Monday, November 27, 2023

12 Shaft Advancing Silk Scarf

Another week, another painted silk scarf, another conundrum; this seems to be the never ending theme of my weaving life.

I picked a lovely teal and purple warp because I thought it would be any easy one to find a weft for and this could not have been more wrong!  But, I’m getting ahead of myself because the first thing I do is pick the pattern I’m going to weave.

The 12 Shaft Advancing Twill draft has large diamonds and has quite a large repeat of 95 threads. It is amazingly pretty and gives spots of weft, spots of warp and a definite diagonal. 

Ngaire wove this scarf a while ago and I thought it was time for a re-visit.  Ngaires full post can be found here.

Now that I had the painted warp chosen and the pattern, now choosing the weft for the scarf.

I lined up the first of the possible candidates: magenta, dark teal, eggplant, light teal and mauve.  I draped the warp over them and was able to delete a couple right away.

I was down to dark teal, magenta and mauve and these I took to the loom to trial out.

I wove a few picks of each and just for the heck of it I added silver.  The dark teal made the purple look brown, so no to that one.  The magenta was exciting, but took over the whole scarf, again a big no.  The  silver made the warp fade into the background, a resounding no.  The mauve was  the only choice for me.  It made the warp colour show through and rosey’d up the purple.

We have been in a November fog for days now, so getting a photo has been a challenge, it is so, so grey outside!  Here is an early photo of the scarf showing the lovely shine as it goes over the breast beam.

And another from a slightly different angle.

Now that gardening season over for awhile, time to hit the knitting needles.  This is my latest project using hand spun natural merino and hand spun merino/silk blend in dark purple.  I’m quite pleased with it and I know it will look even better once I block it.  The pattern is called FARA Hat, by Anniki Leppik and I bought the pattern on Ravelry.

Monday, November 20, 2023

Twill Table Runners on 8 Shafts

After threading the black 2/22 cottolin for the table runners, the next step is to pick the weft for them.  I choose to weave the 70 inch runner first so I wanted to pick a classic colour combination, black and beige.  I had two choices of colours in 2/22 cottolin, a more linen-y beige and a more cotton-y beige.

I went with the linen-y colour, but it looks quite grey in the photo.  I have done this pattern for years, it is an absolute favourite but I still take a photo of the end of the hem and the start of the pattern just to make sure that the other end of the table runner will match!

Surprisingly the picture above is the only photo that I took of the runner!  It wove up quickly and easily.  By the end of the runner I was starting to notice that the left hand side of the warp was getting a little spongy and loose.  I could really see the distortion when I started the new runner.

I unwove the start of the new runner and I added pipe insulation (or pool noodle) to the back of the warp beam.  It allows the warp to even out the tension by allowing the tighter threads to bite into the pipe insulation to give some ease of tension.

It works but the pipe insulation likes to move forward with the warp as you are advancing the warp so I have to get up and push the pipe insulation back into position every time, it is a little annoying.

For the second runner I choose a bright gold 2/16 ramie, ramie is a bast fibre made from a plant in the nettle family.  Again, here is the start of the runner just in case I need to refer back to it to correctly end the runner.

Some of you eagle eyed people may have noticed that I’ve changed my shuttle, the ramie needed to have a different tension in the shuttle than the 2/22 cottolin that I had used for the previous runner.  The ramie is quite stiff and a little sticky so the draw from the shuttle is a bit ‘hard’, it isn’t that nice to weave with but the runner is stunning.  I’m happy that the runner is only going to be 50 inches, though!

This summer we’ve been hearing the call of a pacific tree frog (Pseudacris regilla) also called the pacific chorus frog, in the back garden and last week I found it hiding under some pots by the greenhouse.  It is only about 5 cm long (about 2 inches) super cute and quite noisy!

Monday, November 13, 2023

10 Shaft Crackle Silk Scarf for Autumn

  My autumn crackle scarf is off the loom today, and I’m totally chuffed!

This scarf has been a joy to weave right from the beginning.  The colours of the silk were so inspiring and I loved seeing the foreshadowing of the pattern from the back of the loom.

Notice the floating selvedges?  On my last few projects I have doubled the floating selvedges on each side to give added presence to the edges and to help negate fraying.  It seems to have worked and I will continue to use a doubled floating selvedges when using silk and tencel.

The gold weft really is working well with all of the different colours in the warp, it contrasts beautifully with the burgundy and the olive and when it hits the brown portion, it just gleams like silk should.

The crackle trellis pattern was a really lovely weave, it is treadled as an advancing twill with fairly short runs that are woven from 1 – 10 and then reversed from 10 – 1.

I wove right up to the end of the warp and frankly couldn’t get any shed at all by the end of it.  I just managed to get 70 inches with the tension off.  I expect that I will end up with a scarf between 67 and 69 inches.

Here is the scarf right off the loom in our very weak November sunshine.

Same scarf and hour later in much stronger sun.  

The last two silk scarves have had their final photos taken and now are up on the store, WovenBeauty, on Etsy.  The first is the yellow and blue scarf, For Sale.

The second is the blue polka dots with the centre panel of pink and orange silk, For Sale.

Monday, November 6, 2023

Taking a 'brake'

I’ve put on a new project, and no, it's not another painted silk warp!  It is a project that will use a different reed. We share the 14-15 dent reed so I decided that it would be a good idea to do something completely different.  There is some black 2/22 cottolin that has just been begging to be made into table runners.  I pulled a warp that is 6 yards and 12 inches long, it should be long enough for one 70 inch runner and two 50 inch runners.  

There was a bit of a disaster when we were pulling on the warp, there was a loud wooden thunk and a metallic twang from a spring.  The brake for the cloth beam broke!  The wire had frayed apart where it had been looped over the eye hook at the top of the picture.  It was Friday afternoon when this happen so we sent an email to Louet to see if we can get a replacement.

We were able to finish pulling on the warp without using the brake, but it was slow going.  We’d pull on some of the warp and then lock the cloth beam with the lever and cog system.  After locking the beam we could pull the warp and the paper separator to tighten the warp threads on the cloth beam.

My Louet Spring I loom is one of the originals from the early 1990’s and on the Louet website everything has changed over to the new Spring II loom so we weren’t sure if they could help.  But thankfully Mom also has a Louet Spring I loom that she got in 2008 and it has a slightly different brake set up than mine.  There is a second eye hook in the brake lever and the wire is not looped together.

My clever Dad was able to find 12 gauge braided wire, it is slightly bigger than the original braided wire and a 1 3/4 closed loop screw that perfectly fit the hole in the brake lever.  The braided wire is looped at each end and is held by crimps.  He had to go out and buy a Swaging tool to properly lock (cold weld) the swage sleeve to the braided wire.  There is a lot of tension on the brake so it needs to be done right.  The brake had been fixed by Sunday morning!  The wire will stretch a bit so some fine tuning will be needed by using the upper eye hook.

I’ve already started to thread the loom, ready for the next project!  Oh, and this morning (Monday) we got an email back from Louet, but we were able to fix it ourselves!

Final Garden Photo is some fall colour featuring the lime green leaves of the Golden Smoke Tree (Cotinus Coggyria 'Golden Sprite') which turns a lovely burgundy colour, the Maiden Grass (Miscanthus sinesis' Morning Light') is just starting to bloom and the bright red of the Red Bells Tree (Enkianthus 'campanulatus') makes it a highlight in the autumn garden.