I wove up a few more samples, and wet-finished the first one. Here is the front of the first sample, wet-finished:
And here is the back:
You can see the long floats where I had problems with shaft #24. But more on that later…
I then decided to see what the color progression would look like when woven. Here is a portion of that sample (the rest is wound onto the cloth beam, and I don’t want to disturb the weaving-in-progress by unrolling it):
Here you can see a progression from gold/turquoise weft down to fuchsia/red – the final set of squares does not belong to the color gradient but is an experiment to see whether I liked starting the yellow against the fuchsia warp (instead of red against fuchsia). Preliminarily, I don’t like the combination, but it is intriguing enough that I may weave it up to see. For this warp I am worried that the turquoise weft combined with the gold weft will produce large areas of low contrast between warp and weft, resulting in “plain blue” and “plain yellow” squares. I am not sure whether that will work in this shawl or not.
At this point I had reached the limit of what could be simulated with samples, and I was eager to get on to the “real thing”, so I started weaving the “real” shawl:
The color gradients are not really visible yet, but I expect them to get considerably more visible in the next six inches, in the fuchsia warp anyway: that weft is headed rapidly into purples. The red is tinged with orange, but the real progression to orange occurs in pirns #12-18, so not as much change there.
All this is beyond my ability to simulate using Photoshop, so I’m “weaving blind” – it’s too complex for me to visualize in my head, so the only thing to do is weave it up!
Which brings us to the weaving part. Shaft #22 and 24 are giving me conniptions. Shaft #22 now rises all the time unless I shove the compudobby box as close as it will go against the loom. Fine. I can do that. However, now shaft #24 refuses to lift, because the solenoid cap (the little U-shaped thing) is rotating until it no longer “cups” the wire when retracted, but presses up against it instead. The end result is the same as if it refused to retract – the shaft stays down all the time. I managed to weave about eight inches before it started its antisocial behavior, but since then it’s mostly been weaving and unweaving. Unweaving is an incredibly slow and tedious process because there are two layers that need to be unwoven, so it takes double the time. I have now made some adjustments to the loom, and we’ll have to see whether that improves matters. As soon as Mike gets up I’ll take it for a test run.
Dye-wise, I am still doing samples and experimenting with my process. For some reason, at pH 5.0 the red dye simply will not exhaust. I am going to drop the pH down to 4.5, take out the leveling agent, and see whether that works any better.
Between the weaving and the dyeing, I’m starting to get frustrated. I have the patience of Job (or can at least fake it when necessary), but to have major setbacks on two projects at once is incredibly frustrating. I sure hope the last round of loom changes fixes the problem and I can get back to weaving!
Off to the dyepots!