Sunday, March 22, 2015

The End Is In Sight!

After a very long time, the fourth swatch is done! I really like this one, but the thread was so fine and the clasped weft took so long, I thought I would never finish it!

Swatch number 5 was fairly quick to finish. A honeycomb structure, with the green slub used to mark the top and bottom of each cell and the wild berry pink to highlight the middle of each cell.

The I moved onto one of the very first ideas I had, the horizontal rib to create blocks of colour. I wanted to use the sandalwood to show where the blocks overlapped and then shifted, but the line is too harsh. At the top of the final block of this I softened it by using clasped weft. I wish I had done this for the rest of it.

I wanted the next swatch to be bands of pointed diamonds, but I just can't get it right, so I've abandoned it for now and knocked out a swatch with bands of crepe separated with knicker elastic. Hopefully, it will pull the fabric in to make it crinkle.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


Today's update is a tale of two halves. I finished swatch number 3 at the weekend, bands of satin and sateen in an ecru silk and linen mix, to mimic the ridge structure of the shell.
I continued with sateen, this time using the silk and linen mix again to start and then using three strands of 60/2 silk in different colours.
I'm using clasped weft techniques to create diagonal lines and blocks of colour, inspired by this colour study of part of the inside of the shell.
The idea is that the front of the fabric will be smooth and shiny, like the inside of the shell, whilst the reverse is matt and shows the warp threads, thus bringing the outside of the shell to mind. I'd like to claim credit, but the initial idea of the two sides of the fabric was my tutor's!
So why is this post titled "Grrrrr"? Because in nearly 4 hours of weaving I have completed 3 and 3/4  inches (less than half of it!), which doesn't compare well to those swatches that have been completed within one hour!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Swatches, Swatches!

The first two swatches are done - hurrah!
First up, a simple 4/4 twill in a green slub yarn. You can see from the bottom of the picture that I couldn't get the beat right to start with, and my diagonal lines undulated, rather than marched in nice straight lines!
Here it is in its finished state, although the lack of daylight spoils it slightly!
The second swatch is also a twill, this time a warp-faced twill using the cotton tape yarn. It wove up nice and quickly! I wanted a warp-faced twill to show off the stripes in the warp and chose the cotton tape for the weft as I liked the warmth.
So, I've made a start, but I have just over a week left to make the rest. and because I can't choose form my ideas yet, I want to make them all and then choose!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Sampling is done!

So here's the March update. The samples are all done and swatches are all go here!
I finished off working through my notes; here's the honeycomb in the sandalwood linen and also some cream 4 ply 100% wool. It's had a light hand wash and line dry when it was still attached to the rest of the samples, so has pulled in a little, but the lightly beaten part in the middle hasn't really changed.
I also used the wool to do some plain weave bands to full to mimic the rib structure, but the sample needs some rougher treatment to pull it in more.

I also tried some knicker elastic, woven under slight tension! Here it is on the loom....
...and off, after hand washing.

I found some Louisa Harding Anise, a cotton tape yarn, to try to get the texture by pulling some loops out, but it flattened in the hand washing, so I'm not so keen on it.
I tried a bit of graduated colour change, here using 4 shades of 60/2 silk. I like the effect of the twill, but wonder what it might be like in the herringbone I tried before.
Can you spot the error in it? I think I must have repeated two lines in the pattern by mistake.

I also went for some more unconventional materials:
Bottom to top: barbecue skewers, strips of chamois leather and raffia...

...strips of torn brown paper and dried rose petals...

And finally string and green garden twine.

I'm not sure about any of that to be honest, but I am intrigued by the rose petals, perhaps using much narrower strips of paper or the chamois.

So now, I need to review my ideas (now got 12 or 13 and I only need 8 swatches in the collection!) and crack on. I've got less than two weeks now!