Monday, November 23, 2020

An Exploration of Parallel Threading on Twelve Shafts

My weaving study group, called ‘Exploring More’ is focused on weaving on more than four shafts.  The topic we have chosen this time is ‘Parallel Threading’ and boy is it ever an exciting subject.   The wonderful thing about parallel threading is that you can weave a huge catalogue of weaving structures as parallel.  Anything from Twill to Summer and Winter to Crackle Weave are good candidates.

Because I am a very practical weaver and I really don’t like to make samples I decided that I would weave two scarves on the same warp but with different wefts and see where it takes me.

I wanted to create a very basic parallel threading and so I started with a simple twill on six shafts. 

I chose six shafts because I have a twelve shaft loom and I wanted to have enough shafts available to host a true duplication.  A good rule of thumb when paralleling a draft is to start with only half as many shafts as your loom weaves. Not a hard and fast rule, but a good starting place.

I began by utilizing my computer program to parallel only the warp.

What PCW Fiberworks did for me was to insert a space between each of the existing warp ends on shafts 1 to 6 and then interleave the same motif onto shafts 7 to 12.  This is not really very exciting but it does show the process rather well.

My next step was to extend the tie up to twelve shafts and then to choose to treadle the weft ‘As Drawn In’.  As Drawn in means that you treadle your weave in exactly the same order as the warp is threaded.

Now that made a big difference and you can see a very pretty diamond pattern emerging.  I really liked this pattern and decided that this would be my jumping off point. 

Never one to weave something simple when I can really go for it; I decided that weaving this pattern as an Echo Weave would be the next step. 

What makes this an Echo Weave is that I’m using a ‘split complementary’ colourway.  This is two colours of the same hue which sit side by side on the colour wheel and then adding the colour in the same hue directly opposite them on the colour wheel, this trio is a split complementary.  Whew, that was a mouth full; what I mean by hue is all three of these colours have the same colour saturation, no mixing pastels and full tones!  I chose to use alternating blue and green in the warp and orange in the weft,!  It looks really full on, but what this trio of colours will bring is an optical illusion of a fourth colour, in this case that colour will be purple.

OK now I’ve explained what I thought I’d weave I decided to mess around with the pattern a bit and do a bit of copying and pasting and reversing and know all the fun things a computer program does!  

Then I thought.....hmmmmm.....why not see what happens when you mess about with the ‘split complementary’ and use green and orange in the warp and blue as the weft.

This is what I came up with and if you squint a bit you can actually see the fourth colour emerging.
Here is the project on my loom.  I have chosen to use Webs tencel in blue/purple for the weft.  I think it looks exciting and although my photo doesn't show it, there is already wonderful iridescence appearing.

Monday, November 16, 2020

How I Do Photos for Etsy

I’ve not been weaving lately but I have been tidying up our Etsy shop, WovenBeauty.  First I redid the photos for the tea towels.  I've been experimenting with styles of photos, trying to get photos that are quick and easy to do and still show the product to the best of my abilities.  I use to have the tea towels on a plain white background but they looked like weird flying carpets, so I started incorporating the kitchen countertop for the photos.  This gives a sense of scale and grounds the photos. One drawback is that the light isn’t the best in the kitchen because we have a skylight competing with a north facing window so the photos can be quite grey, especially now that we are going into the winter months.  Here are two photos for the purple striped tea towels, the first is the old photo of weird flying carpet tea towel and the second is the new style photo on the kitchen counter.  Much better!

I have also restyled the first product photos for the tea towels; this is the photo that first appears on Etsy.  I now use a wooden bowl to raise up the tea towels on the vertical, not just lying flat, because then you can see more of the tea towel and scale.  To the side of the photo I have included a stack of tea towels; these are the tea towels that match the tea towel being shown on the bowl.  When we do different colours of tea towels I like to split up the listings, one colour per listing; then by having the stack to the side customers can see that there is more than one tea towel available in the series.  Old photo for a turquoise and white tea towel and the new updated photo below. 

Last week I spent some time doing photos and making videos for the table linens.  Etsy recommends having seasonal photos so I did some winter themed product photos and I will change the first product photos for the table linens to the winter themed ones over the next week.  At the same time I did some videos of the table linens and that was a challenge!  Here is an example video for a red lace table runner. The winter light is terrible so I'll be redoing the videos in the spring, but these videos seem to work as I sold a runner just yesterday!

This week I’m retaking the photos for the shawls, now we can have up to ten photos for each listing, right now for the shawls I only have six so I took some more photos to fill the missing spots.  In one day I took over 660 photos of just 7 shawls!  Now it will take some time to process the photos so it’ll be a couple of weeks before the new photos hit the store.

Since the shawls are unpacked, I decided that I should do some videos for them also.  I wanted to do them outside showing the colours of the shawls in natural light, but the cold Artic air and the garden not being at its best, this means that I have to find a spot inside.  The slate fireplace in the studio made for a lovely backdrop.  The navy echo shawl is a good example on how well a video can help customers to see the true colours of the shawl, the green and magenta in the warp is quite hard to see in photos.

Looking at the shop I still need to top up the photos for about ten items; mainly for the knitted items and the skeins.  Hopefully I’ll get a couple more nice days for the product photography and maybe some more videos!

Final photo is of my orange, grow outside in Canada!  It was hard to tell when the orange was ripe, but the internet told me that when all the leaves fall off the tree the orange would be ripe.  Well there were still some leaves on the tree but one morning the orange had fallen off the tree, so I considered it done.  We cut it open to look inside, there is a lot of pith and the juice is quite bitter and we found three seeds inside!

Monday, November 9, 2020

Eight Shaft Undulating Twill Blocks

I finished weaving my ‘Checker Board’ scarves this morning and I am absolutely chuffed with them. 

Taking the time to improve the selvedges made a world of difference to the stability of the cloth, and since the selvedges weren’t constantly curling under, it made weaving the scarves just a joy.

To recap I put on 4.57 metres (5 yards) of warp for 2 scarves, each allocated 2.29 metres (90 inches).  The plan was to have 25 cm (10 inch) fringes and 178 cm (70 inches) of woven fabric.  

The threading and tie up for these scarves are an undulating twill with up to 3 warp threads grouped on the same shaft.  Due to this warp thread grouping, the reed choice is critical.  I sett the scarves at 28 epi and sleyed the reed with 2 ends per inch.  This minimized the reed marks which can occur and can be very noticeable in weaves that have multiple repeating ends.

Scarf number 1 on the loom, it was woven using Spice tencel and I treadled the pattern 1-2-3-4 X5 ~ 1-8 ~ 5-6-7-8 X5.  This produced a pattern that showed rectangular shaped alternating blocks.  

Off loom this scarf measured 173 cm (68 inches) long and 15.5 cm (6 inches) wide.  The weave structure itself took up more warp and weft than expected.

I had to leave about 50 cm (20 inches) unwoven between my scarves and my spacer of choice is slats of  1 inch metal Venetian blinds.  After 10 had been placed I threw five picks of weft to give me a cutting line when they came off the loom and it keeps the unwoven threads beautifully aligned.

Scarf number 2 was woven using Pompeii tencel and I treadled the pattern 1-2-3-4 X4 ~ 1-8 ~ 5-6-7-8 X4.  This produced lovely square alternating blocks and this treadling is my favourite of the two.  

Off loom this scarf measured 166.5 cm (65.5 inches) long and 15.5 cm (6 inches) wide.  I must admit that this is my favourite and this is the one I claim as mine, mine, mine, both because of the squares, but  I love the length too!

Right now they are in the set tub having a nice soak in Eucalan which is a wonderful product to use for finishing handwoven fabric.  It is very gentle and requires no rinsing which is very easy on the cloth.  I will post a photo of the scarves after they are dry and pressed later.

Here is a beauty shot of an orange drizzle cake that I just made.   I got the recipe from Taste Australia and I heartily recommend both the website and this yummmmmmmy cake! I changed it up a wee bit by adding a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of vanilla, but all the rest is as stated.   Oh, I changed the pan from a loaf tin to a small savarin pan, but otherwise.....

Monday, November 2, 2020

Weaving an Oldie and Not So Goodie

 Sometimes a project just doesn’t live up to expectations and this scarf is one of them. 

 I wove this scarf way back in 2009 and it had major problems right from the get go.  You can read about them here:

Even with all the problems there was something about this scarf which appealed to me and I wore if often and no one but me noticed all the weft threads moving about!  What people did notice was the lovely beading I put on the fringe ends.

The centre checker board area has stood the test of time well and the weft threads kept in place.

However the long portions when I didn’t alternate the treadling is a different story, the weft yarns slip and slide with complete abandon!

I decided to give this glorious pattern another chance, surely I can fix the problem.  I was determined to make a scarf that used these wonderful colours.  The warp is made from two different reds, orange, gold, lemongrass green and silver.  A true explosion of colour.  The blue is shown as the proposed weft.

I have pulled enough warp for two scarves, each 177 cm (70 inches) long with 25.4 cm (10 inches) fringes and it weighs only 118 grams, so this pattern is a perfect use for the last few metres on a cone.

My weft of choice was 22/2 bombyx silk in a mid blue tone.  I decided to weave the pattern in 5 cm blocks for stability.  Well, this weft proved to be a mistake. It was nicely sticky, but too lofty.  The silk beat in very densely.  I was not double beating or beating hard by any means and I was still getting a board like web as well as that problem, the blue silk completely masked the wonderful weft colours.  So out it came.

 I was not enamoured of the selvedges either, but before I addressed that issue I decided to audition a few potential weft colours.  These are from bottom to top, burgundy, Pompeii and spice tencel, all from Webs.  The hot colours are a complete about face from the blue, but they are what I had.

I decided at this point that I didn’t like the width of the scarf or the selvedges in general.  The original width was at 15 cm (5.9 inches) and I felt that was a tad small, so I went back to the computer draft and did some additions.

I added twelve ends to the left side of the original draft and fourteen to the right side.  This allowed me to balance the selvedges. 

To add the new selvedges I wound the warp onto the breast beam and then threaded additional ends through the reed and then then heddles before tying onto the back beam.  I re-wound the warp and here it is ready to go.

I have only just begun the weave, but already I am happy with it. The weft colour is spice and I think this one may be a winner!  I will keep one of these two scarves and I will move the beading over from the old iteration to mine. 

I thought I’d keep you up to date on the progress of my Flying Dragon Orange.  It is the size of a ping pong ball and now it is beginning to turn into a lovely yellow colour.  Fingers crossed it will hold on until it’s ripe as the weather turns mighty cool at night!