Sunday, December 13, 2009

"Houston, We have a Problem...."

(Apologies to the crew of Apollo 13....)

Do you recall my black 2/30 silk warp, sett 36 epi, that I was about to make nice twill circles on? Well, something is not going right. I have weighted floating selvedges on to ensure the weft goes completely from side to side, but it's not working well in some spots. It wants to bunch up or separate in others.

This is the right edge and while it's better here, I'm not happy. I added extra weight to the floating selvedges but it didn't make much of a difference. The weft is silk/ camel blend which has a nice loft to it. Maybe that's the trouble?

So I cut down the weft and removed it. ( I can hear Sue crying from here!) I left the narrow black bottom edge in place.

The silk warp is subject to abrasion and so its better to cut the weft out over 'un-weaving' it. Faster too... Here's a great tutorial on how to do this correctly.

Here I tried silk/ yak and the more subdued colour just didn't do the pattern justice. It also had trouble with the edges. So, out it came....

Then I found a cone of Brassard's fine bamboo in a deep red. Most bamboo is very softly spun and can be quite limp... but this yarn had high twist and was like using wire! It was too round and hard against the soft silk and just lay there in the pics like rope. As you can see the little bit of the left edge, it also wasn't working. So out it came... ( Notice I'm steadily using less and less new weft? I'm getting smarter.... and no comments from the peanut gallery!)

Here's a close up of the bamboo. Very tightly spun. The silk is sett correctly and I double checked the ties and tension of the warp. What else could it be?

This is the waste basket and the 'dead soldiers' are piling up. Meanwhile I'm searching my entire stash for a suitable candidate and emailing friends for help!

So while I waited for the cavalry, I went for black 2/10 tencel and will make one scarf in all black. It's not a happy solution and the pattern is very subtle for all the work doing a repeat. I'm buying myself some time to come up with a better solution, and not to mention going blind weaving black on black! There's warp enough for 3 full 70" long scarves and fringes of 9" at either end for all.... so it's far too long (and expensive) to cut and run :)

Here's another view of the all black solution. While it works, it doesn't do the pattern justice.

It's been resting while I weave off the tea towels and mull things over.
Lynnette was kind enough to look the draft over and suggest some changes:

I had a look at your draft and it's amazingly lovely! I tried every different selvedge treatment I could think of and frankly everything just looks ugly and ruined the selvedges. I have a couple of suggestions though:
* You could hang a doubled floating selvedge and weigh it heavily - that would stop any tendency to pull in.
* You could add doubled threads on the last two shafts so at the beginning double 1 and double 2, then at the end double 7 and double 8, it will give strength to the selvedges and not screw up the pattern like a basket weave does.

I'm going to try her
suggestions and see how that works out, using the original silk/ camel weft. Failing that, I'll re-thread and try another pattern. Perhaps you might have a comment on what might cure my problem!?

I'm hoping to get some time in on the towel warp but we are into our last week before leaving next Saturday. Between dealing with adjusters, the restoration company and trying to get the damaged kitchen floor removed, my life is interesting!

I have also been comtemplating what is about to happen here soon with the kitchen renovation. Everything I have in a kitchen cupboard or drawer has to be moved out of the kitchen *and* dining room and still be accessible for use. This includes all the contents of the buffet and hutch.
So....I'll have to rearrange the guest bedroom and pack up all the knic nacks and strip the bed. This should free up room to stuff all the kitchen goods. I'm going to need a *LOT* of boxes....

To distract myself, and to put a positive spin on things, I admired the nifty stack of twenty boxes of our new walnut hard wood flooring and tried to imagine this new floor throughout the kitchen and dining room. This dream also involved new dining room suite of course....go big or go home (More like go broke!)

It helped, but not as effective as new yarn would be...
but good enough for now...


Laura Fry said...

Hi Susan, if you double the ends in the heddles, don't double them in the reed but keep the density the same.

I hear you about the kitchen reno - we're planning on re-doing all the floors (except the bedrooms). It's going to be a nightmare! Hope your reno goes smoothly.


barbara said...

It just goes to show all weavers, that we have to keep on our toes and not all things work out the way we would like them. Sorry Susan, I don't have any suggestions that might help - though I will be interested in hearing your solution. I suggest "step away" from the loom, and let the "issue" just sit at the back of your mind; you might have the solution in your own head; with all that is going on, travelling for the holidays, renovations, adjusters .... the solution is probably having a hard time to break out of your head. Give it time.

I hope you and yours have a wonderful Holiday Season, and all the best in 2010.

Weaverly yours ..... Barbara

Anonymous said...

Hi Susan - It could be that your selvedge threads are too tight. The yarn then slips on them instead of weaving in as on the main web.

;) Evelyn

Dorothy said...

Is it anything to do with the number of interactions between warp and weft in this pattern varying near the selvedge? Could you thread for a plain weave selvedge?

Good luck with solving this tricky problem.

charlotte said...

I'm really sorry for all your trouble. This is a tricky one, and I've encountered a similar problem with 8- shaft twill table runners this summer. Strangely, I had more trouble with white linen as weft than with black. I agree with Lynnette that doubling the first two warp threads plus having a double floating selvedge might help. When I did 8- shaft twill again this fall, I had doubled the warp threads at the edges, and this did help quite a lot.
Good luck!

Benita said...

Save your "dead soldiers" for the birds next spring!! I do this and get lovely, colorful nests in the trees.

bspinner said...

I'm sorry I don't have a solution either but have had similar problems myself. My right selvage is never as nice as my left even with floating selvages which I've been using for almost everything.

Life Looms Large said...

You're right - I do cry over cut yarn!! (Although I've cut out weft to save my warp on my latest project too!)

Far be it from me to have an idea that will help you, oh master of all that is woven.....

But, if the black tencel works, couldn't you just buy other tencel in colors you'd like that will also work? (When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping, or something.)

Good luck with the kitchen disruption. We use our kitchen so much - it's where we cook and where we eat. It's hard to imagine it being out of commission. It will be worth it though when you're happy with the end result! Too bad it's not the right weather for alfresco cooking & dining!

Looking forward to seeing what you do to resolve this problem.


Sharon said...

I thought Dust Bunnies was your blog. I'm glad you directed me here. Much of the time I don't understand the discussion but more and more, things are falling into place. Thanks!