Yesterday I wove up the rest of the bookmark. I also had the delight of discovering eight partial cones of cashmere yarn from Colourmart on my doorstep when I returned from shopping! If you aren’t familiar with Colourmart, they specialize in remainders from the top Italian (etc.) mills – you can get top-quality cashmere, silk, merino, and occasionally alpaca, mohair, and even vicuna yarns from them at less than 50% of retail. If you order large quantities, sometimes you can get discounts even on their already-discounted prices.
Anyway, I had written Richard and his happy crew asking if I could have some of his “odds ‘n ends” from the 2/72 nm and 2/46 nm. So I got eight partial cones, four of each weight, all in different colors.
And I wove up this rendition of the chrysanthemum, using the 2/72 nm cashmere:
Much more subtle than the versions woven in brighter colors:
The first two crests are woven in rayon machine embroidery thread, the third (top) one is woven in a tencel/silk mix at 12,000 yards per pound. You can see that the machine embroidery thread, while beautiful, is a little too fine: the crest, which is supposed to come out circular, is more of a flattened oval. The tencel/silk mix, on the other hand, is too thick, stretching the circle into a long ellipse. The 2/72 cashmere is almost precisely correct, only slightly flattened. I have the feeling that 60/2 silk would be just perfect.
And here are the bookmarks:
I rather like the back; it doesn’t have the high contrast between puzzle pieces and background, but it has a cheery colorfulness that appeals to me. But then, I like color.
The drape of the taquete pieces is very supple, and it has enough body to make a decorative shawl. The cashmere is, as expected, super soft. I’m pretty sure I won’t weave up the 2/72 nm cashmere into a shawl, but I’m wondering whether the 2/46 nm cashmere would work. I think it is likely too thick, but it comes in lots of fairly bright colors, so is more appealing as a choice. Silk might work out better, especially since I have loads of silk. I’m also negotiating for some white silk tram (a VERY loosely twisted reeled silk) and may get some in a few weeks. The stuff isn’t very durable (tends to fuzz) but it is very pretty, maybe good for a decorative shawl that doesn’t get worn all the time.
Anyway, I am pleased with my first taquete samples – now I’m just groping for a design that catches my fancy sufficiently to weave up some yardage! I am getting the hang of weaving with four shuttles, so am working at about double or even triple my initial speed – I’m guessing about 8″ per hour. That is still fairly slow – a 72″ shawl would take me about 9 hours of weaving time – but by no means impossible. I think I could do it in about a week.
Dye-wise, I have a bit of a conundrum. I have finished my second batch of samples, but I am suffering from what I suspect may be a little bit of RSI (repetitive stress injury, for the curious) in my left arm. As a result, I’m trying to avoid doing things with my left arm, which makes winding the cards difficult. At the same time, I really really really want to see how close my new samples are, so I do want to wind at least a couple of cards. I think I may approach it in five or ten minute chunks, with frequent breaks, and quit if I start having any discomfort whatsoever. RSI is nothing to be trifled with – I have friends who have literally had to quit their jobs because of it. And while I’m not as high-risk as, say, a software engineer, I still do a lot of typing in my profession. So I am trying to take things easy.