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poinsettia1For the last couple of months I’ve spent a lot of time weaving on the computer. Making endless variations of patterns for all 12 shafts, exploring how to enlarge them (rather than just choose a thicker yarn), working from scratch or from downloaded files.

But I wanted to see what it looked like with yarn rather than pixels, so I made a narrow wool warp and planned to do maybe 50 cm of each draft to have a bit of fabric for a sample book and perhaps sew some pincusions or whatever. I should have doubled it in length however because of course I continued learning and developing after I had begun weaving, so after a while my samples became 30, then 25 cm long and as I got to the part where I needed to cut and rethread after each draft as well as running out of yarn, even shorter. Threading errors began to appear because I hurried through, etc. etc.

As much as I could probably dedicate a loom full time to experimenting, I began to feel the need to make something useful beyond study. So for a while I’ll try instead to add 2 meters to every warp beyond my expected yardage and use the last bit of every one for going through my wif library or sampling yarn types, colour blends etc.

Among other things I’ve been making an endless number of “tiles” as I call them, among them a series with a poinsettia type of star. They have quite long floats in some instances and that was one of the things I wanted to try, because I’ve been avoiding floats longer than 3, or 4 at the most if they were separated by shorter interlacements. Another thing I wanted to try was take a draft, then double the size (basket weave) and then double it again using binding threads as in for instance the summer&winter technique.

Here’s a little gallery of my samples, with errors, diverse beating habits et al. They’ve been through the washing machine “handwash” cycle (the wool cycle on our new machine felts my knitwear, so I stopped using that) and pressed, so about 10% shrinkage but no fulling.

As you can see, what looked good on screen sometimes results in weirdness especially on the back (which doesn’t matter much if you make one-faced items), so I’ll be sure to tripple check that in the future before I decide on a draft. Some of the poinsettias which looked good woven, completely disappear when the yarn settles in the wash!

Now I suppose to complete the experiment I should weave them all in a 16/2 cotton for comparison. Some of structures are not good in themselves, with threads sliding down and covering the previous pick, others would still work if the floats were shorter (in mm). But the tiles will be awfully tiny! I think I’ll do a few of the more promising ones and alter the rest. All samples were woven at 7 ends per cm, each tiles is 23 threads across. (except the enlarged ones obviously, where the largest tile ended up being 12 cm across)

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