I finished weaving off the warp, cut off, and wet-finished and pressed a four-yard length of fabric this morning. Oy vey! It took me nearly an hour and a half to finish pressing the fabric, ironing it with heavy pressure on both sides, over and over, until completely dry. I could have put it in my little steam press, but I’ve found it doesn’t give good results with silk. It applies compression, all right, but lacks the polishing action of an iron moving across the fabric. As a result, the fabric feels rougher and looks less lustrous than silk finished with a hand-held iron.
So I’ve finished four yards, and still have a six-yard length to go. I’m not looking forward to the 2-3 hours it will take to press that length, but it’s got to be done, so best not to put it off! I will do it tomorrow, in the quiet hours before Mike gets up.
I’m thinking now about the next project up. I tested my tencel yarn yesterday (thanks for the warnings!) and discovered that it is only weakly stained by acid dyes, so I’ve been winding the warp on my AVL warping wheel. I’ve now become adept at winding two or three sections at once using the warping wheel – it works a treat! – and even essayed a four-inch section, but it didn’t work as well as I wanted because the edges tended to fall off the edge of the comb-holder.
Winding multiple sections at a time is way faster than a single section, so I’ve already beamed on the first 10 inches. I decided to beam on at 40 ends per inch, which I think might be a little too wide for 20/2 tencel, but I figured I can always re-sley to 45 epi without causing major problems. Because of this, however, I’ve decided to beam on at 22″ wide, so I’ll still have a roughly 20″ wide fabric if I resley. That should be ample for playing with dye techniques.
I’m now starting to think about dye techniques. I’ve been rereading Art Cloth by Jane Dunnewold, and think it would be really interesting to apply some of her techniques to cloth. So I think that, after I finish weaving off this project, I will dive into art cloth for awhile, using some of my cheap muslin to test fiber-reactive techniques and some of my hoarded habotai silk to test acid dyeing techniques. I’ve ordered a little soy wax and some tjanting tools, too, so I can play with batik. And, of course, I have the respirator and the discharge agents I bought earlier, to play with discharge. Lots of options! I’m really looking forward to it.
And, for one more item in the tedious-but-necessary list, I’ve started constructing a test draft to check the accuracy of the Compudobby IV once installed. I plan to spend at least 2-3 hours weaving on the loom while at AVL, so any problems can be identified and resolved on the spot. It will probably use up a couple yards of warp, but it’s time well-invested, if it prevents problems later. It will also be a great opportunity to use up all the half-empty pirns and odds-and-ends of yarn I have sitting around.
All in all, plenty to keep me busy!