Every year I tell myself I won’t enter the Royal Show this year, but then make a last-minute decision to put something in. This year I decided I needed to get back into weaving (hadn’t done any for at least six months), so bought two entries and ended up entering one.
It had to be something different this time, or at least bigger than a scarf… a shawl. Maybe not the most adventurous step-up, granted. The idea came from Handwoven Sept/Oct 2013 which featured a moebius wrap. I didn’t want to risk ruining the item at the last minute with dodgey sewing, so settled for a flat version, and also changed some of the yarns.
The warp was black wool (plied, commercially spun at a sett of 16 epi) and silver-grey and lake combo 8/2 tencel (24 epi). The weft was black 8/2 tencel. The original draft required a sett of 27 epi, but 24 epi and the use of wool made for a lighter, airier and more wrapable shawl. I’ll definitely be using this combination again.
And here’s the grey-blue and birch version. The diamond pattern is more evident due to the light and angle of the camera. Although the birch yarn felt a bit stiffer both before and after laundering, the wibbly-wobbly effect is the same and the finished article has all the drape and comfort expected of tencel.
The birch yarn by itself is interesting in that sometimes it looks more silvery, sometimes more golden. Definitely, however, a good match for the grey-blue.
The dahlia/henna/pomegranate-dyed blanket was also fringe-twisted just in time and was equally gratefully received. Now to make a similar one using eucalypt dyes (in the next school holidays when I can boil gum leaves with all the windows open and air the house before anyone notices…).
Having set the loom up for boxes some time ago, I wondered what I could weave using the same tie-up. Lazy? Perhaps, but it lead to something worthwhile…
Looking through Carol Strickler’s 8-shaft patterns, and playing around on Fiberworks, I came up with a set of drafts using two colours in both warp and weft, as per shadow weave, but setting the warp at 24 epi rather than 20 to match the twill weave. I completed a run of five scarves in various designs using lime and aquamarine 8/2 tencel, and while I’ve received good feedback, I couldn’t help thinking that some of the patterns were more suited to a thicker yarn where the design would be more evident. Then one stood out form the rest… the moving boxes.
I warped the loom again, this time with spice and gold tencel. On the loom and under the light, the pattern looked more or less square. However, turning off the light, the curves in the weave were far more evident. After taking the scarves off the loom and allowing the weaving to relax, the curves became irregular. Laundering at 40C in the front loader left the fabric soft and silky, and the boxes are permanently “moving”.
The scarves were 72″ x 10″ on the loom, and are approximately 69″ x 9″ after laundering. The woven fabric is typical of tencel: “heavy” enough to hold itself in whatever shape it’s worn in, yet light enough to be comfortable.
I have two more on the loom at present in birch and blue grey tencel. I’d bought the former just because it was different, but it had sat in the cupboard for ages while inspiration came. Not an easy shade to match, but the blue grey seems to complement it nicely. Can I finish these within the next week? On verra…
I can’t remember which book or movie it was, but there was Alice, trying to make her way through the first door after drinking the potion that made her smaller. The floor had black and white tiles, chequer-board fashion, and because the floor was sloping, perspective made the tiles smaller in size the closer to the door they became.
I tried to copy this effect with a tencel scarf in block weave; the finished piece isn’t how I’d imagined it, but interesting nonetheless.