Archive for March, 2011

Denting issues

I got the warp on – all seemed to go well. Wove a few test centimetres to check threading. It looked OK, but somehow a bit streaky. The pattern definition wasn’t as good as in my samples. Perhaps it was the closer values of the foreground and background colours. Obviously the sett had changed – the samples were 40 and 30 epi, with the new reed I had changed to 36 epi.

The photo shows where I stopped, while partway through hemstitching. Clicking will get the larger version, and I’ve arrowed the two single blue ends which outline the edges at the pattern reversal. The one one the right shows clearly. The one on the left is almost completely obscured. Plus there’s a general streaky and lumpy effect going on.

I’m using a 12 dent per inch reed and each of my warps (ground and supplementary) is 18 ends per inch. The ground is plain weave on shafts 1 and 2. The supplementary is on shafts 3 to 15, but in the area arrowed they are all on shaft 3. All the supplementary ends lift with shaft 1, unless they are involved in one of the float areas.

Sometimes figuring things out in weaving does my head in, and after stomping around the house a while I decided to post about it – partly for advice, partly because just sorting out the question can help find answers (I tend to see this blog as my work diary, which happens to be public and occasionally of interest to others – though I’d be surprised if anyone gets this far!).  The incomprehensible sketch (playing with yet another new toy, a wacom bamboo tablet) helped me see the problem. The ground warp is 18 epi in a 12 dent reed, so 2 ends in one dent, 1 in the next etc. The supplementary warp is 18 epi, so 2 ends in one dent, 1 in the next. The way I’d done the two warps I ended with a total of 4 ends in one dent, 2 in the next. So there’s some lumpiness!

So I could redent to even it out with 3 ends per dent – 2 ground + 1 supplementary in one dent, 1 ground + 2 supplementary in the next. I suspect this will help, but not solve my problem. The threading has ground ends alternating with supplementary ends – eg 1 3 2 3 1 3 2 3 1 3 2 3 (1 and 2 ground, 3 supplementary). That is, the supplementary ends sit either side of the ends on shaft 1, rise and fall with it, and are sometimes dented with it. So I think it’s in the nature of things that they won’t necessarily sit nicely side by side. The current craming isn’t helping.

If I had an 18 epi reed I could dent: 1 in one dent, 3-2-3 in the next etc, and overall maintain my 18 epi per warp (the ground warp 1 end per dent, the supplementary 2 ends every second dent). But I don’t. And I’m now in frugal mode (all those new toys to pay for), even if such a fine reed is available and such spacing didn’t give me warp abrasion problems.


The post that got away

Last week’s post didn’t happen. It was a distraction from the weaving that wasn’t happening, but I was waiting for some brighter weather to take (distracting!) photos. Being in a frugal phase I now offer last week…

Here’s some impressive weaving I noticed recently – a building facade, part of the revamped Centrepoint Tower building in Sydney. The artwork is by Dani Marti, who created a woven rope sculpture which was then cast in glass-reinforced concrete. There are some more photos and information here (click on “Construction” at the bottom to see the original work) and here. I haven’t been able to find out anything about the patterned glass canopy, but to me it looks a bit like a weaving drawdown. (photo to come??? – in the meantime check the links – I think they’re worth it.)

On the home front, there’s nothing going on with the supplementary warp project – the new reed is still on its way, the new warp is still damp. While waiting I’ve been doing some dabbling.

First up was braiding or kumihimo, using a beginner’s marudai I got secondhand from the guild shop. I’m happily improvising the rest of the equipment while I try out this craft.

Photo shows marudai (the stand that holds the braid while you are working), the improvised tama (weighted bobbins) and my first two braids. For more photos and info see wikipedia. The teal warp-faced weave is my backstrap attempt.

I’ve also been played with backstrap weaving, following Laverne Waddington‘s brilliant instructions. So far I’m only partway through step one – backstrap basics on WeaveZine, but at least I have the satisfaction that despite significant tension issues the second half of my first weaving was much better than the first (which does set the bar very low indeed!).

Now fast-forwarding to today’s exciting episode…

In the last few days the sun has come out, the dyed warp has dried, the new reed has arrived (I’m very happy with the service from Luke at Independent Reed Co – no website but email indreed at bigpond dot com dot au.)

Yesterday I wound the dry silk/merino supplementary warp, using the AVL warping wheel and chaining off the sections so I could put it on the second back beam. The winding went well, the beaming got ugly at times – but it’s done.

The photo on the left shows the two warps, the silk for the ground cloth on the sectional beam, the silk/merino on the plain warp beam which is a bit lower. I’ve only used the second beam once before, for the deflected double weave scarf, when I made a total hash of it – hopefully this will weave up more easily.

I’m currently threading and so far it is going better than I expected. I’ve put the two warps on separate lease sticks, one set hung high, one low behind the heddles.

Working from the front, it is not too bad to reach both warps and select the alternating ends I need. With recent projects I’ve become much more careful of counting out the heddles I’ll need, moving un-needed ones out of the way, and pulling out sets of threads and heddles to work with. It seems to keep me more accurate, giving additional check points along the way. Just hope writing this doesn’t jinx me!

The foolish dyer

How did I mess up? Let me count the ways!

1: you didn’t see this last week. I miscalculated drying times in a humid Sydney and the planned warping time came and went with yarns still damp.

2. After all my warp calculations… I forgot about dyeing some weft!!! D’oh!

3. Dyeing yarns in the same pot doesn’t mean getting the same colour. I chose colours from my dye marathon earlier in the summer – the brown and blue middle top. The base warp is the same 20/2 silk, the supplementary warp a 50/50 silk/merino mix. The browns I dyed together – the results are the next two cakes of yarn moving around the photo anti-clockwise. The silk/merino yarn gobbled up the dye, giving a darker brown and leaving the large amount of 20/2 silk pale.

4. Finally I dyed some weft – the brown at the middle bottom. Actually this is OK. A different brown again, but in the ballpark.

5. The blue silk/merino at the right. I was using the whole hank and didn’t check the ties. Lesson learnt.

All of which has ended up working well for me 🙂

a. I took the samples to weaving group on Monday night. Based on them I was planning to warp at 30 epi (15 each base and supplementary). Liz suggested the 40 epi sample was fine, or 36 epi could be even better. I only have a 10 dpi reed – to which the class pointed out both the possibility and a source for acquiring a 12 dpi. Since (fortunately!) warping had been delayed (see above) I can change plans and use the new reed which should arrive in a week or so.

b. In the meantime other new weaving equipment arrived – an avl warping wheel. I took it for its first spin (ho ho) today and you can see the first few sections of 20/2 silk sitting smoothly on the sectional beam.

Not everything has to be new. I decided to use all the browns in the warp and my lazy kate worked very nicely to keep things moving smoothly and separately.

c. I still need to redye some blue silk/merino, but this gives the opportunity to go for a somewhat lighter depth of shade. Maybe it’s different fibres and sheen which is causing the darker shades.

Current plan is to overdye the old blue with lots of black, which will surely come in handy one of these days.

After all my trip-ups, not a bad outcome. A foolish but fortunate dyer.

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March 2011

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