Telling more stories

I’m going to start this post without a story, just showing you a few pieces I forgot to post when I finished them in February. This is a mixed warp – cotton, bamboo, and rayon chenille. The weft is all rayon chenille. I particularly like this first piece, a long open vest with side slits, although it’s a tad small for me.

handwoven long vest

I intended this second piece to be a regular shawl with fringe. I twisted the fringe, and the combination of fibers turned into a real mess during wet finishing. I untwisted and untied it all, and the piece sat there for a while waiting for me to decide if I would twist again, hem, or turn it into a mobi. Finally I decided to just hem it as is.

handwoven long striped shawl

Okay, that turned into a story, but just a tiny one. Here’s a long one.

I wanted to do some dyeing, so went to my Pinterest page and looked at my Dyeing Inspiration board. Design Seeds is a marvelous place for color, and I was moved by their Color Spice combo.

Design Seeds Color Spice

I measured out 3 wide and 2 narrow bouts of 8/2 mercerized cotton and went down to the basement. The wide bouts were going to be the spicy colors, and the narrow a bit of turquoise to complement. I dyed the first wide bout, using a few new dyes I’d purchased, actual ‘professionally created’ colors instead of my own blended creations: golden oak, chocolate brown, and my own terracotta blend.

I decided I needed more red in the mix, so added ‘some’ (not measured) red to my terracotta for the other 2 bouts. Then I dyed the skinny turquoise bouts. After batching and drying, it was clear that I’d been too stingy with the dyes – I had some undyed spots on my yarns. Nothing I can do about it now. So I beamed the lot.

beaming spice warp

As I was beaming I decided I wanted to use chocolate for weft for the first piece. Of course I didn’t have any yarn in anything faintly resembling that color, so I had to dye it. No sweat.

Except that in my ‘must use stash’ head I wanted to use some 8/3 mercerized cotton I’d picked up in a weaver’s sale. An odd size to be sure, but it looked nice and would work for weft. In winding it from cones to skeins for dyeing, problems arise. One of the cones looks okay, but is actually lots of shortish pieces. If I’d been planning to use it as warp I’d have thrown it away. However as weft, each of those short pieces was roughly the amount that would fit on a bobbin, so it made sense (at the time) to use it. I ended up with something like 25 mini skeins and 3 normal sized ones.

Mix up the dye bath, do the dyeing, and batching, get them out to dry. Uh oh. All those skeins ended up in a real mess! Granted, I don’t dye in skeins much and so probably didn’t tie them correctly, but I wanted to be sure I didn’t have white/undyed spots on this dark weft. It took me LOTS of time to untangle them and wind them into balls after everything was dry. But the color was just what I wanted.

dyed chocolate mini skeins

Now to weave. Then machine sew. Then hand stitch. Here’s what I ended up with. I’m quite happy with all 3 pieces, and very pleased that I actually succeeded in creating pieces in the colors originally planned.

First up is an open front cardigan, using that chocolate weft 8/3 cotton weft. I didn’t make it as wide as my first two, and like the way this one hangs better on the body. (Neither Lady Jane nor the mannequin showed it as well as a real human does.) No need to round the corners.

handwoven chocolate spice open front cardigan

Next I used an 8/2 tencel in cayenne to weave a simple jacket. Really brightened up the look.

handwoven cayenne spice jacket

I finished off the warp with a sienna 8/2 tencel for a wide cowl.

handwoven sienna spice cowl

Now I MUST get dressed and go walk Jack!

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