By working diligently yesterday and this morning, I managed to finish my Cibacron F dye process testing AND finish threading, sleying, etc.! So today at lunchtime I rushed home, debugged the warp, and started weaving my taquete color samples.
And here is the product of about two hours of intensive weaving:
(Click on the photo if you want a really close view.)
I started by weaving with four wefts (the blue and black squares), but didn’t really like the coverage I was getting, and instead of the expected 160 ppi I was getting something closer to 80-100. This suggested that I needed to resley to a more open sett, but rather than go there, I decided to see what happened with only three wefts. So I wove another inch and a half or so using three wefts (changing my draft, of course, to suit), producing the yellow and black squares (single color weft on top). Then I switched and wove another inch or so with three wefts, two wefts on top, because I wanted to look at the color blending. (That’s the top section.) Midway through, I decided to change the black weft to a blue one, so I could get a better idea of color mixing.
And then I noticed the five broken warp threads on the left selvage. By then I had been weaving with intense concentration for nearly two hours, so I decided it was time to take a break, write this blog entry, and make dinner (roasted duck breast with Meyer lemon marmalade/soy sauce glaze, roasted beets with balsamic vinegar/olive oil vinaigrette). Tomorrow I’ll fix the broken warps and experiment some more.
Meanwhile, a few observations:
- Three wefts doesn’t seem to produce as “neat” a pattern as four wefts do. If you look at the spots of blue, they are neatly bracketed by the tie-downs to produce a regular, brick-like pattern. Looking at the spots of yellow in the next stripe up, they appear to be smooshed together into two lines of yellow followed by one line of black. I’m guessing it’s somehow related to the fact that three is odd and four is even, and that the regularity will return once I reduce to two wefts.
- Color blending via yarns is not at all the same as color blending via dyes. I expected the fuchsia and gold mix to produce a red or fuchsia-leaning orange; what I got instead was salmon. The yellow comes out much more strongly than I would expect from mixing dye, probably because the yellow dye I work with has weak tinctorial strength, meaning it doesn’t have much power in mixes. This looks like a 90% yellow, 10% fuchsia dye solution rather than the 50-50 mix I was expecting.
- Coverage doesn’t seem to be vastly better between 4 wefts and 3. We’ll see what it’s like with two wefts tomorrow.
- Three shuttles will just fit onto the web of my loom. Three wefts is thus much faster to weave than four wefts, which require putting one or more shuttles on top of the loom (and totally breaks the rhythm).
- The four ultra-slim shuttles I bought from Hokett Would Work at Convergence, which were meant for getting the very last dregs out of a warp, don’t work as “regular” shuttles. They do a quick nosedive through the bottom of the shed, every time. (Oh well, c’est la vie. If you don’t try, you never find out…)
- The sett appears to be way too close. I should probably resley, opening up the sett by 10-15%. The only problem with this idea is that I stupidly warped up at the full width of my loom, meaning I’d have to unthread and drop about 15% of the warp ends off the back end of the loom. A prospect that fills me with about as much enthusiasm as you’d expect.
- Another option is to use a finer weft. At 12,000 yards per pound, the wefts I’m using are a trifle heavier than the 60/2 silk warp. Lillian recommended going with the same size or slightly smaller, so I’m going to hunt through my stash tomorrow. I think, however, that I haven’t got much between 60/2 and 120/2 silk in grist. Also, my skeiner is broken right now (replacement motor on its way), so I can’t do much dyeing. So, it looks like it’s going to be rayon machine embroidery yarn.
Much experimentation to do! This is a start, but it’s just a very small step forward.
Plans for tomorrow: farmer’s market, more taquete experiments, dye the Cibacron F “pure” color samples. I think dyeing while weaving is a good idea; four-shuttle weaving requires intense concentration and I could use the regular reminder to get up, stretch, and go stir the dyepots!
As usual, your energy level leaves me breathless. And I really appreciate your spirit of experimentation and your objectivity. How many of us are willing to publish what we perceive as our failures (e.g., sett not giving you the results you had hoped for)? Your blog proves time and again the old saying that we learn more from our failures than from our successes.
Are you sure you would have to unthread? Or could you just unsley?