Friday, December 19, 2008

Velvet and Chenille

In a comment on the recent post about embossed velvet, Kimberly asked " Can you achieve the same (or similar effect) using rayon chenille?"

Actually, I don't know; I've never tried it. Some thoughts, however.

One of the reasons that the embossing technique makes such a clear impression on velvet is that the pile is going in a consistent direction: outward in a straight line perpendicular to the plane of the ground cloth. Generally, the embossing also tends to bend the pile in a consistent direction, making the light reflect off the flattened pile in a consistent way, too.

On the other hand, chenille yarn has pile sticking out from the core in all directions, and in weaving, the yarn bends as it goes over and under. And some of the yarn is vertical warp and some horizontal weft, which scatters the direction of the pile even more. So the pile is much less consistent to begin with in a chenille cloth than in velvet cloth.

In spite of this, I'm curious what the net effect would be. Here's a challenge, Kimberly: If you have a sample of chenille cloth to try it on, please do some experiments and report back. I almost never weave with chenille, so I don't have the raw materials to experiment with.

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