Thursday, 17 April 2014

New projects

It’s been a busy few weeks with a conference for work, a house guest, overseas visitors and the opportunity to catch up with the people I worked with in the 1970s and 1980s.  A good time was had by all but it didn’t leave a lot of spare time.

There has of course been some progress.  I had put long warps on both looms so that when I had some spare moments, I could just sit down and weave.

The first project was for 4 scarves in 8/2 Tencel on the 8 shaft loom.  It’s the first warp I put on with the new warping valet.  I wrote at the time that it went on beautifully and with 3 of the 4 scarves finished, the tension has been perfect all the way.  The warp is deep coral with eggplant accents.  Each scarf has a different colour for the weft, so far - Tencel in light olive green, champagne and Xie bamboo in hot pink.

 With just one scarf length left, I’m still trying to decide which colour to use.  The draft is broken twill blocks adapted from a bedspread in Handwoven September October 2008 and is very similar to #246 in Carol Strickler’s 8 shaft book.  The handle is different for the Tencel and Xie wefts but both feel great, 

the draft gives an illusion of 3 dimensions and particularly with the light olive weft there is some iridescence as well.

I made some similar scarves last Winter and found them really easy to wear, I could arrange them in the morning and they stayed in place all day.  My only problem now is to decide which weft to use for the last one of the series.

The other project was to make some tea towels.  I had quite a lot of dark grey cotolin wich has matured in the stash for long enough and a similar amount of white 8/2 cotton.  I estimated that there was enough to make 15 tea towels and away I went using draft 4–47 in Marion Powell’s book, 1000(+) Patterns. 

Following the success of the warping valet, I thought I would try draping the (very long) warp for the 4 shaft loom over the heavy bench from the 8 shaft loom and weight it with bottles of water.  It was a great learning experience and I learnt that is was no substitute for the valet I made for the 8 shaft loom.  At one stage I had about 12 meters of tangled warp.  I worked on it patiently and eventually got it on the loom.  

Somewhat to my surprise, the tension has not given me any problems.  I guess I learned two things, not to do it that way again and when faced with a tangled warp, taking the time to make sure the tangles are tamed and that the warp goes on well is worth it. I gave myself the challenge of making 15 different designs, so far so good.  I’m up to towel 11 with a plan for number 12 and still have a few ideas left, if all else fails the last few might have some different weft yarns.  Here are the first five.

It’s the beginning of the 4 day Easter break, hopefully I’ll get both of these projects finished and something new on the looms.

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