Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Wild Orchid

I love Orchids. Did you know there are over 5900 catalogued varieties? That they are the most sophisticated, specialized plant on the Earth? The blossoms, the colours...they look so delicate and so complex! Did you know that real vanilla extract comes from an orchid ? Many are green house varieties needing special humid conditions but phalaenopsis or Moth orchid can be grown in most homes on a window sill.

So imagine my curiosity when I saw that there is a tencel colour called orchid! 
 I *had to* order it.  When it arrived I could see that its a delicate lilac. Super, uber pale!    I have used it as weft in one of my shawls and while it looked good, it didn't really bring the true colour out. The other colours in the warp and weft took centre stage.

The cone sat on my yarn shelf for a time and I mulled over what would be the best way to express this delicate colour to its best advantage.  Eventually, I decided on huck lace and the orchid would be warp and weft, because as we all know, that lace weaves look best when you use the same colour and yarn.

So I went through my pattern books and then my sample binders. I found an 8 shaft lace draft I used some years ago and woven a white shawl. All I have is a picture of it as the warp was too short for samples and it sold right away. (That was before I added extra inches as a dedicated sample length!) This tencel is 8/2 and I used a sett of 20 epi for a slightly firmer lace (over the recommended 18 epi).

I wanted to use the bottom section again, which I like to call 'trellis'. The top section is a lot more lace than I really wanted but I went through the various lace blocks and took some from the top and what I liked from the trellis. The basic rules are a block that has a 1 for the plain weave must be followed by a block with a 2. This way you can select which ones you want to create the image you'd like. Well, that's what I did  with this draft.  It was fun actually and I came up with several patterns that I'll use in the future. They are all based on the threading shown above and all I've done is play with the blocks and in what order they are treadled.

The picture above shows the start of the first scarf using the trellis style.... and my new Bluster Bay curly walnut end delivery shuttle. The yarn feed is opposite to what I'm used to and I had to get used to the tensioning hooks. Due to tencel being slippery, I ended up using pretty much all of them. It didn't take too long to get used to it and as you'll see later on, it did a nice job with my selvedges. The only difficulty I had was re-learning how to wind the cardboard pirns correctly, but even that went okay after a couple of tries. 

The plain weave treadles, nine and ten, are on the far right.... and all the pattern treadles are sequentially across from treadles one to eight. Your feet are jumping around quite a bit! After a repeat or two, I decided to place numbers on the treadles to give me my placement at a glance.  If you give the draft above a try, then you might want to do this too.

Scarf number two I wove blocks that went across the scarf and made small rosettes, then an abbreviated blocks to make them appear rounder, followed by the rosettes again. This was repeated on the other end of the scarf. In between, I wove the rounder 'flowers' with six pics of plain weave in between to give some separation. Its pretty but I like the first scarf better. Its seems that simple designs are more effective. 

Then it was time for the fringes to be twisted...

You can see the shine already!

Beads were a interesting experience! I pulled out all my suitable colours and then put most of the away again.  I had some that almost matched perfectly but they did absolutely nothing and completely disappeared. I found that some that looked the right shade, turned a different colour against the orchid colour! Finally I found the ones shown above for the trellis scarf. They are darker than I really wanted but trust me, in person, they really work!

Photographing it on white simply did NOT work....it turned gray and looked dreadful! My dark charcoal counter top worked best. If it didn't, then I wasn't sure what to do next! As you can see from the picture below, the areas of plain weave produced a very stable cloth.

The second scarf, which I'm calling 'flowers' turned out quite nice too. You can see the softer shade I used for this one's beads and crystals. Both scarves have lovely edges and I must credit the Bluster Bay. I ordered a second one, this time curly maple, so I have a set. I'll use them on narrow widths such as scarves.

They both came in at 7.5 inches in width and 71 inches in length, plus the fringe. They are definitely a lady's scarf.

I took it easy weaving these scarves due to my cranky knee. X-rays were done and I had a visit with our family Doctor. Seems I need a knee replacement! Actually, half of one but its up in the air if a 'demi' version would work. Many orthopedic surgeons gave up on the half version and went back to the full. We'll see what my surgeon feels about this when I get to see him sometime this late spring or early summer.

I'm going to keep on weaving, as it is exercise after all,  but use more (lighter) 8 shaft drafts and go slower.  My Doctor says I'll be back weaving again once I'm all healed. The trick is how long will the wait for surgery be?    I'll keep on playing with yarns while I wait...


Anonymous said...

Beautiful, love the beads they are perfect. Hope you are feeling better soon.

Dorothy Stewart said...

Pretty scarves and pretty colour too, very summery. I did huck lace with tencel and yes, there was a very nice sheen when they were finished.

I'm sure you are doing the right thing to keep that knee moving as much as you can.

Cindie Kitchin said...

Lovely scarves

Jacquie Reith said...

Susan, yet another set of scarves I would like to own and more ideas to ponder as I plan projects. I just showed my husband a few of your scarves and you have another admirer now.

About the knees: I have two total knee replacements and I believe that I wouldn't be able to weave now without them. I have no pain now. Sometimes a little stiffness with bad weather. My husband had a partial replacement in one knee and had micro-fracture surgery on the other. He still has pain in both and may eventually need more surgeries. Along with my cataract surgeries, my new knees are among the best things I ever did for myself.


DebbieB said...

Such lovely work, Susan!

Threadbare Designs said...

Lovely scarves, Susan! I really like the trellis design.

I just received a BB end feed shuttle recently, and like you, have fallen in love with it. The learning curve for the pirns didn't take too long (although I have to wear one glove so the yarn doesn't cut into my finger as it gets rolled on. Too much tension, maybe?), but the ease of weaving and the beautiful selvedges more than make up for it.

OzWeaver said...


I am so tardy in responding to your request to use one of my orchid photos from the Bahamas (on argoknot blog). It looks like at this point you have done a beautiful post without any photos from me!....

...but if you'd like to use the photo you have my permission. If you decide to include it just link to my blog please, www.argoknot.com

How interesting that you lived on board a 52' ship. That would be the lap of luxury to me! Our boat is only 43' and it's a very small 43' since it's so narrow. The upside of that is how fast it sails, and since I'd always rather be anchored I'm quite happy that we get places faster than most boats our size!

You have a beautiful blog! I'm in love with your huck scarves!

OzWeaver said...


I'm not certain that my first attempt to contact you actually worked! I wanted to get in touch about the request you sent me to use one of my orchid photos from my blog.

It looks like you have already written the blog post about your huck scarves (which are beautiful!!) so you may no longer need my photo. But if you'd like to use it you are welcome to do so. Just link to my own blog please, www.argoknot.com.

I've enjoyed looking at your blog and am very happy to have found you! The huck scarves are wonderful!

Lynn Majidimehr said...

So beautiful!!!