Circles Draft Scarves: Monochrome

Okay, this is how it’s going to go down. I am warping for a small batch (two) of Turned Taquete Circles Scarves, and using yarn on hand (how else?). I decided to go with rayon chenille because it’s easy. I don’t want to wind a warp that’s 60 epi. Au contraire, I’m starting this at 16 epi and will be sampling from there. This is 1450 ypp chenille, and my normal epi for that is 16. I am prepared to go up to 20, but we’ll see how it goes. I have weft of the same size, and I also have weft that is 2000 ypp, which would probably be recommended for drape.

Shockingly enough, I will sample with both!

Circles Scarf on the warping reel

This is the draft I’ll be using, including color choices. I decided to go full on monochrome, just black and white. My next warp will have color added. This time, I wanted the most contrast I can get, and besides, I like black and white dots.

Circles Scarf Weave Draft

In other news, I have a batch of Turned Taquete towels off the loom and ready to finish:

Turned Taquete New Batch

Dishtowels off the loom – group portrait

This warp is my standard dishtowels warp: 10/2 cotton sett at 32 epi. 20 inches wide, and woven as close to 30″ long as possible, not counting hems which are another 1 1/2″ each. I say 10/2 cotton is my standard, but as soon as I use up my 10/2 stock, I think I will be switching to 8/2 cotton.

8/2 cotton seems to be a more standard material for dishtowels these days. Plus it’s somewhat less expensive. Can’t argue with that.

So, here are some close-ups just for fun:

Turned Taquete Dishtowel ZoomTurned Taquete Dishtowel ZoomTurned Taquete Dishtowels Zoom

I took these shots with my new iPhone, and I have to say that these photos would stand up to my Nikon SLR any day. Just sayin’…

Woven Shibori – The Adventure Continues

(This blog post was originally published January 11, 2011 and April 19, 2011 on my first blog site, which is no longer in existence.)

In this repub I will be combining blog posts, keeping the really essential bits about Woven Shibori and flushing the bits that no one wants to read about ;-).

Part the first:

I had plans for a new Woven Shibori wide scarf project. I researched patterns on handweaving.net and found an undulating twill pattern for 8 harnesses that I liked and played around with it on pixeloom. I got a warp wound and halfway threaded. I was going to finally get back to it and then the holidays and my holiday knitting kind of got in the way of any serious weaving.

But I thought I would share my draft. I am actually using the sequence on the left which starts with two repeats of a straight draw, then a zigzag in the middle, then two repeats of a straight draw.

This is the drawdown. What I had in mind was an ogee motif repeated across the scarf. See this article on Ogees for more on that subject.

shibori-drawdown-1

Part the second:

[After the holidays] my woven shibori project moved slowly but it did progress. I got the first scarf off the loom and tied up all of the shibori threads. I had decided to paint the scarf with one color (rust) on one side, wait a bit, and then flip it over and paint the scarf with a different color on the other side. I did this in my dungeon (basement) dye studio. The scarf was just the right length to stretch out on the “table” that I use to paint yarn.

So first I soaked the scarf in my tub of water and soda ash.

chenille-shibori-green-5

Then I stretched it out on my dyeing “table” and painted it with the rust color dye.

chenille-shibori-green-6

As you can see, my “table” is a piece of plywood placed on a non-functioning laundry sink. Not very glamorous, but it is a space that suits my needs and as an added bonus, nobody else in the family would ever consider wanting to use it.

So I have that scarf dried and the ties pulled out. It’s very interesting to note that the dye didn’t really penetrate to the other side very much, with either color. So the scarf is kind of reversible, colorwise.

I have finished weaving the second scarf, with a slightly different tie-up, with longer floats. I am in the process of dyeing it, and there will be two steps. The first was to paint it all over with aquamarine dye, which makes the light yellow a pretty aqua-green. Then I will dip-dye the scarf in a tub with a good medium blue.

To be continued….

Part the third:

When I last blogged about my latest woven shibori project, I had just dyed the first scarf in a two-scarf warp by painting it, front and back, one side with rust orange and the other side with brown. That scarf turned out ok, but I didn’t like the pattern. The undulating twill was way too elongated, and it was kind of broken up. The lines weren’t smooth enough for my sensitive eye.

So my next move was to alter the tie-up for the second scarf. I made the floats much longer with the hope that the pattern would be more clearly defined. I also changed the treadling so that each pattern shot was done twice (last time I did each pattern shot three times). Here is the latest weaving draft which reflects all these changes:

shibori-drawndown-2

So I wove the scarf (a process that took quite a while, as I was doing a bit of knitting as well). I pulled up the shibori pattern threads and tied them. Then the dyeing began. I decided to do two colors. The base color of the scarf is a light yellow, so the dye colors had to be able to go well with that color. I chose aquamarine for the first color. And I put the soda-soaked wet scarf in a plastic tub and basically poured a half liter of dye solution all over it. I squeezed it and turned it over and over, making sure that the scarf was completely covered by the aquamarine. Then I covered the tub and left it for about a day. I went through the rinsing out, and hung it up to dry.

No rush.

My next move was to mix up some bright blue dye, enough for the weight of the scarf and filled a tub with about three inches of dye solution. I soda-soaked the scarf again, and then draped it over a couple of lucite dowels so that just the ends of the scarf were dipped into the dye solution. I left this for a few hours, maybe overnight, memory fades….

Anyway. I rinsed it out, and then I went away for about a week and a half, and I couldn’t see the finished product until I got back home. The suspense!

So, here are some pics. This is the scarf, with the ties still in:

chenille-shibori-green-2

And here is the scarf modeled by the lovely Stella:

chenille-shibori-green-4

And here are a couple more pics, purely for eye candy:

chenille-shibori-green-1chenille-shibori-green-3

WHEEE! I’m Published

(This blog post was originally published May 24, 2012 on my first blog site, which is no longer in existence.)

Now it can be revealed! (Well, I don’t know how much of a secret this really was, but I was waiting until the actual magazine was published before I blogged about it.) I have a project published in the (latest) May/June 2012 issue of Handwoven magazine!

My project is the Houndstooth Scarf in Diversified Plain Weave, and I gotta say that the whole process was both scary and exciting.

It started in January when I wove my first Diversified Plain Weave scarf (DPW for short) and blogged about it. Picture below. The editor of Handwoven noticed my blog piece and sent me a very nice email asking if I would like to do a project for the May/June issue, which was about DPW, among other techniques. I answered, “Yes (gulp)!”

I had an idea for a six-block houndstooth profile draft in DPW. (BTW, there aren’t a lot of six-block houndstooth patterns out there, so I kind of had to figure it out for myself.) So I worked it out and wove a prototype, pictured below.

The yarns I used were just some chenille and cotton that I’d had in my stash for years quite a long time. Brand X chenille Mill end chenille and 40/3 cotton. I needed some main stream standard size yarns to do a magazine project, so I ordered 1450 ypp chenille and found some 20/2 cotton, and I was off and running.

The project was due in the third week of February and I was weaving right up to the last minute. I even took a half day off work to do the last minute finishing on the piece and get it ready to mail, along with the Project-at-a-Glance information sheet and the print outs of the pattern file and profile draft. When you are weaving for publication, every detail has to be just right, and I was feeling the pressure.

The project looks great in the magazine, I must say. Here is a sneak peak if you haven’t seen it already:

And, here is the profile draft for the six-block houndstooth pattern:

Enjoy!

New Adventures with Chenille: Diversified Plain Weave Wow!

(This blog post was originally published December 30, 2011 on my first blog site, which is no longer in existence.)

One of the many projects I’ve had simmering in the studio for a while has been a Diversified Plain Weave scarf using rayon chenille and cotton. Diversified Plain Weave is a clunky term for an elegant weave structure that produces a lovely, supple rayon and cotton fabric. You can use other materials including wool or silk, but rayon and cotton is what I have around, and (especially the cotton) need to use.

Diversified Plain Weave (hereafter referred to as DPW) has been around for a while. Klara Cherepov produced a small book on it in 1972, which I checked out from the university library. I found it cryptic and unreadable, much less something I could actually use in the studio. This “classic” DPW relies on pretty strict rules concerning threading and weaving. Each pattern block consists of two shafts, in addition to two tie-down shafts. Odd and even shafts must alternate. Many other rules must be applied.

Madelyn van der Hoogt’s article titled “Thick ‘n Thin Again” in Weaver’s Magazine (Summer 1997) is an excellent summary of “classic” DPW, the pros and cons. However, in this article she introduces a new and improved DPW that eliminates all the hassles of the original, and this totally got my attention.

In this new and improved version, blocks are threaded and woven independently of each other, and do not have to follow a prescribed order. In other words, DPW was transformed into a true block weave. Each block consists of two thin tie-down threads on shafts 1 and 2, and a thick pattern thread on a third shaft. For my scarf I used 1200 ypp rayon chenille in black for the thick warp and 40/3 cotton in black for the thin warp. For the weft I used 1200 ypp handpainted rayon chenille for the thick weft, and 40/3 cotton in black for the thin weft.

Here is a shot of the scarf on the loom:

It was threaded 24 ends per inch, 2 thin threads and 1 thick thread per dent in my 8 dent reed. I added a floating selvedge on each side. I made the warp 9″ wide, and wove 70″, not including fringes. When I got it off the loom it had shrunk to 8 1/4″ in width and 68″ in length. After zigzagging the ends I soaked the scarf in the sink, rinsed it, and spun out the extra water in the washing machine. At the laundromat (don’t own a dryer, never have) I dried it only until damp-dry, then laid it out flat at home to dry the rest of the way. It had shrunk to 6 1/2″ x 60″, a whopping 15% shrinkage in length, and 18% shrinkage in width. That was quite a surprise, but good to know as I plan to do a lot more of these!

Here is a shot of the finished scarf:

The underside of the scarf is the opposite of the top side: the black becomes handpaint and the handpaint becomes black. It’s pretty cool.

What I would do differently:

•I would wind the two tie-down warps together from two separate spools along with the thick pattern thread, thus eliminating the need to stop and cut the warp every time I change yarn. (I may have been weaving for 40+ years, but I can still do stupid stuff with the best of them.)

•I would put the handpainted yarn in the warp instead of the weft, thus eliminating the stripey effect that handpainting yarn naturally causes.

Here is the profile draft that I used

Each block in the threading represents 2 tie-down threads and 1 pattern thread. Each block in the treadling sequence represents 2 “tabby” shots and 1 pattern shot. (Please note that you do not get a true tabby with this threading.)

And here is a sample of my actual drawdown:

The threading sequence goes: tie-down thread on 1, tie-down thread on 2, pattern thread on 3, 4, 5, or 6. This three thread sequence can be repeated at will and you can follow any pattern block with any other pattern block, odd or even.

This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

And I’m Published Again

(This blog post was originally published June 3, 2013 on my first blog site, which is no longer in existence.)

I’m pleased to announce that I have a weaving project published in the May/June 2013 issue of Handwoven magazine which is just out on on newstands as we speak. It’s such a rush seeing your work in a print publication — there’s really nothing like it. And the issue theme was perfect for me — color. If there’s one aspect of fiber that I am always focusing on, it is color. With a capital C. Structure runs a close second, but Color is where I live.

This Circles Scarf is the project that I wove for Handwoven. It is a Diversified Plain Weave scarf, woven with rayon chenille for the thick warp and weft, and 20/2 cotton for the thin warp and weft. Here is the front view (that is, the front of the fabric)

And here is view with the underside (back) of the fabric:

 

When I got started with this idea, I was playing around with profile drafts and quickly realized that in this design the front and back of the fabric were very different. In this screen shot the front is on the left, and the back on the right:

When you move through the color blocks for each row of circles the neutrals of the warp appear as circles embedded in the weft stripes. On the back the opposite is the case, the vertical stripes of the warp have circles of color embeded within. Magic!

Here is the Profile Draft for the design. You can go crazy with different structures, but personally, I think the Diversified Plain Weave that I used for this scarf is the way to go.

Enjoy!

 

Shameless Plug

(This blog post was originally published February 26, 2013 on my first blog site, which is no longer in existence.)

I’ve been weaving a lot of circles (see my previous post) and using a lot of colors of rayon chenille in small quantities. And it occurred to me, this isn’t a problem, for me, because I dye my yarn. I even over-dye my yarn if I don’t like the current color. But for many weavers, having a lot of colors of rayon chenille at your finger tips might be a pretty expensive proposition.

You can order chenille from the big yarn suppliers, but only on 1 pound cones. At upwards of $15-$20 per cone. Ouch. This is where my shameless plug comes in. I have a shop on Etsy where I sell hand-dyed and hand-painted rayon chenille, in addition to hand-painted tencel and cotton yarns. In small quantities. I sell the cotton and tencel in 4 ounce skeins. And I sell the rayon chenille in 4 ounce skeins. I could even dye to order if a request came my way.

I’m not the only indie dyer out there selling, but if you think about it, this is a real convenience that we provide. Folks needing small quantities should really look into this as a yarn source.

Ok. As I said, I’ve been weaving circles

Circles in Diversified Plain Weave. The warp is alternating stripes of black and gray rayon chenille. The weft is (you guessed it) stripes of rayon chenille in bright colors. This is the prototype scarf for a project I’m hoping will land in a forthcoming issue of a weaving magazine. More about that later.

After I finished weaving my scarves I decided to push the circles idea further and came up with this:

This profile draft has 8 threading blocks, which means for a weave like Diversified Plain Weave or Summer and Winter, you will need 10 harnesses. It will weave in Crackle on 8 harnesses, but I like DPW or S&W better. This design will just have to wait ’til I have more time to devote to it.

Pretty cool huh?

 

Going Around in Circles

(This blog post was originally published January 4, 2013 on my first blog site, which is no longer in existence.)

And, here we go with the new year. I don’t have resolutions per se, just a list of modest goals. I have some time off between semesters and I am home for two more weeks, so theoretically, I should get some stuff done.

For instance, go through the kitchen cabinets, remove items that haven’t been used in, like, years, and take them to the Goodwill.

Sew a couple of pillows for the couch, which could really use a little bit of freshening up. It should be easy. I’ve had the fabric for about five years as long as we’ve had the couch. Just need to buy some trim and pillow forms. Easy!

On the fiber front, I’m knitting a sweater and 99% done. Knitting a second sock, always a challenge, but it works well with the bowl games in the evening.

Painting more yarn for my Etsy shop. Watch for Pashmina Purples and Winter Blues! Further, I added several of my handwoven scarves to the Etsy shop. They were just sitting around, and needed to make themselves useful.

And speaking of weaving, I am in design mode. A little background: I’ve been seeing some lovely examples of scarves with a circles motif on Weavolution and also on the Handwoven Flickr group. I was kind of obsessed with figuring out a profile draft for circles for my own work after seeing these. I have an 8-shaft loom, so any block weave is going to be limited to six at the most.

At the same time, I got hold of a copy of Alice Schlein’s The Liftplan Connection. I decided the best way to figure this profile draft out was to use PhotoShop Elements, and Schlein’s book is the go-to manual for doing just that. Even better, she included a circle motif as one of her examples. So, using her directions in Elements I copied the cirlce motif, imported it into my weaving software, which in turn generated a draft.

This is the design I used:

Ok, I know it’s not a perfect circle, and if I had more harnesses to work with it would be much smoother. However, I have just five blocks to work with for the circle itself, plus one block for the background, so that’s as good as it gets. I have an idea for a Diversified Plain Weave Scarf, and I need to paint some yarn in order to get that on the loom.

I’m pumped.

 

Turned Taquete, the Saga Continues

(This blog post was originally published March 17, 2014 on my first blog site, which is no longer in existence.)

So I’ve been moving quite slowly in the weaving department. A lot of life changes are happening Chez Iowaweaver. The husband retired at the end of 2013. My own retirement looms (ha! a pun!) at the end of June. Our house is our very own episode of Hoarders as my husband seeks to consolidate his office papers and books and regain a semblance of order and sanity.

The next episode of Turned Taquete was themed in greens and blues and I put on a warp for four towels using the threading draft I blogged about last time. See draft below. I had enough colors and ideas for treadling orders that I didn’t get bored, and the weaving actually went pretty fast.

Here are a couple of photos of the towels while still on the loom:

This is the weave draft. I sett 10/2 cotton 30 ends per inch. The warp was 20″ wide and I had five 4″ sections, so just imagine another section on the left to match the section on the right. 😉

Here is the towels’ group portrait:

And individual shots:

In other news, I’ve been dyeing sock yarn and other knitting yarn with fiber reactive dyes in the crockpot. This is a process that I got to know about three years ago, but didn’t pursue. But I like it lot! It is super easy. And I am going to continue with it more seriously, especially since I will have more time when I am retired. So, guess what I’ll be blogging about next time?

 

OK, I Think I’ve Got It

(This blog post was originally published November 22, 2013 on my first blog site, which is no longer in existence.)

When I started thinking about Turned Taquete on 8 harnesses last summer I came up with a simple profile draft in a positive/negative window pane design. My weaving software has a block subsitution feature which transforms a profile draft to the structure of your choosing. I picked Turned Taquete and this 16-harness weave draft was the result:

Ok, it was the look I wanted, but not the number of harnesses.

Not to be deterred, but clearly not working on it full time, I thought about this issue occasionally. Gradually, it dawned on me that I could work around my limitations. I wouldn’t have exactly the same weave draft, but I could come close.

First I considered the color drafts in both threading and treadling. Look closely and you’ll see that in the threading black and white alternate, while in the treadling only one color is used, a mid-tone neutral gray. There are areas of solid vertical stripes and areas of rectangular blocks. I decided to change out the black/white alternating areas in the threading, where we see the solid stripes, with solid, non-alternating areas of color, while keeping the black/white alternation in areas of rectangular blocks. In addition, I used the same neutral gray in the treadling color draft.

This is the result:

I think I’ve got it!

Ok, not exactly the same draft, but pretty darn close. I could get closer by repeating the sections on harnesses 1-4 and 5-8 two or three times, but I kind of like this as it is.

A bit later, I decided to see what the draft looked like by using black and white in the treadling draft. Here we have black/white/black/white/black:

Here we have white/black/white/black/white:

I like that by using solid areas and alternating areas of color in the threading you can see six different areas of color and structure in the weave!

Coooool!

 

 

The Scientific Method – 8 Shaft Turned Taquete

(This blog post was originally published November 2, 2013 on my first blog site, which is no longer in existence.)

Hypothesis: In weaving it is generally the case that 8 harnesses will yield a more complex cloth than 4 harnesses.

Experiment: Weave some Turned Taquete tea towels using an 8 harnesses threading.

Results: Not so much. Here’s the deal. The towels that I wove on 8 harnesses could just as well have been woven on 4.

Turned weaves are a trade-off. You turn a weave, often, for the convenience of being able to weave a complex weave structure which, unturned, would require two shuttles. Turning, you weave the cloth with one shuttle and speed up the process.

Here’s my basic weave draft:

Ok, basic in that I didn’t really use the threading. What I did use here was the tie-up and the treadling. Yup, I only used four treadles and the only difference between Block A and Block B was alternating the tabby treadles (1 and 2).

I used two threading blocks. Block A was threaded using harnesses 1-4, and Block B was threaded using harnesses 5-8. Each block was four inches wide and I used Block A three times and Block B twice. The towels were 20″ wide in the reed.

One tactical error was in the colors I chose and how I used them. You really need high contrast colors for Turned Taquete to work well, and I had gone crazy buying new 10/2 cotton, but the colors I went with, though nice and pretty enough, didn’t have the contrast I needed.

But, I love, love, loved weaving the towels. It was so much fun deciding what the next sequence would be. The texture is wonderful. Still, I could have done them with four harnesses. What do you think? There is so lttle published on Turned Taquete, and maybe I could have figured out a different tie-up or something, but maybe not.

Here is one of the towels posing for its portrait:

And a detail:

If I had threaded this weave on 8 harnesses using a standard summer and winter structure (which is what Turned Taquete basically is) and woven it with one shuttle, would I have ended up with towels that matched my original vision? What the heck, I have tons more 10/2 cotton…