Monday, December 19, 2016

8 Shaft Broken Twill Tea Towels

A couple of times a year I like to put on what I like to call a ‘comfort warp’.  This is a warp that I know will pose no surprises and will be a relaxing weave and a chance to work on my loom posture and to ensure I’m using a good throwing technique.  If my mind isn’t on the pattern I can really concentrate on sitting up straight, throwing the shuttle correctly and depressing the treadles fully.

Twill is my comfort pattern weave and an 8 Shaft Broken Twill pattern fits the bill of comfort perfectly.  Striped warp tea towels are always a good project for me, it uses up small amounts of coloured cotton and because I usually choose to do only 6 towels at a time, its a quick project and perfect for the Etsy Shop.
These are the results of pulling 10 white 2/8 cotton ends then 4 ends of either pink, red violet, turquoise or peach sequentially.  They are a lovely fresh looking towel.
I like to add more interest to the towels by weaving a weft striped border starting at about 4.5 inches from the beginning of the towel.  This allows me to have 1.5 inches for a turned under hem and then a couple of inches before the stripes begin.  With these towels I chose to weave the weft stripes in turquoise and then using the same sequence in red violet on the following tea towel.  I thought that the pink and peach were too pale to show up well.
The goal was to have 3 pairs of tea towels that matched, each one containing 1 turquoise striped towel and its red violet partner.

I mentioned at the beginning that tea towels hold no surprises for me, but this time I got a pretty good one on my last towel.  I ran out of warp!  I have pre-measured strings that I use for my projects and this time I grabbed the wrong the Sesame Street song ‘ One of these things is not like the others’, really rings true.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Getting Cracking with Crackle Weave

This year the Exploring More Study Group within the Qualicum Weavers Guild is taking a look at Crackle Weave.  As a group we thought that it had lots of potential for all of us; with one caveat, we decided to look at ‘Unconventional Crackle’.  
Our first task was to understand traditional Crackle Weave, so that we had a good jumping off point.  There are a few ground rules for Crackle weave ~  no more than a 3 thread float, the plain sequence must always be maintained, when changing blocks an incidental must be inserted, never more than 4 threads before the twill changes direction.
This is an 8 shaft Crackle threading that I developed; the tie up is the one suggested for 8 shafts in May E Snyder’s book “The Crackle Weave”  and the treadling is plain twill. It is treadled with tabby threads as this is the traditional style.  The green lines show the placement of the ‘incidentals’ which connect one unit to the next.
This is the same draft with the tabby removed from the treadling, you can see the pattern much more clearly now that it is no longer a traditional treadling. 
This is the same threading and tie up; I have changed the treadling to a M&W style of treadling.  Now it’s starting to looking more exciting.
This is the same draft but it is ‘woven as drawn in’, or the treadling is the same as the threading.  Finally it really shows how lovely Crackle Weave can be.  If I was going to weave it I'd remove the twill borders  as I think they detract from the pattern.

The next step is to weave a project and I have decided to weave tea towels using stripes of colour to delineate the blocks.  I am all about using up small cones left in the stash cupboard!  The colours are plum, lime, turquoise, bright green and cerulean green.  I will use navy for the weft.
Now let the weaving begin!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Dye Day from June ~ The Forgotten Post

I have totally not kept up with the blog and with this post I actually forgot to publish it ~ oops!  We have a yearly dye day where we dye silk scarf warps and this year we pulled some warps using Tencel too.
We each pulled three white silk warps with 200 threads in each .  Then we used yellow Tencel to make three more warps.  We used yellow Tencel because for some reason we had bought two large cones of yellow a couple of years ago and it and the Coral we duplicated are not colours we use often, why did we buy them?!

For the Tencel we pulled three different styles of warps.  The first style is 200 threads divided into five groups of 40 threads, then two of the bunches are flipped so that the crosses are at the other end for painting. The second style is 96 threads divided into two groups of 48 threads.  The third style is just 96 threads, not sure if we want it for a scarf or a shawl at this point.
It is always surprising how hydroscopic the silk is, it takes forever for it to get completely wet!  In the picture you can see that we use weft twinning to keep the warp tidy and flat enough to paint.  The flashes of green are painter’s masking tape that we use to label the warps, about half of them fell off though!
We use Procion MX dyes and the technique can be found here.  We like to use sponge brushes to add the dyes.  We used the same technique for the Tencel warps.
Here is a picture of the warps batching.  We wrap the scarves in plastic wrap and then place them in plastic bags with like colours just in case there is any leakage.  We also did some silk scarf blanks.  It was a very long day of dyeing.
The next day we rinsed everything.  It always looks a little messy!
Here is a scarf freshly rinsed scrunched into a ball.  But just a couple of tugs and it is all straight again, like magic.
The scarves are all hung out to dry out of the sun.  Don’t they look exciting!
And here they are all finished.  We were both amazed at how well the yellow Tencel took the dye.  I’m going to describe the colours of each warp and who it belongs to because we will inevitably lose the tag and won’t remember who’s is who’s!
Here are Mum’s three silk warps.  The top is Gold, Plum, Moss and Rust/Brown.  The middle is Deep Navy Blue, Black and Silver.  And the bottom one is Purple, Turquoise, Green and Navy Blue.
Here is Mum’s two Tencel warps.  The top is Orange, Red, Brown, Rust and the original Yellow. There are some streaks of green from the brown dye breaking.  This warp is 200 threads and has been flip flopped.  The bottom warp is both 96 thread Tencel warps, it was getting late in the evening so we combined them.  The colours are Navy, Ink Blue, Bright Green, Orange, Red and original Yellow. There are lots of secondary colours like Brown, Purple and Greens.
Here are my three silk warps.  The top is Ink Blue and Leaf Green.  The middle is Gold, Rust and Bronze Brown.  And the bottom one is Plum and Moss.
Here are my two Tencel warps.  The top is Orange, Brown, Gold (Sunflower Yellow) and original Yellow.  There are some streaks of green from the brown dye breaking.  This warp is 200 threads and has been flip flopped.  The bottom warp is both 96 thread warps.  The colours are Purple, Teal, Green and the original Yellow.  There are secondary colours of blues and greens.
Final Garden Shot is the Black Mission Fig.  It was such a cold summer that the figs are really late. We only got two weeks of above 25C at the end of August then it was back to the cool weather, it was a truly sucky short summer.