Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Back Home, and Straining the Brain

We arrived home last Friday, after spending a few days near London with friends from our years living in Surrey/Berkshire. Thankfully, the timezone disruption westbound is an easier adjustment than in the eastbound direction. For me, at least.

The first task on arrival back in California was to begin the design process for a jacquard project for a friend from the local weaving guild. It involved learning a new-to-me technique: designing in Photoshop for a discontinuous supplementary weft. Given the time change, even thought it was less disruptive, my brain still refused to wrap itself around a handful of new ideas for supplementary wefts.

The project is based on a hand-drawn postcard from my friend's daughter, a really clever drawing that is intended as a gift from my friend back to her daughter. The image is in 3 colors, white, black, and red. Simple, right? Not so fast...

The red areas are discreet, and were obvious choices for brocade, aka discontinuous supplementary weft. I decided (after consulting Becky) to use my standard black warp (20/2 mercerized cotton) in a 7/1 satin for the dark areas, a white 16/2 bamboo ground weft for the white areas, and a soft wool for the red brocaded areas.

The instructions for weaving brocade include weaving the cloth face down to lighten the lifts in the brocade areas. A first for me. Now, after a few samples to verify aspect ratio, I find I need a mirror on a long stick so I can check what's going on on the 'face' of the cloth. No selfie sticks in this household, so we'll have to improvise.

Here are two photos I took while weaving samples. First, the weaver's view of the cloth with brocade almost invisible. Next, the view from under the cloth, showing most of my test strip. More images to follow, as the project develops.

The wool supplementary weft is on a small, low-profile shuttle, and white ground weft on my favorite end-delivery shuttle (not shown).

After loosening the cloth apron, I was able to get my small camera into the space under the cloth to photograph the 'right' side. Sorry, it was only a 1-inch strip! At least the red brocade area looks good, and I managed to get the appropriate weaves in the right places (Thank you, Alice and Bhakti!)

At some point, I will post some photos of our trip, which was wonderful, except that I forgot to pack the combination of cables that let me upload photos from my camera to my tablet, from which I can post to the blog. DH and I took lots of photos, but it was not feasible while cruising to move them from cameras to tablet.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Guess Where??

A Little Mermaid.

We're on an ocean cruise with Viking. So far: Bergen, Eidfjord, and Stavanger (Norway), then Alborg and Copenhagen (Denmark). Very pleasant weather. Having a good time. Hope you are, too!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Off the Air

I will be off the air for a while, on holiday, beginning this afternoon. Photos will appear here when possible. In the meantime, your job is to stay cool, and weave lots. My job is to rest, relax, and knit a little.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

The Next Version

This iteration has 2/2 basket-weave in the narrow, lighter-colored stripes on either side of a wide, darker stripe:

I've lost track of how many towels are woven at this point. The plan is to just keep going until the end of the warp.😃

Saturday, July 01, 2017


Here is an example of how [in]visible a change of twill direction is in the towels. From a distance:

and close:

For this towel, the weft is all 18/2 green Fox Fibre, which looks like a natural yarn until it gets an alkaline laundering. Here's the draft:

Ignore the blue warp threads in the draft; I used blue only to make areas where both warp and weft are natural, undyed yarn easier to distinguish on-screen. Also, I didn't bother to draft every repeat in the broad stripes; a shaft will lift whether it has 16 or 160 warp ends threaded on it.

I look forward to the wet-finishing, when all this faint detail will become more visible, as the colored cotton darkens.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Tea Towels

I've not posted in a few weeks. Not because nothing is going on in the studio, but because what is going on is boring. For one, this run of towels doesn't allow for much variation. I want to stay with the Fox Fibre natural colored cotton as much as possible, and not use any dyed colors. And the darker naturally colored cottons were almost all used up in the warp - only enough left to allow for a few knot repairs.

So, for example, a weft-wise stripe of the lighter green cotton against a background of natural unmercerized cotton is barely visible.

It is there, just to the right of the temple clamps. Big whoop. After wet finishing, in a very hot, alkaline bath, it will be more visible. I hope!

In the meantime, I can change the narrow warp stripes to 2/2 basket weave instead of 2/2 twill... but minor change is not very exciting visually.

So on we go.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

And On We Go a'Weaving

I began writing this post on Wednesday, and had to put it on hold while we made a pre-Father's Day trip to Los Angeles. We figured that my father-in-law would have lots of visitors on the weekend, so spreading out 'his' day would be a good idea. So, to resume the post:

After letting the lashed-on warp rest overnight, I wove a few picks to debug the threading, and finding no errors, went on to get the PPI at the desired density. Here's the result:

For this draft, I'm only using 16 shafts. Eight shafts for the big stripes (both colored and natural), four shafts for the narrow, paler stripes of each color, and four more shafts for the basket-weave selvedges.

The warp is all 12/2 unmercerised cotton. The hem wefts will be 24/2 unmercerised cotton, and the towel body wefts will be either 16/2 unmercerised cotton in natural or 18/2 unmercerised Fox Fibre in light green.  I may use up the remains of the colored warp yarns for narrow, weft-wise stripes on the last few towels on the warp.

The drafts use broken twill for hems, and various straight and point twill for the broad stripes.

That's the plan, anyway.