Archive for the 'Sampler' Category

Bead leno detail

With seven wefts tried on my leno sample there was a clear and totally unexpected winner. Which will remain unseen until the Big P2P2 Reveal.

In the meantime I have a few detail shots of the bead leno setup.

In leno warp threads swap positions instead of running along neatly beside each other. Check my photo in this post from February to see a diagram. Back then I used “doups” to get the swapping. This time it’s “beads” – or pieces of a drinking straw in this instance. The first photo shows the setup between the heddles (at the top) and the reed. I used a straight threading for the warp – that is, starting from the right, a thread on shaft 1, the next on shaft 2, then shaft 3, then shaft 4, and repeat in sets of 4 threads, so looking at the loom from the front you have 4-3-2-1 – 4-3-2-1 – 4-3-2-1… Note that each set of 4 go together through a single dent of the reed – very important because otherwise the swapping wouldn’t work.

Here’s a closeup of a 4-3-2-1 group (click on the photo to see bigger). The threads on 4 (beige in this example) and 1 (light blue) are threaded through a piece of plastic straw underneath the threads on shafts 2 and 3 (both dark blue). Underneath – another very important detail. This is still with the shafts behind and the reed in front. (I just put a pickup stick under warps 2 and 3 to make it easier to see.)

While weaving leno the threads on shafts 2 and 3 just sit there – the world revolves around them.

The third photo shows what happens when shaft 1 is lifted. The light blue thread on shaft one goes up (yellow arrow). This pulls on the straw. The beige thread on shaft 4 is pulled over because it is threaded through the same piece of straw. The red arrow points to where 4-beige has been pulled across under the dark threads on shafts 2 and 3 and up. The photo is still between shafts and reed, but in front of the reed the order of threads is now

3 (down) – 2 (down) – 4 (up) – 1 (up)

I put through the weft in front of the reed and that order is captured. Thread 4 has swapped position.

Next (photo 4) I put down shaft 1 and lift shaft 4. The beige thread on shaft 4 goes up (yellow arrow). The light blue thread is pulled across, under the dark threads (red arrow), and up. In front of the reed we have

4 (up) – 1 (up) – 3 (down) – 2 (down)

A pick of weft captures that swap.

Repeat those two picks. The warp threads on shafts 1 and 4 appear first on the right of the group, then on the left, then the right, wobbling their way down the length of the cloth. You can see it a bit on the loom in the last post, but you don’t get the full wobbly goodness until off the loom and wet finished.

I think it’s amazing – magic! Easy to set up, not too tricky to weave. The shed is not as good as standard weaving – after all the warp being pulled across is pulling down on the straw, and also pulling up on the stationary threads as it goes underneath them. Plus in this particular example I am using textured yarn with blobs of cotton and I have to be gentle given the abrasion of all the warps rubbing as they are pulled around. So I am gently separating and spreading the shed with my pickup stick every single pick. This sounds slow, but the main work has already been done automatically by the bead setup and there are so few picks per inch that it’s wizzing along very happily.

Information sources:

  • notes from my weaving teacher, Liz Calnan.
  • “A new twist on Bead Leno” by Kathryn Wertenberger. Handwoven November/December 1989.

Getting distracted

Last week I had a sample based on one of Cally’s photos and was making plans for a scarf. But I’ve allowed myself to be distracted.

East Neuk by John Bellany. This image was one that really attracted me from the beginning. I could imagine standing looking down at such a harbour, cheeks glowing from the walk up the hill, hair a bit sticky from salt spray, a slightly chilly breeze buffeting me. I’d play with the image in my mind at odd moments, trying to figure a weaverly response.

Perhaps a scarf to wear against that chill, not too heavy, blending into the sea colours. Leno could be a good structure – the twisting of the warp ends (threads) provides stability and allows lighter, more open weaving. The threads move back and forward, possibly reminiscent of waves. The image from a post in February gives an idea of the effect – although then I used wool and mohair, too fluffy and warm for the current idea.

It took a while to find a yarn that I thought might work, but I had a big surprise when I got home and compared my colours with the picture – nothing like!! It’s not just a matter of colours not matching in different lights. More that there simply is no dark blue in the image, just for starters. I’ve been remembering times I’ve stood on hills, looking at harbours and sea, and my memories definitely tinted my purchasing!

At this point I’ve decided that the idea is to use the image as a starting point for a design, and if I’ve continued on to somewhere a bit different then that’s fine.

Yesterday I wound a warp with lots of room for both sample and a finished scarf. The photo shows a section that was a third of the width on the loom – 4 inches. I really enjoy using the warping wheel to mix colours in the warp (and be nice to my back), however I really need to improve my methods of getting such warps onto my table loom (which I often prefer for samples and experiments).  It didn’t get nasty or tangled, just very slow, painstaking and inefficient.

Today I finished dressing the loom and have started sampling. The warp is Patons’ Sorrento – 62% viscose, 28% cotton, current sampling at 10 ends per inch average, although obviously not evenly spread. I really wanted a yarn with some shine and some slubs (ruffled waters). This might be a bit tender and catchy for weaving leno, but seems to be standing up OK at the moment. I’m trying out bead leno and gently easing the shed with a pickup stick every pick. Fiddley but rather pleasantly absorbing. I’ve tried a few wefts so far – cottolin, Xie bamboo and 20/2 silk. I need to do a bit more then will see how it behaves off the loom and in the finishing.

Meg asked me about where I was going with my sample last week. I guess my approach has been to take some of my impressions of the photo and mix that up with ideas that occur to me as I think about it. For that sample the idea that the photo was taken in Switzerland became important, and self expression in a structured society, in addition to some colour and texture cues from the photo. Some of my weaving is focused on building skills, adding techniques. P2P2 feels quite exposed in a way – starting from the other side I’m trying to express at least a little bit a mix of thoughts and emotions, looking for the right mix of yarn and structure to do that. I really have no idea what I’m doing, but I’m enjoying it 🙂

P2P2 Round 2 sample

The sample on the loom here is now cut off and finished (vigourous handwashing using olive oil soap and very hot then very cold water to promote fulling/felting/shrinkage). The photo shows before and after finishing.

The resulting fabric is quite soft, reasonable drape, and would be fine as a scarf. Both the novelty supplementary warps are reasonably attached to the base cloth – not enough for hard wear, but shouldn’t catch/snag too much as a scarf. I tried some fine gold foil type thread in both warp and as a weft inlay (plain weave, no floats). It didn’t felt in at all (as I expected – too smooth, wouldn’t absorb water). The warp looks generally OK, just a few slightly loopy spots (given it didn’t shrink at all). The weft inlay has larger loops at each turnaround point – not attractive. The long weft floats of the base cloth, which catch in and give wriggle room for the supplementary warps) are almost all OK in the sense of attaching in enough – just a couple of long ones in the central area aren’t great. However I do find the horizontal lines (vertical in the photo!) visually distracting.

In term of the wriggly lines I was looking for it’s definitely a success.

The process of weaving went quite pleasantly.  (A tactful silence on selvedges!). As mentioned previously my improvised threading was way off, but using pickup to create the floats gave a lot of additional flexibility, was only every 10-ish more or less picks so didn’t slow things down too much (I used the Ashford table loom) and I rather enjoyed playing with it.

As for the draft, I was very interested to see Jessica-of-Sharing-the-Fiber-Fever’s cannelĂ© post here. It looked very similar to the “spider weave” from Sharon Alderman’s book that I used as a starting point. (I turned her draft then hacked it badly). I tracked down an old article about cannelĂ© on handweaving.net – Master Weaver No 12 1953. There are a few variations with Fig 5 looking closest to Sharon’s. The big difference that I could see is in the warps that float over the fancy weft (remember my samples are turned). In Sharon’s draft the warps weave in with the plain weave cloth when not required for floating. The Master Weaver has them floating on the back. Yet another structure that seems similar but different is a “novelty weave” from Doramay Keasbey (draft b on page 270, discussed page 271). It has something slightly different in a corner of the plain weave base – just a couple of interlacements, but in weaving that could be significant. Don’t know.

The major question for now – could one or more elements of the sample be used to make an attractive scarf?

The Luce yarn is probably out (just half of one warp in the sample). Something about the chunkiness and the quick colour change makes it less graphic and interesting to me. Although it might be closer in feel to the original photo. Gold in the weft is definitely out. I think some staggering and being mindful of float length will reduce the visual distraction of the weft floats.

Hmm. Any thoughts?

2 questions + P2P2 round 2 update

First a couple of questions.

Do you know anything about the Open College of the Arts BA Textiles degree? A friend has been researching textile courses for a while and we’ve both got excited about this one. I’ve looked through OCA website, plus found quite a few “learning log” blogs of current students – http://ocacreativeartsjourney.wordpress.com/ is a good place to start since she has links to other students in addition to her own work. I’d love to learn more about the course and peoples’ experiences with OCA, so please leave a comment.

The second question was left in a comment from Isa Vogle: “Please, I am wondering if you or anyone else knows how to put short z-spun singles on a sectional loom not using a tension box. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Isa” I don’t know the background of the various constraints Isa is facing (other equipment available, width of warp etc) and have never tried anything like this, but it sounds like a potential world of pain to me. I think you’d need a nice long leader to attach to, or maybe tie onto a ghost warp? Plus there could be challenges relating to the amount of twist/energy in the singles, avoiding tangles and/or the yarn simply falling apart. Any other ideas for Isa?

Finally a brief update on P2P2. I’ve started a sample using some of the ideas from here. I came up with a threading on 8 shafts which I thought would give me the plain weave background and some options in the positioning of the floats that allow movement. It was immediately obvious that I had no idea what I was doing and the threading was rubbish (well, the plain weave base worked)! Fortunately my good friend the pickup stick has helped enormously and I think I have the hang of it, with the bonus of lots of flexibility. The proof will be in the wet finishing.

Jason Collingwood at the Textile Fibre Forum

Last week was TAFTA’s Forum in Orange and I had a wonderful time. I struggle to describe these weeks (this was my 5th) – a couple of hundred textile fanatics, lots of learning and friendship and craziness – exciting, stimulating, sometimes overwhelming… There’s a lot of exuberance and fun but also the opportunity to really get into your particular subject since you spend Monday to Friday in the one class.

Mine was Three-End Block Weaves with Jason Collingwood. I was so impressed by him, the intense focus and depth of knowledge, every detail considered to produce the best work he can – in his rug weaving, but also in his teaching. He had samples and could demonstrate and explain lots of options, but could also explain the reasons, the choices in pursuit of excellence in his own work, which mean he works almost exclusively with a reduced set of techniques. He doesn’t see it as restricting or constraining, but as working in harmony with the structure/technique. He also takes a very practical non-precious approach to his equipment (loom), modifying it in all sorts of ways to make his work efficient and achieve the best results he can.

I admire this enormously. After considerable reflection I am comfortable that I don’t aspire to it myself. Part of course is that weaving is Jason’s profession, but my hobby. Part is the joy of exploration and discovery (which still counts, no matter how many have discovered it before me – and I agree can be found in deep as well as broad studies). Achieving mastery – perhaps one day I will be ready to make that investment, but quite possibly never.

A brief look at what we did – with the warning that there are no details or how-tos:

Sunday afternoon pre-class get -together: general introductions and background.

Day 1 – Monday

Most of us brought looms already warped and part threaded. In 3 end block weave you have tiedown ends on shafts 1 and 2, then a pattern/background thread on either shaft 3 or 4. Jason’s instructions had us put the pattern/background thread in each block between empty heddles on shafts 3 and 4. That way we could change individual threads/blocks between pattern and background by tieing the individual thread to one of the empty heddles. Fiddly, but do-able.

Going from bottom to top of the photo we have the header; twining (done to space the warp, then each day to divide up the sampler); some solid colour; pattern blocks, counter change and general play.

We spent a lot of time on the details that make a difference – bubbling the warp, managing the selvedge, starting and ending weft, darning in ends, tension, beat…

Day 2:

We worked with “constant lift”, using weft colours to pattern, and “constant colour” where the weft colour order is maintained and the lifts change. We produced vertical and cross stripes, aligned and staggered dots, introduced a third colour (used in my “frame” section). As well as plain background we used different patterning in the two blocks.

I ran out of time and didn’t get a log cabin sample done.

Day 3:

Wednesday was a half day for class. The afternoon was free to take a break, explore town, or (in my case) continue work.

We worked on clasped weft, using very precise techniques and positioning – quite unlike the bits I’ve done in the past such as with “freestyle rosepath” .  The focus was always kept on producing a structurally sound rug.

We were able to use the lifts and patterning we had already learned, combined with the multiple colours. Once again I ran out of time – others in the class tried clasping 3 colours at once. There was also a rather neat “disappearing block” trick.

Day 4:

On Thursday morning we changed structure to 2/1 double faced twill.  I liked the graphic shape and colour combination I got in the blue/red area. The twill line wasn’t reversed, just the positioning of the clasped weft. Again I ran out of time and didn’t try reversing twill lines, let alone having different colours / patterning on front and back of the cloth.

In the afternoon Jason introduced us to shaft switching. Through the week we had been changing blocks to and from pattern and background to suit the various samples. As I mentioned in “day 1”, it was just a matter of tieing the pattern end to one of the empty heddles, either shaft 3 or 4. Flexible, but slow and fiddly.

Now we did an arrangement of ties and knots to make it faster and easier to change each end – shaft switching, although a more primitive form that didn’t require any modifications to the loom. It’s beyond me to explain and a photo of my loom just looks a messy tangle. I found this article by Thelma Bodkin – the “threading detail” shown in the diagram seems to match what we did, but instead of all the fixings we used “boa” knots to select which way (to which heddle/shaft) the warp end was tightened. Naturally I used a bellringing pattern to test it out. That jagged red line is “stedman doubles”, at least in my eyes 🙂 I was changing the pattern end every 4 picks and actually started building some rhythm in the movements.

Day 5:

The final day we looked at raised end pick up. Jason tried to demonstrate on my loom – that thin area just above the blue/orange twining. He pronounced it the worst shed  he’d ever had. Actually close to non-existant. All 8 of us in the class were using table looms, and this was just a step too far for mine.

Jason also presented dovetailing – still on my “to do” list. Instead I tried a rather crazy counterchange pattern (the bit below the green tuft is where I misunderstood the directions and nothing was happening). The arrangement of blocks is actually easier to pick out in the photo – towards the top centre you may even be able to see a lozenge shape where I was combining shaft switching with the crazy counterchange.

We finished off with lots of information about finishing, some ideas for useful loom adjustments and general design considerations.

Non-weaving, but a personal triumph: As a wrap up to the week, Friday night was LA PARTY! Last year I was too tired and sore to go – I crawled into bed at 8pm with the distant sounds of music mocking me. The next week I joined a gym, started overhauling my eating and used LA PARTY as my focus. A year later and 29 kilos down, I got there and was on the dance floor most of the night! A great end to a great week!!

Well, not quite the end. Saturday morning was “open  house”, where classes displayed their work for each other and visitors from town. There was also the “Heathen Bazaar” and final chats with old and new friends.

I still have some warp on the loom, so the next plan is to do some of the samples I missed. Plus I want to try some of the same techniques using lighter materials  – aiming for something in a bag weight first off I think. Then – well, probably something totally different…

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.

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…


Instagram

#voteyes

Calendar of Posts

September 2017
M T W T F S S
« Aug    
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
252627282930  

Archives

Categories