I rinsed out the samples today at lunchtime, and ironed them dry:
The one on Â the left is far too high-contrast to use in the garment I have in mind, and I think the same could be said of bold patterns generally. Â Also, the pattern clashes with the leaf pattern woven into the fabric.
The one on the right was an attempt at a subtle leaf pattern. Â Too subtle, and the stenciling came out too blobby, not leaf-like enough.
But the one in the center is Just Right. Â It was made by mixing colors close to, but not quite the same as, the colors in the wool, to give a subtle contrast between silk and wool. Â The result is a color gradation that smooths out some of the striations in the wool without covering them up, and a subtle leaf pattern that comes and goes as the fabric moves.
Here is a photo of the middle sample scrunched up, so you can see what I mean:
The leaves appear and disappear depending on how the fabric catches the light. Â Perfect for autumn!
One interesting question is whether I need to knit up the blanks at all. Â How important to me are the horizontal ridges of color? Â If I’m willing to do a more “organic” pattern, I can weave the fabric in white on white (saving myself from an awful lot of blank-knitting!) and then dye the wool and silk at once, using acid dyes, relying on the differential take-up of silk vs. wool in acid dyes to give subtle contrasts. Â If that doesn’t please, I can then overdye the silk in a slightly different color, using fiber-reactive dyes, to give a second pattern.
The one problem with the weave-it-in-white theory is that I am having equipment problems at the moment: some of the shafts are not lifting when they should. Â With a strong contrast between warp and weft, I can see when this is happening (well, some of the time anyway); with white on white, it would be impossible. Â I think I need to troubleshoot the loom before weaving another sample.
But I like this idea a lot, and will test it out as soon as I have the time. Â Which may be next week – this week I need to work on muslins, as I’m going up to see Sharon on Saturday.