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Clasping Rainbows

At this time of year I am thinking about 2014, about the shows I’ll apply to and the work I’ll submit with my applications. Most shows want images from the last two years, so I don’t HAVE to take new photos this year for most shows, but I still want to get some new ones.

To retain my status as a Roycroft Artisan, I do have to submit new photos annually, and to have actual work juried, too. Last year I didn’t give enough consideration to the work I’d submit for hands-on jurying, and I don’t want to make that mistake again.

So I’ve been thinking about what I will submit…all of which needs to have been created within the past year, and which must show that I continue to grow in my skills. I’ve decided that I want to submit a clasped weft piece, and that I wanted to do a take-off of my rainbow shawls, something that was reminiscent of them, but in a scarf and using clasped weft.

I prepared a warp for three black rayon chenille scarves.

For the first scarf, I used the same technique as I had for those last clasped weft scarves, throwing two picks of black between every clasped weft pick. I used 10 colors, with 7-9″ of each color.

clasped weft handwoven scarf, single rainbow

It turned out well, but I thought I wanted more color, so I wove the second with every pick being clasped weft and the picks ‘connecting’ to form graph-like shapes.

clasped weft handwoven scarf, bright rainbows

This one turned out well, too, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to repeat it for the third scarf, so I did a morph of the two. I did clasped weft every pick, but used more of a ‘line’ technique for the adjacent picks instead of the ‘graph-like’ technique. I also did a double rainbow, with about 4.25″ of each color up to purple in the middle and then reversing the colors.

clasped weft double rainbow handwoven scarf

I like this one, too.

Here’s the thing…for wearing, I like the middle one best — the colors show up the most. For looking at for jurying, I like the last one best – EXCEPT there’s a problem with it. The pale green I used in the first half ran out about 3/4 of the way through that section of the second half. DAMN!! I unwove those 3+ inches and used the closest color I had, but it’s not identical. I think that will be noticeable enough to the RALA jury that I shouldn’t submit it; I should weave another one with this pattern. DOUBLE DAMN!!

I also am inspired to try a black & white scarf, weaving in what I’ll call a cityscape scene. The buildings won’t be able to have any windows in them (they’ll be solid black or solid white) but I think it will look good. I never know until I sit at my loom & try. Watch with me as this clasped weft adventure proceeds.

6 comments to Clasping Rainbows

  • Judy T

    Very cool… love your imagination and your creativity as well as your skill!

  • Ellie

    WOW! Are those beautiful!!! I love the cityscape effect, almost like tapestry.

    • Peg Cherre

      Thanks, Ellie. I think some forms of clasped weft work are reminiscent of tapestry. I’m looking forward to trying the black & white that will be more rectangular for my skyline/cityscape.

  • Leslie

    These scarves are just beautiful!

    I tried weaving a couple rayon chenille scarves a few years ago, but I didn’t know how to finish them. I did the standard thing, washing using a gentle cycle, and they came out terrible! What is your secret? And did you need to take care not to beat very hard, or it is a fairly tight weave?

    And thanks for taking the time to answering my questions. I am in the middle of a rug workshop, and spent my day joyfully exploring clasp weft — but yours — its totally amazing.

    • Peg Cherre

      Thanks for the compliments, Leslie. Rayon chenille is a touchy fiber to work with. Su Butler over at SuBuDesigns.com wrote the book Understanding Rayon Chenille – get your hands on a copy if you can. Here are some basics: rayon chenille needs to be fairly well packed in both warp & weft to hold up. I use chenille that’s 1400-2000 yards per pound, sett it at 18 ends per inch, and try to get 18 picks per inch, too. After being washed, rayon chenille needs heat to soften it up and set those threads. I used to line dry and then wear them wrapped around my neck to soften; Su told me I really needed to toss them in the dryer, since rayon chenille can’t be pressed like almost every other fiber as part of the wet finishing process.

      Like every other weaving process, it’s a matter of practice, practice, practice.

      Enjoy your rug workshop!!
      Peg

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