8 Shaft Silk

Although I don’t weave them all that often for my scarves & shawls, I do love a complex twill weaving pattern. I modified the gebrochene pattern I wove last year.

modified gebrochene draft

Except last year I wove it in 20/2 silk; this year I’m using 30/2 silk. My post from last year incorrectly said the 20/2 was about 8,000 yards per pound (ypp)- it’s really about 4,500 ypp. The 30/2 silk I’m using this year is 7,500 ypp.

I got the silk beamed, heddles & reed threaded, tied on to the front apron. I wove and hemmed the front edge – only 1 reed-threading error, so not bad to fix. Then I wove the first pattern with my weft – POO!! About 1/2 the warp was threaded wrong! I had to unweave the 4″ and start again.

Rethreading was worse than threading. Why? My loom wasn’t all ‘unfolded’ the way it is when I’m threading. Unless I unthreaded the correct half of the reed, I had to work around it. Next time I’ll unthread the reed – I’m sure it’d be both quicker and easier than what I did.

Anyway, finally got it all back, threaded correctly, and started weaving again. Here it is after weaving a few patterns motifs. As always, I’m not happy with the color.

modified gebrochene-ruby

Now let me talk about the weft for a minute. A few years ago I bought some tram silk. I tried weaving with it…not overly successfully. Not an experience I was eager to repeat. Sandra Rude posted about working with tram last month, and I was encouraged to try again, this time using it only as weft.

I knew for my gebrochene to look right, I had to use a weft that’s roughly the same size as the warp. But I don’t own a McMorran balance – a tool that determines the ypp of yarns. I remembered seeing directions for making one online somewhere, and googled a bit till I found these instructions. I made one with a bamboo skewer and some yarn and it worked like a charm.

I found out that my ruby tram silk is roughly 30,000 ypp. It takes 4 feet of this to balance 1 foot of 30/2 silk. How would I cope with this? I don’t spin, and had asked one of my guild-mates to spin some up for me, but he said it wasn’t worth it. I tried getting it machine spun at the Fiber Factory, but it was too fine for their equipment.

Still, Sandra inspired me.

So, using a modifier a friend made me, I wound some of the silk onto 4 of the cardboard cones from the 8/2 babywrap cotton. Then I stood all 4 cones up and wound a bobbin from them, careful to wind slowly and with even tension of all 4 threads. It isn’t ideal – a twist in it would be better – but it works. And I just love the sheen of the tram.

Here you can see both the top and bottom of the pattern.

modified gebrochene up & down

I’m going to use another of the trams for the second scarf on this warp. When I have time, I’d like to weave some shawls out of this pattern. But maybe in 20/2. But then I can’t use my tram. Decisions, decisions.

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