I cut off the shadow weave warp on Saturday. The tiny pang of regret was immediately overwhelmed by glee over the next project – a set of six placemats plus a table runner in naturally colored 10/2 cotton. It’s a modest warp, only 492 ends, in 10/2 cotton, and after spending several months on a 2800-thread warp in 140/2 silk, getting it on the loom was instant gratification. I wound, beamed, threaded, sleyed, tied on, debugged, and wove the first six inches between Saturday afternoon and Sunday evening – just a bit over 24 hours! Now that’s fast. (Well, for one of my projects, anyway.) I did cheat a bit and tied on with large groups instead of smaller knots – but since I’m cutting off for samples in a few inches anyway, I don’t think the knots will cause any problems.
Here’s a pic of where I stopped last night:
It doesn’t look like much in the photo, but I’m expecting it to improve drastically once wet-finished. The yarn is Lunatic Fringe’s American Maid 10/2 cotton, and is colorgrown – that is, the cotton grows olive green naturally. Colorgrown cottons darken as they’re washed, particularly if washed in hot alkaline water. You can see this quite clearly in this swatch:
The white and pale olive yarns on the left are before washing; the dark olive and white on the right are the same yarns after simmering 10 minutes in baking soda, detergent, and water. Quite a difference, no?
I’m still tweaking the warp and sampling. Because the piece is a mix of double weave and integrated cloth, I sett it at 40 ends per inch, or 20 epi per layer. That is on the loose side for the plain weave layers, but still produces acceptable cloth. And it is weaving quite well in the sections of integrated cloth. I’m guessing that after boiling in an alkaline solution, the plain weave sections will tighten up and I’ll get a really nice cloth. But I’ll need to cut off and wet-finish the sample to know for sure!
I also need to set up the auto-advance, which will be the first time I’ve used it. More experimentation needed!
The cloth is an experiment with an idea I’ve seen floating around Complex Weavers for awhile – particularly in Pat Stewart and Ruth Blau’s beautiful work. It’s double weave with separate selvages, but with one warp wider than the other. So the green layer is about 1.5″ wider on either side than the white layer, and both layers are separate at the selvages, resulting in a border of pure color around a mix of double weave and integrated cloth in the center.
The beauty of this particular pattern is that it looks complex but is really only two blocks, meaning it can be woven on an eight-shaft loom. I’m planning to enter it into Handwoven‘s “Handwoven for the Home” contest – six place mats and a table runner. I think I will also weave matching napkins, as I have plenty of yarn left over and I think it would be nice to have a matching set of table linens. I’m not sure whether I’ll keep them myself or gift them to others – I have some relatives whom I’m sure would love them, but we could use a set of handwoven table linens ourselves.
And now, it’s off to work on the book. I’m having trouble with the current chapter, and will need to do some serious rearranging to make it work. I’ve spent two days already playing hooky with the loom, so I really need to buckle down and get some writing done.
And here is your cat for the day: Tigress, looking beautiful as usual. I love this photo because it really captures the rich colors of her coat. It was taken in low light, which would be a flaw if printed, but which produces a nice painterly effect when viewed full size.