Wednesday, November 19, 2014

V Scarves or the Absolute Disaster

We pretty much always share our successful weaving projects, but rarely share our failures ...not so today!

The idea of a V scarf is that part of the scarf is woven and then cut off the loom.  The warp is tied back up and the other half of the scarf is woven and at the end of the scarf the two pieces are woven together to make a V shape. But that's not quite what happens here!

The first thing to do with this scarf is to pull a striped warp.  I chose to go with bold stripes in pink merino wool with grey and cream in merino/silk blend. Mum went with more and thinner stripes in brown merino/ silk blend and orange and cream merino wool. 
This grey and pink photo shows the first arm of the scarf woven, you can see the filler to keep the open edge tidy; this is the side that is going to be woven into the V shape.  Venetian blinds were used to count off the 17 inches needed for the V shaped plaid  section to be woven later. 
The warp gets tied on again and the second arm of the scarf is woven.  Now is the start of the interesting part weaving in the first arm.  The extra filler is removed from the open edge and small bundles were made to keep the threads tidily tucked away and in order. 
We both had a difficult time with weaving the V shape plaid, it started out really well, but soon disaster loomed (pun intended). 
It became increasingly difficult to line up the scarf edges so that the butting edges weren't too tight and crammed the join; or too loose and sleazy.  The first inch was unwoven so many times that it started to fray the warp threads.
The beater bar also contributed to the mess; as it was pulled against the fell of the cloth it would crush the web of the already woven arm of the scarf and that created puckering and ended up pulling and waving the plaid lines. We both also had some problems with the last thread on the already woven section migrating away from the fell of the cloth and so the whole thing got worse and worse!
I even tried to beat with a hair pick, to push the yarn in instead of using the beater bar.  It did make a better transition and the plaid lines were straighter but it was a different beat and as you can see in the photo it puckered too!
With hindsight part of the problem was the yarn choices, the merino/silk blend was slightly larger in grist than the plain merino wool and the merino yarn was definitely more springy than the merino/silk blend.  I think the sett also contributed to the problem, these scarves were sett at 18 epi and I think a looser sett may have worked better.  After many, many, many attempts at managing the beat to account for the grist and sett differences, we decided to bail and to admit defeat and to literally cut our losses!
In the garbage they went and we both heaved a huge sigh of relief....
The closing garden shot was taken last week before the frost came and killed the lovely pink Chrysanthemum (Sheffield Hillside Pink).  In the foreground is a Golden Smoke Tree (Cotinus Coggyria 'Golden Sprite') and Maiden Grass (Miscanthus sinesis' Morning Light')

Monday, November 17, 2014

Caribbean Blue Tea Towels

This is what happens when you pick colours on a grey stormy day!  These tea towels have lots of pretty Caribbean colours – turquoise, peacock blue, leaf green, navy, yellow and white.
I wanted to get more photos while I was making of this set of tea towels, yet I managed to take only two!  Here is the warp through the raddle at the top of the Louet Spring Loom in all its brilliant blue glory.
While weaving the tea towels I use a tape that is marked into sections to keep my tea towels all the same length, the first mark is at 1.5 inches which is my hem, I also weave in a piece of sewing thread to help delineate this place because it will eventually be the fold line.  The next mark is for the plaid border then the main body and then the marks reverse for a total of 36 inches.
The tea towels get machine washed and dried an then I cut them into individual towels.  The tea towels are steam pressed flat then taken to the ironing board.  The first pressing is at the sewing thread line, and then the thread is taken out.  The raw edge of the hem is tucked into the ironed line pinned and ironed flat.
Here are all the Caribbean Blue tea towels and their plaid patterns.  They are so bright and cheerful.  They were a joy to weave and are going to be a joy to use for someone.  For Sale.

Parting shot of the garden is of the Beauty Berry Bush (Callicarpa bodinieri 'Profusion') which is living up to it's name!  Every year it gets bigger berries and is more spectacular.