Friday, 20 February 2009

A bit crinkly

I've started making samples to play with pleats. Pleats are easiest made with alternating stripes of 1/3 and 3/1 twill, and a fairly close set. Many people recommend also using an overtwisted yarn in the weft, but that's not necessary. For this set of samples I wanted to see whether I could create soft pleats rather than a strongly pleated fabric. I warped up a 2/30 merino yarn, with occasionall ends of the olive-coloured silk cap and merino handspun used in the "moss on oak" scarf. I dyed the merino an oaky green to complement the handspun. I sleyed it quite tightly for 2/30, at 30 epi - but not set as tightly as I would for tighter pleats.

To be honest, I don't think this draft does the odd shot of handspun favours but I'm going to play some more and see how it goes. I'm thinking that a more balanced weave suits contrasting threads better. I'm very pleased with the level of soft pleating however, and want to play more with this. You can also see clearly in the photo above the difference different weft materials have on the pleating effect - the beige at the bottom is commercial rayon yarn, a slightly thicker grist than the warp. The green weft at the top is dyed hand-spun silk cap, a slightly finer grist than the weft, but not the half-thickness of the weft often recommended for strong pleats.

There's been a lot of shrinkage in the wet finishing. The scarf went from 7.5 inches wide in the reed to 5.5 inches wet-finished.

So much for having a nice easy weave with this project, again! I'm finding that the 2/30 at this set is very sticky, and I'm having to clear the shed with my hand before each and every pick.

Monday, 16 February 2009

But lest you think I've been lazy....

...because I've not been sewing up and finishing woven items lately, this what's been absorbing my evenings instead.

This is the crossstitch sewn into the 20 epi handwoven linen, and it's coming along. It's a very complex piece but it's been the perfect evening companion for someone whose brain spent a couple of months fogged with colds and winter bugs. It's been taking the place of weaving and spinning. It requires concentration rather than thought. And it's huge - I'm sewing this at two spaces per stitch (it makes half-stitches easier), so it's sewn at 10 stitches/inch. In this photo, it's draped across the back of a full-sized rocking chair.

The big question is, can I finish it in the next six weeks?

A sea of pink

I don't even like pink.

I finished weaving the pink undulating twill a couple of weeks ago. I got two scarves from this warp in the end; the one in the back is the first, woven in alternating picks of handspun silk cap and 60/2 silk, the front one with just the 60/2 silk weft. Neither of them have been wet-finished yet, there's still the mending to do. Wet finishing ought to even out the selvedges as well. It's a real pity you can't reach through the computer to feel them because the difference in grist between the fabrics is marked. The half-handspun scarf is a much more substantial piece, solid in feel and promising to warm. The 60/2 fabric inthe front is much thinner and finer, like tissue paper as opposed to fine vellum.