Monday, 25 June 2007

The 'seafoam' silk and rayon scarf

With the new loom happening, I decided to finally do something about the spun, hand-dyed silk cap. I decided that the complexity of the colour in the spun silk would overwhelm any pattern so decided that a plain weave on a puce rayon warp was the way to go. So I wound a 10 inch-wide, 2.5-metre warp, which would allow for a 1.8 metre scarf. Plain threaded at 15 epi with the warp at slightly fewer ppi, the plan was for a slightly open, delicate weave.

Packing the warp with newspaper gave differing tensions along the threads, which meant that the warp would shuffle a little as the warp was wound on. Normally this would be a problem, but it gave the effect I was looking for: a shifting weft pattern that resembles foam on a green-blue, tropical sea. I'm really pleased with the way it's turned out. Even more amazingly, considering I didn't bother measuring the length of the silk but put it on the shuttles straight from the bobbin, one silk cap was enough for an entire scarf!

The result is a sumptuous, delicate scarf that's going to be both cool for summer and warm for winter.

The scarf, off the loom, fringed and washed, but obviously not pressed yet:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

And a close-up of the weave structure:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I'm really pleased with the way this has turned out. I'm seriously considering replicating this project in different colours, and using either silk or cashmere as a warp, and then trying to sell them. I'm starting to see the potential for filling a niche for nice, artisanal, fine silk and cashmere garments. I may this a hobby that pays yet.

In the meantime, the debugging continues. I have some dishcloths on the loom at the moment in 8/2 cotton, to prove that it can weave straight fabric (it can), and then I might make some 25-count linen for a cross-stitch project I need to remake (I had a lovely cross-stitch that H asked to keep when I moved here). That ought to happen in the next week or two, and then I'm going to make an expermental rug. I'm constantly amazed at just how much faster having foot pedals and a boat shuttle can make one's weaving, as opposed to having to flick swtiches on a table loom and unwind weft from a stick shuttle.

I've also just upgraded my loom (a 4-shaft, 70cm weaving width Glimakra Ideal). I've just bought an 8-shaft, 100 cm Glimakra Ideal. It's countermarch rather than counterbalance which will give better shed, and would be converted to a 16-shaft dobby loom if I want to in the future. The best part is, I bought it for just under 1/3 of what it's worth!

No comments:

Post a Comment