You may recall my lamenting that some of the warp sections had gotten twisted during the warping process, resulting in uneven shading of color. Yesterday night I went ahead and rethreaded two sections, carefully removing the lease sticks, untwisting the twisted sections, and then replacing the lease sticks (I used strings to tie the warp sections to hold the lease in place). Rethreaded – a piece of cake, thanks to the computerized loom and a few calculations – and tied on.
And promptly discovered that I had missed one twisted region. Drat.
I did briefly consider leaving it in (it’s fairly subtle), but I really want to produce a piece worthy of showing, and even if the judges didn’t notice, I would and it would haunt me every time I looked at the piece. So I am taking the time today to “redo it right”.
I have also dyed the knitted blank for the warp, in colors gradually shading from yellow to orange-red. 14 colors for this particular shift, which sounds like a lot but really doesn’t take much time. It took me maybe ten minutes to mix up all the shades, and after that it was just a matter of dabbing it on with a brush. Quicker and easier than dyeing 14 skeins of yarn! although with somewhat less control over the finished results.
(The blanks, by the way, come from Nancy Roberts of Machine Knitting to Dye For – she has standard-size blanks priced out on her site, but is also happy to make custom blanks. Drop her a line if this method intrigues you.)
I had a bit of a conundrum about how to handle the center of the shawl. Because of the length of the pattern repeats (about 8″ if I recall correctly), I need to make the shawl a precise length. However, the shawl needs to be symmetric, which is a problem because it’s hard to dye a blank and know for sure where in the weaving I will hit the center!
So I have calculated roughly the amount of yarn that it will require to do each half of the shawl, then subtracted a little bit. At the end of the first half, I’ve added a “buffer section” in the same color, which will be wound separately onto a different bobbin. Then I did the other half.
The idea is to make sure that I hit the final color before the end of the first half of the shawl. Then I can use the “buffer bobbin” across the halfway point (measured by total number of picks), and then go to the other half. This should, in theory, result in a symmetric shawl of exactly the length I want. (Cross fingers and hope.)
I wouldn’t recommend this method for getting precise stripes, but since my stripes of color are very gradual, I think it will work.
I have thought about this and have decided not to use the resulting pieces for Weavezine – it’s not a good illustration of the knitted-blank method because there’s too much going on in the warp – which means I can post photos of the finished result. My next warp will most likely be a solid color, which will enable me to showcase the knitted-blank technique much better.
I have some interesting ideas for my next project off the same warp, which will also be off a knitted blank. I measured the precise amount of yarn for one shot. For this particular warp, that’s 24″. Then I asked Nancy to knit me a blank that had precisely 24″ of yarn per row. Because the knitted rows are exactly the same length as the weft “rows”, this should result in a WYSIWYG piece – what you paint on the blank should come out as a fuzzy version on the finished piece.
At least in theory. In practice there will be distortion because the rows won’t match up precisely, but if I can get the lengths to match up closely enough, I should be able to get some interesting effects – diagonals, blobs, etc. I’m eager to see what happens next. Nancy is knitting up those blanks for me now.