Friday, March 1, 2024

So, That Took a While... Or, Yet Another Glutton for Punishment Project?

Goodness, this recent lack-of-idea phase was long and thorough. I wrote paragraphs after paragraphs, but they looked all the same: "Joy, blah, blah... Interesting, blah, blah... I don't want to... " Even I tired of hearing/reading me. 
I think one reason was I wanted more complexity than what I am used to weaving on four shafts, but also the speed and physicality of a foot loom. For whatever reason, I revisited old draft files, and found an "options" file. I make these when I'm brain-storming with myself, after setting the parameters like purpose, fiber, color, size, loom, "the look", etc.
This file is so big I can only show you a portion but you get the gist. This is also a very fun phase of any project. The original project was a commission for a solid red piece using 100% cashmere one way and 70% cashmere/30% silk the other. You know pattern was paramount. 
I manipulated a section, trying to create movement, and came up with this. Not bad. Except it's not the best answer for the current project, because I decided:
1) I would use one of the pre-made multi-colored warps, which will not show the pattern effectively. In fact, neither warp was wide enough for a threading repeat, so I used them both. The value variance in the right warps makes showing off the pattern even harder. 

2) I wanted to sley this at 16EPI rather than my recent standard 18, because it's cashmere, and 16, (or even 15) makes the feather-weight fabric I can't from any other fiber. The ultra-heavy underslung beater makes controlling the beat difficult, so the diamonds are bound to be flattened, but this is something, with practice and vigilance, I should be able to manage.

3) Though woven on four treadles, each treadling repeat is long with a succession of similar-but-not-same sequences.
(Not sure why this pic looks so blurry but trust me on this.) With my non-existent short-term memory, I tried two ways of printing out the treadling, but I still lost my place constantly. I can print it out with even fewer rows/columns on each sheet but having pages and pages on my flimsy music stand feels awkward. I also wonder if I can find a small magnetic board to go on the stand so I can use magnets to help: I had a desk-top version when I was a secretary.  
Alternatively I could simplify the treadling, which sounds saner, but I haven't given up just yet. 
4) After sampling, I didn't like the bitsy stripes made with dark purples on the right, so I moved one and removed nine. It looks tidier.  
Moving on to the first sample. It's a big one because I needed to practice gentle beating and gnarly treadling. All the wefts were cone-end bits or thrums so it looks bumpy, and I don't necessarily have all these colors for a proper piece. Never mind, this is only preliminary.  I sampled 100% 26/2, 100% 20/2 and cashmere/silk 18/2.  
Cashmere doesn't full much, but the cashmere/silk (in pale pink) doesn't full at all. On the other hand, you can see how the lustre shows off the pattern even against warp ends with similar values.
Because I had a lot of achromatics, I tried different values, and I liked the palest gray best, although it does wash out the hues in the warp. White or black work, but I'm not a fan of either as a solution to dealing with "difficult" color combinations, so if I'm going in that direction, I'll look for the palest of yellow or green, or dark blues and purples.  
Of the colors sampled, I liked the very- to medium-pale yellows and oranges the best, but Ben said, "Today, I like the dark ones because I can see the pattern." He's not wrong there.

Coming up next: practicing the beat and treadling, (not giving up yet,) while auditioning weft colors I have enough of to weave a piece. This is a 10m warp, so I hope to get two long pieces or three short.

Also, consider solid, or "very close" color warps for this or similar drafts to really show off the pattern. That is so my thing.


  1. Interesting experimentation. I bet the finished fabric is lovely. :)

    1. I have no idea where I'll end up, but will enjoy experimenting - the best part about weaving for me. Well, at least for today.

  2. I can so relate to your mission to find just the right next project. Having a sense of inspiration is one of the things I find motivating.

    It's a really interesting pattern. It's hard to say which section of this sample I like best. I love seeing the pattern in the contrasting areas, but I also love the subtle complexity in the similar value sections. So much to explore! We weavers have no excuse to be bored. :)

    1. "So much to explore! We weavers have no excuse to be bored." Hear, hear!!

  3. Small magnetic boards are very useful for keeping your place in a pattern. I found one sold for children and use it with magnetic strips cut from a sheet that had adhesive on one side, I stuck it on coloured cardboard.

    I'm interested in this pattern and sampler, I like the subtly of the pattern in the pale / low contrast areas.

    1. Hi, Dot. I hadn't thought of children's toys/sections - good idea. The only alternative I've seen was small white boards, which do take magnets, but too too heavy for my very flimsy music stand.


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