Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Black Jack, Lurex and Bright Colours

Now for the second task - the demo. The weavers in our Guild (Kennet Valley) hold a 'Black Jack' project every now and then. It works out at about one every 8 months. This comes from Ann Sutton's book 'Ideas in Weaving'. One of us (Rosie Price) holds a stack of cards and each weaver is issued with two cards, then goes away and weaves what it says. You are allowed to exchange a card if the two cards are totally incompatible like 'bright colours' and 'black and white'.  After three months, every one come comes back with two samples not more than A4 size plus a page of notes. The member concerned keeps one sample and the other sample plus a copy of the notes goes into the Guild weaving book to be consulted by everyone. I scan all the samples and every one gets a bound copy of all the scans and all the notes.

The next deadline is December 2009 and I have drawn 'Use bright colours with a white background' and 'Use Lurex'. Also I was doing a demo on Monday this week at the Guild Exhibition and I wanted something on a small loom to demo next Saturday so I decided to combine all of these and put a warp on the Leclerc Voyager which is my portable loom. In addition, being a mean Scot, I wanted to use up a whole lot of 60/2 silk I had dyed in brilliant colours and then decided they would not do for the current Megado project (of which more another time). But I did not feel enthusiastic about weaving 60/2 silk on the Voyager as it would be slow and might discourage people at a demo. Sooooo -

I decided to do a double cloth in white 8/2NM silk from Fibrecrafts (Japanese spun silk) at 12 epi using 8 shafts. Stripes of bright colour could be included in one cloth only   which I could swop from front cloth to back cloth thus giving me squares of bright colour. This way I could put lurex in the warp along with one of the colours. I put on a warp of 3 metres  for a width of 0.25 m by winding a warp of the 8/2NM and also wound a warp each of orange and scarlet and two warps of pink space dyed plus lurex. Each of the small warps was for a one inch width (sorry about swopping units). I warped up the Voyager from front to back. I do prefer to warp up from back to front but the Voyager is too short between the shafts and the back beam (its only defect). The first nasty problem is that I was warping up using 8 threads of 60/2 silk through each heddle and it was easy to get in a mess. It took a long time to wind on the complete warp - like 6 hours on Sunday. The second potential problem was the Lurex which I have never used in a warp before but I was very careful and had no problems.

The weft is a white 60/2 silk. The coloured squares are an inch on a side. You can see the Lurex on the outer side of the pink rectangles. And what you see is the sample for the Guild because the Lurex unravelled on me! A real mess. I only managed  a length of 8 inches. So the moral is only use Lurex for weft.

I spent Monday evening replacing all the Lurex threads with some Debbie Bliss silk which I had dyed in light blue some years ago.
I have changed the draft as well to provide some more interchange between the white sections of the front and back cloth. I have yet to check the threading and weave a little  - probably this evening.

The 8/2 silk from Fibrecrafts is very soft and has a good lustre but does shed fluff and I wonder whether everything will clog up before I weave this off. I hope not as it looks rather nice.

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About Me

I am weaver and - -. I dye my yarns with acid dyes, I paint my warps, put fabric collages and stencils on my weaving. I have three looms, a 12 inch wide, 12 shaft Meyer for demos and courses, a 30 inch Louet Kombo which is nominally portable but has a stand, two extra beams and a home-made device containing a fan reed. And last a 32 shaft Louet Megado which is computer controlled, has a sectional warp and a second warp beam and I am the proud owner of an AVL warping wheel which I love to bits and started by drilling holes in. I inserted a device for putting a cross in. I have just acquired an inkle loom and had a lesson from an expert so I can watch TV and weave at the same time. I am interested in weaving with silk mostly 60/2 although I do quite a bit with 90/2 silk. I also count myself as a bookbinder with a special interest in Coptic binding.