More finishing and starting

hand painted silk - 2 views

You may have been curious about that last batch of hand painted silk. In the sink you saw that there was yellow in the warp, but in the photo of it being beamed, there was no yellow. What you saw being beamed was the first section I painted, before I added yellow to the mix of colors. Did I mention that I didn’t really measure where I was on the warp when I made that decision? It was a guesstimate. I knew that as I was weaving I might determine that I didn’t guess very well…only time would tell.

Anyway, I wove the first scarf using a very dark purple weft, in what I call a ‘leaves’ threading and treadling. In this view you can see both sides of the scarf, and see how the purple comes to the foreground or retreats a bit.

hand painted silk, spring leaves

For the second scarf I previewed a few different weft colors, deciding I liked ruby best. I used three strands of ruby tram silk. Tram is the very shiny, super fine silk they used in making kimono. Using three strands together was still finer than the silk in my warp. I kept the same tie up but changed the treadling to a network twill. I’d used this treadling for the hand painted rayon shawls I made a month or two ago.

hand painted silk with ruby tram weft

Although it was more tedious and time consuming to weave with the 3 strands, I loved the way the scarf was turning out. I was merrily weaving along, and oops…before I got to the length I wanted I hit the place where the yellow ended. I decided it would be better to have a scarf that’s 10″ shorter than my usual length than to suddenly stop having yellow in the warp.

So I previewed a few more weft colors for this last section, the scarf with no yellow in it. I thought I’d use a gold, yellow, or salmon weft, but when I tried them out none tickled my fancy. Instead I chose periwinkle, which happens to be one of my go-to colors. I went back to the treadling for the leaves.

hand painted silk warp with periwinkle weft

Once again you can see how significantly the choice of weft color impacted the overall look of the three scarves, not considering the loss of yellow in the third. I am learning more about color interaction since I started doing hand painting than I did in the several previous years. Who knew that would be such a nice surprise?

Now I needed to get back to a little stash busting. I found some of what I’ll call confetti colored yarn, in a blend of cotton, rayon and linen in my stash. I paired it with some solid yellow cotton, and measured the threads out for a log cabin weave.

measuring yellow log cabin yarn

I don’t know if I’ll like it or hate it, but it will probably be one of those two, nothing in between. In addition to the overall colors, the confetti yarn is a thicker grist than the yellow cotton, and that may make it cool to look at or awful. Again, only time will tell.

I only had enough of each of the yarn for three towels, so that’s what I measured for. I won’t have time to get it on the loom till I come back from Cazenovia. Once I start weaving if I really hate it, I can just cut it all off and throw it away. As one of my weaving gurus, Laura Fry, says, it’s much more cost effective to throw away some yarn than to waste a bunch of time. (Certainly my paraphrasing; Laura wording is much better.) Stay tuned to see what it looks like.

Showing — off??

Cazenovia postcard

As I’ve mentioned, for the month of April I’ll be in Cazenovia. Well, I won’t be, but some of my work will. I’ll be the Visiting Artist for the month with the Cazenovia Artisans. Today I’ll be choosing the pieces that will travel there, and using my new labels on them.

One of each of the new shawls and scarves, woven in the last month or two, will go to Cazenovia. The others either are or will be up on my Etsy page as soon as I can squeeze out the time to do that.

Here are those last 2 rayon chenille shawls…Amethyst & Sapphires.

The first one has an amethyst weft.
amethyst & sapphires handwoven rayon chenille shawl

The second has a sapphire weft, with a few amethyst stripes at the ends. This is the one that will go on Etsy.

amethyst & sapphires handwoven rayon chenille shawl, with stripes

Gotta get back to work!

This took HOW long?

an old tag

I haven’t liked my hang tags for a long time. A. Long. Time. I can document 3 years, because that’s when I posted a question on Weavolution in the Professional Weavers group. I’ve tried to remember to look at the tags of other weavers at shows, sometimes forgetting, other times unimpressed with what I saw.

As shown above, my old tags were printed on card stock. Federal law requires that every item is marked with fiber content and care instructions. I had to create tags specifically for every fiber and fiber combo that I used. Invariably I didn’t have the tags I needed when I was preparing for a show and had to make new ones. Then I’d write the size and some kind of title on the tag so that when the item was purchased I might have some clue for my records what it was.

The tags were marginally acceptable on day one, but when the piece got rolled and packed up for the night, the odds that the tag would be wrinkled were high, so it didn’t take long for them to look ratty.

A few months ago I decided I couldn’t wait any longer to upgrade my tags. I talked to a local printer and was pleased that they had a somewhat flexible, durable, non-rippable stock they could print on.

Then I set about designing the new tag. The new stock (called Poli Print) couldn’t be folded well (a good thing) to make a tiny booklet, which was my original vision, so I had to re-design a few times. The tag had to be small enough to look good, have all the information I needed on it for various fibers and care instructions, plus my branding and contact info.

I got them back early this week, and although not perfect, I figure after 3 years they are just fine.

a new tag

I will check the appropriate lines for fiber content and care instructions. I’m betting it won’t be long before I use some fiber that isn’t listed, but I tried to include all the ones I use. Then I’ll still have to hand write the size and title, which I wish I didn’t have to do since I think it detracts from the professional look, but typing that info on small labels (like return address label size) and then sticking them on seems problematic, too, although I may try a few.

People have to be able to see both sides of the tag, so I can’t simply pin them to the piece as I did with the old tags. I spent last night cutting strings for hanging, knotting and trimming, and inserting them in the hole, and got 125 tags done. I cut the strings for another 300 tags, and may do some more knotting, trimming, and inserting tonight. My obsessive nature likes to get things like that done in advance.

Three years — can you believe it?!

Not exactly as planned

hand painted magenta 'snake'

I got those last 2 rayon chenille shawls woven and finished, but I don’t have pix yet, so you’ll see them later. Meanwhile, I did some more hand painting. My goal was a very deep magenta, a pale magenta, and undyed. After a bit of painting I decided to add some yellow to the warp. My quick calculations about where a scarf would end may or may not have been accurate — time will tell. I had a friend helping me, so went back to the process of having the three sections of warp lying next to each other while I painted for more control; that’s why there’s a ‘snake’ of dyed warp. This is silk, and it’s already been steamed and batched overnight at this point.

After taking all the saran wrap off, which is always a messy endeavor for me, it looked like this. Looking good.

hand painted silk, unwrapped

My process is to then give it a fairly quick rinse, followed by an overnight soak. Here it is after that rinse. I can still see 2 distinct shades of the magenta, so I’m feeling good.

magenta silk, rinsed

Hmmmmmm…after drying, there is very little difference between the dark and light magenta. As a result, my warp will have some fairly long sections of the same color. Not the effect I wanted. Dyeing is still quite an experimental activity for me.

I did keep records of the proportions of dyes I used, and that can inform future efforts. I spoke to my dye teacher and asked about over-painting sections of the warp to achieve my desired effect. She assured me I could do it. I thought about it for a few hours, and decided to leave well enough alone. After all, it was possible I’d end up with something I liked even less.

So I paired it with some narrow stripes of pale, spring green 16/2 cotton and started beaming it. I would have used silk if I’d had anything in colors that spoke to me.

beaming hand painted magenta silk

I figured with less differentiation in the warp, it would allow me to do both a more complex weave pattern and bolder weft colors. We’ll see how that turns out.

Four luscious shawls

into the blue rayon chenille shawl, draped

I am very fortunate that I was not one of the 90,000+ people in Rochester who lost power last week. Both by kids and some friends weren’t so lucky. They were without electricity – and heat – from mid-day Wednesday till about 5PM yesterday. There are still about 8,000 people awaiting their power back, even though crews have been working around the clock in single digit temperatures. And with a winter storm starting tonight, dropping up to 18″ of snow in 24 hours, everyone wants the problem completely solved today. I’m hoping they can do that, and that the snow isn’t heavy enough to cause more damage.

Because I never lost power I have been playing host to my kids and friends periodically. Glad to do it, and to reduce my work output for a while.

into the blue rayon chenille shawl on a rod

I did get all four rayon chenille shawls hemmed and wet finished. One day I got myself set up and took about a million photos of them. I want to get one of the blue and one of the red up on my Etsy page – maybe later today. I will hold one of each back from Etsy for that show in Cazenovia in April. So I posed them in ways I’ve never done before just to add some interest to the pix.

Shawl as toga.

into the blue rayon chenille toga

Shawl as skirt.

fire coals rayon chenille skirt

Having seen them in person, Jennifer suggested a great name for those red shawls – fire coals. I’m sticking with that.

fire coals rayon chenille shawl draped

Here’s how the one with the stripes on the ends looked. This is something I don’t often do, and I”m quite happy with it.

fire coals rayon chenille shawl with stripes

I’m putting a third set of shawls on the loom now. Then I’m going to move away from rayon chenille shawls for a while.