The world has changed.
I haven’t written anything for the last month and a half – first because I was too busy with business things, then because somehow everything I was working on seemed irrelevant with the entire world coming apart at the seams. But I feel I should catch you up on where I am!
I wove some more samples on the tiger project, but overall I found it very frustrating. I’m having technical problems with the warp – the leftmost four inches on one warp beam are coming out significantly looser than the rest of the warp, and evening out tension between the two warp beams is proving to be a devil of a challenge. I’ve been in touch with Tronrud Engineering about it and it looks like it may be a bug in the software; they’re working on it, but with everything shut down it may be awhile. They did suggest a workaround, but it won’t work for my particular situation.
Meanwhile, I’ve tried several weft combinations for the tiger and have not been satisfied with any of them. At this point, I’ve basically decided to remove the current warp and replace it with a new one, something that will be less frustrating to work with. It will need to be 2,640 threads and sett at 90 epi, because that’s how the loom is threaded and rethreading would be an unimaginable task (OMG never again – that’s what I bribed Ricki for!). And after all that black, I’m craving COLOR!
So I have been surfing the web looking for inspiration. I’ve decided I want to work with painted warps – more specifically, a double weave warp with two painted warps in different colorways. At the moment, I’m thinking fuchsia and forest green for one warp, and indigo and cerulean blue for the other. Kinda like in these two tie-dyed shirts:
The photos aren’t quite true to color, but you get the idea. The warps wouldn’t be painted in nice neat linear fashion, but coiled up randomly and dye sprinkled and scrunched on until the warp was thoroughly soaked. There would be a lot of blending of colors, so the warp wouldn’t be “pure” fuschia or “pure” green in most areas but a blend between the two.
I also plan to use different fibers – probably silk, mercerized cotton, and unmercerized cotton – so the threads absorb the dyes differently. The result should be something similar to what I got for my piece Bipolar Prison:
Bipolar Prison was woven with three different fibers: two strands of mercerized 16/2 cotton, one strand of 20/2 silk, and one strand of 10/2 unmercerized cotton. The warp was coiled up randomly and then sprinkled randomly with dye. One warp was dyed in yellow/orange/red and the other in blue/green/purple. The fibers absorbed the dyes differently, producing a mottled effect even in areas where all the fibers got the exact same dyes. I really like the effect.
In Bipolar Prison, I used analogous colors so the color blends would remain bright. In this new warp, I’d deliberately blend the complementary colors magenta and green – color-wheel opposites – to create a range of dull colors in between. I find that blending complementary colors generally creates a far more interesting color range than blending colors that are close together on the color wheel.
Of course there are a ton of design decisions to be made above and beyond warp colors. There are a million things I could do with patterning – the patterning of which warp is on top, the pattern of how that warp interlaces with the weft, the color of the weft. I could knit a blank and make the weft change color, too. Oooo! (she squeals, delighted) But first things first. First you decide on the project, and figure out the warp. Designing the rest of that can come later.
I haven’t yet decided what to make in this new project. I’m still auditioning ideas. But for the first time in years, the idea of making clothing sounds appealing. I thought I’d sworn off clothing forever – but maybe not. Tomorrow I’ll go looking for fashion inspiration. I’m thinking a dress or a coat. Time to go surf the web for fashion porn. 🙂