Monday, August 20, 2018

Fire Iris Shawls



Earlier this summer I spotted this beautiful bearded iris in bloom and marvelled at the colour combination.  This may well be a flower designed to be this way by careful cross pollination but even so the colours still amaze me. Purple lilac to peach to bronze and even a touch of yellow, red and burgundy.   I found out its called a Fire Iris.  

Sometime later when I was looking for a new project to add to the line up, I recalled the iris when I saw this painted warp hanging in my stash cupboard.  Add a dash more purple but this is close to what I had.   This picture is of the painted warp called Desert Vista by Iridescent Fibers.


I pulled out more than a few cones to play around with, even consulted with hubby over some,  and finally decided to use red-purple, black and a colour called Pompeii from Web's 8/2  Valley tencel line. The red-purple is a deep shade of the softer purple in the painted warp and the Pompeii is a copper bronze and on the orangey side to 'talk to' the bronze and coral orange tones in the painted warp.  It also worked nicely with the softer bronze  spots.   The black was best to pull everything together, and as weft, it makes the colour really pop and project!


Here it all is together being wound on and prepped for threading. Its the brightest warp I have ever done. I was worried it would be a flop and 7 yards is a lot of expensive flop!


Now, pattern?  I wanted something fancy and intricate, so all 12 shafts on the Spring, and also completely reversible. This makes the shawl much more functional. One side is usually a tad bit brighter, another darker.... and you get to choose!

I found this draft at Handweaving.net and played around with it. I altered it a bit to reduce some float lengths, but loved the complexity of the design.  I wound a pirn of 8/2 black tencel for my weft but found that it still seemed to have larger floats around the border and edges that I didn't like the look of.  So I switched to 10/2 tencel in black (I have a small stash that I generally hoard) and the smaller grist weft yarn made a huge difference to the float size.  It became acceptable to me and also helped to tighten up the pattern as you wove over all.  Despite the increase in pics, the drape was still wonderful later on!


You can see the "X" in the draft and the woven piece below. I wasn't sure how to represent a painted warp in the middle so sort of winged it with alternating colours.


The three pictures below show how soft and subtle the colour transitions are and I found myself wanting to weave more so I could see the next shift!  The colours got quite intense.




Look how intense the coral becomes! The red-purple really pairs nicely with its depth of shade.


Soon they were off the loom and rolled out all 7.5 yards for hubby to see.  The picture is a bit dark sorry.  The end piece is a generous sample as you have  to have a piece to admire down the road!


Fringe twisting got to be something of a long marathon session. Even with a quad fringe twister, its still hard on the hands. I also don't like to rush it and have the fringe look cheesy  after going to all that effort and expense.


Soon that job was done and the shawl was laid in a nice sudsy bath, while I fringe twisted its companion.   Drying was done flat on a drying rack outdoors, out of the sunlight.  It dried very quickly this time of year.

I gave the shawls a firm steam press with my Singer press, then a final touch up with a steam hand iron, to get those spots you can't get to with the press, and really bring out the shine.  One shawl measures 20.5 inches wide by 80 inches long and the second is the same width but 84 inches long.  Both shawls fringes are 7 inches plus tassel.

good representation of colour saturation!
I draped up Judy and took her outside and the bright intense sunlight bleached out the colours. I placed her out of direct sunlight and it was too dark.   Use the flash, and get bright hotspots on the cloth.  Then we had company for a week and I tried all over again after they left with no success.  So I photographed them indoors with better success, but still its not quite on for colour.


by the front door 


By the little sitting room


In the studio... where I stayed. Tired of humping Judy around the house and yard! 


Close up of the coral section below





Nice sheen from the tencel! Pattern is clear but doesn't obscure the colours.




Then I tried different automatic camera settings  and got more light but it washes out the colour intensity.




But you get the general idea! Its turned out way better than I hope for. Next up a pair of Royal blue scarves and they are rolling along nicely....   After that? I have another pair of shawls to weave (warp is pre-wound) and I'm waiting on a Web's order for a shawl commission where we re-visit something old again.  Time to get some ideas bouncing around so I can plan projects and get the warping mill spinning.

The end of the summer is almost here, and maybe this year it can't come soon enough with the extreme heat and fires burning everywhere. We are currently socked in with forest fire smoke and have over 600 fires burning in BC, including here on Vancouver Island.

I'll leave you with this shot that hubby Bruce took as we were heading into Costco, in Courtenay, the day before yesterday. They never barked and patiently waited.  They've done this many times before and know they will be back. 


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