Friday, May 19, 2017

Creamy Shawls in Broken Basket Weave

When Microsoft changed my Windows 7 to Windows 10 some pictures disappeared into a weird folder and I just found them so here is the post to go with the missing photos.  If it seems a little familiar I think that I weave these creamy shawls every year.
The warp is enough for two shawls and it is 2/20 Tencel/Cotton blend in Natural with a white Rayon knop yarn.  This time I had some trouble with the warp even though I followed my own instructions.  The reed that I usually used pulled the knops on the rayon and even frayed the 2/20.
I had to change to a larger reed that would let the knops through.  But that lead to the problem of the 2/20 threads being sleyed three per dent and having reed marks show up on the shawl.  The threads almost look braided together.
The solution was to weave about two inches and then move the threads by hand with a needle into the correct spots.  It was very slow going but I had a time line for this shawl because it was a custom order.
This shawl also had the additional problem of the right hand floating selvedge shredding.  So I had to pin another floating selvedge on but I left the pin head sticking out a little bit and I looped the weft over it twice!  Sometimes it seems that I spend more time unweaving then weaving.
The shawl gets cut off and finished to meet the time line for the custom order.  It is really pretty with the freshwater pearls and seed beads in the fringe.  It was sent to a lady in Australia and she loved it!
For the second shawl I didn’t change the reed, hand manipulating the threads worked and you couldn’t see any reed marks in the finished shawl.  The trick was to not weave too much and run the needle along the thread gently moving it into a more open position, almost like strumming a guitar.
This time I managed to loop the weft around the paper clip temple three times!  More unweaving.
I did make a rather terrible mistake on the second shawl.  I stepped back from the shawl and noticed a weird line going across the second shawl.  The weft thread had gotten thinner at the end of cone but I didn’t notice it until I had woven it into the shawl.  The mistake was that I left that line of thread in; I thought that it would bloom in the water and you wouldn’t notice it.
Well it didn’t wash out and it was noticeable in the finished shawl.  I should have pulled it out but I didn’t so I had to figure out a way to fix it.  First the shawl had to sit in the cupboard for a couple of months.  But then inspiration struck.
Mum came up with the idea of doing an embroidery stitch on the shawl.  The stitch is called Scroll Stitch and it looks like little knots going across the shawl.  The thread used is a fine cotton and silver thread that adds a little extra shine to the shawl.
The finished design was four lines of silver stitching that are four different lengths.  The back of the Scroll Stitch is a plain vertical stitch but it does add sparkle.
The shawl is quite pretty and the Scroll Stitch is very subtle when the shawl is being worn.  For Sale.
Final Garden Shot are large purple Alliums - they are a new addition to the front garden and they make quite a statement!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Clasped Weft with 8 Shaft Undulating Twill

This is another post of a forgotten project from when I was a part of a study group on Inlay last year. While technically Clasped Weft isn’t Inlay you can use it to get a look very similar to Inlay without all the problems.
The scarf warp is 2/8 Tencel in Straw and I choose a simple undulating twill for the pattern.  Clasped Weft is usually done with plain weave but I wanted a more interesting design; but it had still had to be simple.

I used two end feed shuttles that had 2/8 Tencel in Straw and a small bobbin with thick and thin hand dyed Silk in various shades of oranges and golds.
The centre panel of the scarf is the orange silk that is clasped to each side of the scarf.  I gently pulled the warp threads apart to place the silk bobbin inside of the shed.
I would then pull the bobbin to the right side and then back to the left while unraveling thread to create a loop.  Leaving the bobbin on the left side of the warp.
Then with the shuttle from the right side throw the shuttle to the left side, then clasp the silk and throw the shuttle back to the right side.  Be careful to miss the floating selvedge on the left side but use the one on the right.
With the clasped silk thread you can manipulate it to where you want each particular pick to lay.  Set the pick with a gentle tap of the beater.
That is only half of the pick done, now move silk bobbin back through the shed to the right side creating a second loop.  Use the shuttle from the left hand side and capture the silk loop.  And pull the clasped weft into position on the left side.  Set the pick with a gentle tap of the beater.
    
Last step is to remove the silk bobbin from the web.  Then you can change to the next treadle and start everything again.  If that seems like a lot of steps and time, well it was!  It took me about an hour to do one inch!  Near the end of the scarf I was able to go a bit faster and do two inches per hour. Tedious doesn't even begin to express it!
I didn’t have a plan on where I wanted to have the orange silk, but I did have a couple of rules that I followed.  I didn’t go past one inch from the edges and I used the strong pattern changes to help hide to clasped weft loops.
The twill pattern became a texture because each pick was a double thread pick.  The texture is still part of the scarf even after washing and steam pressing the scarf.
The scarf is incredibly graphic and it really showcases the variegated orange silk beautifully.
But it is a very time consuming scarf so I don’t see doing another one ever again!  For Sale.
Final Garden Shot is the Fothergilla in bloom, it has loads of sweetly scented bottlebrush blooms.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

8 Shaft Crackle Orange and Pink Silk Scarf

This scarf is hand dyed silk that was dyed 2/3 orange and 1/3 pink.  The colours are very bright and lively.
I knew that I was going to have to use navy blue for the weft; it was the only colour that I could think of that would go with both colours.  In the stash is two different manufactures Navy Blue Tencel, and I tried both.
The weft on the top is the darker navy and is from Brassards.  The bottom weft is the lighter navy and is from Webs.  And the decision goes to the lighter navy, it brightens the whole piece.
The pattern is Crackle; as to be expected because right now I am doing a study group!  It is actually a pattern that I have used before but it is much loved.
This scarf has more of a classic look; areas of of crackle with the areas of plain weave interspersed with twill.  You can see the classic crackle blocks with the 4 different half tones.
It is a pretty scarf with a lovely sense of movement.  The painted warp is adds to the flow of the pattern and the pattern is very modern and nontraditional.
I do love the big organic shapes that were created with the Crackle pattern.  For Sale.
Final Garden Shot is a pretty little tree called Red Bells (Enkianthus 'campanulatus') that is just starting to set flowers.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

10 Shaft Crackle Scarf

From the last dye day that we did in June, I dyed two 96 thread yellow Tencel bundles in really pretty colours of teal, turquoise and purple and another in shades of orange and brown.  My plan was to use each of the painted bouts to make a shawl. I was going to use a complementary solid colour tencel to make up the width needed for the project
Unfortunately I couldn’t figure out how to add the stripes without making the shawl look like a Frankenstein monster of three individual scarves mashed together.  So I felt my best option was to just make a scarf highlighting just one of them.  I added aqua coloured Tencel bands to the edges to make up the width needed.
I found a lovely Crackle design on Handweaving.net that is a large diamond motif; they are large enough to show the colour changes in the painted warp.  The weft I chose is navy Tencel. The diamonds have a lovely embossed feel to them. and I think it really looks lovely.
The scarf is two sided, a dark side highlights the navy blue diamonds and the light side that highlights the hand dyed warp with the splashes of colour.
The finished scarf is quite lovely.  I like the framing that the blue Tencel gives to the scarf.  For Sale.
Final Garden Shot is a wonderful explosion of colour.  The new lime green of the ornamental grass against the last of the purple flowers on the heather.  It is nice to see some colour in the garden because it has been a very grey spring so far.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

All About Shuttles

Today I gave a short presentation to my guild at our monthly meeting about shuttles and I thought I'd share it with you.

One common definition of a ‘weaving shuttle’ is that it is an appliance which holds the weft, and which can be passed or thrown through the shed in the warp.  These are a few from my collection.

Stick or Poke Shuttle
 The simplest shuttle is a flat stick that has a notch at each end.  It can be passed through the shed but cannot be thrown.
Loading the stick shuttle begins with a slip knot looped over a notch the yarn is built up in figure eights alternating sides after every few passes.  This builds the weft up outwardly to minimize the drag of the shuttle going through the shed. The weft must be unwound by hand every pick and care must be taken to unwind enough yarn to pass through the shed without tugging on the selvedges.
The middle two stick shuttles have a tapered edge on one side.  The edge can be used to beat the weft into the web.

Rag Shuttle
The rag shuttle has two flat sides and pointed ends. These sturdy shuttles have traditionally been used for rags although they are excellent for heavy rug yarns and chenille.  They must be unwound by hand every pick.  There are two distinct styles of rag shuttle, open bottomed and closed bottomed, but both styles have sides high enough for all the yarn to pass smoothly through the weaving web.  These shuttles are wound in a circular path around the centre of the shuttle.

Ski Shuttle
Ski shuttles do essentially the same job as rag shuttles and are designed to hold medium weight yarns. Begin winding the shuttle by holding the yarn in place around the ski base and anchoring the yarn with subsequent passes.  Continue until the ski section is full but not overflowing the shuttle. This allows the smooth bottom and top of the shuttle to slide through the web.  These shuttles are unwound by hand before each pick.

Boat Shuttle

Boat shuttles were the first type of shuttle that unwound in a continuous and automatic manner.  The boat shuttle has a spool or bobbin rotating freely on a fixed spindle.  The shape, size and weight of the shuttle vary and should be chosen with the weavers needs in mind.  Currently two styles are most prevalent, open bottom and closed bottom, there is little difference in the performance and is strictly preference. There is little doubt that a boat shuttle loaded with a bobbin increases your efficiency because you don’t need to unload the yarn at every pick. Boat shuttles are excellent for looms with shuttle races like table looms and floor looms.  The quality of the weaving bears heavily on how well the bobbin is loaded.
To wind a bobbin you fill up each end of the bobbin in turn, close to the inside of the bobbins ends. Then you run the yarn back and forth across the centre of the bobbin evenly, right up onto the ends which have already been filled.  Lastly you create a small hump in the centre of the bobbin.  Filling the bobbins evenly like this stops the yarn from tugging and giving you ‘mouse nibbles’ at the selvedges.

A helpful hint is to extend the slit on the side of the shuttle, it should be the length of the bobbin. This decreases the angle that the weft is released of the bobbin, which helps to even the tension that the weft is released from the shuttle.

Double Boat Shuttle 
A double boat shuttle is a very specialized tool that you may choose when you want to put two wefts through the same shed.  Although you can wind two threads together onto a single bobbin, it’s really difficult to keep the yarns from crossing around each other and to maintain an even tension. Inevitably one gets wound tighter than the other regardless of how much care you have taken. Winding two separate bobbins and releasing them individually alleviates the problem.

End-Delivery or End-Feed Shuttles
These shuttles are the ultimate automatic releasing shuttle for hand weaving. They are lightweight, comfortable to throw and catch, adjustable to a variety of yarns and easy to thread. The end-delivery shuttle has a pirn which remains stationary, instead of a free spinning bobbin. The weft yarn unwinds off the pirn’s tip when the shuttle is in motion and stops unwinding when the shuttle stops unlike a bobbin which continues to spin and release yarn. The yarn comes off the pirn and goes through a set of tension pads and comes out of the shuttle at a constant tension. This even delivery of weft causes less draw-in, which in turn makes better selvedges.

Pirns are loaded differently from bobbins; they are wound from the large end toward the narrow end, decreasing in volume as you go along the pirn.  You can never backtrack more than a half inch or so while filling a pirn or the yarn will not unwind correctly.  Here is an old post on how to wind a pirn.
My favourite End Feed Shuttle is a Schacht because it is so light, it's the lightest on the market.  And because the tensioning system which is incredibly easy to thread, some of the others you need to use a crochet hook and good luck.  But with a Schacht all you need to do is pull about a three inch length off of the pirn, hold the thread with your finger against the pirn to give it tension then just place the thread between the pads and follow the slit.  Easy!

Netting Needle or Netting Shuttles
These were formerly used to mend nets but now have become a tool in the hand weavers arsenal. They are not shuttle in the truest sense of the word, but rather a pointy end attachment to get the yarn through the web.  The yarn is not wound on the needle but rather hangs freely like a hand sewing needle.  This is a great tool for tapestry and inlay techniques where the weft is carried in and out of the warp, rather than as a primary weft supplier.  The pirn is for scale.

Tatting Shuttle
As the name indicates these tiny shuttles are used for hand tatting, but are quite perfect for holding those tiny fine threads used for inlay or finger manipulated weaves.  The shuttles are loaded by sticking the end of the thread through the hole in the centre of the shuttle and wrapping the thread round the bobbin until it is fully loaded.  Only a tiny amount of yarn is held on this shuttle.  Again the pirn is for scale.

E-Z-Bob
This is a really great tool for securing yarns while weaving.  Designed for use with the Loucet or Kumihimo Disks they serve admirably for inlay, finger manipulated weaves or as I have used them in the past for weaving bookmarks, five patterns at the same time on the loom.  They are loaded by pressing the centre and popping the spool open, then winding the yarn around the centre.  Clicking the E-Z-Bob closes secures the yarn in place and they must be manually unwound for each pick.

That's it, it is amazing all the different shuttles that are out there.