Monday, February 23, 2009

There's That "S" Word Again!

I debated whether or not to take the time to sample this warp. I just put the warp on to get to know my new Jane loom. I don't really have a particular end use in mind. I finally decided that there was no sense in weaving four yards off on a table loom unless I have the sett just right. As I have done in the past, I cut off the bit I wove and divided it into thirds. One of the thirds I kept as is right off the loom and it is the sample on the left. The sample in the center I washed in the sink with a bit of detergent and warm water and swishing it around.
The third sample, on the right, I threw in the washing machine and dryer with a load of towels!
I have mentioned this technique before after Daryl Lancaster mentioned it on the Sew Your Weaving Weavecast episode. On the right is a close-up picture of the three samples. You can see the third sample looks fuzzy and the stars are smaller than the others.
I am using an unknown wool yarn in the warp. Even more reason to sample. My sett was pretty close, I sett it at 15 epi.* After the samples were dried and given a quick steam press, I decided that I am going to nudge the sett together to 16 epi. It doesn't seem like a huge change but I know from experience that it will make a big difference in the final fabric. So now I need to change the reed and re-sley. It shouldn't take me very long on a small table loom. If this were an expensive fiber or a very special fabric, I would sample again but I think I am going to just re-sley and go on from there. It will be close enough.
On a different topic, I have to give a shout out to the magazine Wild Fibers. This is its fifth anniversary year. I got my current copy in the mail the other day and stayed up late reading it from cover to cover. If you have never read this magazine and have any interest in fiber or fiber animals, I highly recommend it. It isn't full of projects but Linda Cortright, the editor and publisher is, compared to me, an incredible adventurer. She takes her readers around the world and to remote places in pursuit of fiber stories. I have a link to the magazine in my Fiber Links or you can take a look at the website here.
I will be back soon with the results of another project I am working on. In the meantime, is that a whiff of spring I smell in the air?
*see glossary

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Humble Color and Weave

A color-and-weave effect on a twill weave structure can be a lot of fun. One can take a simple weave structure such as twill or plain weave and make it look a lot more complex with just two colors of yarn. Of course, twill can get complex, specially for those lucky weavers who have 32 shaft Megado looms! This is a simple 8 shaft, straight-draw* twill. The picture to the left is the beginning of the warp. I am still getting used to a table loom. I must say, the weaving action is quite nice on the Jane. I chose not to do a detailed posting on the warping process since Susan at Thrums did such a lovely post on that earlier. She has some pretty amazing posts at the moment so be prepared to spend a bit of time reading and then dig back a bit to find her post on warping the Jane loom.
I am about to cut this bit off and wash it to see how the sett is. Judging from the little bit of weaving I just did on it, I am guessing I need to tighten the sett* a bit.

Here is a close-up picture of the weave. This particular draft can be found in various weaving books. I pretty much had this in mind to put on for the first warp and I used the draft from pg 55 of Color-and-Weave II by Margaret B. Windeknecht. It is one of my favorite color-and-weave resource books.
She defines color-and-weave as a
"...pattern effect produced by combining a standard weave structure with a dark/light color sequence in both warp and weft. The color-and-weave effect is a pattern on the surface that is quite different in appearance from either the original weave structure (as seen with solid color warp and weft) or the dark/light sequence."
(Color-and-Weave II, pg. 2)
For those who may not be familiar with how color-and-weave works, the loom is threaded using a standard weave structure with two or more colors in a particular sequence. If L stands for a light colored yarn and D stand for a dark colored yarn, a few examples of color threading sequences would look like this; DDLLL, or DDDLDLD, or simply LDLD. In this particular warp I threaded 8 dark threads followed by 8 light threads and continued the sequence across the warp. The color sequence looks like this: DDDDDDDDLLLLLLLL. Where it really becomes interesting is you then can cross the warp with many different color sequence wefts to get different effects. Color-and-weave gamps can be very educational to make.
To get this spinning star effect, I simply used the same color sequence I warped with in the weft. I throw 8 picks of the dark yarn and the 8 picks of the light yarn.
The tie-up or lift plan on a floor loom or, in my case, the lifting sequence on the table loom adds another dimension. When you start getting into color-and-weave effects you start to see how fascinating and complex it can really be.
I like to use a black and white yarn combination because I can then go back and paint dyes on the fabric to make things even more interesting.
I will be cutting this off and washing it and will post the results of the sample.
*see glossary

Monday, February 9, 2009

Inventive Warping

Phew! I know, it has been a while. I seemed to hit a streak of computer glitches, server glitches, and general time glitches. Somewhere in there we had a couple of house viewings we had to stage the house for. We are a bit out of practice since the housing market has been at a standstill around here.
I do have the Jane loom warped with a 8-harness twill color-and-weave in black and white wool. I picked the wool up at the Christmas guild sale for a couple of dollars. I will have fun overdyeing it after it is woven.
Now, for the past eleven plus years, I have warped sectionally (and love it by the way). Now that the AVL is dismantled and crated and Jane is here, I have to change my warping ways.
I do not own a warping board at the moment. I do have a huge warping mill which is made for those mega-long warps without a sectional beam (another long story for another time). It too is packed and definitely would not be appropriate for the petite Jane. So, how to warp?
We will eventually be moving to a 24 ft. travel trailer for a while so I am limited in the number of objects I can have on hand. With that in mind, my dear darling (not to mention very cute and sweet) husband made a nifty portable warping system for me. It is not a deluxe warping system by any stretch of the imagination but it works! That is really all that is needed. The picture above shows it in action. It consists of several "platforms" that can be clamped to, well, clampable surfaces. One inch dowels are inserted and away you go. There are several pieces so one could make the classic warping board zigzags if one wished. I clamped them to the loft railing which was the perfect length for a four yard warp. Note, I put enough dowels up to make a cross.
Once the warp is finished and moved to the loom all the pieces store in this handy little box shown here. I stuck one of the dowels in to hopefully make it easier to see what I am talking about. The box is about 8"x 12" and about 4" deep. Quite compact and it works beautifully. I suspect I would have a bit more of a challenge if I needed to do a warp wider than 16 inches but I could work around it and do it in "sections" if need be. I could always cut longer dowels too.
Jane is indeed warped and the first weaving has been started. I will take a picture as soon as I get the beat and sett right. A new loom always takes a bit of getting used to, specially when one goes from a huge 60" wide loom that one can walk into, to a sweet little table loom. So far I like Jane's action. It is everything the human Jane promised!
Now, if I can only get that little voice going "flippy floppy, flippy floppy" out of my head when I work the levers! Oops! well, you had to be there to understand that last bit.
I have several projects, well OK, a few projects going at the moment and will be posting about them over the next few weeks. I have also been busy researching Tencel(TM) yarns. I have found a few sources but would welcome any recommendations!
Oh, before I forget, I have added another fiber link to the list. It isn't about weaving but textiles in general and is called Textiles Environment Design. I have it listed as "upcycling" which was one of the concepts they are exploring. It is interesting, you can check it out here or at my fiber links list.