Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Poker Challenge Turns to Twills

My weaving discussion group took on a challenge last year called Weaver's Poker.  In our version of the game, we came up with options for five different attributes of a handwoven project:  Structure, Yarn Fiber Type, Color, Color Relationship and Design Element.  We drew cards from grab bags containing the five different aspects.  Each person had the flexibility of discarding one of the attribute cards.  Here's my hand:  Color – Orange; Color Relationship – Split Complement; Yarn – Linen; Structure – M's and O's; Design Element Large Checks.

Even though we could throw out one of the attributes, I decided to use all of the cards.  I selected 22/2 cottolin in Autumn red, Light Green and Aqua for the orange and the split complements - blue and green.  

After thinking about M's and O's, I developed a three block design with the help of Fiberworks-PCW.  The software allows you to draw a profile draft and then convert it to a threading.  This design used three colors in the warp, each in a different blocks.  Those colors (and blocks) would then be used in the weft to create the large checks.  (The area between the black "threads" was repeated a total of three times.)

Weaver's Poker Challenge Drawdown

The warp was sett at 24 epi, two threads per dent in a 12 dent reed.  The resulting fabric was a towel.

The color and texture of the final piece was nice but there was some puckering and draw in because of the M's and O's.

M's and O's Towel Detail

Based on that, I decided to just do the one towel in the M's and O's design.  I rethread the warp to weave a turned twill instead.  This design used a 3/1 twill versus a 1/3 twill.  The 8-shaft design changed blocks when the warp color changed.  

Turned Twill Drawdown
I wove three whole towels plus a half piece.  

Turned Twill Towels

These towels were also sett at 24 epi.  I think they could have been sett a bit more densely.  They feel nice but perhaps slightly loose.  

The blue weft towel was woven with eight picks of one block and twelve of the other.  The green weft towels were woven with block changes that matched the color changes in the warp.  It is kind of a plaid in texture.  The third towel used all of the warp colors in the weft and changed blocks to match the warp.  

Blue Weft

Green Weft

Three Colored Weft
It was an interesting challenge.  I played around with colors I hadn't in the past.  It also forced me to work on designing with M's and O's on 8 shafts and with blocks.  

Thursday, March 2, 2017


I've been focusing more time on weaving things that aren't towels.  This gives me a chance to weave with some beautiful yarns typically used for knitting.  I've had this warp on my loom for several months - Malabrigo Arroyo in the Archangel color.  I had planned two scarves and wove the first one in October or November.  The warp languished a bit but the second scarf came off this week.

I decided to do an advancing twill with a 2-2-3-1 tie-up on 8 shafts.  The warp was sett at 8 epi.  I thought this would give the scarf texture but not too much since any other pattern would get lost in the variegation.

I decided to use Malabrigo Rios in the same color for the weft.  This is similar in size but not exactly the same as the Arroyo.  

Warp Yarn

The result had a nice hand and drape.  

Scarf 1 detail

Scarf 1

I wasn't totally happy with the way the floats fell, so I changed the tie-up for the second scarf.  The threading stayed the same.  The tie-up is a 2-1-1-1-2-1 twill.  This still had a 4 end weft float but otherwise seemed ok.  

Drawdown for Scarf 2

The weft for this scarf was Malabrigo Arroyo in the color Purpuras.  

Warp and Weft Yarns for Scarf 2

The scarf turned out nicely - different than the first scarf because of the tie-up and darker weft but pretty similar.  Both scarves have a twisted fringe.

Scarf 2 Detail

Scarf 2

Here are the two scarves together with the weft yarn used.

Malabrigo Scarves with weft yarns

Friday, February 10, 2017

Annual 24 Shaft Challenge

If it's February, it must be time to weave samples for the Complex Weavers 24 +/- Study Group.  For some reason, it's always a last minute thing for me.  This year was pretty last minute, although I have been later in past years.

For this round of samples, I played around a little with network drafting.  I use Fiberworks PCW software to help plan my designs.  One of the features of the program is that you can draw a shape in the threading area and convert it to a network draft.  This makes the process fairly easy although you still have to make sure the transition between the repeats works OK.  I honestly didn't spend too much time tweeting this design.  I wasn't entirely happy with it but the samples are a time to experiment.

For the tie-up, I decided I wanted to have the fabric be weft faced.  That way I was lifting fewer shafts that were left down and I would get something different on each face of the cloth.  I was able to "draw" diagonal lines in the tie-up box to create the tie-up.  I planned to weave it as threaded, (i.e. trop as writ).

Sample Design - one repeat

I picked 10/2 cotton for both the warp and weft,  since I have a lot of it and for a change pick colors I like.  (Normally, I use this exercise as a way to use up yarn colors I don't particularly care for.)  I selected two colors for the warp - UKI Crab (green) and Lt Turk (blue).  I alternated these colors across the warp.  I find that using two colors in the warp of similar value will often give added interest to the finished textile.

I wasn't sure what color weft I wanted to use, so I wove a couple inches of four colors.  From bottom to top they are:  UKI Spec Turk (blue), Hummingbird (purple), Ind Orange and Lt Orange.

Color sampling

I decided to go with the complementary color Ind Orange which would give some value contrast as well.

Final Project Colors

I like the resulting cloth.  It was a shame to cut it up because there was both iridescence and shine that I'm not sure the 3" x 3" squares have.  The warp- and weft-faced sides are nicely complementary.

Finished Textile - Back and Front

I need to go back to the design and work on it a little.  Also there was a threading error that kept me from using the total width of the cloth.  I have several more yards of this warp left to use for experimentation.

Monday, January 2, 2017

A Warm Shawl for a Wintery Day

I'm working on reducing the bulk of my stash, so I looked in my bin of Mountain Colors yarns and found three skeins of Twizzle in the color Northern Lights.  In addition to reducing my stash, I'm trying to work with my nicest yarns.  I really love working with Mountain Colors yarns.  

Northern Lights Twizzle Warp

I also found a skein of Alpaca Blend in the Gold Rush.  It had some of the same colors as the Twizzle.  It also had a smoother texture which I thought would help it blend in rather than jump out versus the warp yarn.

Alpaca Blend - Gold Rush weft

Since the warp had lots of color variations, I thought that a simpler design would be better than something with a lot of pattern.  I thread the warp to a straight draw and tied up to a 2-2-1-1-1-1 twill.  I decided that this would be balanced and be a little more interesting than just plain weave or a 2-2 twill.  It will also give the shawl more drape that if I wove it in plain weave.

I was pleasantly surprised that the warp did a little self-striping with the yellow standing out.  It looked like I had planned it but it was all how the warp colors landed.

Shawl on the loom
The shawl turned out looking great.  It has a nice drape and feels substantial but not heavy.  I washed it by hand and laid it out to dry on our last clear day.  I twisted the fringes to finish the look.  

Finished Shawl 

Finished Shawl
 A nice way to use up some yarn.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Wooly Shawl

In my quest to get as many things woven for the County Fair as possible, coupled with a desire to use up stash yarn, I wove a woolen shawl using Mountain Colors yarns http://www.mountaincolors.com.  The warp yarns were purchased as a knitted shawl kit many years ago.  The yarns included Mountain Goat (worsted), Merino Ribbon, Wooly Feathers, and Mohair in the Sierra Colorway. (I chose not to use the Moguls yarn, also included in the kit.  It had very large bumps that didn't seem to lend themselves to this project.) For the weft, I used another Mountain Goat yarn in the Yellowstone colorway.

Warp Yarns

Weft Yarns

The warp yarns were wound in "stripes of texture".  Some sections used all four types of yarn or just two or in a few cases, just one - depending on how much yarn was left as I wound the warp.  It was sett at 10 epi, which seemed to be a good compromise for the sett of all of the different yarns.  The warp was threaded to a straight threading on 8-shafts.

Since the colors were so close in value and color - even the weft versus the warp, I decided to keep the structure relatively simple.  I wanted to use a twill in order to increase the drape of the final shawl.  So I used my standard 3-2-1-1-1 tie-up and wove it as threaded.


The weaving turned out to be slow and somewhat painful.  The mohair was a slight problem, getting twisted with the yarns on each side.  (Neither the mohair nor the feathery yarns were adjacent to each other or themselves.)  The Wooly Feathers yarn was so attracted to it's neighboring yarns that it took about 10 minutes to weave each inch.  I had to clear each shed before I could throw the shuttle.  I'm pretty sure that I am not going to use this type of yarn in a warp again.

I twisted the fringe before wet finishing it.  This proved to take a fair amount of time too.

The final shawl did turn out to be very nice.  Although nervous about the wet finishing, I washed it in my front-loader washing machine on the handwash setting and lay it flat to dry. The yarn got cosy with itself rather than actually fulling.  

I'm pleased with the result and I hope to weave more shawls with wool yarns in the future.

Yuba River Scarf Plus One

Another Fair category in the Wool Division is Nevada County Inspired. This category is for entries that have been produce with some aspect of our County in mine.  I think it replaced "Fair Theme Inspired" several years go.  I love to enter this category - to keep the numbers up for it since it is an interesting category, and {truthfully} since it is one of the few categories with a cash prize.  :-) )  

This year I was a bit busy and not particularly inspired.  I have been looking through my yarn stash with the idea of doing projects that are relatively quick and can use up some of the yarn I have.  I purchased a fair amount of sock yarn to weaving into scarves.  I found several skeins of blue-green variegated sock yarn in two slightly different shades.  They looked a lot like the Yuba River that runs through the County and I got inspired to make a couple of scarves.  

Yuba River
This was the first time I've warped two scarves together.  Normally, I either have one skein with enough for one scarf - warp and weft or I felt safer just warping one at a time.  I did have to use a little of the yarn color I was planning to use for weft in the warp.  It is about an inch at one of the selvedges.

I used an extended point twill threading.  I like how this threading can result in large diamonds or other geometric shapes.  The warp (Knit One crochet two's Crock-O-Dye) was sett at 12 epi.  The tie-up is my standard 3-2-1-1-1 that I have been using for towels.  (Again, see the previous post about not wanting to get under the loom to re-chain.)  

The Yuba Inspired Scarf was woven as threaded - i.e., with large extended point threading. The second scarf was threadled in a small point.

Yuba Inspired Scarf

Second Scarf
Two Scarves Together

This yarn is variegated and creates a plaid effect by using it in the warp and weft.  The pattern is very subtle but in the detail pictures, the design can be seen.  It may not seem worth it to weave anything other than plain weave with this yarn but I like the extra texture that it creates.

Yuba Inspired Scarf Detail

Second Scarf Detail

I like the resulting scarves.  The Yuba River is a very inspiring landmark.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Handspun Yarn Project

The County Fair is right around the corner so it is the season to work on entries.  There is an underrepresented category in the Woven with Handspun Division called Collaborative Spinner/Maker.  The entries for this category are produced by two or more people with a woven item make from at least 50% handspun yarn.  Not being a spinner myself, I was able to get yarn for this purpose from my friend Beryl (http://bannermountaintextiles.blogspot.com).

I don't often work with wool, but I thought about a scarf with two of the yarns Beryl offered.  Her yarn was the green and dark brown ones pictured below.  The strand of yarn pictured below was a handspun I had but can't remember where I got it.  It was labeled Hummingbird Handspun and might be Hummingbird Moon Handspun.

I am trying to use some new weave structures, so I thought I might try an advancing twill. This one is pretty basic on 8-shafts.  I did decide to use the tie-up I have on my Cranbrook loom (to keep me from having to get under it and rechain).  This is the same 3-2-1-1-1 tie up that I use with towels.  I calculated that I wouldn't have enough green for the entire warp.  I thought about alternating the green and brown but realized it would hide the pattern.  So, I used the green for the majority of the warp with stripes of brown on the selvedges.  I used the Hummingbird for the weft.

The warp was sett at 8 epi.  This might have been a bit dense for this warp and the weft I chose for a scarf, but it feels perfect for a table runner.  

The project wove fine without any difficulties.  The weft yarn was brown overall but had bits of the green and other complementary colors.  It seemed ideal.

It is really a lovely table runner.