Monday, February 15, 2010

Working with Metallic Thread

Here's a shot of the set of samples I wove for the wedding banner:

The first (lowest) one was woven yesterday, and was included in the picture in yesterday's blog post.

The second (middle) sample was woven as weft-backed satin, with two wefts. One shuttle carried black weft, for a 1/7 black ground with the gold weft mostly hidden on the back of the cloth. The second shuttle carried gold weft, the same gold as the first sample, which is a bit heavier than the black warp and black weft (both 20/2 cotton). The gold weft weaves 1/7 satin in the pattern areas, with the black weft mostly hidden on the back of the cloth. Because the structure is essentially weaving "on opposites," the wefts pack in more than the simple satin in the first sample, so the text is a little squashed vertically. This is easy to remedy by resizing the file so the woven cloth ends up with the right aspect ratio.

The third (uppermost) sample was woven in simple 1/7 and 7/1 satin, using a different weft yarn. This very fine weft needs to be doubled, because it's a lot finer than the warp. Tien used this yarn (also doubled) in her wedding coat. On her advice, I improvised a doubling stand so that the pirn was wound with two strands at once, with the thread from the lower cone coming up from the floor through a hole in a shelf, through the upper cone, and the threads from both cones held firmly while winding.

It was a nightmare to weave with - the yarn snarled and looped at the selvedges, twisted and knotted itself inside the tensioner in the shuttle, and just plain misbehaved the whole time. I have a new appreciation of Tien's ability to weave many, many yards of coat fabric with this yarn and retain her sanity! I've only woven a couple of inches, and dread the thought of any more.

Because the weft used in the third sample is finer, even doubled, it also packed in tightly - the height of the third sample is about the same as the second. I'll count threads in all the samples once they're off tension, so I can make the appropriate adjustments in the height of the file depending upon which sample Tien chooses.

You can see and compare the temperaments of the two wefts in this next picture. The heavier weft winds onto the pirn politely, and stays there until laid into the shed. The doubled fine weft wants to jump off the pirn with the least provocation. Just look at the shadows of the loops sticking up out of the pirn!

I'm going to cut these samples (and the pieces ahead of them on the warp) off the loom this afternoon. I'll send the banner samples to Tien, and get the other pieces ready for wet finishing, and strategize for the dye process I want to use on the black-and-white piece.

1 comment:

neki desu said...

wishing for a wedding ceremony so you could weave me a banner with lots and lots of gold. and blue to keep it biblical :)