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If at first you don’t succeed…

This rayon shawl has given me lots of experience in trying again. I’m aiming for it to be my last jury piece for the year, so it’s really important to me that I get it right. (That waves piece isn’t going to show well, even in a frame.) I planned for a warp of 4 colors – spice, cerise, cayenne, and deep coral – with gradients from one color to the next. I’d spent hours on my computer playing with various threadings and treadlings and came up with a design I liked. I was going to do an advancing twill, so needed to sett the my 8/2 rayon warp at 28 ends per inch.

As I was planning how many yards of each color I’d need, I realized that I only thought I had another full tube of cayenne. In reality I had one partial tube – no more than half. So I needed to add a 5th color, and selected rose. On Tuesday I got the warp measured & beamed. On Wednesday I threaded the heddles and reed. I tied to the front apron and treadled 1-8 with a few different colors of yarn to spread the warp, find any threading errors, and test out different colors. I had planned to use a black weft, but my black rayon has a greenish cast to it, so that wouldn’t work. In fact, I’d woven a red houndstooth scarf with it many months ago and people think it’s red and green whether in natural or artificial light.

red grads with 4 wefts

The navy looked good so I hemmed and started weaving. It’s a 64 pick pattern repeat, and I wove 3 full patterns – 192 rows – and then stood up and looked at the pattern. I hated it. So busy that you couldn’t even really see the pattern. By then it was about 9PM so I walked away from the loom, waiting to see what I thought in the morning.

On Thursday morning I still hated it. I spent a bunch more time on my computer to see if I could come up with another treading that I’d like. The answer was no. So I had no choice but to take everything out and re-thread. If I’d wound enough extra I could have just cut it off and saved myself a lot of time, but I’d wound just enough length for 3 shawls, and that’s what I wanted to weave. I need more shawls for my stock, plus it’s impossible to know on the loom if something will be perfect enough for a hands-on jury…if I had 3 chances, the probability of having one for the jury were tripled.

I spent Thursday morning grumpily cutting and removing warp threads, untying, and completely re-threading the loom. After, of course, I’d done more computer planning to come up with an entirely different design. I hemmed again and stared weaving. I got 3 pattern repeats woven again (this time a mere 84 rows total) before I saw it — a float that was way too long and not in my draft. $%#@! I’d tied up one of my treadles wrong!!! Cut out those threads all the way back to the beginning. At least I didn’t need to re-hem.

Tied up the treadle correctly and set off weaving. Slowly so I could concentrate on the treadling.

red gradients with navy weft

I got the first one woven and decided to use a silk weft for the second. I’d dyed this in 2012 using marigolds at my Guild’s annual ‘dye day’ and was waiting to find a project for it. I decided this was it.

red gradient with gold silk weft

I got this shawl woven today, too. I still have the third one to weave. I’m going to use periwinkle rayon — I think. In the am I may decide a different color will work better. In any case I will definitely get it done tomorrow so I can finally start on the next batch of baby wraps!

8 comments to If at first you don’t succeed…

  • Ellie

    Beautiful design and stunning colors. The hand dyed colored weft sets off the warp shade and the overall design beautifully. Looking forward to the rayon weft as well.

  • Tobie

    Wonderful weaving draft. Would you share that?
    Also, I’d like to talk to you about how you do your colors in your warp. I really like how you do a progression.

  • Alma

    Man alive – I’m REALLY liking the first one. The second is good, butt he intricacies of the first speak to me! (And they say good things about the weaver!!)

  • Peg Cherre

    Thanks, everyone! Here are a few specific replies

    Tobie – I’ll try to include the draft in a post (next?) that shows the finished pieces. I developed 3 different gradients – 40 threads, 52 threads, and 64 threads – in my work with the baby wraps. I use the 64 threads the most. Here’s my progression, going from color A to color B: all A, 1B, 9A, 2B, 7A, 3B, 6A, 4B, 4A, 6B, 3A, 7B, 2A, 9B, 1A, all B.

    Alma – the weave pattern is identical in the two shawls. Interesting that they appeared different to you. Camera angle perhaps had an impact?

  • […] and decided I needed to do something sedentary for a while. So I fringed & washed the third red gradient shawl. Tomorrow I’ll press all three, and that’s when I’ll see if there are any […]

  • Meghan

    Hello, Peg!! I hope you are doing well! I just had to pop in and say that, while I am not usually a fan of this gradient sequence, or the Fibonacci gradient, this looks absolutely lovely with this weave! So smooth and very pleasing to the eye. Just lovely!! That marigold weft just makes it shine!

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