Monday, September 25, 2023

Twelve Shaft Painted Silk Scarf

I have also put on one of the newly dyed silk warps onto the loom.  This warp is full of colour, moss green, plum purple, turquoise, royal blue and purple.  I’m not sure what I was thinking with this colourway but it is exciting! 

Picking out a weft colour proved to be quite difficult, I want a colour that highlights everything going on in the warp but doesn’t overpower.  I tried iris, amethyst, olive, navy and a denim blue all in Tencel.  The dark blues and purples seem to work the best. 

But I still wasn’t sure so for the second weft auditions I tried eggplant, navy, dark teal and amethyst.  I worried that the purples would fight against the plum in the warp so I went with the navy blue for the weft of the scarf.

For the pattern I went with a tried and true pattern, a 6 shaft crackle that has been used successfully with several painted warps before.  But this time the pattern and the weft seemed to hide the lovely painted warp.

So I unwove that woven four inches, unpicked the hem stitching, pulled the warp out of the reed then I remember that I should put the lease sticks back in.  So I found a sort of cross in the threading put the lease sticks in and pulled out the threading.  

I picked another pattern, this time a 12 shaft twill with lovely spiky diamonds.  I am weaving with the weft dominate side up but you can still see the streaks of colour moving through the warp.  It is a relief to find a pattern that is going to show off the warp.  It is a complicated treadling so it is weaving up slowly.

Final photos are from a botany walk at Miracle Beach Provincial Park.  The leaves of the big leaf maple are starting to turn colour but some are starting to drop leaves early due to drought stress.

There are several large fires burning in the mountains above us so there was a smoky haze combined with the sunlight piercing the tree canopy made for some spectacular photos.

Monday, September 18, 2023

Autumn Hand Painted Silk Scarf on Ten

It’s been quite awhile since I sat at the loom.  Spring and summer are always so very busy in the garden and with just enjoying the lovely weather; that weaving takes a back seat.

A few weeks ago we pulled out all the natural coloured silk we had and spent four days painting and washing silk warps ready for the cool weather when weaving beside the fire is the perfect way to spend a day.

This is one of the first warps I painted and I gravitated toward it because it looks just like the Raywood Ash tree in our garden.  The colours are moss, plum, fuchsia and old gold, so autumnal.  

Once I got it on the loom I realized that this is a very busy warp . So naturally I had trouble with choosing a weft that didn’t mute any of the colours or just fade against them. The first wefts I auditioned were moss, gold and red/violet.  The red/violet was the clear winner in this batch.

This batch is purple, navy and the red/violet again and the red/violet is the winner, it's a brave choice, but a stunning one I think.

Since it has been months since I last wove I wanted an easy weave to treadle. The pattern I decided upon is a 10 shaft undulating twill that has a lovely feathery pattern and as a bonus it has a straight twill treadling 1-10, a perfect way to limber up my weaving legs.  This is the draft I used.

All the pattern set up is in the tie up and the threading.

The sheen on this silk is coming through beautifully and frankly although this is waaay out of my comfort zone,  and I’m loving it.

Today I got the scarf off the loom and here she is in all her glory before wet finishing.  It will look scads better after a good wash and press, but I’m still really stoked with it.

Even though it's not yet wet finished it still looked good on the mannikin.

We have ventured into the world of Brugmansia this year and I’ve just got to say WOW!  This is Madame de Pompadour and the blossoms are a full 16 inches in length and these blooms smell amazing in the evening. The first shot is just as she's opening.

This shot is in her full glory.

Monday, September 11, 2023

Finishing up the Dye Days

After the creative part of dyeing the silk warps is done, the warps sit wrapped up in plastic wrap for 24 hours.  Then the rinsing begins, just plain water to start moving out the excess dye, then a couple of drops of Synthrapol soap is added to the final rinse to remove every last speck of loose dye.

The silk warp comes out of the rinsing process in a bit of a tangled ball.  Luckily, it is really easy to fix, just grab the ends and a couple of flicks the warp is laying flat and smooth, ready to hang and dry.

The first lot of 8 silk warps are with the 2/22 silk.  There is a couple of different painting styles on show here.  There is a long curve of colour, half and half colour and random colour splashes, anything and everything goes when dyeing like this.   There is a lot of colour here!

Since we had the dyes out I also over dyed a scarf, it was white cotton and lime green silk.  I over dyed it with navy blue Procion MX dye.  It was a multi step process but easy, just a lot of stirring.  The dye bath method took about two hours and then straight to rinsing.

This is the second lot of 8 silk warps.  There is a mix of tussah silk and a camel/silk blend.  The camel/silk blend is wonderfully soft and I’m quite excited to work with it.

I didn’t get a photo of the third lot of silk warps, I guess I’m still a little rusty in the blog making!  But here is a final photo of all the warps together.  What a wonderful range of colours!

I’m a little disappointed on how the over dyed silk scarf went.  I think that the container that I used was a little small, the instructions said to use a container that allowed the material to float freely and I thought that I had.  But the scarf has marks of where the material bent and it is lighter on one side.  So I guess that it is mine now!

Final garden photo is a Hydrangea paniculata 'Vanille Fraise' the shrub is over 8 feet tall and the heads are at least 1 foot in length.  The flowers start as white in the summer then as the nights get cooler they start to pinken.   We had a heavy rain a few weeks ago, so they are being supported a bit now. It is a spectacular highlight to the start of the autumn in the garden.

Monday, September 4, 2023

Getting Ready for a Dye Day

The weather is here on Vancouver Island is turning a corner and fall is starting to creep in.  The lovely days of planting, weeding and harvesting from the garden will be soon over and now our thoughts are turning to weaving.  

There is nothing more exciting than putting a gorgeous colourful painted warp on the loom in the cold, grey months of winter. Mom and I decided it was time to paint some warps.  It has been a few years since we last had a dye day for silk warps so I’m going to share how we do it.

We purchased some 2/22 Bombyx silk from India and we like the sett to be 24 epi (ends per inch), so for a scarf 8 inches wide we need 200 ends.  We have found that 100 inches is the perfect length for a scarf on our Louet Spring Looms; it gives 10 inches for fringe at both ends, 70 inches for woven length and some extra for take up and loom waste.  

We also pulled  warps with a few different silks; 2/30 Tussah silk, 2/30 Tsumuga silk, 1/20 Bourette silk and 2/30 Camel/Silk blend.  They all have different setts and numbers of ends so we have everything on a spreadsheet.  We also use large tags made from ice cream bucket lids with numbers on them to keep track of the warps.  We ended up pulling 24 warps!  

We set up to dye in the garage with saw horses and a long piece of plywood that was topped with a piece of rigid insulation to get to just over 100 inches in lenght, it is best to lay the warps long and straight, it really makes painting the design much easier.  It is totally jury rigged but it works and we can each paint a warp at the same time, one on each side!

We separated the silk warps into 3 sections of 8 warps, because 24 is too many to do in one day.  So two people with 4 warps each means the dyeing only took about 2 hours to do but it still took three days.  We use Procion MX dye and the first step is to place the warps into a soda ash bath for at least 30 minutes.

The dyes get a mix of salt and urea with some dry powdered dye and then some water.  You can mix the dry powders up to get different colours like teal and magenta.  Always follow the manufacturers instructions for safety and use when using dyes.

A long piece of plastic wrap is placed on the board then the warp is squeezed dry (wear gloves!) but not rinsed and is added on top of the plastic wrap.  Carefully untwist the warp, try to get it flat but this is not an exact thing.  We use sponge brush to add the dyes to the warp.  Sometimes we do splashes and dashes of colours.  The next warp could have a long twisting curves of colours.  There is no right way to do it, every warp is different.  

Once the warp is coloured, wrap it up in the plastic wrap and leave for 24 hours.  We then put them into a plastic zippered bag just in case they leak.  Next post we rinse!

Final garden photo is of Dahlias, the bumble bees just love them.  Some are named varieties and others we grew from seeds but all are just covered in bumble bees.  The bumble bees also sleep on them over night.