash by now. Each of the samples was wrapped in the plastic and left for 24 hours. We found a really good way to keep the dyes from mixing while we wrapped in plastic. We had one sheet of plastic under the silk when we painted, then flipped the whole thing onto another sheet of plastic wrap to get the other side, then used the original sheet, making sure the dye left on the sheet matched the painted silk, to cover before we made our 'jelly rolls'. After the 24 hours the silk and wool were rinsed until the dye was gone (I used Synthrapol), then hung to dry.

The silk is wonderfully vibrant and you can actually see each of the colours I used, this is a definite success. The wool however- hmmmm not so good! The dye really didn’t take and what I have is a pale shadow of the colours that were intended. Here are the results.Yellow and Violet

Yellow Orange and Blue Violet

Orange and Blue

Red Orange and Blue Green

Red and Green

Red Violet and Yellow Green
Thankfully this is a learning exercise and I’ve learned a number of things:
#1 Procion MX really doesn’t like wool roving
#2 I have the concentration of a gnat and I get bored really, really easily
#3 I’ll throw process to the wind when I’m tired and grumpy
#4 I can buy my roving any colour I want and don’t have to dye it

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Handpainted Silk Scarf

Having a new loom made me want to put on a special first project. The painted silk warp that I did in the smooshed method was the prefect choice. Not only was the painted warp barely dry but the vivid colours really called to me. The warp is 2/20 silk in orange and raspberry, very bright and cheerful.
The weft is silk singles with a little slub in brilliant orange. It was also painted in the marathon dyeing day. To make it easier to fill the pirn I placed the weft ball in a mason jar.
It was really hard to choose a pattern that would work with a painted warp; the best fit was an undulating pattern. The undulating effect helps to ease the transitions between the two colours in the warp. Also I wanted a 12 shaft pattern to give the loom a good ‘shake-down cruise’.
On the top the scarf is more weft dominate – lots of orange but the underside is more warp dominate. The raspberry really shows up well.
Here is a closer look at the pattern. The picture is showing the colours a little darker than they really are.
I am really enjoying using my new Louet Spring Lola. It’s a great loom which has an amazingly large shed because it is a counter marche which pulls the warp threads both up and down at the same time.
I’m finding the treadling really easy because once you push the treadle down it stays down so there’s a lot less labor involved, meaning I can weave longer!
So good loom, good weaving and a good time!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Second Spring Loom

There have been big changes in the studio in the last two months. We decided to put the AVL Avril up for sale, as it did the same job as the Leclerc Minerva. We also felt that the amount and weight of the dobby bars really limited the length of pattern repeats we could do. So the AVL sold and I was getting used to the Minerva again, back to 8 shafts.


On the Left is the LeClerc Minerva and on the right is the AVL Mechanical Dobby.

On the last day that Susan (Thrums) was here on her visit she received an email about a Louet Spring for sale on Vancouver Island. Mum phoned the lady and bought it within 10 minutes of Susan receiving the email!

So we have a new addition to the studio . . . Lola, Lily’s (Mum’s Louet Spring) older sister!
There are some differences between the two looms. Lola is older as she has a lovely amber honey colour. She also has silver screws instead of the black ones that Lily has.
The front brake is different also.


On the left is Lola and on the right is Mum's Lily ~ Lola has two warping beams and dual back beams. The second back beam has a tape measure attached to it, a really handy thing even though it’s a bit faded.
Every lamm, both upper and lower had a piece of Texslov attached, it took three people an hour to take them off, and they had to come off because the lamms needed to be moved. Also it was really confusing to know which lamm to button up to the treadle since there were two for each.
The loom was set up to weave as a counter balance system with a sinking shed, I wanted to put the loom back to a countermarche as it was intended. Thankfully I had Mum’s loom to use as an archetype so after some measuring I knew that I needed to move the shafts up about 4 inches, the upper lamms up 4 inches and the lower lamms down about 6 inches.

On the left is the previous set up and on the right is the new set up.

It was really painful to move all the pegs, there was 4 per shaft with 12 shafts, plus 2 per upper lamm and 2 per lower lamm making for a total of 96 and two painful days and completely swollen fingers and thumbs!
The new loom is already in use and it has been a delight to learn the workings of a 12 shaft countermarche loom. Sadly to make room in the studio we’ve had to sell Minerva. She will be going to a new home in Washington State on Orca Island.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Spinning Study Group Part One

I've joined a Spinning Study Group with 8 friends from the Monashee Spinners group. We will be exploring ‘colour in spinning’ rather than spinning for perfection or size or anything like that. The way this group was set up, thanks to Rosalie, was really very inventive and thoughtful. Each person was asked to get a copy of Deb Menz’s book Spinning for Colour and to read it before the first meeting which was in September. A few days prior to the meeting Rosalie emailed a questionnaire to everyone asking them to pick out one or two exercises from the book and to figure out what was needed in the way of fibre, dyes etc to perform the exercise.

At our first meeting in September the outline of the study group was set out – we would meet once a month – we even agreed on each date for the entire 9 months of the study – and we agreed to omit a meeting in December as everyone's frantic at that time.

Each person read the exercise out loud to the group and we had a short general discussion about what we felt the exercise entailed and we put a post-it note on the page. Surprising how often more than one of us had the same choice.

Since the book seemed to be set out sequentially, we decided to start at the first exercise chosen and give it to the month of October and so on through to the end of the book. Needless to say we are not coming anywhere close to covering every exercise in the book.

So my homework for the month of October was Chapter 1 exercises 17, 18 and 19.

Here is my take on exercise 17(a) Contrast of Saturation. Choose a colour and combine it with any of its tints, shades or tones in a single yarn. I chose periwinkle blue and blended it with black to create it's shade, then plied pure periwinkle with the shade.
Exercise 17(b) Contrast of Saturation. Choose a colour then find another colour to make it brighter, and another to make it duller. I chose green, then added yellow to make it brighter and then purple to make it duller.Exercise 18 Contrast of Proportion. Choose several colours and combine them in Goethe’s proportions. Goethe assigned numbers to each colour and you combine proportionately. Yellow=3, Orange=4, Red=6, Violet=9, Blue=8, Green=6. My colours were violet, blue and green in the above proportions. This is a complete epiphany!
Exercise 19 Colour Harmonies. Create yarn using some of the colour harmonies. My first harmony was complementary , violet and green in equal proportions. Then I did a split complementary harmony and chose violet, green and red in equal proportions. My last harmony was a triad and I chose yellow, blue and red in equal proportions. On the triad, you can truly see why yellow should be used in small amounts when blending colours for spinning; overpowering or what! I'm really looking forward to next month when we explore painting colour on roving.