Monday, October 15, 2018

A Tale of Two Shawls: part 1


Sometimes I get ideas for weaving and make notes to myself.  Those notes usually get buried or discarded. One of them reappeared when I was searching through old samples from past projects. It was a plaited twill I had made tea towels from many, many years ago for an exchange. I had really liked the  symmetry to the pattern and wondered what it would be like in a colour gradation.  Going from one colour through to another on the other selvedge?  Geesh, that would take some work and then some....   So it was filed away.


I found the note last spring and decided to play around with the draft on my computer to see if I could do it. Fiberworks (Mac version) has a colour gradation feature that I have used before with some success.  So choosing the colours (in tencel from Webs) ecru, taupe and shale, it turned out something like this:


I used colours that would be easy to identify when winding the warp as I followed along, advancing my post it note.  The two sections represented two different weft choices, with the bottom being the ecru as weft. It showed the pattern is there on the cream edge but not visible unless you look closely and then as the colours shifts and changes, more and more is revealed until you get the full plaited twill on the darker edge.


The weaving was going well; it was just there was a lot of it and the treadling is a bit awkward under the loom foot wise. I have issues with my feet and arthritis so I took a pace they could handle.  Ten treadles and the treadling pattern was shafts 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 5, 3, 6, 1, 7, 3, 8, 1, 9, 10. So some dancing about, but there was a pattern you could get into and now I have it memorized (forever!)


Then I started to have some issues with tension in places, so I opted to cut this shawl off and re-lace back on again.  It also meant I could see how things look when all opened out.  It took me some time to twist up the fringes and give it a good soak, dry and press up.


Then as luck would have it, we have been enjoying some beautiful sunny days and I took Madge out to the back yard for a photo shoot.  We found a spot out of the very bright sunlight and with a nice gentle breeze blowing, I got these shots. They give a very good representation of the colours as well.


This was 8/2 tencel, sett 24 epi. On the loom it was 23.33" and was woven to 86"under tension. The over all length was 84" off tension 24 hours after coming off the loom and then the finished dimensions are 21" by 82".  I feel there was considerable  take up plus shrinkage all things.  I will be weaving the second shawl as equally long with this in mind!


This picture shows the beautiful drape but also shows the transitions from ecru to taupe, then to shale. It also shows the pattern appearing broken and confused and then finally being firm and clear.  Sort of a metaphor for Life huh?  "...all will be revealed in time..."



So I'm happy with the shawl but there are things I would do differently next time. I would take out the furthest change in colour threads so it was a tighter change.  I would also try for colours a bit closer in shade as well so it just flows across from light to dark.  Even the all ecru section is pretty!


The second, darker shawl is off the loom now and waiting for the fringe twister, so part 2 will be along next post.

Next up....    my new warp weights. I bought them from  Carr Park Artisans on Etsy and I chose the cherry wood ones as shown below.    Such a simple, but effective concept!   My old plastic film canisters have been fine for years but are becoming brittle and cracking and my "stash" of them are slowly dwindling as the casualties are recycled.  


They come with five large washers as weights and it will hold more.  Your local hardware store has them.  I can just see a flood of weaverly women  asking for large washers at the nearest Home Depot or Lowes!


Back with Part 2 soon.....  

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