Saturday, 29 February 2020

Weaving a rainbow....

I've been planning a blog post on this when it's finished, but it's taken rather longer than I thought to actually finish it. It's not the first large piece of weaving I've done - that was a large piece of completely handspun black Shetland yardage that became a Bronze Age tunic for a friend, who finished and made a scabbard for the bronze rapier I'd cast but not had the tools to finish. But that was years and years ago, on a floor loom that had pieces missing and has since gone.

The previous post is the first thing I made - that blanket which I love. Lots of mistakes, lots of learning, but it's on my bed and is warm and beautifully woolly. You know I love wool, don't you?

This is my first 'planned' project, and I bought the next heddle up (or down? the next finer one anyway). The warp is one of my Full Circle sets, 300g of fibre dyed in a full rainbow. This one is on white BFL (I had a commission for a knitted shawl in 2018 from a Full Circle, so I spun up both a white and an oatmeal one. The recipient preferred the oatmeal). It's a two ply yarn equivalent to commercial fingering or 4ply. The weft is a cone of very fine grey cashmere-like yarn, very breakable but very soft. The finished fabric feels wonderful.

The Full Circle sets come in 3 x 100g, and each third goes from one primary to the next. Handily, the width of the loom nicely fits each third. I had to measure where I set up the table on which the loom was clamped to make sure I wound the same length each time.

This is what it looked like yesterday - all the strips mattress-stitched together but not washed. I know I need to work on the selvedges; I was working so hard to make them not pull in at all I have let them a little slack. Some of this vanished in the machine wash.

And this is the finished cloth. Much irregularity has been evened out, though not completely as ideally I should have used a thicker weft. But I didn't want the grey to dull the brilliant warp threads too much.

I love how the fringing came out. I could get addicted to twisting fringes, especially when they're made of such nice yarn.

Not perfect, distinctly 'rustic', but I love it. 

I love how the fringes glow against the muted cloth itself. It would have been much duller if I'd used the oatmeal BLF.

This is exactly what I wanted to make with the RH loom - plain cloth using handspun yarn. I could get all excited about using two heddles at once and making twill, but not just yet. I have a large bag of more 'random handspun' that I've trawled out of various boxes and bags, and intend to make more strips for blankets, throws or shawls. And I have really interesting ideas about using my own handdyed fibres to get different effects. 

Now, what shall I do next. 
(Keep equipment out of the way of the dogs. I've lost one shuttle to their teeth, and the new heddle is slightly munched on one corner. From their point of view, these are just sticks - and why would I have sticks indoors if not for them?