In addition to creating embellishment samples over the last few days, I’ve also decided what to do about my show entries for the year. I’m going to make one piece of yardage, woven in the twenty-four shaft phoenix summer & winter pattern I’ve been noodling on for most of the past year. That will eventually become three shawls with beaded edge – very similar to my “In the Inferno” scarf. I’m currently debating what weight of thread to use. “In the Inferno” (photo below) is 80/2 and 140/2 silk, and produces a super lightweight, floating fabric that is perfect for scarves but too light for shawls. However, I love the delicacy of the pattern and the floatiness of the fabric at that weight. The samples I wove with 60/2 silk and 10/2 cotton are bigger and heavier, suitable for a decorative shawl, but just aren’t as interesting to me as the finer pattern. So I’m debating which way to go. I think it would be fun to try it in silk and cashmere, too!
The second piece I’ll be making will be using the stenciled-warp technique, and will be a 20″ x 60″ wall hanging. I changed the aspect ratio on the phoenix stencil to suit the new dimensions, and carved the stencil over the weekend. I couldn’t quite get a photo of the whole thing, but here’s most of it:
Then I wove a five-foot section with the sacrificial warp, and stretched it out on a table pressed up against the loom, like so:
I soaked the warp in soda ash solution and let it dry over the weekend. This morning I stenciled the warp, using thickened fiber-reactive black dye. I forgot to take a photo of it before I covered it up, but here is a pic of the Rube Goldberg device which is keeping it warm while the dye cures:
The trouble, of course, is that the loom is in the garage, which is not heated, and which gets down into the fifties at night. Fiber-reactive dyes work best at 70 F or warmer, and don’t work very well below 60 F. I wanted to make sure it would be warm enough to get good dye results, so I threw a plastic drop cloth over the loom and the table, stuck an electric heater underneath, and plugged the heater into the temperature controller I use for my acid dyes. I then threw some towels over the contraption for insulation, and away I went. I checked the temperature recently and it’s perfect. Tomorrow morning I’ll rinse out the warp, and on Thursday, when it’s dry, I’ll remove the sacrificial weft, wind the warp back onto the loom, and try weaving it. If it comes out nicely, I will use it as the final piece – otherwise, it will simply be the next sample. I have enough warp to redo the piece, so I’m not stressing about it either way.
Meanwhile, Mike has discovered that Schroedinger was wrong about the cat thing. In fact, Schroedinger’s box actually contains two cats, both of whom are quite alive and well, thank you:
Mike (who took the photo) was impressed: the box would be small even for a single cat, but with careful packing and their usual enthusiasm and verve, the kittens managed to squeeze themselves in.