Sunday, April 19, 2009

Maybe Third Time's a Charm?

There's something about a new warp on the loom.......such promise in the orderly theads!

I have been working recently with finer threads, so my new project on Emmatrude means an interesting adjustment on my part. It's an eleven yard warp of 4/8 cotton, sett 18 epi for placemats. We have some new everyday china in a soft cream and I thought new placemats would be nice. This grist of cotton is not something I have used very much of, other than the occasional warp at a workshop. While there are a great array of colours available, it's not what I reach for when planning projects. I lean towards finer threads but placemats need to be buffers between a warm plate and your dining room table (or lap!). The warp used about three and a half 1/2 pound cones so there's a fair amount of 'heft' to the warp when the yarn size is this chubby.

What I had in mind was a twill pattern that produced a star burst. On paper it looked grand! I threaded, sleyed and tied up.... and sat down eagerly to weave.
Oops, some threading errors.
Fixed those.
All set to go again.
Now I found the sleying error, which of course was at the centre of the warp.
Okay, fixed that and finally threw the shuttle.
I wove about 6 to 8 inches and stopped.
I *hated* the pattern.
So.... I replaced the lease sticks and pulled everything back through to hang just behind the heddles and went on a search for a replacement draft.

I was looking for something that would produce a reversible pattern, be pleasing to the eye and be a bit bolder. I searched my samples, went through, searched the Complex Weaver cd's I have here, many of my books and also played with my design program: Fiberworks-PCW. I settled on a draft called Rosenkransen. An 8 shaft bold twill. I double checked numbers and confirmed now many repeats given the ends I had on the loom, then *slowly* threaded and sleyed, this time using the autodenter. The warp is black and these eyes are dim! No errors and I'm weaving again. I had company at the house and they saw the work in progress. Now this pattern has some little runs to and fro as part of the overall pattern. This non-weaver said as she pointed to a little run " is this a mistake here? " Then suddenly I realized that the pattern looked disjointed with these 'hiccups'.

Okay, rehang the lease sticks ( which had to be a single stick as there was no plain weave in this draft) I just lifted a lease stick under and made sure that all threads stayed in order and then used the second stick to push all threads straight down out of the heddles. To say I was discouraged was an understatement! I had done everything right the first time: planned the project, printed the draft up and checked it visually. The threading errors were all mine despite the fact I'm not a fast threader. I'd rather work sequentially through a draft and create logical groups of threads, double check and move on. Clearly this hadn't worked for me either!

So it was about this time that my two shawls were modeled at the fashion show and that cheered me up. But clearly this warp was a 'keep me humble' project. I even tried asking Lynnette for help! Maybe she had used this yarn before and had some success she would share? Nope, we both like finer threads...

So the reason this wasn't working as well for me was due (I think) to the possibility that patterns that look great worked up in finer yarns don't always look as good in heavier weight yarns. A good thing to note and file away for the future. If I ever use 4/8 cotton again that is.... ah, but I have to as I have a stash of it.

I pulled out Strickler's "A Weavers' Book of Eight Shaft Patterns" and got seriously browsing. Then I saw it. Bird's Eye Twill. It's a classic, it's bold, it's reversible. Why mess with anything else? So I didn't.... and perhaps third time is the charm? I'm on mat number 2 out of 14 planned as I write this, so wish me luck!

Now... for that other naked loom.....

Blogger turned my picture sideways again. The weft is cream orlec and it seems to be weaving up balanced!

See you again soon......


Bruce said...

So...this post explains your frustration with the warp. Give me a bit of a "heads up" the next time you are contemplating a chubby weft/warp project...please..

Glad to see you've got it all in "behaviour mode".

Hugs, Hub

bspinner said...

You have the paitients of a saint.

Bird's Eye Twill has always been one of my old time favorites. I'm sure your placemats will work out great.

Peg in South Carolina said...

The difference in grist between my normal 60/2 silk and the heavy wool was one of the things that kept me from trying the two. I had absolutely no idea how the crackle I liked in 60/2 silk would translated to fat wool. So I cheated. Instead of the very complex 8 blocks on 4 shafts stuff I used an ordinary 4-shaft crackle. Much simpler and bolder. The disappointment can happen in reverse. Weaving a pattern you love in a heavy wool and then trying it in a fine silk or cotton can just as often lead to disappointment.
You are very very brave to try a black warp. Threading it _(3 times?) must be excruciating.

Lynnette said...

I think you should name this "In Search of Perfection", only you would perservere through all those trials and tribulations! Isn't it all too true that sometimes the simplest patterns look the best with big fat yarn. I have not worked much with 4/8 cotton and I too have a bit of a stash to think about using, so I'm very anxious to see the end result....

Laritza said...

It is very pretty and I would say worth the effort. I had a warp with no draft on the loom not too long ago. Its finished but I have no idea what to do with the cloth.
Yours will have a lovely ending.

Sunrise Lodge Fiber Studio said...

Oh wow! Three times?!?! You sure do have the patience of a saint! The pattern is great;)

Leigh said...

Oh Susan, what an ordeal! I admire you for sticking with it though. It's tough trying yarn that's different than one is used to. The final result looks really great though.