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')


Nancy said...

I've been very successful weaving these on my rigid heddle loom in thicker wool blend yarn in a 5 or 8 dent heddle with a nice loose sett and gentle beat I also keep the warp to about 8-9 inches wide. I use a variegated yarn and the same yarn for warp and weft, so no plaid in the V section, it just looks like the rest of the scarf.

Peg Cherre said...

Thank you for sharing your experience with the V. I had the same trials as you did and ended with the same result (the garbage). So many other people have been successful at this I thought it was just me, but being a person who weaves for income, I wasn't willing to devote more time to it.

I hope you'll share more less-than-wonderful weaving in the future -- we all learn from mistakes, and if we can learn from those of others, so much the better!

Cindie said...

What a shame - I haven't woven one of these but I have woven a triangular scarf by cutting the warp ends and weaving them across - a challenge to be sure.

My friend wove the V shawl and called it her bottle of wine shawl as she had to consume a bottle of wine after finishing. It turned out beautiful but she hasn't made another.

Glad you shared a failure too - it's always good for the rest of us to learn from it and we all know we all have failures once in a while - myself included.

Susan said...

Ah, that's a shame it didn't work out, but your time is worth more than yarn.

Time to cut your losses! :)

Kerstin på Spinnhuset said...

I have found the double-layers-and-cutting-one-warp-at-a-time method much easier: it is obvious which end is next and, also, if one's beat is slightly off, it will be off at the same rate in the whole piece.

Lynnette said...

Thanks so much Kirsten, your method is truly interesting and I'm definitely going think about trying this v-shaped weaving again after I put away my trepidation about trying again!

lcampana said...

You really can't tell how this is going to turn out while it is on the loom. I took a workshop on this method last month. Yes, the join looks sleazy on the loom. It needs to look a little loose. When it comes off the loom I was taught to use a tapestry needle to smooth out the threads. After wet finishing it is perfect. I hope your garbage man hasn't come yet.