Archive for the 'Huck Lace' Category

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:

Work in progress 1:

colours and sample:


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:


First things first

I have the completed yarn palette.

I finished winding the 0.2% DOS triangle last night, and the results can be seen at the front. I’ve also redone the first couple of yellow/bordeaux mixes in DOS 3%, with better results (first time I must have been dribbling bordeaux – it just didn’t look right).

I’ve also completed, washed and pressed the huck sampler. I’ve been calling it lace, but it’s really texture – warp floats and weft floats, but never in the same place.

I’ve measured myself (fingertip to fingertip), measured existing shawls, searched on the internet, and come up with some basic ideas on dimensions and number of warp and weft colours.

But first things first… I’m just playing with my colours 🙂

Another layout, trying to get a visual combining DOS with the movement through colours as the mix changes. [later edit – Geoff just wandered past, admired (clever man!) and pointed out two colours swapped in the 2% DOS violet to bordeaux transition. Oops. No harm done except the photos aren’t quite right.]

The more saturated and deeper colours led by the magnificent Violet B are beautiful.

But the inner heart of chromatic greys and neutrals …
happy sigh…

Huck colour update

While mulling over the possibilities for my problem scarf, I continue to potter along with the huck project mentioned here and here.

I’ve dyed more mixes using Lanaset’s violet, yellow 4g and bordeaux. The first set was 3% depth of shade (DOS), shown here in a very poor photo (oops…). Left is the 1% DOS shade. Still being wound into balls is a 0.2% set.

The second photo gives an idea of the impact of the different DOS. It shows the top of each triangle. So the top 3 are all 100% violet; the second row all have 80% violet with the remainding 20% either yellow or bordeaux.

The little sample is done – photo to come. Tomorrow’s plan is to finish winding all the dyed yarns and do some heavy duty calculating on shawl size and how many little rectangles of colour I can have. My 3 basic dye colours become 21 in a colour triangle, times 3 DOS sets means 63 colours. In theory that would mean 3969 rectangles for every combination of warp and weft (63 of each), but almost half would be repeats. I’m going to have to trim a bit!

New colours, new sample

Red 2B, Green B, Navy R. DOS 1%

The latest results of dye mixing – now moving to a paler depth of shade (although DOS refers to the ratio of dye to materials being dyed, not directly to the value of the end result. Anyway, less dye available to the same amount of yarn equals a lighter colour).

In progress is dyeing at 1% DOS using the colours in my planned weaving mix project. I dye six 25g skeins at a time, there are 21 colours in each mix triangle, and it takes a few days for each skein to move through the steps – winding yarn from a larger skein; dyeing including sitting in the dye liquid overnight; drying thoroughly; rinsing; drying thoroughly; winding into a ball. It’s been a nice, potter-y thing to do while on holidays. I’ll have to find a new rhythm when I go back to work next week.

huck lace / colour mix sample

I’ve made some progress on the sample for the colour mix project. Actually, at one time more progress than shows here – I wove the header then found a threading error, so have gone backwards a bit. Rather embarrassing – I was busy being smug, thinking how nicely the colour striping and threading and sett and denting worked together, making it so easy to avoid errors … then oops, what’s going on there??? Maybe (I hope) it makes it easy to identify errors (but that assumes there aren’t more lurking, ready to bite).

The colours here are from the Yellow 2R, Blue 2R, Red G triangle shown here, and I’ll use a few others from that mix set as weft. The sample is on my Ashford table loom, using 4 shafts. The final piece I plan to put on the Noble loom, spreading the threading over more shafts.

Progress on The Plan

I’m being a bit lazy here, and it shows. This scan doesn’t even hint at the gorgeousness of the latest dyeing colour mix set. The stack of wound balls presentation of dyed yarn is a bit more exciting, but I decided to try a change.

I’m somewhat betwixt and between in my dyeing. I measure things out and keep records, but there’s a fair whack of slapdash and inaccuracy in it. You can see my labelled yarn wrap records, showing a methodical progression through mixes. You may also be able to see the uneven change of colour on the diagonal moving from pure Bordeaux B on the top right down to pure Yellow 4G at the bottom. This could reflect the different properties and strengths of the two dyes. It’s more likely one or more of: I muddled up skeins; I overfilled or underfilled the metric measuring spoons I use to measure out dye stock; a bottle in which I store dyestock dribbled while I was measuring; the dyestock was old and tired; I misread my planning page and measured incorrect amounts…. Whatever, there is also the “issue” that each yarn shows variation, not a single solid colour.

For my purposes it’s Good Enough. I’m learning, having fun, and have a growing collection of beautiful silk yarn to play with. I don’t need to reproduce colours exactly, and I actually prefer the semi-solids which are more lively to my eyes.

This set of colours is the one I want to explore further in weaving. I love each individual one (except the pure yellow, which is a Challenge and Good For Me to learn to use!).

Out of the all the possibilities I’ve been considering, this is the current front runner. It’s alternating stripes of huck lace from Donna Muller’s Handwoven Laces (page 57).

It has areas of plain weave, warp lace and weft lace – so should be effective in exploring colour interactions. The current thought is a warp with 21 stripes – each of the colours in the colour mix triangle (I may redye that pesky bordeaux to yellow section). For weft, I’m thinking of using the same 21 colours, plus a selection from yarns dyed with the same mix proportions but different depth of shade (that is, lighter). I’ve already started dyeing a group at 1% DOS, and plan another at maybe 0.1% DOS.

The end result will be about shawl size, with 21 colours in warp and say 42 in weft giving 800+ colour combinations (with repeats). Multiply by 3 given plain weave, warp and weft areas.  All from 3 base dye colours. Current thought is 25 epi for the 20/2 silk, which fits nicely with a denting scheme for lace and my 10 epi reed (the only one I have for the big loom).

What do you think? Viable? Interesting? Other alternatives I have overlooked???

The next steps are more dyeing, plus a woven sample to check sett etc.



The 3 brothers afterwards.

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