Wednesday, 14 April 2010

In the Mean Time

A new warp for the loom, along with it's weft, can take several days in the planning, preparation, dyeing and spinning. So
I am keeping busy with another project.
Rainbows are loved by everyone it seems and scarves with rainbow coloured warps are no exception. I have trouble keeping one for myself! It's also a great way to use up small amounts of dyed yarn.
Is it BRIGHT or is it bright?

The weft colour I have chosen, for the first of three scarves on this warp, is bright red and it does look a little bright but I do quite like it - cheery.
The next will be woven with a navy and the third.... still to be decided.

Once the loom was threaded I remembered a tip given me by my orriginal weaving tutor, Mike Halsey.
Tension of the warp threads is important to the weaving process. Slack threads can be caught by the shuttle and cause faults in the woven pattern but with 24 or 32 threads in each inch it can be a trial to get them all the same tension.
When the warp is tied to the front apron, there are gaps in the groups of threads and these need to be closed before weaving the 'real' cloth begins. It can take inches of weaving to achieve this unless..... you weave 4 or 5 rows tabby with a thicker thread, without beating them in place.

Once these rows are pushed into place the gaps close and any slack warp threads are shown up. Small discrepencies may need no more attention, especially on a woollen warp, but larger areas can be seen easily and dealt with, as can be seen at the selvedges of this warp.

Monday, 12 April 2010

One thing leads to another

Last weekend I was asked by our son's girlfriend if I could shorten the dress she had bought to wear at her sister's wedding which is about three weeks away. I replied in the affirmative.
When the dress appeared I became rather nervous. Satin, more expensive than I could afford, beautifully made and required all of my dressmaking skills to alter well. Would my sewing machine tension behave? Had I got a fine needle? I have been making clothes since the age of 13. Why was I so worried? could I have forgotten/lost all my dressmaking skills while I have concentrated on weaving?
The photo of the dress on a hanger doesn't do it justice. There is a slit in the back seam and the hem and facing are mitred. Our son thought I'd just fold, turn and stitch but I explained calmly that a good job required more time and they would not be taking away the dress that evening.
After three days I used all my courage, marked the hemline on dress and lining, zigzagged at the cutting line, machined up the lining and created the mitred corner to turn up the dress. The worst thing was cutting away the corner of fabric. What if I'd sewn it wrongly?? I don't like pressing satin because it could watermark, but I was saved this disaster. The last task was to hand sew the hem... what a relief. The job was done.
As I was working at this task, and considered the event it was to worn at and the fact that our weather is not too kind at this time of year, my thoughts turned to the beautiful colour of the satin and the colours I liked to see with this purple, cerise, plum, raspberry and lilac.
Today, I have dyed some silk fibre and yarn in those colours.

There is a breeze and the silk lookes a mess but is drying reasonably quickly. Maybe, I will be able to spin some of it tonight!
The result of these endeavours may be ready sometime next week, along, I hope, with a photo of the dress owner modelling.