Weaving Frenzy

As planned, I’ve been weaving just as fast as I can. I’ve made 13 scarves in the last six days. Everything’s been wet finished, but nothing’s been pressed yet.

The first thing I did was tie the fringe and wet finish the log cabin scarf I wove on the rigid heddle loom at my last show. The gray is a bamboo, the blues are hand painted rayon boucle.
handwoven bamboo and rayon scarf, log cabin

Although the scarf wove up quickly, getting it on the loom was anything but speedy. I recently bought a second 10 DPI (dents per inch) heddle for the loom so that I could weave fabrics that needed to be sett more closely. With 2 of these heddles, I could make the scarf be between 10 and 20 ends per inch. I wanted this scarf to be 18 ends per inch, so it should be easy to do. I’d never threaded two heddles like this, so I opened my Betty Davenport book, Hands on Rigid Heddle Weaving. I tried to follow her directions to thread both heddles at the same time, but was having difficulty since I had to turn the page in the middle of the process each time till I had it firmly implanted in my brain.

That wasn’t working, so I printed off instructions from Schacht. They seemed easier to follow: thread all of 1 heddle first, then pull them into the 2nd. Sweet.

So I got my first heddle threaded in log cabin pattern, and proceeded to thread the second. This wasn’t working anywhere near as easily as I’d hoped. The fact that I was trying to do 18 ends per inch (EPI) instead of 20, and keep it in log cabin pattern at the same time, wasn’t helping. And it sure wasn’t a good idea to try several new things at once the afternoon before I had to leave for a show. I couldn’t spend any more time on it, so I had to change my plans. I’d use just one heddle and thread at 10 EPI. I’d used the bamboo at this density before, but the rayon boucle was way too thin; I’d have to double it in both warp and weft.

After all that, fortunately the scarf worked up nicely. I do like log cabin and want to weave more of it as soon as I have time. (Because it requires using two colors in the weft, and therefore two shuttles, it takes a little longer than using just one shuttle, so I won’t be doing it in my rush before my next show.)

Then I made six rayon chenille scarves: three in rich red and three in deep blues. I wanted to add that bright red to my stock for the show, and I had an order for the blue; the other 2 would make a nice addition for next weekend.
handwoven rayon chenille scarves

Although rayon chenille is always more challenging to work with than many other fibers, I just love the finished product and can’t give it up. I’ve used both of these yarns before, both purchased from the same supplier, both made by the same manufacturer. The red worked up beautifully, the blue – not so much. I had an above-average number of broken warp threads. Now, I know how to repair a broken warp thread and have done plenty of it, but I did not want to take the time now to do so.

In addition to the warp breakage, the chenille was massively shedding while I was weaving. So much so that I had to vacuum after weaving each scarf – unheard of for me. Again, I wasn’t happy about having to take the time, but I was mostly concerned that after wet finishing they wouldn’t be as luscious as usual. Thankfully, they are just fine. Why did this yarn behave badly this time? Wish I knew. Actually, if I’m wishing, I’ll skip wishing I knew, and just wish it would never happen again. Why waste a perfectly good wish on knowing why something in the past happened?

I’ll share the next six scarves I wove in the next post.

Your turn: what’s worked well, or not so well, for you lately?

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