In a blitzkrieg of productivity, today I got the sample warp beamed, threaded, sleyed, woven, wet-finished, and dried. Here are the results:
On the left are the Celtic knots, on the right are the flowers/stars.
There is one obvious winner here, and it’s the three-strand Celtic braid. The flower in the top right comes in second, but I think the braid gives a cleaner “line” for making a coat. Unfortunately most of the elaborate Celtic knotwork turned into mush during the wet-finishing, which is a pity – the four-strand braid (#2 and #3 from top) was my hands-down favorite before wet-finishing. Now, of course, it looks rather muddled. Oh well. As Laura says, there’s magic in the water, and sometimes it works for you and sometimes it doesn’t!
The braid also has a pretty cool texture to it. On the reverse face, the little twill arrows have long floats, which of course collapse inward, so the twill stripes stand up a little from the rest of the fabric. Running your hand across the fabric you can feel it quite distinctly. I like this!
I was a bit worried before I put it into the water – it had the texture of upholstery fabric, very stiff. Washing it, more of the same. But after I ironed it mostly dry and put it into the oven to finish drying (I never claimed to be patient!), it became much more supple. I still wouldn’t describe it as drapey, but then I want some body to it: it’s a coat, not a blouse! I think it will be appropriate to the end use.
So I am pretty pleased with the sett (24 epi) and the picks per inch.
The yarn is appropriate for this coat, I think, but I’m glad I didn’t buy more of the cashmere/mohair yarn. As I suspected, the bits of mohair stick up out of the cloth and give it a slightly hairy texture. There’s nothing wrong with that per se, but it destroys the soft hand of the cashmere – the mohair (as I suspected) dominates the feel. It’s not scratchy – it’s fine mohair – but it doesn’t have that wonderful cashmere softness to it. Poor selection of fibers.
Nonetheless, it’s completely appropriate to a coat (where you want some of that mohair toughness), so I’m satisfied with the yarns.
And now, of course, on to the fun part! Tomorrow I will start skeining and dyeing the yarns for the full project.
(I will also finish weaving off this sample warp…I have about two yards of usable warp left, so will make myself a matching scarf to go with the coat! Except I may make it with the flower pattern, to provide some variation.)