Sunday, 18 October 2015

Colour experiments

I amended the draft in the end by putting in an extra plain weave end between the ribs, which meant that I didn't have to rethread the whole warp in the heddles, but it has resulted in more obvious stripes between the ribs, as you can see here. 

This is the corrected draft as I finally threaded it up. I took all the warp ends out of the front 2 shafts, added in the extra heddles and rethreaded, adding in extra new warp ends attached to a rudimentary warp beam (length of dowling) for the new ends highlighted in the draft. It is very Heath Robinson but is working ok. 

The washed fabric from the first section I did pulled in quite a bit (see photo below). With only 2 plain weave picks between the ribs, you can barely see the stripes (or the original error!) as the plain weave is deep down between the raised ribs. So I'll be interested to see how the new section looks when washed, and whether the stripes will still be as clearly visible as on the loom. The washed fabric has a really nice feel, very thick and chunky, with a good 3-D effect. 

Washed fabric of old draft with error. The 3-D effect is more marked after washing

I've been experimenting with some different colour combinations on the same warp. Because it is essentially a type of double weave you can get blocks 
of solid colour against different backgrounds. And I quite like the striped effect in the plain weave sections. It shows up quite well with the single blocks of colour, compared to the ribs. 

Monday, 7 September 2015

Draft error!

I've started a new colour section of the bedford cord, and while I was experimenting with a doubled weft yarn I realised that there is a mistake in the tie-up, resulting in the first two ends of each colour strip NOT alternating in the plain weave. How annoying. There isn't much I can do, unless I put 30 temporary heddles to add in an extra 30 ends. Which I don't really feel like doing. As I noticed it when weaving the thicker weft, and not in the previous 25 inches of weaving, I think I'll just go back to the finer weft for now. However it means I won't really want to tie a new warp onto the old one, as I was planning.  
Thicker weft showing threading error.

I did manage to work out the tie up for doing some plain weave, so I could end the orange and blue section with an edging of thin stripes to match the selvedge. The wadding ends are just loose at the back for this section, so I'll have to sew the edge to keep them in place before I wash it, or I can imagine they might pull out in the wash.
Thin striped edging and start of new colour. 

This is the draft with the error corrected by adding back in an extra end for each stripe (highlighted squares). I'm not sure how I could correct it in any other way. I've also added the plain weave treadles here.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Flora in Silverdale

I've had a good summer for local flora this year, and have found several plants that I've been trying to find for some time. This is Autumn ladies' tresses, very small and quite tricky to find, even when you know exactly where it's supposed to be.

Autumn ladies' tresses
I've found two ferns, the oak fern, Gymnocarpium dryopteris (the top photo below, bright green), and the beech fern, Phegopteris connectilis (bottom photo, a duller blue green, and in shaded woodland).

Beech fern
Oak fern

A broad-leaved helleborine, not particularly new or exciting, but it was really good to see it growing in local woodland above the house, in a place I've not seen it before.
Broad-leaved helleborine

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Bedford cord

Having not had much time for weaving over the past year, I was really excited to try something new with this Bedford cord. I thought it would be different, interesting, and would produce a nice padded fabric for maybe using to make laptop covers and that sort of thing (or hot water bottle covers, or cushions)

I wanted to include the wadding in the ribs, and also plain weave in the furrow between the ribs, both of which made for a more complicated draft. I really struggled to understand how it was going to work in practice from studying the drafts, but eventually just went with it. The first bit of weaving I did, with a very thick weft to spread the warp, didn't seem to be working at all, but as soon as I started on the finer weft it all just magically happened as it was supposed to. 

This is the top surface. You can just see the red 'wadding' warp threads sitting below the orange and blue ones which produce the woven surface. The orange ribs have dark green wadding, which you can't see as well.

And below is the underneath. You can see how the weft threads just float under the rib that is being woven. They also pass under the wadding threads, holding them in place.

I found the draft confusing to understand. I couldn't see how the wadding threads could be raised in the ribs that are not being woven. In fact they are raised to allow the non-weaving weft to go underneath, then lowered for 2 picks where the weaving weft weaves the same section of warp threads above the wadding, so that the wadding ends up encased. It still seems amazingly clever to me.

This is all on 8 shafts, but only 4 treadles. I plan to add 2 more treadles to allow the wadding ends to surface briefly every once in a while, to make a spot. The drafts I saw to do this all involved at least 4 extra shafts to give multiple spots, whereas I only want something simple. But that means me working out my own tie up for it!

And here's the draft, as it currently stands (extra treadle tie up to be added, hopefully):

I'm a bit depressed to find that I was weaving exactly the same yarns and colours last time I posted on here. So here are a couple of other things I have done, just in plain weave. The bottom are a mix of fine linen and lambswool (blue) or silk/merino mix (green), which I lazily washed in the machine. The wool shrank quite a bit and has made a very crinkly fabric.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Tying on linen and wool warp, and sampling!!

I tied the linen and wool warp onto the wool one, weaving a strip of plain weave first to keep all the ends in order and make them easier to find. It worked very well, I had no crossed ends doing it this way, and it was quite quick to do. This is a huck tie up but I'll only be using plain weave in a very open sett for this.

I really had to weave a sample for this, as the fabric on the loom looks completely unlike what it does when washed, and I didn't really know what I wanted to do. I could become a convert to sampling! This is the washed sample: I tried various different combinations of linen and wool weft, and threw in the odd pick of a thicker alpaca yarn in natural fawn colour. I also tried overspinning some of the super soft merino (the creamy beige weft in the sample), which I hoped would produce some sort of collapse weave. I spun it enough to produce kinks, but I think maybe this was not enough, as it didn't produce any results in the finished fabric, despite being woven at a very open sett. I wove bands of both the overspun merino and the normal merino off the cone, and you can't tell which is which.
The linen weft, on the other hand, was very interesting and kinked up quite a bit when washed. It's a singles yarn, and also doesn't have the stretch and shrink properties of the wool. I did wash it in hot water so probably the wool warp and bands of weft have shrunk enough to make the linen kink. I'm using the plain linen weft, but for the second scarf I might use the striped combination at the top, which is two picks of supersoft merino in creamy fawn and two picks of blue linen.

I've now started on the scarf and am using nearly all linen weft, with single picks of thicker alpaca natural yarn. I hope this will work out as in the sample. It's so different on the loom, almost like netting. I hope it will make a nice lightweight yarn, with no wool itch, and in nice soft neutral colours.

Second scarf

I did a small sample using the alternate huck threading for the lycra, so the floats alternate blocks instead of being aligned. I'm glad I didn't use this for a whole scarf, it has resulted in slightly diagonal ridges. On the right you can see just how much the lycra yarn coils up when it is left to it's own devices. Off the cone and before washing it is much more manageable though. 

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Pleated scarf

I finished this scarf in record time - plain weave is so much quicker than anything else! I was unsure about how the pleating would turn out, as I didn't sample beforehand (obviously!), but it was better than I could have hoped for. It was all woven in plain weave, except for the lycra picks, which had long floats of about half an inch. This was using a fairly basic huck threading (I knotted the warp onto the remains of the previous huck scarves). I used the same treadle for every lycra pick, so that the floats were all aligned down the scarf, rather than using the two treadles alternating, which would have offset the floats. I presume that offsetting the floats would create some sort of bubbles rather than pleats, but as the pleats are so effective I'm sticking with them for the next scarf.
When I took the fabric off the loom the lycra pulled in a little. I then dumped it into hot soapy water (as hot as possible from the tap), and it immediately shrank and pulled the whole thing into pleats.

Close up of the pleating, the first picture has the fabric opened up a little, when 'at rest' it is quite strongly pleated. The second photo shows the side with the lycra floats. 
For the second scarf I'm using orange and purple wefts to make a check pattern, though I'm not sure how this will appear once it is pleated. I hope it works ok. The weft in the first scarf was sage green. 
One photo was using a flash and the other not, which has made the colours look quite different.