I got the warp threaded, sleyed, and tied-on today, and promptly dove in and started weaving. Just as promptly, I started breaking threads. Lots of them.
Some things I’ve learned in the last few hours:
- Do NOT whip the shuttle through the shed at full speed when working with fragile warps. If the shuttle catches on a thread while traveling at full tilt through a fragile warp, it WILL break it. Throwing the shuttle more gently doesn’t guarantee that it won’t break, but it gives you a much better chance.
- Loosen the tension as much as you dare. Not only does it stress the threads less, but it also gives you a little more “wiggle room” should the shuttle catch on something.
- If you think the warp might stick even slightly, double-beat to clear the shed before throwing the shuttle. This decreases the likelihood of catching a stray warp thread.
All that said, I’m still breaking about one thread per inch, on a 12″ sample. This is not good. I’m trying a starch sizing on it tonight/tomorrow to see if that helps it stay strong; I’ve also asked Weavolution and WeaveTech for advice. I might go for gelatin if that is likely to strengthen it at all.
We’ll see what they come back with, but if it proves impossible to weave without breakage, I’ll drop back to Plan B, and use 60/2 silk at a more reasonable sett. 60/2 silk breaks, too, but not nearly as easily as 120/2, since it’s twice as thick.
I did, however, manage to weave nearly a foot of samples, and cut off and wet-finished it tonight. I like it! The fabric is thin and delicate, about the weight of a bridal satin but much more supple – like a medium-weight silk crepe in drape. I also wove about 5″ using a black 60/2 silk weft – I had intended it to be used as a header only, but liked the effect enough that I continued it for several inches to see the effect.
I LOVE the sample with the black weft. If I can figure out how to weave 120/2 silk warp without pulling my hair out, after the dress is complete I want to come back and revisit this pattern in black and white. Because of the visual mixing, and the fact that the weft is heavier than the warp, the effect is silver-on-black – absolutely gorgeous.
And if you don’t believe me, check out the photo:
Obviously there are flaws, but the effect is fantastic. Even if I have to drop back to a 60/2 silk warp, I’m definitely going to weave this up in the future! Because of the luster of the silk, the bottom sample looks almost metallic silver, very beautiful.
Off to bed!