Monday, 11 February 2008

The stripey rayon and silk scarf series

Colour. I wanted colour. I wanted something I could weave hand-dyed and hand-spun silk caps into. And even if I'm not going to get to weave it before going South, I wanted to have a fun project waiting for me when I got home, something I could stick my teeth into without too much fussing. And I wanted to use the new warping mill which I bought back in December.

So I came up with stripes of blue, green and yellow rayon in varying widths, with a touch of gold for an accent:

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I warped this up in less than an hour on Saturday night. It's amazing how much time the warping mill can save, over using a warping board. I've made a 9m warp, which ought to be enough for four scarves. The warp is rayon flake, and sett at 16 epi should give me scarves that are just over 9 inches wide.


To make things even faster, I tied the warp on to the old one and had it all beamed in an hour or two...straight from the warping mill. I'm sure you're not supposed to do it that way, but it seems to me that if you don't have to pull the warp off and chain it, why risk the tangles?


I plan to weave into this with mottles blues and greens, and experiment and play with a few things, like clasped weave. To that end, I've spun up a few of the silk caps I dyed, and a couple of them are already on bobbins, ready to go:


...even if it will have to wait until I get back in April, I'll have the happy knowledge that there's a fun project awaiting my return!

Fluff, part 2


I finished the linen cloth on the weekend. I've wet-finished it but not pressed it yet, so I'm not sure how long it turned out in the end. I finished the entire tin of ironing spray with still a foot or so of warp to go, so I decided to continue until I had a fatal warp breakage. It didn't happen!

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The sheer amount of fluff in, under and around the loom dictated a full scrub-down of the torture room. The fluff I collected more than filled the dustpan! I really am amazed that it didn't rise up and turn itself into a pet! Once the fabric was off the loom though, all the care and cleanup was worth it.


This is the yardage, folded in half and draped over a rocking chair. As always, the weave itself (prior to wet finishing) was nothing special:


but wet finshing made the difference. As always, it took it from interleaved threads to a piece of cloth. It's not unlike the cheesecloth shirts I used to wear for their coolness in the 80s. It's probably not surprising that a piece of woven yardage should look like fabric, but it's pleasing me.

It needs to be pressed now, and it's ready for cross-stitching on...even if that will have to wait until I get back from my field work. And the next project (beamed on the loom already) will be considerably more colourful.

Thursday, 7 February 2008


The whole "having a career and being at work all day" thing means I'm very slow in turning projects over (especially as I'm at work during my most productive time of the day), but it does mean that I have time to muse about what the next project will be as I work on the current one. Typically that means that I always have dozens of projects in mind, some of which will eventually come to fruition.

With the linen cloth almost done, my mind is turning to my next project. This will be a series of four or so scarves in rayon and silk, because I want to play with multiple colours in both warp and weft. The warp will have stripes of varying width of blues and greens, with a touch of yellow and gold, and the weft will be hand-dyed and handspun silk cap, in a variety of shades. I've chosen and laid out the blue and green rayons for the warp (seven shades in all, if I recall correctly) and last weekend, in a fit of inspiration, I pulled out a pile of silk caps and the dye pots and set to.


The near colours are for other projects (or eventual sale for others to spin), but the blues and greens on the far end are destined for this project. Some of the scarves will be quite busy, strident and in-your-face with their colouring, others will be much more subtle - I'm planning to play. One of them is suggesting to me that it wants to play with clasped weft, with multicoloured blue-green-yellow silk on the blue side of the warp and just cornflower blue on the green side of the warp. It ought to be fun.

I'll vary the tie-up for each of the scarves, but they'll all be straight threaded on eight shafts, as that's how the linen is set and I want to just tie-on the warp. It's going to be a while before I have the chance to play with this. I have two months of field work coming up, and I'm leaving in just over a week. That ought to be enough time to finish the linen and warp on the new project. Which means it'll be waiting for me when I get back home.