Saturday, February 26, 2011

JST Weaving Exchange - Results

Way back in November I joined the Jane Stafford Tea Towel Exchange on Ravelry and wove these towels.
Yesterday the long awaited parcel arrived! I'm thrilled, the weaving quality is stellar and the colours chosen are fantastic - really inspirational. Here they are for you to see!

The first is a Plain Weave Towel in soft blue, peach and turquoise is from Val in Powell River, BC. Next is a Swedish Lace towel is called 'Banana Cream Pie' from Cathy in Alaska, USA.
This Plaid beauty in red, orange, yellow and blue is from Toni in Vancouver, BC. And a Twill and Basket Weave in vibrant yellow, lime, black and soft green from Sandra in Vancouver BC. My fifth towel is a very thirsty looking eight shaft Turned Twill from Debbie in Lousiana, USA.
The sixth and final towel is an amazing Plain Weave Colour Gamp in orange, blue, lime, fuschia, yellow, teal, black and violet! The photo's just don't do it justice! This comes from Jan in North Saanich BC.
Here's the group shot....I'm totally stoked at the vibrancy and beauty, I can't wait to do it again!Thought you might enjoy the wee poem I posted on Ravelry to express my thanks.

The postman dropped the package off, I really have to say,

That I’m one happy weaver gal with what I got today,

The tea towels that were sent to me are such a great display,

Of weaving ingenuity with colours bright and gay

A collective ‘Thanks’ to everyone from places far away,

And to JST for hosting this I’ll shout a big hooray!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Swedish Drall Scarf

I did another Drall scarf on the same warp as the first, this time it is lemongrass green across the flaxen warp. I wanted the scarf to be quite different from the sienna coloured scarf, so I did different hemstitching. It was my first time using Italian hemstitching and it was quite easy to do.
I had a technical issue with this scarf though! There was a bobbin with some lemongrass green Tencel on it left over from another project so I used it to start the scarf. I used a boat shuttle then when the bobbin ran out I switched to a pirn and an end feed shuttle. I wove about 2 inches and the edges were noticeably different, there was much more draw in with the bobbin.
I had to unweave the portion that I had woven with the end feed shuttle. And I had to continue to weave the scarf with a boat shuttle. I wound the bobbin from the pirn because I have always wanted to know how much a pirn can hold and how much a bobbin can hold. I filled a very full bobbin; it was almost too full, it had problems moving in the boat shuttle. The bobbin held about ¾ of the weft on the pirn. Weaving went much better once I went back to the boat shuttle and I've learned to keep with the same shuttle through a project because there is difference between boat shuttles and end feed shuttles! Below is a picture of the scarf on the loom, the colours are not true.
Like last time I had some rules that I used to make sure that this scarf would look different from the sienna orange scarf. There are three basic units to weave, the outline lines, the squares and the background. The outline lines were two pattern repeats and the squares had to touch the outline lines. Again I followed no set pattern, I just wove what I liked for as long as I liked. First is the lemongrass green side of the scarf.
The other side of the scarf is more golden with lovely lemongrass squares.
The Italian hemstitching looked a little small in scale to the scarf so I had to come up with something in the fringe to help. I saw this technique done on a shawl at a Shuswap Guild sale and I really liked it. So after a lot of trial and error I figured it out and it really adds the extra element that the scarf needed. The picture shows the true colours of the scarf.
It is really hard to get this scarf to photograph with true colours, but the lovely shine does come through! Below is the primarily golden side.
Below is the primarily lemongrass side.
I like the depth of colour with this colour combination. Also having the freedom to weave as I want was wonderful too.
When you google Drall the first links are about Star Wars and the aliens called Drall from the planet Drall in the Corellian System. Mum and I like to name our scarves so for these two scarves I have named them Corellia and Selonia.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Networked Twill Free Form Weaving

I’m fascinated with the way that a weave structure, which is basically right angle intersections can appear to have curves and undulations. I ‘ve recently smoosh dyed some 2/20 silk in turquoise and purple and since the colour splotches had some curve to them I decided to see if I could enhance the effect.This photo doesn't have the best colour, but the photos later on capture the wonderful colours.I chose to thread the loom as advancing twill that moved only in one direction. Basically I did small inverted v’s climbing upward and never going downward. This creates a staircase effect. My treadling was in the network manner. I used 2/20 black tencel and treadled a long curve separated by alternating tabby picks. The tabby gave the scarf structure and allows the pattern to develope without the need for stability.I did have a general pattern, but as the scarf began to emerge I grabbed the opportunity to do some free form weaving. The colours in the photo above are a bit off, but you can really see the pattern changes. I stuck to the general pattern, but if I liked the look of what I was weaving I could repeat it as I liked.

I love this technique, it’s quite liberating to be able to just go with the flow and see what happens. The curving weft did create one small problem…wavy selvedges! As the weft moves across the warp, some threads have long sections when they are not in use for patterning, so they tend to lie flat, but when the weft gets close to the selvedges they curve. By the way this is the true colour.I tried to press the selvedges flat, but they really wanted to wave. So then I tried my corded selvedge treatment, but this didn’t seem to be able to tame the beast either. I decided to embrace the beauty of three dimensions and so I sprayed the selvedges with water and finger enhanced the curves!I love it, it’s such a beautiful scarf and I’ve decided that it’s perfect for me. The fringes were twizzled using four bouts of threads, so the fringe has a wonderful round appearance.I love this pattern so much I have tied on another bout of dyed 2/20 silk.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Twelve Shaft Drall Flaxen Beauty

When I design a project I usually pick a weave structure that I want to do but this time I started with colours that I wanted to use. They are gold and taupe, which really lend themselves to being warp. I tried a Fibonacci sequence but it really muddied the weave structure so I ended up with a 1 and 1 sequence of the gold and taupe. The colour of the warp is just amazing! As I took the picture of the warp I realized that the colours are the colours in the wood of my loom!
I am totally obsessed with using all of the 12 shafts on my loom; if they are there they must be used! So when I saw an eight shaft Drall that I liked, I developed my own 12 shaft Drall and I knew that I had to weave it.
The weft is orange, a lovely pumpkin colour. It warms up the warp and brings out the depth of colours. I like the fact that the Drall makes a reversible scarf; it is like having two really different scarves from which to choose. I am not sure what side I like the best, I can’t really decide until the scarf is off the loom.
I wove the scarf with no set pattern; I had three basic units to weave which are the outline lines, the squares and the background. As I wove I just did what I liked for as long as I liked. I had some rules that I made up so that the scarf had a consistent look and also because I am weaving a second scarf that I wanted to be different. The rules are that the outline lines could only be only one pattern repeat and that the squares could not touch the outline lines, they must be separated by the background. The fringe was finished by doing a quadruple fringe twist. Each twist has the same number of the gold and taupe but the way that they combined in the twisting made for each strand to look different. The four strands make a lovely round cord which makes for juxtaposition between the squares and lines of the scarf. Below is the picture of the orange side of the scarf
Below is the picture of the golden side of the scarf
I think that I like the golden side of the scarf best; I love the floating orange squares and the striking lines. This scarf defines classic elegance!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Clasped Weft ~ Piano Duet

Lola Louet was naked for less then an hour before I had her beamed with the Chenille warp for the second batch of piano scarves. And an hour after that I was ready to weave again! There is something to say for 6 epi!
I had to change the pattern a little bit because there is slightly different shrinkage between a Tencel warp and a chenille warp, the thickness of the warp also made a difference and I wanted the scarves to end up the same width as my first batch of piano scarves.
I finished both of the piano scarves and they were the same length! Although I still had a lot of warp left. I carefully measured and I had enough to do another scarf! The last warp I did for the piano scarves was the same length as this one and I had run out of warp, go figure! As the only difference is that I had sampled, so the only explanation I have is that the evil sampling gnome ate my warp on the first set of scarves!

I didn’t want to do another piano scarf so I came up with the idea to do a scarf with a barcode. I sat down with a can of tomato soup (the famous one) and wrote down the barcode and then I expanded it so it would be about 1/3 of the scarf length.
It was a lot of fun to weave the barcode scarf and it wove up very quickly which was a nice change from the painstakingly slow piano pattern. At the end of the warp I had about 8” left!
Here is a photo of the barcode scarf off the loom. I wanted the scarf to be mostly white with the barcode on one side. It's really very graphic and I wanted to balance the stripes with the white. I really love this scarf and the whole barcode idea and I think that I will expand the idea in the future.
Below is a picture of the two piano scarves and they look great, even if I do say so myself!
The finished scarves have lovely drape and a fantastic feel to them. I can’t show you the finished scarves because I forgot to take pictures of them and they were gone very quickly! I can’t believe it! But here is a photo of the Barcode scarf and you can get an idea of the lushness of the other scarves.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Swing Coat Completion

Finally, my swing coat is complete. Well, finished enough to post, but there are still a couple of finishing tweaks to take care of. I haven’t been able to find the kind metal clasp closures I envisioned at Fabricland which is the only sewing notions store in the Okanagan Valley! I’m either going to have to put on some big buttons with loops or search the internet for options! Here’s a photo of the coat with no closures. Thank you to my lovely model, Ngaire!The coat itself turned out pretty much like the pattern photo, but my fabric is still a bit stiff and so it doesn’t have quite the flow and swing that I was looking for. I’m confident that after having been worn a few times it will drape a little more.

My second problem is that I’d really like to top stitch the front of the jacket from hem right around the collar to the other hem. This will ensure that the facing stays where it should. My problem? The presser foot of my sewing machine won’t open enough! This means tracking down someone with an industrial machine to do it, or taking a hammer to the fabric to see if I can flatten it enough to get under the presser foot – daunting to say the least!The collar turned out so much better than I’d hoped. I did the general collar shape from the pattern, but elongated the pattern piece to make the collar have deeper, wider points .I then cut a smaller piece of a similar shape and layered it on top gathering it to soften the whole look. This is makes the swing coat a bit more individual and adds a modern touch, I think.I lined the coat with winterized satin lining in navy the same shade as the collar. The inside of the satin lining has a flannel like finish that adds an additional layer of warmth. It has a very luxurious feel and weight.

Here’s how the project started out… This is Alice Schleins network twill pattern from " The Best of Weavers - Twill Thrills".Warp Description

Warp Yarn: Wool
Count: 2 ply medium
Color: Alternating navy and black
Warp Length: 6 yards – only 5 yards woven as I ran out of weft
Warp Width: 33 inches
Set: 10 epi
Reed: 10 dent
Sley: 1 per dent
# Ends: 330 plus 2 floating selvedges

Weft Description

Weft Yarn: Wool
Count: 2 ply medium
Color: Natural – 2 different dye lots

The take up and shrinkage was 10% overall. I machine fulled the yardage and then air dried and pressed before placing the pattern pieces.
Next time I would sett the yarn at 8 epi and full a bit more...., but other than that I'm pretty good with the finished product.