I’ve now fully wound the velvet foundation warp:
It’s 18 yards long, which is pretty close to “infinite” for velvet, because weaving velvet is verrrrrrry slow. On the other hand, tying on 1,320 threads is not something you want to do often, so I’m cool with having an infinite warp. When I get tired of those colors I will cut it off, but it leaves me lots of room for experimentation.
After much thought, I’ve decided to paint this warp. I was having a really hard time deciding between black and white. Black is MUCH harder to see, but I wasn’t thrilled with white, either. I seesawed back and forth for several days before deciding that a painted warp would be more interesting than either black or white. I’m going to paint it in shades of deep indigo blue, eggplant (dark purple), and (possibly) black.
I’m not going to paint it the conventional way, though, with stripes of color over the warp. Instead, I’m going to randomly dye it, scattering blue, purple, and black over it in small patches. This will produce patches of color that will have blurry edges and lots of color variation. I’m keeping the colors dark and low-saturation so it will make a good background – it won’t distract from the velvet pile if it shows.
I haven’t quite decided what to do about the pile warp yet. There are SO many options! I love gradients, so I was thinking about one symmetric gradient, going from purple to yellow and back to purple, in one warp color, and a solid colored warp.
Then it occurred to me that if I did TWO gradient warps, I could create the illusion of a bazillion colors by creating patches of each gradient in different colors, and using the dark background for background, like this:
I’m not sure how good that would look, though, as voided areas, where the foundation shows through, will show some pile warp and thus be less attractive than in the image.
As you can see, my visions are getting more and more complicated. I need to be careful to make sure that my initial designs aren’t too complex for me to handle. There’s always the next one.
I have time to noodle on that, though, as the velvet cantra is still in the prototyping stages. My friend Chris came by earlier this week to help out with the design, and suggested some improvements that will make it much easier to manage. He’s working on prototyping those improvements and will come back next week sometime with the prototype so we can test it out.
Meanwhile, I am also winding the warp for samples for the painted warps class I’m releasing with the Handweaving Academy in January. I’ve plotted out 27 samples and am winding two 440-thread warps 17 yards long, which will go on simultaneously as a double weave warp. I’m not actually going to weave double weave – instead, I’ll use it for weaving stripes of painted warp alternating with a solid color.
Once I get those warps wound, I’ll do a painting session and dye all three warps at once. I may throw in a few T-shirts, too, if I have time after painting everything. (One can never have too many tie-dyed T-shirts!)
To help with the knot-tying (1,320 knots in the velvet warp and 880 in the painted-warp-sample warp = 2,200 knots total), I’ve ordered a Mesdan fisherman’s knotter. This is a hand tool that (hopefully) makes tying on much faster – lay two tails of yarn into the knotter, squeeze, and presto! A secure knot.
I think, though, that before I can use it effectively, I’ll have to build some sort of jig to suspend it across the warp so I can have both hands free to select and lay in threads. Hopefully that should be quick and easy. I think four rods and some blue tape might be sufficient – we’ll see once it arrives, early next week.
Meanwhile, Fritz would like to remind you that having a cat means never lacking for a laundry topper. Very considerate of him; as my friend Janet says, “You just can’t get the same quality and coverage of cat fur from a dryer.”
(Besides, wouldn’t ANYONE want such a handsome and friendly laundry topper?)