I started knitting the first blank yesterday. Â Oy vey! Â 4,050 rows and about 2 hours later, I’m done. Â The finished blank is 30+ feet long! Â I tried doubling the width, but wound up with so many dropped stitches that I gave up. Â I’m not quite sure how I’m going to manage the dyeing of the piece – I suspect it will just require lots and lots of plastic wrap.
I am debating whether to steam the dyed blank or to let it batch. Â I’m a little hesitant to try batching, mostly because I’ve never tried it before: I’ve been told by several experts that it will work, but I’m so used to heating acid dyes that I can’t help wondering somewhere in the back of my mind if it will reallyÂ be as lightfast/washfast as if I had heated it. Â Fodder for more experiments, I suppose!
At any rate, I think I will try batching for this sample, because I don’t want to take the slightest chance of the blank felting. Â (Yes, I know – if I don’t agitate it, it won’t felt, but I’m paranoid, OK?) Â It’s hard enough to unravel as is. Â So I will paint it tomorrow morning, wait a day or two for the dyes to set, and then rinse/unravel/weave it. Â Then I will try simmering a swatch with soap to see if any dye bleeds. Â That should put to bed any concerns about washfastness.
Once I have finished testing the swatch, I will take the 54″ sample and cut it into several lengthwise sections. Â I will try overdyeing with fiber-reactive dyes in different color combinations, to see how different colors of silk warp interact with the changing colors of weft. Â That will probably happen next weekend. Â Once thatÂ is completed, I’ll be able to start the final material.
I plan to weave up twelve panels: ten for each panel of the garment plus two extras in case of mishap. Â That is about 50,000 rows of knitted blank! Â It makes me feel a little faint just to contemplate it, but I expect I’ll muddle through the way I usually do…one row at a time! Â I think it will take a total of twenty-four hours to knit up all the weft, but I won’t do it all at once…and if I knit a blank, dye it, and then weave it up, it will break up the monotony of each task. Â So, that’s the plan.
Off to bed! Â Tomorrow morning I will do some dyeing, then run up to my friend Ginny’s to finish off the samples for that article in Handwoven.