As promised, here’s more on my new obsession…
Project number three:
Umm, this one’s a little bit of a departure from the rustic, muted Noro. It was also, oddly, way more of a learning experience than the previous project, even though the Noro scarf was the first one I’d ever done alone from start to finish.
I used three shades of Spud and Chloe Fine (merino-silk, fingering weight) for the warp, and Crystal Palace Mini Mochi (merino, fingering weight) for the weft. I made it 72 warp ends instead of 48 like the Noro scarf (I am saying this like I know the terminology, but please correct me if I’m wrong) — in all, it’s about 8-9″ wide.
I got all fancy and warped in stripes, but the slithery nature of the merino-silk warp plus the fineness and softness of the weft and the wide spacing of the reeds on the heddle combined to make the finished fabric almost totally weft-faced — meaning that you can hardly see the weft at all. In the top photo in the collage above you can see that the outer edges are darker (where the warp was a deep teal-y blue) and the centre is lighter, but you can barely tell that the centre is composed of a lighter turquoise stripe, an ivory stripe, and another light turquoise stripe.
I don’t MIND the result, but I do wonder what would have happened if I’d used a grabbier yarn as the warp, a heavier/firmer yarn as the weft, or a finer-gauge heddle. The Mini Mochi is a loosely spun singles, so it just snugs in to fill up whatever space is available. I briefly considered using it as the warp, but it wouldn’t have the strength to hold up to that.
You can see, in the top picture here, that my weaving skills definitely improved throughout this project. That’s both ends of the scarf, folded to lie together, with my earlier work in back, and the later work in the front. My edges aren’t perfect, but they’re much better than when I started!
In the other two pictures here, you can see the issue I had with the slippery warp yarn. As I wound the fabric onto the front roller, the weft slid around on the warp and bunched up under the tension, leaving gaps that weren’t present in the actual weaving (left photo). However, I was able to lay the finished scarf out, once it was off the loom, and coax the strands back into place by hand (right photo). Much better!
Project number four:
My final (sob!) project with this loom is a wider piece, a shawl/wrap in more standard (though artisanal) sock yarns.
I warped the loom with some Zen Yarn Garden BFL fingering weight in Spruce, which is this lovely, soft, silvery green. (I am delighted by the simple geometry of the yarn coming off the chair back that I used as a warping peg, as you can see in the left photo. So pleasing.) I used about 75% of the skein, and was able to fill the whole 20″ loom with a 3-yard-long warp — so I’ll get a nice wide, long wrap out of this, more pashmina than scarf.
The weft is Tanis Fiber Arts Blue Label fingering in Chestnut, which reads as a silvery-brown overall, but which is actually composed of a lot of pink and purple and tan. I have two skeins of this, and I always thought it would look really good with the single skein of the ZYG green, so I’m really happy to be combining them here. (Side note: weaving is opening up a WHOLE NEW REALM of possibilities for the odd balls in my stash!)
Here, the yarns are both a little grabbier than the Spud and Chloe that I used in the rainbow scarf. They’re also really close to the same weight and structure. As a result, the fabric is much closer to a full-on even-weave. I’ve been able to leave it a bit loose and airy — you can see in the bottom right photo that it’s somewhat transparent, with my hand showing through from beneath the loom. When I let the tension go slack so that I can wind the fabric on to the roller, the fabric is really soft and drapey, but it still holds together as a cohesive hole, unlike the slithery strands in the rainbow piece. I cannot WAIT to get this off the loom, and get it around my overly-air-conditioned shoulders!
The good news for my knitting prowess is that Andrea (who loaned me the loom) is home from her honeymoon, so when I finish the wrap, I’ll be giving back her loom.
The good news for my new addiction is that Lindsey has offered to loan me one of HER looms, and some of her weaving books, which means I’ll have a whole bunch more time to play!
For those who are wondering: no, there are no plans to make a carpet to match my great-great-grandmother’s 17’x18′ behemoth in my future. Tee hee!