Monday, October 30, 2023

The Difference is in the Sett

 I have just put the third of my hand painted silk warps on the loom.  This time I’ve chosen to weave a 30/2 tussah silk warp painted in olive, plum and bronze, very autumnal.

When I am planning a project there are a few things that I need to know up front: the number of warp ends that I have to work with, and how close to sley the reed being the two most important.

When I first started weaving I bought Mary E Black’s The Key to Weaving which I swear contains everything you need to know about weaving within its 698 pages.  At the very end of the book in the appendix lies a sleying table with some common setts.  This is a good, but dated chart of what was commonly used in the 1950’s.

Mary Black’s table contains the grist, the fibre and setts for loose plain weave, firm plain weave and twill.  For example 8/2 cotton is sett at 20 epi for loose plain weave, 24 for firm plain weave and 28 for twill.  Years ago I put all of this information onto an Excel spreadsheet and I have been updating it with new information ever since including yards per pound and the sett for lace if I can find it.  My chart states that 30/2 should be sett at 26 epi for loose plain weave, 32 epi for firm plain weave and 40 epi for twill. I looked at my reeds and chose to sley the cloth at 36 epi, so 3 per dent in a 12 dent reed.

Once I had it sleyed I thought it looked a tad crammed, but I hoped that slimming down the weft would be the answer.  I tried 10/2 tencel in red and 20/2 tencel in black and neither of them were good.  The red tencel just fused into the back ground with the warp and the black tencel was too spidery.

I thought that the warp just looked too tight overall.

I decided to re-sley the warp at 30 epi, so 2 per dent in a 15 dent reed and I’m much happier with the look of the warp although the scarf will be a tad wider than anticipated since I had 256 ends of warp, I now have a 8 1/2 inch wide scarf.

The pattern I’ve chosen for this scarf is a 10 shaft Crackle weave grid and the weft I’ve chosen is 8/2 tencel in gold. Now I’ve just got to buckle down and weave it.

Can you see them?  We got 12 golf ball sized oranges off our wee tree and there is candied orange peel in our future.  

Monday, October 23, 2023

Pink and Orange Silk Scarf with Blue Network Twill Polka Dots

The scarf started with a small warp of 88 threads in 2/22 orange and pink Silk and I’ve added azure blue edges in 2/8 Tencel to make an 8 inch wide scarf.  I’m using a darker blue 2/8 Tencel called ming as the weft.  It has worked out very nicely in my humble opinion!

The pattern is an 8 shaft network twill that makes polka dots,  and it is just lovely.  The plentiful dots dance across the warp and are a joy to weave.  The photo is a little washed out but the blue edges with the tone on tone polka dots is really quite effective.

I’m quite surprized by how similar the pink and orange splashes are in the warp.  At certain angles they blur together and its hard to tell them apart.  And when the blue weft is added the centre stripe seems to be iridescent.  

The finished scarf is quite striking, even if I haven’t given it a pressing yet!

There are two sides of the scarf one with the Ming blue polka dots (weft faced) and the other side has orange and pink polka dots with the lighter blue dots on the edges (warp faced).  Sorry for the slightly blurry photo.

We’ve had two big storms with lots of rain so the mushrooms have started to show up in the local forests.  We went on a mushroom walk last week and there were two highlights, one was the Hydnellum peckii also called strawberries and cream or blood fungus or jam tart.  The cap leaks red fluid that pools and looks very creepy.

The second was Phellodon tomentosus also called owl eyes.  They are very cute, looking like the mask around the eyes of an owl, like the one at the top of the picture.  

Just as an FYI we are running a 20% off sale on selected items in our store Woven Beauty.

Monday, October 16, 2023

Crackle Weave Painted Silk Scarf

I just removed this scarf off of the loom and I’m already calling her ‘Jean’.  This colour way is definitely the perfect match for a jean jacket or any denim outfit.

The pattern was one both Ngaire and I had used before and every time I weave it I remember why it is a firm favourite.  You can see the draft here and here

The treadling that I used this time is such a long pattern repeat that I only wove the pattern five times to get the full 70 inches.  It was such an engaging treadling that there was no time to get complacent or to memorize it, so I was on task the entire weave.

Now that ‘Jean’ is off the loom you can see how long the pattern repeat actually is.

I always start my finishing process by lightly braiding the fringe.  I find that this really helps keep the ends from knotting during the washing process.  Then once it has been washed and on the drying rack it is easy to undo the loose braid to allow the fringe to dry straight.

I start the washing process with Eucalan fine fabric wash.  Eucalan is a no-rinse, delicate wash that is non-toxic, biodegradable, free of bleach, phosphates, synthetic fragrance and dyes.  Since I am selling this scarf I think it is a good idea to use a soap that is essentially allergen free. The grapefruit fragrance is derived from natural plant oils, so it is super mild and fresh.  I avoid the lavender product as it can be a tad overwhelming.

It is blustery here on Vancouver Island today, so I'm please that we got the greenhouse tidied up for the winter yesterday.   I use it as a sun room and have moved our patio furniture in, all ready to cosy up with a good book! I still have three Brugmansia’s in the greenhouse because they have plenty of blooms on them that are just about to open.  These three are new cultivars for me and I’m really looking forward to seeing them for the first time, so waiting on Rhapsody, Zuni Yellow Spider and French Connection. Below is what Zuni Yellow Spider should look like, fingers crossed.

Monday, October 9, 2023

Finishing a Scarf and Starting a Scarf

The plum, moss, purple and turquoise silk scarf with navy blue Tencel weft is finally finished and it's really beautiful!  We’ve had some lovely autumn sunshine so I’ve taken the final beauty shots for our Etsy store, but the photos still need some cropping.  Here are a couple of unedited shots that show how lovely this scarf is.  I hope to have the listing up in a couple of days.

I dipped back into the hand dyed silk warps and picked out a bright pink and orange warp.  This warp only has 88 ends so I need to figure the other 112 ends.  Do I do the silk in a centre stripe, or an offset stripe or break it up?  I decided to pick out the colours that I could be using first and then drape the warp over each.  I thought that I'd let that lead the design.  I pulled out various colours of Tencel and placed them along the length of the silk warp so I could get an idea of how the colours would work.  

I stepped away from them for a bit and then came back with clear eyes and tossed some colours out and rearranged some other.  I got it down to four colourways.  

There were two winners, Azure/Ming Blue and Grey Teal/Dark Grey Teal.  They both made the pink and orange pop and they kept a bright tone for the scarf, they didn’t tone down or mute the pink and orange. 

I finally decided to go with the Azure/Ming blue combination.  Next, I had to find a pattern, I wanted a pattern with a small repeat that would look good across the 88 ends of the pink and orange silk.  A tried and true classic that I just love is the network twill polka dots, perfect!

With the pattern picked, I could figure out how to place the silk warp within the scarf.  I went simple with the pink and orange silk stripe down the middle framed by the azure blue Tencel.  I have just finished threading and soon will be weaving. 

Final Garden Photos show that we are in that strange time when the summer flowers are still going strong like here with zonal geraniums (Pelargonium hortorum) and Hot Lips Sage (Salvia microphylla 'Hot Lips').

But the fall colour is in full swing on this lovely cut leaf Japanese maple.  The plants are only about five feet away from each other!

Monday, October 2, 2023

8 Shaft Painted Silk Crackle Scarf

 Another silk scarf warp on the loom today.  I am not choosing to do these scarves in any particular order, just taking whichever one tickles my fancy at the moment.

Today I chose the half gold and half blue scarf, perhaps I am unwittingly influenced by current events, who knows?

What I’m finding more problematic is finding a pattern that shows off the painted warp rather than hiding or muting it.

I finally settled on this 8 Shaft Crackle Pattern that both Ngaire and I have used successfully in the past.  Here is a link to previous scarves, Scarf 1 and Scarf 2.

I love taking a first photo of how the warp looks from the back of the loom, you can really see the painted colours so clearly and if you look at the heddles you get some foreshadowing of what the pattern will look like.  The deep vee’s of the pattern are showing a bit.  Of all the photos taken, this one is the closest in colour.  The next few photos are taken once the rain starts, thus dulling the warp colours.

Here is the pattern just beginning to emerge, and the weft needed no auditioning, navy blue was the perfect weft from the get go.  

This is an extremely long pattern repeat with the entire pattern measuring 14 inches, so I’m only showing a part of the pattern.  The nice thing about this is that I will only weave 5 full patterns, so I sure won’t get bored!

This pattern is quite asymmetrical and you can see it clearly here.  You weave a lozenge like pattern first on the left side and then a similar, but not identical pattern on the right side.  I find this type of pattern really exciting visually.

Finally we got a photo of the last scarf I wove after washing a steam pressing.  I love this feather pattern and the drape is exceptional.