Archive for February, 2011

Doup leno scarf

While I’m busy doing, correcting and redoing my sums for the next warp, here is a previously unblogged project I completed last November (about the only thing I managed in Liz Calnan’s class at the Guild that term).

Scarf details: warp Bendigo Woollen Mills 2 ply wool. Weft Bendigo’s Mirage, a mohair / wool / alpaca mix that seems to have dropped from their line.

The warp is in stripes – plain weave and leno. From Liz’s notes, “Leno is an open weave structure, with warps twisted around one another”.

Pictures could help. This is from the first little sample I did, using the scrappy yarn bit at the beginning so it is easier to see. Ignore the “oopsie” bit! One is the sample, the other the same photo with markings added.


Looking at the markings, in blue and orange at the right we have two standard plain weave warp threads. They sit nicely side by side ignoring each other, each one going under and over weft threads.

In green and pink we have two pairs of leno warp ends. While weaving the green thread of each pair was pulled under the pink thread and up to form the shed. The weft was put across, holding that twist. Then the green thread was allowed to return to its normal position next to the pink and up – another weft across, and that position is fixed. I set up the pairs so that in one the green starts on the right of the pink but is repeatedly pulled to the left then allowed to return to the right, while in the other pair the green started on the left and is repeatedly pulled to the right. The green threads wobble left and right over the weft all the way down the cloth. The pick threads wobble around, always underneath the weft. The weft holds in the wobbles. This allows a very open but still stable cloth. In this particular scarf the weft is the star, and the leno area adds a lot of textural interest. Liz had a bundle of samples, many with the wriggling, wobbling warp threads the main interest. Different relative sizes of yarns give very different results – a huge area to explore (yet another!!).

There are a number of ways to pull the warp threads out of their position and form the twist. First, simple and flexible, is doing it by hand, as in my sampler of finger-manipulated weaves. There are some good photos and explanation in Robyn Spady’s article on Weavezine. Bead leno uses beads or pieces of drinking straws to connect two warp ends – when one is lifted, it pulls the other with it – I think! That’s based on an article by Kathryn Wertenberger in the November/December 1989 issue of Handwoven. I’ve also seen photos on a few blogs – here and here.

I used a third method – “doups”.  A doup is a carefully measured loop of yarn, say a nice strong cotton. I was going to try some diagrams, but why re-draw the wheel? Check out Irma Spaargaren’s article on Weavezine. In words, the pink thread is stationary. It just sits there and the weft passes over it. The doup is attached to a shaft, goes underneath the stationary pink thread and loops around the green thread on the far side. For one pick the doup shed is left down, the green thread is lifted in the normal way and the weft passes beneath it. For the next pick the doup shaft is lifted. The doup pulls on the green thread, taking it underneath the pink thread and up. The weft goes over the pink thread and under the green one – but this time the green is on the other side of the pink. Repeat as required.

Some random notes from my project:

* doup length is vital. It needs to be long enough that it doesn’t prevent the green thread’s standard lift, and short enough that when it pulls the green thread around and up you have a shed big enough to get through. And if your doups are slightly different lengths your shed and life will be miserable.

* denting. I don’t know a general rule. In my project the plain weave was set at 12 ends per inch in a 12 dpi reed – wider than I normally would for the yarn, but I was considering the weft and the overall light goal. The leno pairs were in separate dents next to each other, with 3 empty dents between each pair. However no gap before the last pair and a plain weave area – I didn’t want the plain weave spreading out.

* I used my ashford 8 shaft table loom. I had the plain weave threaded on shafts 5 and 6, the leno pairs on shafts 7 and 8 and used shafts 1 and 2 for the doups (in Liz’s notes this method is from Monograph 32 – Tacker and Skowronski. The doup is attached to shaft 2 and goes through a heddle on shaft 1 before looping around the green thread). In theory it gives a slightly better shed, but the way I set things up, shaft 1 pressed against shaft 2 and tended to push it up, giving a teeny tiny shed. I ended manually pushing down on shaft 2 (tried weights but didn’t have the space), then using a pickup stick to clear the shed on ever second pick! It still grew quickly, given the grist of the weft and the light/loose nature of the design.

I really like the end result – a nice combination of various reds, some sheen and some fuzz from the weft mix, lots of textural interest, very light… and I’m expecting very warm given the air pockets – but there’s still a way to go before I give it a try. Sydney has rather a short scarf-wearing season.

Sampling supplementary warp

This title brings an unrelated-to-weaving smile. I had years of elocution lessons – “six silly swans swimming in the snow” and my husband can still judge my tiredness by the amount of lisp…

Focus. Yes. (now everything has an ess, and this was not deliberate).

Ahem. (OK. better.)

I’ve spent some time the last few days seeing if my bus inspiration actually holds water – will the design be readable and will the cloth drape for a scarf?

Here’s version 1 on the loom. Base warp is 20/2 silk. Supplementary warp a silk merino 2 ply, 650m/100g (the supplier closed her small dyeing business a while back). Sett 40 ends per inch (20 of each warp type), except in the selvedge area and breaks between pattern areas. The threading is pretty much the original idea seen at the bottom here, but with variations on the number of supplementary threads per block. From left to right I tried 3, 4, 5 and 1 threads. Weft was 20/2 silk. I didn’t pay much attention to picks per inch – just standard comfortable not light or heavy. As I was weaving I tried a few different numbers of repeats/length of warp floats.

Version 2 had warp unchanged, but 60/2 silk for weft.

Here are versions 3 (at bottom) and 4 on the loom. I resleyed to 30 ends per inch – 15 background warp plus 15 supplementary. I also added some undyed merino-silk to the selvedge/pattern break areas, so they would feel more consistent with the rest of the cloth and cope better with the more open sett. I made a major hash of this, threading the new warp ends in with the same heddles as the base cloth. Plus the back of the loom became a rats nest as my supplementary warp got short (I was using thrums from Geoff’s scarf). Not a pretty sight (the camera seems to agree – the colour went very odd).

I kept to the 20/2 silk for weft, but tried both my default beat (which worked out around 17 picks per inch) and a deliberately light beat towards the end (around 11 picks per inch on the loom).

The washed and pressed samples together – left to right samples, 1, 2, then 4 above 3.

All have good definition of the design, with the brown float/white background/mixed plain weave areas clear, even in the unpleasantly sleazy sample 4.

The big issue was getting a nice scarf drape. I really like the final sample 1 cloth, but it’s too firm for the purpose. I’d like to return to it another time, maybe as part of a light jacket (the patterning could be a bit strong all over).

Sample 2 draped a little better, but not enough plus I think the finer silk brings a slight harshness.

Jumping to sample 4, this actually feels nice but is crazy-sleazy.

So, we have a winner. Cue close up of sample 3. Overlook the fact that end-of -warp issues have introduced a few oddities. The drape and hand are nice, and (I hope!) suitable if not perfect for a scarf. The floats cover the background quite well. There is some deflection of the warp and weft around the background areas. I rather like the irregularities – not sure how much will be in the final, given a better tensioned warp. In any case the pattern is quite distinct (it’s not any actual bellringing method, just playing around).

Colours are chosen, so the next step is calculations of lengths and weights for dyeing.

Inspiration strikes on the bus?

Time to be working on a new project, and I’ve had a half baked something in my head for a while. I wanted:

* a pattern based on bellringing

* 12 “bells” – so 12 blocks plus edge treatment

* able to show the path of one “working” bell, plus if possible the “hunt” bell. The picture on the right gives the idea (this pattern is part of “Bristol Surprise Maximus”, and the diagram was created using http://www.boojum.org.uk). The red “hunt” bell line follows a very regular pattern, jagging from left to right and back. The blue “working” bell is irregular.

* a nicely draping scarf, based on 20/2 silk.

* as few shafts as possible – limited to 24, since that’s what I have.

* preferably a one shuttle weave.

I’ve woven “bellringing” in a number of structures before. Huck gave me lace for the working bell, plain weave for the hunt bell and huck texture for the rest, but would need 26 shafts for 12 bells. Summer and winter in cottolin with two pattern wefts worked well with towels, but I wasn’t keen on the 3 shuttles and wondering about drape-ability. I’ve also woven with a variant of overshot (blogged at the end of this post) – maybe, but I’m not feeling it.

I’ve been playing in fibreworks PCW and reading The Best of Weaver’s: Summer & Winter Plus and a whole lot of other reference, playing with multishaft overshot, summer and winter, turned drafts… Ringing methods have a very predictable pattern in the sense of moving from block to block, which I thought could give me some flexibility, maybe stretch or break a few normal structural rules…

This explanation is so long!! And the idea was so fast and I think may work. If I have a base weave (say blue 20/2 silk plain weave and supplementary warps (say a nice plump merino/silk in red), then I can have 3 colours in an area.

This is a quick trial in fibreworks – 6 bells so I can sample on my 8 shaft loom. This is “Cambridge Minor” (I now realise a confusing change of colours to blue for hunt bell and red for working bell).

* floated supplementary warps on top (red)

* floated supplementary wefts on bottom (so background blue on top)

* supplementary warp woven in – call it purple.

I’d need 2 shafts for the plain weave plus 1 for each bell position. In the trial I mirrored the method across the warp, just for a better visual balance.

Next step is sampling yarns and sett to get enough differentiation of colour and a nice drape. I’ll have to consider different takeup of the warps – both the supplementary and the base at the edges. There are also float length and block width decisions………

 

Colour gamp shawl finished!

It’s done – 66 x 252 cm finished and hemmed (around 26 x 99 inches)! That’s one big piece of cloth to call a “shawl”, so it’s lucky I’m on the tall side.

Seen flat it doesn’t work for me – it looks like a picnic table cloth!. In a jumble or draped on a person it looks more interesting. That’s basically because I was focusing on its future use as a referencing and design tool, at the expense of the design of the particular piece itself.

Of the 63 colours dyed, seen here, 62 are used in the shawl (oops!!). There are 30 warp colours and 45 weft colours, including 13 colours in both warp and weft. That’s 1,350 colour combinations (possibly 1,194 after subtracting the duplicates if I’ve got the sum right) from the original 3 dye colours used.

At the detail level I find it fascinating. My original goal was to explore the different effects available by mixing colours in the dye versus optical colour mixing in the cloth. I think it’s going to take a long time to explore the answer(s), plus how far they can be generalised. For example, I find myself drawn to the chromatic neutrals (subdued almost greys, the result of including all 3 dye colours). I think they are beautiful in themselves plus work very well as a unifying and enhancing element as weft across a wide range of warp colours – which could probably be predicted, given the shared dye colour “parentage”. I wonder how far I can take that with a different range of original dye colours.

Some detail shots to finish. Regard the colour on your monitor as indicative only. I haven’t played with the colour in the software at all, but I’m seeing the photos on 2 screens at once (laptop plus a separate screen), and the colours displayed are quite different – rather a jarring effect.

Related posts:

Work in progress 2: https://fibresofbeing.wordpress.com/2011/02/13/inching-forward/

Work in progress 1: https://fibresofbeing.wordpress.com/2011/02/05/sweaty-palms/

colours and sample: https://fibresofbeing.wordpress.com/2011/01/28/first-things-first/

draft: https://fibresofbeing.wordpress.com/2011/01/04/progress-on-the-plan/

Inching forward

Progress on the huck texture shawl feels slow and fast at the same time. The picture shows a few reasons:

* changing weft colour every 45 picks. This is s-l-o-o-o-w;

* my “temple/stretcher” setup. I don’t have a temple big enough for the width (73 cm / 28.75 inches in the reed). I came up with a variant of an idea I first saw on Sandra Rude’s blog (sorry, can’t find the particular post just now), but instead of alligator clips I used some silk stretching claws I got from Batik Oetoro when I was doing silk painting. The result is effective, uses materials I had at hand, didn’t require any modification to the loom (hooks etc) … but slow to move on.

* stick shuttle. Super slow. This one is cringe-worthy, but I simply don’t have the throwing skills with my boat shuttles to get across the width. Yes, I need to develop the skills, and no, this is not the project to learn on. A positive point is that I can count the number of turns while I wind onto the shuttle and minimise wastage .

The fast part is that the weaving progresses smoothly, I enjoy handling the silk, and it is endlessly interesting to see all the colour combinations coming up. The second photo was taken at the same time, but a bit to the left. Same wefts showing, but a different effect with every warp stripe. I put the camera away and moments later was thinking how lovely the wefts looked on the left hand side (the bordeaux/violet mixes) and that I should get a shot of them. Then the next weft started – even more beautiful!

Fast or slow, I’ve given myself a deadline on this. One of my brothers is Master of the Ancient Society of College Youths (a bellringing group established in 1637, I just saw on their website)  – not relevant to me and my textile world except that he’s in Australia on a tour with them and we have a big family get-together next weekend. Obviously I need a lovely new textile to show off and maintain at least some balance in the sibling rivalry stakes!

[edited to add – brother Phil was enormously keen about the conversion to metric measures which took place in Australia while we were kids at home. He put up signs all around the house such as one next to the heater where my sister’s cat camped all winter: “Sooty weighs 5 kilograms”. Even overlooking this post’s title, I can’t figure if he would disapprove or be amused by the mixed up weaving world where I change from using inches to centimetres depending on whether I’m measuring width or length of a piece.]

Sweaty palms

Charming title, eh? I’ll get to that in a moment.

The huck silk warp is on the loom. I’ve found one sleying error (which was an easy fix) and everything else is looking OK. I had some trouble with the warp twisting and am a bit worried about how the tension will hold up, but not worried enough to feel the need to do something about it. (famous last words??)

I used 30 colours in the warp, in a variety of depths of shade. Going from right to left:

section 1 moves from pure violet to pure yellow;

section 2 moves from pure yellow to pure bordeaux;

section 3 goes through the “inner triangle” with varying proportions of all 3 dyes;

section 4 is the steps between bordeaux to violet without actually including the pure colours (since they’re already in the warp).

The weft plan is to go through the same sequence twice, with a few repeats but mostly different depths of shade. The end piece should have all 63 colours included.

The sweaty palms are both literal and metaphorical. Literal because it’s hot – I just checked a weather site and it’s currently 40.5 degrees celsius (104.9 F). I have a ceiling fan but no air-conditioning. The computer driving my loom is being a bit skittish with random reboots and I’m keeping to short bursts so as not to overheat the control box (or the controller – me!). The metaphorical sweat is nerves – this is the widest warp I’ve ever attempted and I’ve invested a fair bit of time in the dyeing and preparation; so far my throwing of the boat shuttle is just not doing the job so I’ve resorted to a stick shuttle – effective but not efficient or a good way forward. I can’t find the source, but I’m sure it was Syne Mitchell who wrote about learning outcomes being a weaver, not a piece of cloth – and after all the original question/concept was learning about colour interactions, not wanting a particular fabric. It also helps in my head if I call it “fear of learning” – much more scarey and unacceptable than “fear of failure”.

So the plan is one small step at a time, keep my cool, enjoy learning and improving.

Related posts:

colours and sample: https://fibresofbeing.wordpress.com/2011/01/28/first-things-first/

draft: https://fibresofbeing.wordpress.com/2011/01/04/progress-on-the-plan/


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