I realized that is has been quite a while since I posted on this blog. I have been weaving, but since what I'm weaving is similar, I haven't thought there was much to say. But I am still weaving towels. A friend ask me if I wasn't tired of towels yet, and I guess I'm not.
Since the last published towels, I have woven several sets of towels, still exploring color as I go along. I took a short break from color to weave some 4-shaft twill towels using 12/2 unmercerized cotton in a natural color. The pattern is a fancy twill and the resulting towels are soft and subtle. I also wove a few of these with 10/2 cotton.
All of the other towels have been various combinations of colors. They are all woven using 10/2 mercerized cotton in warp and weft, sett at 30 epi. They are threaded to a variety of 8-shaft point twills and the tie-up is a 2-2-1-1-1-1 twill.
It is fun to combine different colors for these towels. I typically use a picture as inspiration, but not always.
The next set of towels on the loom are in shades of blue.
Some time ago, I was tempted by dyed yarn from Vice Yarns. They were selling some interesting color combinations in long color runs. It is an 80/20 merino nylon blend. Not knowing how I would use it, I bought yarn in two different colorways – Into the Whorl and Middle Earth. A while went by and I pulled out Into the Whorl. Other friends who had bought this yarn had mostly used it as weft yarn. One friend did use it as warp, which appealed to me, since the striping would be in the long or vertical direction. I decided to use the yarn to weave a scarf.
The next problem was what weft to use. The colors were of a similar value but the hues were distinct and bold. I found several yarns of a similar grist where the colors looked like they might work out. I left them sitting to the side in the studio for a while (a long while actually) and I would look at them trying to see which one I liked.
Possible weft yarns - Into the Whorl, Vice yarn is in the middle
In the meanwhile, I decided to use a fancy twill. I picked an undulating twill from Sharon Alderman’s book “Mastering Weave Structures”, page 59. This is an 8-shaft twill.
I wasn’t really excited about any of the weft yarns, so I dug some more through the stash and found a blue Madeline Tosh sock yarn in 100% merino.
The Vice yarn was sett at 24 epi and there was enough for a 7 1/2 inch warp, in the reed. The threading was a bit tricky since this yarn, I believe, was dyed in a knitted blank and then unknitted. It was curly and springy and was a bit like threading cooked Ramen noodles. Because I was using every inch of the yarn, I realized when I was preparing to weave that I didn’t have any yarn available for a floating selvedge. I unsleyed the outer two threads and used those as floating selvedge threads, even though they were wound with the rest of the warp. I know that others do this routinely, but I hadn’t done so in the past. This worked out all right, although I did have to weight these threads separately.
The resulting scarf turned out pretty well. I washed it in my front loader machine on gentle and lay it out flat to dry. The fringe was protected with socks during the washing. I trimmed and twisted the fringe with an electric hair twister.
Because of how curly this yarn was during threading, I thought I would have to find some other project to use the second ball. But the actual weaving and finishing went so well and I liked the result, I decided to weave the second ball into a scarf as well. I spent a little less time picking the weft yarn, starting out with two similar yarns - one in brown and the other in blue. The brown would have been the safe choice, also giving a more subdued scarf. I picked the blue in the end because I only had one skein and I had two of the brown, giving me more options for later projects. (Sometimes decisions are that simple.)
Middle Earth Vice yarn with blue and brown options for weft
Everything was the same as before and I used the same structure. I did have a big hiccup with this warp. While I was weaving, one of the treads came unraveled. I decided to use some Fray-Check on it just to hold it together while I was weaving. Six or seven inches later, I discovered the other end that had unraveled and the fact that this thread had become loose and hadn’t been weaving in for that much distance. I pinned it up and went on weaving making sure to incorporate this thread. When I finished waving and took the scarf off the loom, I wasn’t sure what to do. There was no extra yarn of any color, let alone the specific color of this area to do repairs. Also the Fray-Checked area was too stiff and would also have to be replaced. I finally decided to “bite the bullet” and found a similar colored yarn of similar grist and yarn content and replaced the thread along the entire length of the scarf. This was tedious but was the best solution to the problem.
The scarf was wet finished as the other one and fringed. Both scarves turned out well.
It was a good experience but I’m glad that I only bought two of these yarns.