With a little more obsessive weaving (and dyeing, and sitting firmly on my hands to give the dyed sample time to “set”), voila, the first set of dyed samples:
I’m a little disappointed with the dye job – the photo was the effect I was after, but in real life it looks almost solid orange-red with a little bit of variation. (I suspect the flash illuminated it with bright light, showing more of the color variation.)
The fabric overall is lusciously drapey and thick, the cotton more so than the rayon. Possibly too thick for my purposes. I am considering a second test with 2000 ypp cotton chenille as warp and weft (still using 60/2 silk for the thinner yarn), and see how that comes out. If it comes out nicely, then I’ll order some 2000 ypp rayon chenille and do a second trial with the rayon chenille as weft. (I’m doing it that way because it’s really too late to get packages before the holidays, and I haven’t the patience to wait before sampling.)
The rayon chenille weft seems to “pop” a good deal more than the cotton chenille weft – it is glossier and translucent-looking, whereas the cotton chenille is more matte and opaque – so I will definitely be using rayon chenille (of whatever weight) as the weft yarn.
Shrinkage is comparable in both samples and is pretty dramatic – 25% in the weft direction (I stupidly didn’t measure the length before wet-finishing). This will be an issue with the pattern since it means my end fabric will only be 18″ wide! (I have a 24″ loom.) Some of the pattern pieces measure 20″, so that means I may need to redesign the pattern somewhat. Fortunately, the pattern has LOTS of ease and flares at the bottom, so chopping a little bit off the flared bottom part probably won’t hurt much. I hope!
I am VERY happy with the diversified plain weave structure – the colors appear to be completely solid, and there are no floats longer than three threads, thanks to the silk tie-downs. I think I will do quite a few pieces in this structure, as it’s GREAT for imagery!
I plan to weave another sample to check lengthwise shrinkage, and then weave the rest of the warp off in what it clearly wants to be – an absolutely luscious scarf, perhaps to be woven this weekend, finished on the plane, and given as a Christmas gift? If so, I will have to get a handle on my selvages, which currently look awful.
I found dimensional loss was greater than normal too so I think it’s partly a function of the weave structure.