Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Losing by Inches

 This is a tale of frustration; I wanted to weave something interesting and the front picture of the Best of Weaver’s Summer & Winter Plus looked good. 

I wanted to weave the runner with the traditional Summer and Winter colouring, which is one colour for the warp and two colours for the weft but I am lazy so I decided to turn the draft so I didn’t need two shuttles.  But I actually forgot to turn the draft after I fiddled with it; all I did was swap the warp and weft thread colours so I ended up with this

The draft contains a three thread float that was highlight by my warp colours and it also made weird ridging of the runner. I hated the weird shape of the circles and I hated the line going up the centre of two circles.  So that was my first inch that I wove then unwove. 
First I tried to fix the draft by changing the treadling and adding different tie ups for the plain weave but nothing worked; but I had to try it because I didn’t want to rethread.  So I went back to the draft and this time I actually turned the draft not just swap the warp and the weft colours. 

I don’t really remember all that I did but I was able to get rid of the three thread float, the line down the centre and I made the circles rounder.
I actually wove an inch and unwove before I got to this picture, my beat was too soft.  But this time I had the beat but do you see the issue?  The bottom inch is different than the top inch above the line.
The reed was sleyed two per dent, one of the straw and one of the red.  There was two picks of plain weave then hem stitching and the hemstitch must have pulled some of the straw warp under the red warp threads.  The treadling left the straw threads mostly on the bottom so they never were moved back into position until the treadling for the line.  The line treadling corrected the positions of the threads.

So I unwove yet again.  The fix was easy I just added the line treadling after the hem stitching and everything worked out.
So now that I have got past the first inch of the runner; now I'm on the home run just 47 more inches to go!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Everything Went Wrong!

Have you ever had one of those projects that just don’t work out no matter what you do?
I desperately want to use yarns that have been living in my stash for years so I went hunting and found this amazing 2/8 natural rayon and thought it would make a great shawl. Then I spotted the large cone of absolutely stunning rayon knot yarn. This yarn is so lustrous and has a soft orchid creamy pink that begs to be used with the creamy white rayon.

My plan was to use the knot yarn in narrow stripes in the warp and then to do some kind of ‘laid in’ technique along the hems to make the shawl a show stopper.

This rayon yarn is heavy for its size, so I need a fairly open sett to keep the whole thing light enough to make a garment. I settled on 20 epi in a 10 dent reed, 2 per dent and threaded a straight 4 shaft twill draft. Four shafts and three treadles were all I was going to need for the ‘laid in’ pickup technique, on a plain weave background.
I got the warp on the loom and then noticed that the novelty yarn was not making a strong enough statement, so I added 2 more threads to each stripe and that made it really pop.
Then I started to weave and found that the novelty yarn was too spaced out.  I pulled it out and resleyed the novelty yarns with 4 threads per dent and the rest of the yarns at 2 per dent.  This was a huge improvement.  My plan was to do the ‘laid in’ technique between the warp stripes and so I started, and pulled out, changed the technique, and pulled out, changed the design, and pulled out.  I’m sure you get the picture….
I was left with only two options, weave the shawl off or cut my losses and cut the warp off the loom…….I chose the first option and this is my Plain Jane Shawl…..
I have crossed the warp with the novelty yarn at regular intervals and changed the treadling to a plain 2/2 twill and although this isn’t at all what I had in mind, it’s quite sweet.  I didn't carry the novelty yarn up the selvedges I turned them in.

Weaving Words:
Turning In - To start or finish the weft at the selvedge, the end (half an inch or so) is usually tucked (turned in) into the next shed.  When heavy pattern weft is used on a fine ground the turning-in should be avoided.  It is better to cut off the end, if possible after laundering.  (Encyclopedia of Hand-Weaving by S.A. Zielinski)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Compass Rose Scarf

I’m so pleased with the way this scarf has turned out….the motif kept in shape and I loved weaving this pattern.  My photos really don’t do the scarf justice, but you get the general idea.  I think I’m going to have to take some photography lessons!
I did find one problem with the pattern as I was weaving it….there is a tendency for a heavy selvedge float whenever I lifted shaft 4 followed by shaft 5 and since this happened fairly frequently on this 6 shaft pattern I’ve got to work on the selvedges before I can use this pattern again.
After I use McSteamy to give it a good hard press I plan to add a twisted selvedge treatment to minimize this issue, like I did in this 'Framed Scarf'Generally when you weave a round shaped motif the selvedges tend to bow outward anyway, but on this pattern when the bow coincided with the shaft 4 to 5 change it made the selvedge issue doubly noticeable to me, picky, picky, picky!
I adore the colour combination on this scarf ~ very subtle and classic, it will make an incredible statement against a black or brown garment.  The soft cream came from one tencel supplier (Brassard) and the taupe from another (Webs), and together I think they are wonderful as there is a subtle difference in luster and yarn twist.  Fingers crossed that I can buy more of both.
I’m on a quest and could really use some help.  Does anyone know of a supplier for this type of rayon knot yarn?  It’s a fairly fine (2/12 ish) two ply that is extremely shiny, with long thin slubby knots about every 8-10 inches.  This particular cone is a very beautiful soft creamy pink, but I do remember that it came in a multitude of colours.  The inside cone is marked with a crown and the name Doran Textiles and is made in the USA. 
This is a close up and again I’ll apologize for my horrid photos, but I just can’t seem to find the right light for my photographs in this new house. All of the rooms just have too much natural light for a good photo it seems.

I’d like to thank Laverne for featuring one of my Rep Weave purses on her blog Backstrap Weaving, check it out!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

What a Beauty

The phrase ‘What a Beauty’ applies to both the lovely pattern I have on the loom and the amazing day we had on the Island today.  I honestly have never had a warmer February 1st in Canada!
 I’m absolutely in love with this six shaft pattern.  I found the bones of the pattern on handweaving.net (one of Ralph Griswalds patterns) and then made the changes to make it function as a 6” wide scarf.  Mr. Griswald calls this a 'Crackle Weave' but it really doesn't follow the rules, so I'm not sure how to categorize it.  Unfortunately this photo doesn’t do the subtle sweet cream and rosy taupe colours of my yarn justice. 
The yarn is 2/8 tencel woven at 24 epi.  I think that this photo taken between the layers as the fabric heads toward the cloth beam really shows the pattern off best.  I’m really pleased with the design and am thrilled at how round the circle and cross have turned out.  The pattern repeat is 154 picks and takes just over 4-1/2 inches to complete it.
Today was far too beautiful to stay inside and weave – even though I only have 12 inches to go!  We grabbed our coats and headed out to explore the island  and to play in the amazing sunshine.
A few minutes up the coast as we were checking out all the beach access points I spotted this Japanese cherry bursting out in flower!  So uplifting to see such a bold sign of spring!
 We decided to head toward Campbell River (the worlds best salmon fishing town; according to their sign) scooting into every road that showed promise of beach access.  We found this lovely hidden beach at the end of a narrow road, it's called Perrey's Beach.  There was no wind and I swear it was at least 14C in the sun. 
This is Ngaire on the Salish Sea looking toward Powell River.  This is one of the few spots on the Inside Passage where there are no Gulf Islands between Vancouver Island and Mainland of BC.

On the way home we stopped and walked the lovely sandy beach at Oyster Bay and you’ve got to admit this is stunning ~ and Michael is pretty nice too!  These are the Coastal Mountains in the distance.