This piece combined and extended two earlier class projects.
I wrote a bit about double weave back here – you effectively create two layers of cloth on the loom at once, and can play with which layer shows on top (with 4 shafts), or which part of each layer shows (using 8+ shafts).
Another class topic was collapse weave – deliberately creating a textured (not flat) cloth. First attempts used columns of 3/1 and 1/3 twill with a range of weft yarns. I got mixed results – blogged here and here (the “what not to do” version).
One layer of the double weave is 20/2 silk, sett quite loose at 12 ends per inch.
The second layer is Ixchel laceweight Cashmerino (70% merino, 30% cashmere) very widely sett at 4 ends per inch. The distribution of yarns isn’t even. In a 10 dent reed I had .i.i.S.S.S.i.i.S.S.S. – where i is one end of ixchel and S is two ends of silk and each pair of “. .” is a dent of the reed.
The two layers are both plain weave and interact in a diagonal progression. The draft is based on an article and photos in Vicki Masterson’s article “Texture with deflected double weave” and published in The best of Weaver’s Fabrics That Go Bump (page 92). The article didn’t include full threading and tieup details, but I think my re-creation is pretty much the same.
The ixchel felts and shrinks up very easily. The silk doesn’t shrink much at all, but is caught in with the ixchel in the weaving and has nowhere to go except bubbling up. (An aside: I’ve done a fair bit of “real” felting in the past, going direct from animal fibre to textile with no spinning or weaving involved. Some felters don’t like the use of the word for finishing a woven article, which I believe is more properly termed “fulling”. Guess I’m not proper).
The end result is around 17cm wide and 214 cm long (that’s about 84 inches – on the long side for a scarf, but I’m on the tall side for a woman so it works out). It drapes beautifully. The undyed fibres are very slightly different creams. It’s just the right weight for a Sydney winter.
Here’s another “before wet finishing” shot. I took care and did some extra fiddling while weaving, to make sure the ixchel never wrapped around the edges. The silk selvedges give a gentle frill effect. At the bottom I did a couple of picks of ixchel, then 12 picks just silk. Once off the loom I folded it up and quickly tacked down using ixchel and it made a nice bottom edge finish.
The one thing that wasn’t so pleasant about this project was the actual weaving. First was a loom problem, blogged here. Eventually that was solved by a very nice fellow in a fishing tackle shop (similar weight cable is used in fishing for large toothy creatures such as sharks). He didn’t have a crimp-making device in stock to sell me, so very kindly did the job for me. The second problem was user error. I have two back beams on my loom, and for the first time used both so I could beam the ixchel and silk separately. I had twisted bouts in the ixchel and think I had it rolled on the wrong way. Anyway, I couldn’t see how to remedy it and ended manhandling the beam each time I needed to wind on. The loom was not happy and I had to be on guard constantly for missed or wrongly lifted shafts. Still, I persevered and the end result was definitely worth it.