Wednesday, March 17, 2010

So. Weaving.

wool and bamboo scarf

The more I weave, the more I like it. When I started weaving as an adult in 2002 (not considering for now the potholders I made as a child, and the set of placemats in high school art class), I didn't like warping. For many years I didn't like warping. Measuring the warp, then sleying the reed and threading the heddles and winding it on, and making sure to get the tension tight and even.

Too fiddly. Too time consuming. Too tedious. Just let me get to the weaving part, already! Throwing the shuttle is fun, using the beater is fun, watching the pattern build is fun. I came to weaving from a background of hand needlework (cross stitch, hardanger), so I liked hemstitching and finishing the woven fabric. But if I could have had someone do all my loom preparation for me, I would have been ecstatic.

wool and bamboo scarf

Over the past couple years or so, though, things have subtly shifted. Somewhere along the line, I no longer found sleying the reed to be irksome. Then a few months later, I realized that threading the heddles was OK, too. Time consuming, yes, but not in a grit-your-teeth-and-just-get-through-it way. And I don't have problems achieving even tension while winding on to the back beam, or tying the warp to the cloth beam. I am enjoying the whole process, not just actual shuttle-throwing part.

I still find measuring warps to be the least enjoyable part. But I have high hopes that this is changing too. I didn't think twice about throwing a warp on the loom for Emma, right after cutting this one off.

wool and bamboo scarf

Anyway, as you may have guessed, I've been showing pictures of the scarf I started Friday and finished on Saturday. I twisted the fringe on Sunday, using my standard method of pinning the hemstitching to a line, then separately twisting two bundles of warp threads a certain number of turns with the fringe twister (in this case, 70 turns), making an overhand knot and pinning it to a second line and snugging the knot to that length. When I take the pin out, the two warp bundles ply themselves into a nice round firm fringe. By using this pinning method, all the fringes end up the same length.

wool and bamboo scarf

I wet finished it by agitating for 75 seconds in the washing machine, checking on it at 30, 45, 60, and 75 seconds. I know from experience that this yarn fulls/felts well and very quickly. For this project, 75 seconds was exactly the right amount of time to get a scrumptiously soft and plush fabric that is still drapey and just delicious.

wool and bamboo scarf

The yarn is Jaggerspun 2/18 Superfine Merino, with seven accent stripes of Jo-Ann Sensations "Bamboo," which is a boucle yarn made of bamboo rayon with a nylon binder. It's a bit Muppety if used by itself, but looks fabulous as an accent. This is a great way to use small amounts of novelty yarn.

The weave structure is a simple 4x4 straight twill, with doubled floating selvedges. I love how the boucle loops poke out and stand up from the fabric. They were smooshed into the weave a bit on the loom, but the wet finishing brought them out beautifully. The sett was 24 epi in an 8 dent reed, with no special accommodations made for the boucle.

in the reed: 10" x 68"
off the loom: 9.5" x 63"
after finishing: 8" x 58" plus 5" fringe on each end

The scarf weighs 2.9 oz (84g).

wool and bamboo scarf


Lynn said...

Lovely scarf! And I know what you mean about loving the whole process of weaving - it's all yarn, it's all good, as far as I'm concerned.

Jolene said...

Very Nice! I love the little bit of boucle rainbow accent too :)

Anonymous said...

Seriously fun! Lovely workmanship! Maggie in Milwaukee

Kris said...

So pretty.

I now have a Dryad Leicester floor loom sitting in my living room that needs a bit of restoration. I've gotten that process started and can't wait to learn how to use the thing. In preparation for that, I've been reading all of your weaving archives. Lovelovelove your weaving posts.