Monday, November 30, 2009

Side tracked with weaving

My intention of dyeing the Shetland wool and starting to weave with that has been delayed as I had a very interesting Guild weaving day last Friday with corduroy weaving.
I now have a warp on my Leclerc loom to sample with this technique. We will continue with this at the next Guild meeting end of January when the same tutor will come back for another day.
She now showed us different ways to either weave rugs, cushions or dressmaking material, bringing lots of samples and showing slides. I found it all very inspiring, specially the dressmaking possibilities. Some had brought their loom and woven a bit. I did bring a small loom (not my own, that is still waiting to be converted), I managed to dress it with a warp but no time left to do some weaving. At the Guild meeting we did not weave. The tutor just showed on the woven looms, what to do after weaving (how to cut the threads) and what to look out for when weaving.
When I got home I took the warp of the small loom (only able to weave 15+cm wide on it) and put it on my Leclerc as that will be easier to weave on. I'm glad I did, as I find that it is not a fast weaving process.Here my first bit of weaving and starting to cut the yarns.The tutor showed us to use a knitting needle to lift the yarns that need cutting but a friend gave me this part of an old umbrella. It is perfect for the job!As you can see, the scissors fit in the groove.Here I have woven some more. The top part has half the loops giving a different appearance, also making the cloth lighter. It just depends what materials you use. Endless possibilities! My warp is cotton 8/2 and I'm just using odds for the weft.
Here all the loops are cut.And here a photo of the back of the cloth, (oops, looks like a weaving fault somewhere) but I wanted to show how the weft yarn looks at the back with both double and single loops.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

"New" spinning wheel

I have an old S10 Louet spinning wheel that was given to me by a friend more than 5 years ago and I learned to spin on it and I'm quit happy with the way the wheel spins. Around me many spinners are buying a Majacraft wheel. I have not yet succumbed BUT I have had my wheel upgraded! It was a single treadle wheel. Louet makes double treadle wheel these days and a friend had upgraded his old Louet from single to double treadle. He was able to get all the parts necessary from Louet 2 years ago but when I tried to get them I was unable to get them. In the end I got all the parts apart from the wood parts. So, yesterday we went out to get the wood that was needed (not easy, and I was lucky as my friend still had his old single treadle from his wheel, which he has used for my second treadle as we were unable to find the right wood for it) My friend was able to use his upgraded wheel as an example to upgrade my wheel!Here is the old situation. On the right is the connection of the treadle to the wheel, it was always making a noise as there was some movement between the handle and the screw. On the left is the single treadle and the lazy kate for 2 bobbins.Here is the upgraded wheel with double treadle. The connection from the treadle (on right) to the wheel is now with ball-bearings, so no more noise, hurray! I will still have to add a lazy kate but I have not decided if I want it attached to the wheel (on the left) or have it free standing. It is really nice to spin this way now, but I have to make sure to sit on a chair that is high enough so that I sit at the right angle for treadling. The position is different for a single treadle or a double treadle. Thanks Toon!

When we were out getting the wood for the wheel, I also got some parts to upgrade my little loom. At the moment I need elastic bands to keep the shafts down. I want to change this so that this is no longer needed. And may be I can add some shafts as it now has 4 shafts. That will be a job I'll be tackling myself this coming week (with help of hubby hopefully) so that I can use it at my local guild this coming Friday.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

More scarves

I've now finished weaving this dyed silk yarn. I had 3 colours and wove 3 scarves and the 4th scarf I used the leftovers from the first 3. The first 2 scarves I have shown here. For the last 2 scarves I threaded the loom differently.
Instead of straight 1 to 8 like I did for the first 2:I did this:I now have to finish the fringes and than wash the scarves.
For now they look like this:
Scarf 3 detail:Scarf 4 detail:
All though the colours were all different, the 2nd colour in each batch was very similar so in this last scarf that makes it blend in together.

I liked the effect I got from the dyed yarn (ball dyed on both sides with a different colour) so I will use this dye method again in future.

I have not come any further with dyeing the Shetland yarn. Another job is getting the little loom ready for weaving with some modifications. I hope to get this done before the weekend.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

New loom

I was given a small loom (+3 reeds) by a friend. It is a home made one but ever so cute (weaving width 23cm and total length front to back is 54cm). Handy for small sample weaving with 4 shafts. We have a weaving workshop at our Guild in 2 weeks time, so this will be useful to take along that day. I have to renew some parts to get it working again but that is no problem. I've taken of the cotton heddles and washed them and at the bottom of the shafts should be elastic. When that is renewed it should be working again.

I'm warping my Leclerc loom at the moment with another warp for 2 scarves. I could be weaving again very soon. :-)
I'll do a different threading this time. Last scarves warp was threaded 1-8, I'm now thinking of stripes/ribs, something like 1-4 (x2 or x3) and 5-8 (x2 or x3). Just to make them different from the other 2, thought they will be different anyway as the weft colour is not the same.

The 2 finished scarves have come out nice after washing and pressing:

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


I'm ready to start dyeing yarn for my next project but found I did not have the right scales to weigh my dyes. Browsing the internet I have found a scale that will weigh from 0,1 gram to 2 kg. So, this should also be good for weighing my yarns.When the scales arrive I'm ready to dye Shetland wool, the yarn colours are grey (I have dyed these before with cochineal with lovely result) pale brown and a dull green. I've already made and cleaned small skeins (together weighing 600 grams) as I intend to dye various colours to blend together with the original yarn.
Problem with learning different ways of dyeing is that there are now more choices to dye the yarns.......... natural dyes? acid dyes? Procion dyes? For the moment I'll leave that choice until the scales have arrived :-)
This will be a bigger project and I'll be weaving again on my Glimakra loom that I have not used for a while. Whilst waiting for the scales to arrive I'll be making a warp for the small Leclerc loom for some more scarves. I'll be working at more than one project together. I have not done this before, see how that works out.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Exhibition Akira Minagawa - minä perhonen

Today I went to the Textile Museum Tilburg (sorry, still no English pages on this site) to see the exhibition minä perhonen. What an inspirational exhibition this was. I met up with a friend and we completely forgot the time going around and inspecting each exhibit closely. There are about 50 outfits on show and all the walls are covered with lots and lots and lots of sample fabrics (woven, embroidered, printed) of about 30x30 cm in size. Apart from the fashion and fabrics there are also design sketches, furniture, furniture fabric and porcelain on show.
His idea of fashion is that it should not be made just for one season but sustainable and lasting. His inspiration comes from nature.

"To me the most important thing is not so much the design, as endowing the fabric with the exhilaration I feel as I sketch" (Akira Minagawa, 2005)

No photos are allowed to be taken so I cannot illustrate this blog entry with pictures. There is no catalogue but the museum has produced a small book: minä perhonen about the Japanese label and its founder Akira Minagawa.

We did not see the videos that are shown, we just run out of time! The exhibition is on until the end of February 2010 and I'm sure I'll be back to see more as there was so much to take in.
I can highly recommend this exhibition!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Finished weaving the scarves

I finished weaving the 2 scarves. I still have to do the twisting of the fringes, that will be done when I have some spare time.
They are very different. The first one I added the extra plain colour silk yarn and they have come out as stripes in the scarf. I wove the scarf in reversing twill, but when adding the plain silk yarn I wove a straight twill.
The second scarf I did not add another weft yarn, just used the dyed yarn from Summer School.
Here I wove a reversing twill again but varying in the length of the repeat.
I like this scarf best as the colouring pattern from the coloured yarn has come out really nice. This is something you do not know how it will come out as the yarn is not dyed even but at random.
My warp run out but I managed to weave just over 145cm so still a good length for a scarf, the first one was 160cm. The warp was 360cm long as I used my smallest warping board and that is the maximum I can warp with this one.

I have some weft yarn left from both scarves and the 3rd skein not used at all so there is another project possible with this yarn. (in this photo the top skein is unused, the other skeins there is about 1/5 left of each skein, the darkest part)

Fun with Procion Dyes

Last Friday our local Guild has been dyeing with Procion Dyes. After learning to dye with Acid Dyes this Summer it was good to learn the possibilities with Procion Dyes. We have learned 5 different ways of dyeing with Procion and actually managed to dye 3 ways.
The first was a cold water dye/immersion dye. Wow how easy this was to dye cellulose yarns/fabric, just adding salt, a few drops of soap liquid and soda to the dye bath (not all at once!). I had brought a skein of Tencel and cotton and we were given some different threads of silk, linen and cotton to see how different material take up the dye. After half an hour I ended up with beautiful coloured yarn. I had chosen a kind of cerise colour, a mix of 80% red and 20% turquoise.
The second method was acid immersion bath. Here we dyed wool/silk with adding salt and vinegar and a drop of soap liquid. Here we split into 2 groups choosing a colour each. My group went for the blue colour. The dye bath was heated to 85C and my yarn had taken the dye very well. Not everyone's yarn was dyed evenly. I had cleaned my yarn beforehand, not sure if everyone had done this. Again we were given some extra yarn, wool and silk, to see how different the dye takes. Now, with having the acid dyes I would not repeat this method myself.
The last method we did was adding the dye to a thickener (lamalgin or Manutex) and urea. This was fun, We were given a square of cotton and a skein of linen where the tutor already had made a shibori tie on the skein. We all made different colours and used the different colours on our skein and cotton square. With the skein you had to make sure that the dye was taken right through, turning the skein. The skein and square were put on some cling foil so that we could wrap the dyed skein and square up and leave to rest for at least 5 hours. I left it until the next day and rinsed. All yarns were finished in a soap bath under boiling level for about half an hour.
Here are my end results:The 2 ways that we did not do is a spray method using soda and urea and the last one dying in the microwave. Using the microwave is for dyeing protein yarns, here again I would use acid dyes rather than the Procion dyes. I will definitely use the cold immersion method and adding the thickener method again in future for cellulose yarns.