So many things…

…to show, just on the weaving front. Weaving like mad to get ready for my last summer show later this month, plus doing the regular things like seemingly non-stop lawn mowing. But enough of that. Here’s what you want to see. I hope. In chronological order.

A fellow Guild member is moving so had a sale at her house of some yarns, books, and equipment. I behaved myself, but did spend some money. And what I bought inspired me. I bought a cone of orange cotton yarn plied with electric blue metallic. Had to use that in some scarves!

I thought I wanted to do bumberet scarves, but after some planning and playing decided I’d do some random stripes and a simple straight twill instead, thinking it was a better use of the bling yarn. I used the random stripe generator at biscuitsandjam. Once I had a stripe arrangement I liked, I set it up on my counterbalance loom. First I used a burgundy weft.

red random striped scarf with bling

The second scarf had a medium blue weft. This is my personal favorite of the trio.

blue random striped scarf with bling

Finally I went with the knowledge that black intensifies color, so chose a black weft. I don’t really care for what it did; maybe someone else will. These 3 scarves are fringed and wet finished.

black random striped scarf with bling

Another cone of yarn I bought was this really highly textured, undyed cotton. It spoke to me. I pulled out my 8/2 undyed cotton, alternating it with some yarn I’ve had for a long time, and bought who knows where from another weaver. The cone is ancient, and when I bought it I did the burn test and labelled it rayon. I did the burn test again last week and determined that it is not rayon, at least not today’s rayon. I’m going to mark the tag vintage synthetic.

Anyway, the vintage yarn is quite fine – about 5,000 yards per pound, and VERY shiny. So I thought it would make an interesting weave with unmercerized cotton. I wound them together and threaded them together – 1 strand cotton and 1 strand synthetic in each heddle. Here’s what it looked like while I was beaming it. Can you see the sheen of that yarn? Cool, huh?

beaming snow and ice shawl

I wound a warp for 2 shawls, and only had enough of that nubbly yarn to weave 1. I decided to use both the nubbly yarn and the synthetic in each pick. Here’s how that looked on the loom. I’m soooo happy with it. You can’t really see the undulating twill pattern, but that’s okay with me.

snow & ice shawl on the loom

For the 2nd shawl I tried out a few different wefts. My favorite was to simply use the same yarns for weft as for warp. I am just in love with this, too.

undulating twill shawl, pearls and ivory

In addition to looking great, these shawls have a wonderful hand. They are soft and drape beautiful, with enough weight to be luxurious. These shawls are also fringed and wet finished.

Next up I moved away from the new yarns, putting on a silk warp for a set of 3 complex twill scarves. First in black and white.

black and white silk medallions

Next in royal purple.

purple & white silk medallions

I knew that I’d planned for this to be a long cowl, and subsequently decided I didn’t want that, so I had to make the fringe short or I’d run out of warp. So without enough length to make twisted fringe, I decided to add some beads, using both glass pearlized seed beads and small amethyst rounds.

beaded fringe on purple medallions scarf

I only had enough length for a short cowl, and chose red weft and a different treadling pattern. Obviously these are also all finished.

red & white silk cowl

Then I wanted to make some more tencel scarves, so I measured out white tencel for more complex twill.

First, again, black & white. This time squares.

black and white tencel scarf on loom

Next up a sage green, with the squares elongated to rectangles.

green & white tencel rectangle scarf on loom

For the third I changed the tie up, and wove with coral & white, back to squares.

coral & white tencel scarf on loom

I was sorely disappointed that I ran out of that coral yarn about 6″ before I wanted to be done. This scarf will be a little shorter than my usual. These scarves are awaiting fringing and wet finishing.

Now I’m trying something new-to-me. A variegated cotton warp with a rayon chenille weft. I chose to only measure enough length for 1 piece, since I’m not sure if I’ll like it, even though that’s an inefficient way to weave. I’m going to sew this shawl into a moebius when it comes off the loom. We’ll see if my customers like that.

cotton & rayon chenille on loom

I don’t plan to weave other things before the show as I have other commitments. But I still have to label everything and make more bags. Plenty of time, she says. 🙂

Not perfect

I try, I really do. I try hard to weave without errors in threading or treadling. I often succeed. But sometimes not. And when I don’t see the errors until a piece is off the loom, sometimes it can be fixed, sometimes not.

A few weeks ago I posted about a silk warp I’d just painted. It was 864 ends, dyed in blues and greens, and went on the loom a bit ago. My intention from the beginning was a more vibrant warp, so I was going to let the colors take center stage with simple twill blocks for the weave structure. When the colors turned out much more pastel than I’d anticipated, I could have, and maybe should have, changed the weave pattern, but didn’t.

The 30/2 silk warp is a rather nubly texture, and without the sheen of many silks. So I opted to cross it with high sheen 20/2 silk wefts for contrast.

I wove the first shawl using an almost chartreuse weft, for a shawl I’m calling “It’s Easy Being Green.”

Easy Being Green silk shawl

Although not colors that flatter my skin tone, it looks pretty good. Except that as I was doing the hard press I found some warp floats that didn’t belong there near one end. I couldn’t capture them well in a photo, so you’ll have to take my word for it. Can I needle weave them in? At least theoretically, yes. I haven’t sat down to do it yet, and don’t know how challenging I’ll find it.

For the second shawl I chose a sort of medium blue weft. This has as much sheen as the first, but that didn’t show up in the photo. I like the colors.

Caribbean silk shawl

But there’s a real problem with this shawl. I don’t know how it happened, or even exactly what the problem is, to be honest, so I can’t fix it. There’s one warp thread that stands out like a sore thumb for the entire length of the shawl.

Caribbean silk shawl, closeup

To the best of my ability to determine, it’s not threaded incorrectly (which would have shown up on the first shawl anyway), nor is it treadled wrong. But something is definitely wrong. Sigh. I’ll have to sell it at a discount.

I’m weaving as fast as I reasonably can to prepare for my show at the end of August and I most decidedly did not need this. Bigger sigh.

Tencel painted warp

scarf giving impression of 3 dimensions

I’ve enjoyed taking close-up shots of my scarves on the loom lately. This one gives the impression of 3-dimensional hills and valleys. At least it does when it’s large, maybe not so much at a small size.

It’s the first scarf I wove on that hand painted tencel warp, and I used the weft I’d immersion-dyed for the warp a few weeks ago but decided not to use. It matched the darker blue of this warp very well. I liked it on the loom ok, but not so much in the finished scarf. Too dark for my tastes.

hand painted tencel scarf with immersion dyed weft

After that I had to cut and re-tie my warp. Not sure why I was having problems with it, but easier to do this than to fuss with it every pick for the rest of the length.

From my notes I knew I’d measured the warp to make 1 fringed scarf, 1 long cowl, and 1 short cowl. I knew I’d lose some length by the cutting and re-tying, so decided to do the short cowl next. Once I got this woven I’d simply use whatever length was left for the long cowl. So I picked a commercially-dyed tencel that was almost exactly the same color as the medium blue in my warp and treadled for Ms and Ws.

tencel Ms and Ws weave pattern

I really like the way the colors play together in this piece, and find myself liking these short cowls. Yes, there are fewer options for wear, but they are light and easy to toss on. Anyway, I do wish that the purple color had shown up again in the warp, but c’est la vie.

hand painted short tencel cowl

For the long cowl I picked a commercially-dyed red-violet that looked great when I held it next to each color in the warp. Interestingly, it turned almost burgundy as I wove it, using what I think of as my feathers treadling.

hand painted tencel with feather weave pattern

I’m happy with it, although I still like the colors best in the short cowl. We’ll see what my customers think at my next show…just a month away now.

long tencel cowl1

long tencel cowl2

We be jammin’

This morning my son and I went to a U-Pick place. We got several pounds of sweet cherries and LOTS of blueberries.

I came home and made jam.

lots of jam

First up, closest to the window, is cherry-orange-spice jam, cooked with 2 cinnamon sticks, some whole allspice and whole cloves in a tea ball. I’m guessing that it won’t set well, but will hopefully taste good. I got 1 pint, 5 half-pints, and 4 half-cup jars. (1 already sent home with son.)

Then I made a batch of blueberry-ginger. I followed a recipe for the amount of freshly-grated ginger (1.5 teaspoons), and I’m pretty sure you can’t taste it at all. I got 3 half-pints and 8 half-cup jars of that.

Next another batch of blueberry, this time with double the ginger (1 tablespoon) plus 3 tablespoons of fresh lemon thyme. That got me 2 pints (1 already sent home with son) and 9 half-cup jars.

Plus, I sent home probably 6 cups of blueberries with my son, and I have another 2 cups here to just eat.

I’m confident that the blueberry will all set, but even in that second batch, all I taste is blueberries, but maybe more discerning palettes can taste more.

Still, they’ll be good, and some will make nice gifts.

Left the house at 10AM to go pick, and by 4:30PM all the jam was made and the kitchen was cleaned up, except for cooling, labeling, and putting away the fruits of my labor (yuck, yuck).

RH to Mac

Earlier this month I blogged about some 10/2 tencel I had dyed and put on my rigid heddle loom for demonstration at a show.

After I took that photo of the 2 heddles threaded, I tied on to the front of the loom and did a few weaving experiments. I quickly learned that at a show was not the time to use the 2 heddles independently as too much thought was required. So I clamped them together to weave as 1, with double density of 22 ends per inch and off I set.

Danish medallions on rigid heddle loom

I started with 5 rows of Danish medallions. I’d never woven them before, but as usual, that didn’t stop me. The first motif got quite squished as I wound it on the front beam. Hmmmmmm, I wondered.

Then I simply wove plain weave. Because of the double density, it was actually more like basket weave, with 2 warp threads side by side in each shed. I didn’t get much woven in the 3 days of the show because I was encouraging people to weave on the tapestry loom (more of that in an upcoming post), only about 10″.

I hated it. It was clear to me that it would produce a sleazy fabric, one that would not stand up to regular use and that I would not be willing to sell.

So when I came home I put a set of lease sticks in the warp, unwound and unwove what I’d done, getting back to the beginning of the warp.

transferring warp from rigid heddle loom

Then I untied, carried it over to the Macomber, and beamed it.

beaming the warp on the Macomber

For the first scarf I used the pale blue I’d immersion dyed to match/coordinate. Although I only sett it at 24 ends per inch, the fabric was turning out fine. I can’t really explain this, I just accept it.

weaving with my dyed weft

For the second scarf, which would be a cowl, I used a commercially dyed tencel. I really like the texture – actually the appearance of texture – in this shot.

weaving with a commercial weft

This morning I fringed the scarf and sewed the cowl, subsequently washing, drying, and pressing them.

scarf with my weft

cowl with commercial weft

Although these colors are much lighter than my usual palette, I think they’re perfect for summer. So much so that I decided to use similar colors for my next project.

I measured out 4 bouts of 30/2 silk, 216 ends each, long enough for 2 shawls. I knew that this silk would need a really good scour, and it sure did; look how dirty the water was!

silk scour water

I mixed up some dyes, using some leftover blues from the scarf warp, went down to the basement at 5PM yesterday, and came back upstairs around 8 with my painting and clean up work complete. Look how much blue and green dye I had when I was done with the painting – NONE! Good thing I didn’t need more – although I could have come close with the greens as I’d measured that, I never could have matched the blues since I was using up leftovers.

no dyes left

After steaming, overnight batching, and rinsing, here is the dyed silk hanging on the line along with the tencel scarves. You’d think I’d planned that similarity or something! 😉 In reality, I’m not good enough to claim that – a happy accident.

dyed silk and tencel scarf drying

Here’s what’s going on the loom today, from dyeing I did back in April. These are more my typical color values.

beaming hand painted tencel warp