Monday, September 28, 2009

Elena's Shawl: Finishing and Finale

Here's a happy face... meet Elena!

In this image she has the predominantly red side of the shawl facing outwards.

To back up in the story a bit, I completed her shawl just ahead of our holiday. I had very generous time allowance for completion. Sometime in 'September' was my time line. While I had hoped to have it to Elena before we went away, my ankle problems meant some downtime weaving. I took this picture of it curled up on the cloth beam on September 4th and then removed it off the loom.

Then shortly after our return from the Okanagan, I pinned out the shawl on my pink foam hemming board and commenced twisting the fringe. This took a bit longer than I anticipated as I wound two groups of four ends onto each other, for a finer fringe and it was 50 turns in each direction!
So two afternoons later and it was done. Thank the gods for fringe twisters is all I can say! {A full explain of the fringe twisting can be found here} In the picture below, one side is done and the second is about to start. Sorry it's so dark but I had the camera settings wrong.

Once the fringe was all secure, then I pulled out my bead stash, in their nifty new boxes and considered all my options. Here you can see my stacks of the possible contenders!

It's not just the right colour, but also the bead size and a lot of 'gut feelings' about which ones work and which ones don't. I wanted subtle beading that wouldn't detract from the pattern and overall effect, but still be there and be special. Here I am doing the beads in the centre red section.

Then on the single black fringe bout on either side, I decided to add a bit of 'bling' and found some special beads and a wee set of wings. I bought these at Beadworld back in July when Lynnette was visiting here. In fact I had bought all red beads so make sure I had a good selection to choose from when this moment came! Here I'm backing the needle down all the beads but the end one and snugging it up tight.

Once the ends are double backed and secure, sit back and admire your handy work! { For a full description of this beading process, please look here.}

Time for a wash: this tightens up the weave, removes any soiling and softens up the tencel so it's like butter! I use fairly hot water and gentle suds and let it sit for 20 minutes or so. Then I squeeze the cloth working my way from one end to the other and back again. I find the middle and lift up, then grapple all the fringe ends together in one hand and hold them secure and squeeze out excess water from the doubled shawl. I rinse twice keeping all the fringe held together to prevent tangling and too much fraying of the tassel warp ends. I use a small amount of fragrance free liquid fabric softener in the last rinse.

A smaller item would normally be rolled into a towel and then hung to dry. This shawl is 85 inches long plus an 8 inch outside it went. I jury rigged a PVC pipe hanger and it swung in the breeze on a beautiful fall day.

The next day when completely dry, I gave it a hard pressing with my Rowenta iron, which inconveniently died the day before we went away and had to be replaced quickly when we got back. Water leaking out of the bottom of an electrical appliance is not good! I did find an identical model for half the price I paid 3 years ago, so I'm happy. Once the tassel ends were neatly trimmed with a rotary cutter, I wrapped her on my manikin, admired once again and then sent word to Elena.

A close up detail:
I tack sewed one of my new labels on it. I even printed up the weaving draft and prepared a small swatch sample for Elena to have of her project.

I got a very excited email back and she was there bright and early the next day! She loved it.
This side showing has the predominantly darker side facing out.
It met with full approval by Appolonia (Apple for short), Elena's little daughter. She says she wants a pink one. Maybe when you are a bit older says Mum...
Somehow, I think by then, she'll want the red one!

This was my first full collaboration with a client on a project and I enjoyed it very much. Elena now has a better understanding of what we do and what went into the making of her unique project and myself as a weaver gets stretched to go beyond what our comfort zone. This time, I didn't venture too far, but next time? who knows!


barbara said...

A work of art! Beautiful! Thank you for sharing; I suspect Elena will have many, many years of enjoying her beautiful shawl.
Weaverly yours ....... Barbara

charlotte said...

This shawl is incredibly beautiful, what a fantastic piece of wearable art! It is so lustrous, and to me it looks like silk, but I believe it's tencel?

Susan said...

The shawl is woven from 2/8 tencel, sett 24 epi.

You could call it 'poor man's silk' as it has all the lustre, deep sheen, and beautiful hand of silk at half the price!


Dave Daniels said...

Susan! That is GORGEOUS. The weaving pattern is great, and the ultimate finale is the beaded finishing. Your handwork always amazes me.

Sue said...

That is so beautiful!

Theresa said...

What a beautiful piece of weaving. The smiles in the photos tell it all.

Cindie Kitchin eweniquely ewe said...


Margreet said...

Susan, what a lovely shawl and the beaded finishing makes it very special.

Delighted Hands said...

I found you on Weavolution but I recognize other blog friends, too! This is an amazingly beautiful shawl! I love the color and the fact it is oversized-pure weaving luxury!

elena said...

Thanks for weaving my wings, Susan. i feel like a real poet now.i love how you weave a story around the shawl, too.

Anonymous said...

That is absolutely stunning! I'm not surprised Elena is thrilled with it. Wow.

Peg in South Carolina said...

Absolutely beautiful.

Sunrise Lodge Fiber Studio said...

WOW!!! I just love the shawl and thank you for showing pictures of it on the person it was for. You can see all over her face how pleased she is ;)

Kim said...

Oh my, what a beautiful shawl! She must be a very good friend, and very lucky to have you as a friend too. I haven't tried tencel yet, but I think I must do so now that I have seen yours. The pattern is wonderful, and all that beading and lovely!

Lynnette said...

I know you are walking on air right now. Having finished this shawl in record time too! I love the bling.....I guess the magpie in me homes in on the wonderful beading. For me, it truly finished the shawl. The deep dark red is so flattering on Elena - a perfect colour choice.

Susan said...

I'd like to thank you all for your supportive comments!

You are my 'guild' of weaving friends!


Life Looms Large said...

I'm late to the commenting party on this one....because I saw it when you first posted it and knew I didn't have time to do it justice then!

I'll echo everyone's sentiments that you've created a real work of art here. So much of your expertise went into the design, the weaving and the finishing. It is a beautiful piece, and it looks fantastic on Elena. I think when something is designed for a particular person or home (I like making things for houses!) it sometimes suits them especially. And that's definitely the case here. Great job!

I also wanted to let you know that you've definitely been a good influence on me. I'll be picking up a slightly used fringe twister at the next weaving guild meeting. So I'll be twisting with the pros!

Congrats on such a beautiful piece!


Anonymous said...

What an amazing work of art you created. Simply stunning! It suits Elena perfectly :)