Monday, July 6, 2020

Variagated Purple/Green Merino/Mohair Warp 3 + Sketchbook Project

There are times where sensible option isn't the most attractive. I tend to go for the sensible, because I'm a pragmatist, but today, I resleyed to 21EPI and started weaving the purple warp. The tension is very low for me, (it's hard to keep it even,) but the weft is packed, so theoretically the only change from the 21EPI sample is the tension, and so far no broken warp. This draft's repeat is 652 picks; I wove 400 and got 21.5cm, so roughly 3000 picks to go. That's going to take a few days. The selvedge is scalloped and all over the place, but I'm OK with it.
I wanted to weave with the darker dark purple weft but it was cloudy and dark downstairs so I started with teal. It's more vibrant and saturated than the pic, but you get the gist.
You saw this on Saturday. It's the felty, compacted, intense look and feel of 21EPI B-side I find so attractive, seen on the left. We'll see how I survive 3-ish pieces of 180cm-ish scarves; I might have a change of heart somewhere.

* * * * *

On June 30 I realized, heck, it's the end of June. I knew the Sketchbook Project was due sometime in August; turns out it has to be postmarked before August 15. I had vague but ambitious plans before Lockdown but I didn't make any progress. Besides, post being what it is I'm best posting it on August 1-ish.

So I went with an idea I've been kicking around in my head most recently; a concertina with a repeat of my Dude painted, collaged, drawn, etc, in different way. (Wouldn't it have made a fabulous Lockdown project?) For now I have room for 12 guys but I've cut/folded two more sheets so if time allows I can add 6 or 12 more. The book itself will look/feel better if I can add more so I must get cracking, but this is something I can do little at a time.
 
Sorry about the terrible light. The pencil marks are pretty pale, too.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Variagated Purple/Green Merino/Mohair Warp 2

It took two days to weave the second sample, but here it is. It's a strange one, and I changed so many elements I'm not sure if these two can tell me how I'm going to proceed.

Warp sticks and break easily, so:
1) I rethreaded at 18EPI; the first was 21EPI.
2) I wove at a much lower tension than I'm used to. I usually weave under high tension, and during lockdown I was surprised to see a vid by a weaver weaving with wool at a visibly much lower tension than I could ever imagine, so I tried similar. For me it was very slow weaving, checking the tension very carefully all the time.

One or both of these changes seemed to have worked as I had no broken warp while weaving the second sample.  

Also,   
3) I experimented with, what's the word, softer/gappier beating. Again, I'm used to wefts going in tightly against the previous, so I tried a variety of spacey, netty and snug beating/placements. Spacey was so loose it didn't maintain position going over the breast beam; netty moved more than I feel comfortable. Snug worked well in leaving enough room for the merino to fluff up and didn't slow down the weaving too much. 
A-side or the side I see while I weave. 21EPI, higher tension and firmer beat on the left; 18EPI, various looser tensions and spaced beating on the right, but the red and orange parts are mostly "snug."
B-side. The loveliness of the warp colors show up nicely in the right sample, but I prefer the overall look of the left.
These colors are slightly darker, and the Darker Dark Purple was beaten very loosely, but you still get the point about it being so near the purple in the warp?
I like the puckered look of the floats and "bubbles" in the plain weave areas. 
This is a different part of the 18EPI sample, most firmly beaten. I like that the merino fulls to create a wavy look, and there is enough contrast in the long and short float areas, but I feel the visual impact is lost, not just because of the colors.

So my thoughts as of Saturday morning:
A) Quite a few weft colors work well, so, phew. I particularly like the navy blue and darker of the two dark purples which appears to be so very close to the purple in the warp.
B) The shiny warp yarn shows up much better in the cloth when woven at 18EPI, creating quite a different look from 21EPI, and works particularly well with one darker purple weft.
C) 18EPI yields a lacy and airy cloth while 21EPI feels more "integrated." It also feels slightly meatier. The texture of 18EPI cloth is ethereal/unreliable.
D) Last night, gut instinct told me the look and feel of 21EPI are more interesting and the cloth nicer. This morning I still feel the same, but will returning to 21EPI invite broken warp ends? I wonder what kind of cloth will be made woven in 21EPI under the new, lower (?) tension compared to the first sample.

There are, also, the small issue of uneven tension in the warp, and the loom computer doing sporadic and unwanted things. Again. I wonder if I should resley, and if so, would I need another sample? But first, Dr Ben is observing the computer today.

Notes: 18EPI sample washed up to 8.5inches/21m wide; 21EPI, 7.25inches/18.5cm.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Variagated Purple/Green Merino/Mohair Warp 1

I really enjoyed the color experiments with the previous warp and remembered I had a similar one on the ready-made warp rack. (I promise I'll post a pic of the warp colors in the next post.) It's half and half merino/mohair, approximately 2/16, and I used to use it in the warp at 18 or 20EPI when I wove with 2/16 (110/2) merino weft. I'm planning to use 2/30 merino in the weft, same as the previous three pieces, and I went back and forth between 21 and 24EPI, but decided to start with 21EPI to give the weft room to fluff up.

The draft is a variation of the 13-shaft wood grain draft I used some time ago, 13 shafts because I used three for twill borders. I wove the series in 2/20 mercerized cotton, the warp at 42EPI. Coincidentally I found a narrow black warp in 100% merino intended as borders for this, but the two yarns have different shrinkage, so I'll weave without it.

I also have very little of the warp yarn left; I counted 178 ends but I threaded only 176, saving two for potential broken warps. It's Merino/Mohair, and is sticky, so I foresee a few broken warp ends.
I probably wound much too much weft for sampling, not just different colors but a few in two colors or doubled up. The scarves will be only 7 or 8 inches wide, so probably around 180cm long, so I have plenty to play around. 

Sorry these next pics aren't exactly in focus; it's late and I had to take these under artificial light with as little of my hands, etc., in, but I wanted to show them to you tonight. 
This is A-side, (the side I look at while I weave,) with 2/30 merino doubled up in the weft. The size of the yarn feels balanced against the warp yarn, or perhaps more familiar, closer to 2/16 merino, and  the cloth is fluffy but not as much as the old 2/16 weft.

I also found long floats you see there on the right. I was very surprised because I edit fussy twills line by line to make sure there are no unseemly floats and there they were! Upon checking the draft I see I have nothing like that, so there must be a threading mistake. Hee hee, that explains the mysterious one extra end I had when I thought I was finished. :-D   
This is the same side with one 2/30 merino in the weft. I worried the design will look squashed with the thinner weft, but after a good wash I really like the different densities (?) of interlacements. With only half the wool in the weft, the cloth is thinner but not inferior.
The real surprise was the B-side. When I took it off the loom it had a very sad and sorry look with the warp ends barely visible, but after a good wash, it has a very different look to the A-side.  
It's even better here, and a look so different from anything I expected. 

Tomorrow I'll fist fix the threading mistake, of course. I'm also very tempted to try 18EPI to see how the texture differ, and if the design looks even more squashed and the draft needs editing. 

So... this was supposed to be a quick and easy project, but you know I thrive on these experiments.

More tomorrow or Friday, friends.