I’m pretty close to the end of the warp, and expect to finish up today. Which leaves the question of what to put on the loom next. The only constraint is that the warp must be 20″ wide, and has to be fully threaded by Sunday morning, when the loom goes to AVL for the upgrade. Since today is Thursday, that gives me Friday, Saturday, and Sunday morning to wind, beam, thread, and sley the warp! So it needs to be a fairly simple threading, one I won’t have to treadle.
The trouble is that I haven’t really thought about what to do next. It needs to be something that I can get on and off the loom relatively quickly, because I do have another project in mind, but it also has to be interesting enough to be worthwhile. It also has to be a warp that’s good for checking floating shafts – that is the point of this particular warp, to see if the Compudobby woes have been fixed! So any errors need to be easily visible.
So I am leaning (for the moment anyway) towards warping up with 20/2 tencel and trying it out with an alpaca weft. The idea here is to play around with what I think of as “differential dyeing” – using a cellulose fiber as warp and an animal fiber as weft, then dyeing them different colors afterward. This takes advantage of the fact that a fiber-reactive soda ash dyebath dyes cellulose but not protein (animal) yarns, while an acid dyebath dyes protein but not cellulose. So, using two separate dyebaths, I can get two different colors out of the warp and weft.
So far, not terribly interesting – you could get the same effect by dyeing warp and weft solid colors before weaving. However, if you don’t do a solid color dyebath, you could get some really interesting effects. For example, you could paint dye on the fabric, or do woven shibori, or low-water immersion scrunch-dyeing. Would this be interesting, or would it produce mud? Hard to say, and impossible to simulate. I have to try it to find out. This is intriguing enough to keep me occupied through a very long warp. It would also, mostly, be quick and easy to weave up.
So I am leaning towards beaming on some 20/2 tencel at a twill sett (40 or 45 epi I think), using a straight or point threading. Then I can weave a good length of yardage in basketweave (similar to plain weave but which uses a twill sett), and use that to test the loom. Later, I can dye it using traditional shibori techniques.
Then, I can switch to woven shibori (once I get back home) and see how that works. I can also weave more complex designs and see how the design plays out in conjunction with the dye job. There is a very good chance of getting mud, but I suspect it could also come out spectacular – again, must weave it to know!