Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Tale of Two Scarves

I was doing a photo shoot for some new scarves in the Etsy shop when I noticed something about two of the scarves.  The scarves are Mum’s Drall scarf and my polka dot scarf.
The scarves are both made from a hand dyed silk warp.  They are the same silk and both warps started at the same length of 100 inches. But in the below picture you can see that they are different lengths.  The purple drall is 67 inches, and the blue polka dots is 71 ¾ inches.  Sorry about the quality of the pictures they were taken at the end of the day and are a little dark.
The main reason for the difference in length was that the drall scarf has a large pattern repeat so Mum had to finish at a certain spot so that the ends of the scarf matched.

The scarves are also two different widths.  They are the same silk and both warps are 200 threads, well they should be but Mum wound a couple of extra threads to make 208!  The purple drall has a finished width of 7 inches and the blue polka dots is 5 ¼ inches wide.
They are both set to 28 epi so the addition of 8 threads would only be about a ¼ of an inch.  But Mum used a 14 dent reed and sleyed two per dent.  I used a 12 dent reed and sleyed 2 2 3.  So there would be a slight difference but I think that the biggest factor in the different widths is that we used two different wefts.  Mum used a 2/8 Tencel and I used a 2/20 bamboo.

Now that I think about it the difference in the grist of the weft would also impact the length because of how much warp would be taken up with going around the weft.

We also managed to have different length of fringe!  Purple drall has a 6 inch fringe and the blue polka dots has a 8 inch fringe.
It is amazing the difference the weft choice has made in these two scarves!  Also the weave structure would have made a difference on the scarves.  The purple drall scarf is 3/1 twill structure.  The polka dot scarf is a network twill.  Just goes to show that every little choice makes a difference.

Final Garden Shot is the jumble of dahlias that are in the front garden.  They are a cheerful and colourful addition!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Mohair Shawl or Throw Part 2

Since mohair is really fuzzy there is no reason to do a pattern as it just won’t be seen, so plain weave it is!   I threaded the loom in a straight twill to help separate the threads ~ 1,2,3,4 repeat.

Again, since mohair is really fuzzy and prone to bridging use the lowest dent reed you have, in my case I had a 6 dent reed, so I was able to sley 1 per dent.
Single shaft lifted.

The real gem of information that I found on line was that the tie up should be done in the skeleton manner ~ one shaft to one treadle ~ so shaft 1 to treadle 1, shaft 2 to treadle 2, shaft 3 to treadle 3 and shaft 4 to treadle 4.  Then when you start weaving you press treadle 1, then treadle 3 to make your first tabby pick, then repeat the process for treadle 2 and 4 for the second tabby.  By lifting each shaft individually the bridging and tangling is minimized.  This system works great for a Jack loom but not for a Countermarche like my Louet Spring.
Both shafts lifted.

For a countermarche loom the for the system to work is that you tie up treadle 1 to lift shaft 1, treadle 2 to lift shafts 1 and 3, treadle 3 to lift shaft 2, treadle 4 to lift shafts 2 and 4. When you change shafts you lift shaft 1 first then shaft 2, then you throw the pick, this works like a charm!

The really horrifying thing about weaving with mohair as both warp and weft is that it sticks and bridges and clings together like mad.  You really don’t want to be un-weaving and if you do need to, you are forced to pull out clumps of mohair by hand just to change sheds.
After the shawl was off the loom I dithered around for yonks deciding on what to do with the fringe, I decided to stabilize the end by weft twining and doing a twisted fringe without the knots.  I then hand washed the piece because I have a front load washer and can’t really stop the process once it has started.

After washing to get some fulling, and drying the shawl (which was a feat considering we have had the wettest November on record!); I needed to brush up the nap to get the full effect of the mohair.
I bought a self cleaning cat comb to do the brushing and that is when I found out that my fulling wasn’t great.  Every pass of the comb made the weft move!  What a nightmare, it just hadn't fulled enough!  By this time I was totally 'un in love' with this piece.
This is the fibre left in the comb after one pass.
The end result is a mohair shawl that isn’t quite what I’d hoped.  It looks nicely fulled but lacks real fibre fusion, it has very little nap raised, but it looks pretty good in my studio on the red couch, so I’m keeping it.