It was an exhausting long weekend – the first two days were spent setting up the BBQ, having the party, and cleaning up. By the time Saturday and Sunday were over, I was feeling reclusive and fiber-deprived, so I spent all day Monday working obsessively in the dyepots and over the loom.
And here is what I have!
Much to my surprise, my best-guess sett turns out to be correct, and the results, on the top at least, are lovely.
Alas, the results on the bottom are not so lovely:
Kind of hard to make out, but you can clearly see the skips in the orange/yellow layer, where blue is peeking through.
I think I understand what the problem is, but not (yet) how to fix it. I’m weaving with 1/3 twill background on the top and 1/3 twill background showing on the bottom, which of course means that I’m actually weaving a 3/1 twill on the bottom. This means that I’m weaving with nearly all threads lifted, which is (generally) an invitation to skipped threads. I have a mirror adjusted so I can see the bottom of the cloth, but the lighting on the bottom is poor and it’s difficult to see skips as they happen. I tried lighting the bottom layer to make things more obvious, but to no avail. I may re-adjust the mirror to show me the shed instead of the bottom layer – not the best of solutions since it means turning my head to check every single pick, but better than lots of skips. If anyone has a better suggestion, I’m all ears.
That said, I am ECSTATIC at the appearance of the doubleweave blocks. On the topside, it’s just beautiful. And the two-shuttle weave is going nicely, too. I had worried that switching shuttles constantly would be frustrating, breaking the natural rhythm. But it turns out to be just a different rhythm – slower, sure, but not much slower than what I’ve been weaving lately! And the results are worth the additional effort.
I have also made progress on dyeing the weft skeins. Here is my dyeing setup:
I’m using Sandra Rude’s system, with loops of heavy copper wire in vinyl tubing holding each skein. This makes it easy to lift the skein out of the dyebath without tangling the skein or burning your hands, and is a handy place to hang a tag, too. Once the skein is out of the dyebath, it gets labeled and hung to dry.
Here are about half the skeins, almost dry:
Not a huge difference in color, but it goes from a bluer red at right to a distinctly orangey red at left. I’m using price tags to label each skein, and will label each cone as it’s wound on.
I now have a lot of meticulous work to do. The pattern did not come out quite as I wanted, so I’m going to have to rework the pattern in Photoshop to make sure that it comes out right. This entails quite a bit of tedious point-and-clicking, which I am not looking forward to, but hey, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, right? So tonight I will continue weaving samples to see if I can get both layers perfect (or near perfect), and tomorrow morning I will rework my patterns in Photoshop. I may also play around with color gradients in the weaving, which means winding a bunch more pirns. Fortunately I have figured out how to wind a small piece of watercolor paper (rough on one side) into a pirn of sorts, or I would be buying 56 pirns just for this one project!