Diamonds & silk

Once I got that silk from my last post threaded, weaving went smoothly. Although as I noted, it was 20/2 silk, not the 30/2 silk I’d planned on. So the sett was closer than I’d have made it; as a result, the motif was substantially elongated instead of square. I figured as long as I was consistent, it was fine.

First up was a medium blue weft. It is my favorite of the three.

blue & sax silk diamonds

I’d planned on 1 fringed scarf, 1 long cowl, and 1 short cowl. The long cowl was the next up, and I used a red-violet weft.

red-violet and sax silk diamonds

For the short cowl I considered several weft options, finally settling on a burgundy weft. The warp color made the overall look much more brown than the burgundy on the cone, but I was okay with that. Because of the elongated design pattern and the fact that this cowl would be short, I changed the treadling. The only way I could show that pattern was with the cowl lying flat.

burgundy & sax silk

I used this weaving draft, my modification of a draft from, last summer, but apparently never posted either the draft or the finished scarves. So here’s the draft; if you have weaving software and would like a .wif file, let me know and I’ll happily email it to you.

diamonds weaving draft

Next up – one of my recently painted warps.

Not about weaving

It’s very unusual that I write a post that has nothing to do with weaving. This is one such post.

I’m catching up on my Radiolab listening, and just listened to this podcast. I found it thought provoking, and it covers a topic that I believe is definitely in need of discussion and consideration in our society: reasonableness, especially as it relates to police actions toward Black men. Just my two cents. You get to choose whether you will listen, and your reaction if you do.

Making time…and losing it

I successfully wove, fringed, and wet finished the three scarves on the ‘springtime’ warp. All 3 are commercially dyed 8/2 tencel for both warp and weft.

First up has a black weft with a straight treadling. Here’s the full scarf and a closeup so you can see both sides of the finished piece.

springtime scarf with black weft

springtime scarf with black weft, close

Next I used a cranberry weft. Although I really liked it on the loom, I’m just okay with it finished…the change in treadling doesn’t really show well.

springtime scarf with red

springtime scarf with red, close

Last I wove a short cowl with a red-violet weft. The way these colors play together make this is my favorite of the three.

springtime cowl with red-violet

As planned, while I was waiting for the hand painted warps to dry, I planned, measured, and beamed a warp for the loom. This time it’s 30/2 silk in a pale greenish-bluish-grayish color. I chose a weave pattern that’s complex both to thread and to treadle. 304 ends.

I carefully threaded more than 250 ends when I realized something was wrong. I had too many threads left. I looked at the threading guide I printed out and was working from.


I had inadvertently started that printing 11 ends from the beginning edge, and started the threading where the printout told me to. I sat for a few minutes and thought. If I wanted the design to be symmetrical, and I did, I had 2 choices: eliminate the last 11 ends or go back to the beginning and start threading again. I didn’t want to waste 22 ends of silk and make the scarf 3/4″ narrower to boot, so I went back to the beginning.

I did make my life a little easier for the second threading…as I unthreaded, I tied my heddles in threading ‘bundles’ so I didn’t have to carefully count out all the heddles the second time around. But still, it took a lot of time to thread again.

304 ends silk threaded

Finally threaded. Hope there aren’t any threading errors!

UPDATE: No threading errors, but after weaving the first scarf I realize I am working with 20/2 silk, not 30/2. Should be sett farther. Not gonna do that.

Dungeon but no dragon

I spent 5+ hours in my basement today. With its concrete floor and unfinished nature, my basement is a very functional space, especially for dyeing. But comfortable, bright, or cheery it is not. Rather dungeon-like, actually.

hand painting yellow and orange

2 yellows and an orange

Warp painting is a many-day process for me. On Monday spent several hours planning warps for 3 runs of 3 scarves each, all in 8/2 Tencel. I had to decide on a weave structure for each, and if I would make fringed scarves, long or short cowls, or some combination of the three for each warp. Then I had to determine sett (threads per inch in the warp) and decide if I would wind all the threads in one bout (group of warp threads; winding more than one bout allows for more variety in the painting of the colors, but also takes more time to both make the bouts and paint them).

hand painting blue and purple

2 blues and a purple

Next is to actually wind those warps. For me that was 7 bouts for the 3 warps (2 bouts for 2 warps, 3 bouts for the other). Each warp was a different length based on what I plan to weave, and each had a different number of threads. So I had to use a system to know which bout was which. I used different sizes, fibers, and textures of threads for my ties so I could differentiate them at every step of the process.

I wound 2 warps Monday night, the other 5 this morning. Then I had to scour and presoak the warps while I mixed dyes and prepared the work surface. (I forgot to take photos of some of the warps after painting.)

After carefully laying out each prepared warp I had to paint on the dyes, being sure to get all of the threads without wasting lots of dye by using too much. Then wrap them up in saran wrap like snakes, and steam each of the 7 bouts individually for 1/2 hour while I was painting the next warp.

hand painting light and dark terracotta

light and dark terracotta

The 7 bouts are now sitting in my oven, with the oven light on for a bit of warmth. They’ll sit there overnight. Tomorrow morning, after my Guild meeting, I’ll carefully unwrap each bout and set it to soak in a basin of water until Thursday morning. This helps minimize both water usage and time in rinsing. On Thursday morning I’ll rinse each bout separately until the rinse water is clear.

Then I’ll hang up the bouts to dry. Given our cold spring, they’ll be hanging in my house – maybe in the basement, and will likely take more than 24 hours to dry. During that time I’ll need to fondle each bout some to make sure it’s spread apart enough so that it dries completely, and give it a good snap at several places along its length to separate and straighten the threads.

hand painting light and dark blue

light and dark blue

So perhaps sometime this weekend I can actually put the first warp on my loom – a whole week from the beginning of this process. Meanwhile I’ll wet finish those ‘springtime’ scarves from the last post, and put another warp on the loom to weave with commercially-dyed yarn. Maybe it’ll be silk. Maybe not.

Springtime warp

tencel springtime warp

Spring brings bright colors to the outdoors. And to the loom. This is a tencel warp for three scarves that I’ll weave in an undulating twill.