Well darn, the pictures for the sample don't even come close to the beauty of the fabric. I will have to try again. I do want to share the results of my sample though. On the left is the first sample. It is woven from a fine merino wool yarn called Pony by Henry's Attic Yarns. I sett the yarn at 16 epi* after doing a wrap to give me a starting point. I have 5.5 yards on the loom, 20 inches wide. The warp is threaded in a point twill, and is woven with a plain weave ground and an 8-harness random twill tie up!
I wove four picks of plain weave and then a pick of the gathering thread using the twill for most of the sample. The top bit after the darker section was woven with eight picks of plain weave between each gathering thread. I really like this the best. I gathered the threads as tight as I could. The gathered fabric looked like this:
The black blot is our cat Nyx whose curiosity has whittled down her nine lives considerably. After gathering the threads, I dyed the sample in Greener Shades midnight black. As I mentioned before, Greener Shades is a non-toxic acid dye. When the sample had been dyed and processed, I carefully cut one side of the gathered thread knots and pulled out the threads. The fabric has a bit of texture from the shibori process. After it dried, I gave it a rinse and then overdyed it in River Blue, again from Greener Shades.
I must say that this picture is worse than I thought it was but, as this is a sample, you get the idea. The sample is so lovely in real life, I want to use it to make something. The finished sample is about 16"x 10.5". I lost 2" in the width and 2" in the length from the off-loom measurements.
I learned two main things from the sampling. The first is that the 16 epi sett is too wide. I changed it to 18 epi. I also found, as I mentioned above, that I really liked the 8 pick spacing between the gathering threads. I did another quick mini sample (no dyeing) with the new sett to check it and to make sure I could still gather the fabric easily and the loom is all set to go. The merino yarn is lovely soft and takes the dye beautifully. I used blue on the sample just to get an idea but I am thinking I want to use a two or more colors in the second dye step and "paint" them on.
The house selling grinds on but it does allow a bit of time for weaving. I will see if I can get a better picture of the sample.
A final note, I was so enchanted with the results from the sample that I was thinking perhaps I would do "one more warp". I then realized that I had dismantled some of my warping equipment which reminded me that, alas, the current warp will have to be the final one in this house. Perhaps it is for the best.
I can't wait to see what the final fabric will look like. I am sure I will have a story so stay tuned. -Renee