Monday, April 20, 2015

Fiber Celebration 2015

I'll have a jacquard piece in the Fiber Celebration 2015 exhibition sponsored by the Northern Colorado Weaving Guild.

The piece that will be on exhibit is Compass Rose, pictured here. I won't be able to attend the exhibition, so if any of my readers do, I'd love to see some photos of the exhibition (if allowed, of course!).

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Dyes & Tools

Next on my task list is a dye job for my friend Connie Rose. Connie has kindly allowed me to use some of her paintings as the basis for jacquard weavings. She has asked me to dye a shawl-sized length of handwoven silk for her, which I'm delighted to do. (Yes, Connie, I'm finally getting to your project!)

Per her request, I'm going to use a palette of colors that all are combinations of sun yellow, magenta, royal blue, and black, as shown in the photo below. The dye stocks are already mixed, and waiting to be further mixed into the hues she wants.

Because Sabraset doesn't have a good "pure" magenta dye, I use a Wash Fast Acid magenta, which plays nice with Sabraset because they're both for protein fibers, and have approximately the same pH requirements. So the jars are labeled "SS" for the Sabraset dyes, and "WFA" for the acid dye.

I thought it might be a good idea to show my favorite tools for dye mixing:

The tool in front is intended to froth milk for coffee, but it works wonderfully to dissolve dye powder in a small amount of liquid. (This one never goes into our household kitchen, it lives in the dye studio!)

Behind that is a hand-blender, which I use when I add dye stock to a dyepot; the blender makes sure the stock is evenly distributed in the pot before the fiber goes in. Again, it lives in the dye studio, and never has seen our household kitchen.

Connie stitched shibori threads into her shawl by hand, with the rows of stitching closer together at one end and gradually becoming farther apart at the other end. It should create a very interesting effect after dyeing, with the changing of patterning from one end to the other.

There's color coming up soon. Stay tuned!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

On the Jacquard Loom

The yarns I dyed recently (and posted the intended design file here) are now in play on the jacquard loom. The photos were taken at about 400 picks and about 700 picks into the weaving.

I've reached about the middle of the design, and hope to finish today.

P.S. Finished at 5pm! It was a 1,000-pick day...

Saturday, April 04, 2015

16 EPI, Oh My!

I can't remember when I last wove at that density... it's been years, in any case.

I've sifted through the yarn stash, and found a big bag of knitting yarn that I'm never going to knit, not in this lifetime. All in the sort-of-DK range, about 1,200 yards per pound (based on the information on the ball bands - 100 gm = 240-or-more yds).

The yarn I have most of is a multicolor, tweedy cotton/acrylic blend with natural, green, yellow, and tan in it. At the point in my fiber life that I thought I might knit with it, I bought a number of balls of coordinating colors in a similar size.

I suspect it'll be a quicker project to weave than it would have been to knit (this because I've never actually completing a knitted garment, only scarves so far - there are a couple of UFO sweaters in a cupboard waiting for me to finish 'em - I wonder who I'll bequeath them to...?).

I'm thinking scarves or shawls for this warp. I plan to sett the warp at 16 epi, and use 16/2 or 20/2 unmercerized cotton for weft. I'll sample plain weave and broken twill, but instinct tells me a twill will be best.

All the balls have been wound onto cones at this point, to make it easier/faster to wind the warp. I think a mixed warp is easiest to wind at 16 epi if I set up 16 cones on the cone rack and use a tension box and the sectional beam. The rack and tension box will have to be dragged out of a dark corner and dusted off, since I usually use a warping wheel to wind warps. I'm not sure yet if this is the next project to go on the dobby loom (there are a couple of others waiting in the queue) but I need that space in the stash closet for other things!

Friday, April 03, 2015

Lady Banks Goes Bonkers

Rosa Banksiae, that is. We planted several a few years ago, but until this year (when electric fencing came to the rescue) the deer kept eating the plants before they had a chance to bloom. Thank you, Mr. Edison!

In other news, fiber work has been slow: I burned 5 fingers (the first 3 on my left hand, first 2 on the right) picking up a hot saucepan without hot-pads, so I've hesitated to do anything that would abrade my fingertips. I have managed to mend and hem and press 10 towels, though. Eight are pictured below, two were gifted in Myanmar; one to a family that hosted us for dinner one evening, the other to our tour guide.

The other towels from that warp will wait until I can hold a needle and thread comfortably!

As soon as I can sort through my photos, I'll post some of a weaving workshop we visited in Mandalay.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


We're finally home from our Thailand-Myanmar jaunt, and it has taken a surprisingly long time to adjust. My word, the older I get, the more difficult it is to change my internal clock to local time!

Yesterday, the dye pots were busy, making the colors I will need for the next jacquard piece on the agenda.

Here's the design file. The fuschia border is a place-holder for a weave that will combine two of the weft colors in equal amounts (probably purple and royal), so you can ignore that. The color chips across the bottom of the image represent the weaves I will actually use for the body of the weaving. There are three weft colors, which will appear in the cloth in varying intensities. The color chip strip will be trimmed off the design file before weaving begins - it is only there to make it easier to isolate each hue on its own layer before assigning weaves to the layers.

Here are the newly dyed yarns - a turquoise-ish light blue, a royal blue, and a purple:

All are Bambu 12, from Silk City via Cotton Clouds (the retailer I buy from - I don't buy sufficient quantity to open a wholesale account directly with Silk City).

This piece represents my Annual Project for Designing Weavers, which is due to be presented to the other members at the April meeting, so I'd best get cracking!