Friday, July 13, 2007

Multilayer Scarves Woven!

I nearly entitled this post "...Finished" but that wouldn't have been quite accurate. The woven scarves have been cut off the loom, but there's still "finishing" to be done. That involves machine stitching across the fringes (where I've put 4-6 picks of waste thread between each scarf to mark the cutting line), cutting the scarves apart at the stitching line, running them through enough cycles in the washing machine to thoroughly full and shrink the shrinkable layers, press them dry, and finally trim all the little loops at the selvedge and trim the fringes. Then price these guys and enter 'em into inventory... Lots of work still to go!

The next project is still simmering in my head. I have the weft yarn I want to use, but haven't decided on a weaving design that takes full advantage of the beautiful weft.

I discovered the yarn thanks to my friend Pat Stewart, a weaver in Berkeley. She has used it in a couple of projects, and I really admired the results.

You may have seen knitting yarn that has an extremely long color transition. This yarn is similar in concept, but at 8,000 yards per pound or thereabouts, it ain't knitting yarn - unless you knit extremely fine lace, like the famous "wedding-ring" shawls that are fine enough to run the shawl through your ring! On a scarf-sized warp, the color changes maybe twice or three times in the length of the cloth, and the transitions are very smooth. It doesn't stop being one color and suddenly start being another - in the spinning, the manufacturer has blended the fiber very gradually. I picked four different colorways that all contain at least a little green, so the warp will be green. Fortunately I have a lot of big mill-sized cones of merino wool in various shades of green from which to choose. (I got them through a mill-end source - I guess green wasn't a big seller that year!)

The decision is how much complexity I can incorporate into the weaving design without losing the effect of the color transitions.

So far, I'm considering two very different possibilities. The first is a point threading that is crammed and spaced so that when woven it has a dramatic undulating appearance. I'd try to emulate the effect with my weaving software, but it would take a lot of time and time is really critical right now. I'm trying to get ready for the ACC San Francisco show in early August, so it's better to spend my time weaving things that I can sell than on something that doesn't earn any money!

Basically, the threads at the points are sett much more densely than the threads in the middle of the diagonal, simply by sleying more ends in some dents of the reed and fewer ends in others. That makes the points appear rounded instead of sharp, hence the undulations.

The second possibility is to do an interleaved threading, with two colors alternating thread by thread. This is the threading method I used for the Wood series scarves. The result is a non-repeating pattern that is more complex than the undulations, but in the process may disguise the effect of the color shifts in the weft.

And then I need to figure out how to fit this run of scarves into one of my weaving themes. Wood (as in forest)? Water (sort of the pond scum variety)? Hmmm.

In any case, I have a couple of days to make the decision. There's a realtor open house this Sunday, and I prefer to leave the loom undressed during open houses. The weaving studio is my living room, so (hopefully) there will be hordes of potential buyers walking through, and a naked loom means less potential damage to a partially or fully dressed warp perpetrated by curious kiddies and/or adults. The AVL has an unfortunate resemblance to a jungle-jim, and it's not unknown to find cookie-crunchers climbing on it!

Speaking of the ACC show: If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area, the show is definitely worth seeing. It's the top juried show of fine craft in the area. Go to the ACC website to see examples of the artists' work in a wide variety of media - it'll get you started drooling. I have a limited number of dollar-off coupons for the show (with an admission fee of $12, every bit helps) so if you are planning to attend and haven't already received a postcard from any of the participating artists, send an email with your snail-mail address, and I'll send you a card with coupon attached. My address is sandra at 3springshandworks dot com. My privacy policy: no addresses, snail or otherwise, ever will be shared with any other vendor or spam source.

Here are the details:
Ft Mason Center, San Francisco
Friday, August 10 and Sat, August 11- 10am to 6pm
Sunday, August 12 - 10am to 5pm

I hope to see some friendly faces there!

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