Saturday, 16 August 2008

About turn on the loom

So I'm a sucker for punishment. Even with a bad back, I couldn't resist crawling under the loom and tieing up the new project. I wanted to get going on it because I was excited about the draft I wanted to try. So I tied-up slowly, with lots of rests - but I ended up doing it not once, but twice.

Once I had the pedals tied, I started with a sample. And I hated it.

I was already out of my comfort zone with these colours, because I don't really do pastels, and this was just coarse. Garish. Ugly, in a really bad '50s way. So I tried some other colours. In the image above, from bottom to top: scrap cotton in grey, the sandy yellow 8/2 cotton I'd thought to sue for the warp, brown 8/2, and a natural 10/2 cottolin. The cottolin was better than the others, but I still wasn't happy. Worse, the fabric was going to be totally impractical for a tea-towel. Clearly this needed a draft which gave a more even balance between the warp and weft. And with a sore upper back, I really did not want to completely rethread the loom. So off to the computer.

I still don't own any drafting software, although I've been trying several with an eye to purchase (I'm leaning towards Fibreworks at the moment, but I'd appreciate recommendations). So I downloaded the demo of Pixeloom, put the threading in and started to think about alternate tie-ups and treadlings. The solution I came up with was a twist on a tie-up for "Betsy Ross towels", from a 1918 weaving book given to me by a friend, who'd inherited it from her grandmother. As this was a 4-shaft draft, I'd have to spend minimal time under the loom, re-tieing. Then I played with treadlings until I found a pleasing draft.

Next problem: what to use for the weft now? Why not try the sandy yellow again? So I did.

What a difference! From clunky and ugly with colours not working together to light, lacy and pleasing. The two colours go together really well. As the green is dyed with three different, close shades, and the yellow is dyed with two slightly different shades, the slight variegations in colour are pleasing to the eye. This is going to turn into something that's a light teatowel rather than a robust dishcloth, but I'm so pleased with the effect, I think I'm going to tie the green silk on to the loom as soon as I've done this and make the green-and-yellow scarf with this draft.

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