Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Warp Pile suppositions, and what I did, not on my holidays but when I was working like a driven thing and not getting much rest

I spent a long time trying to figure out in my head how warp pile cloth was constructed. I knew that there were two warps, one for the ground fabric, and the second for the pile. This can be seen by pulling on a single loop in a towel. Eventually I came to a kind of idea of how this kind of fabric was woven.

It turns out I was correct. I couldn't think of any other way it could be done.

"To produce the pile a wire is inserted across the width of the warp into a shed formed only by the pile ends. When the pile ends are subsequently dropped into the bottom shed and interlaced with the weft they remain draped over the wires as shown at ..... (snip) ... Thus, the cross-sectional dimensions of the wire determine the height of the pile. After the insertion of a number of picks (and wires) the wire furthest away from the cloth fell is withdrawn leaving the loops which were formed over its shank as a surface feature in the cloth..."
     - Watson, "Advanced Textile Design: Compound Woven Structures" 4th Ed, p 287

Well, that's one way of making a warp pile anyway. One which I have the technology available to make use of. I'm sure I can find a few reasonably straight bits of wire in a scrapheap somewhere.

In other news, I am 17 hours away from my deadline for this semester and completely relaxed, having just watched Amir Khan lose a fight to Lamont Peterson with something of a lack of dignity. Nothing like losing a fight and blaming the referee. Classy.

I have yet to do:

Put my sketchbook together
Put my journal together (it's all over the place, and here as well)
Put my research file together, including retroactively making copies of many of the pages in the books I have been reading to inform me on classical men's style. The blogs I'll give up on, they're too transitory.
 Complete some small writing tasks
Label everything for the colour through practice project

Which consists of

6 pages of development samples (about 48 colour samples and 3 silk samples)
14 Final samples (all doublecloth in varying colour combinations and twill combinations)
6 Experimental samples (resleyed the doublecloth warp for single cloth and wove with both double and single-cloth in the same fabric)
3 books of collage colour combinations
1 sketchbook culled from 3 locations
1 journal culled from my main journal I used during the summer, my notebook in which I write down my random notes and do all my sums and this here blog
1 research file which is almost nonexistent right now
1 customer profile which is completely nonexistent

And for the Techniques module, which doesn't have as much. It consisted of a series of tests in which we were given a description of a fabric, ie

tight-warp stitched doublecloth with both faces in 2/2 twill and the front face in 2/30's cotton and the back face in 2/12's cotton

Then you figure out the weave plan, sleying, draft and peg plan

Also we had one test to do on calculating setts using various setting theorists. All of which seem to base their calculations on a number which is simply given to you without telling you how this number is calculated. For instance in Ashenhurst, to work out the Yarn value, you need the value for K. What is K? in the instance of cotton, K = 0.92 (if i remember correctly)

How is this derived? If i do not know how a variable in an equation is derived I cannot have any faith in the equation. This is a number that could have been (and probably was, knowing this bloody industry) derived at over 100 years ago, in which time manufacturing techniques, production standards and fabric qualities have all changed (not a lot, but somewhat). So is that the correct value? Who knows? Not I. At the end of the day half of my mind still runs along the method of "look at the yarn, screw your eyes up, say 'ooooh, 32? 36? call it 34epi'"

Hardly scientific. And they all have these problem it seems. One variable which is a mystery number whose origin is unknown.

There may be an answer to this question. I intend to find out. This is an industry that seems bereft of simple standardisation. I see no benefit to using multiple counting systems for different fibres. I see no benefit to using imperial units (yes, I still think in inches and feet, I'm trying to train myself out of it)

Anyway, where was I before I started frothing at the mouth?

Ah yes

Aside from that I have to produce two double cloths (not an issue, I just took the 2 worst looking samples from the Final warp that happened to be technically sound) and two figuring cloths (which were both crap)

And then I have to label everything.


After this I have about 10 glorious days of doing whatever I like. My options are

1: Weaving rugs on my brand new but rather old Dryad Upright Loom. I have a whole rake of Axminster Rug Wool I foolishly purchased when I thought I was rich
2: Weave Cashmere scarves, taking the oppurtunity to learn about the use of doup-wires to weave multiple scarves on a width seperated while keeping the edges tight
3: Attempt to weave warp pile through the wire technique outlined above, as I happen to have a rather substantial warp just sitting there due to my not having the time to weave it (deep, deep shame) and it's very colourful and pretty too and it's make a lovely thing
4: Spend time with the nice people I like to spend time with, who make me happy
5: Do bugger all

I reckon I can easily find time for the last 2, but I can only do one of those weaving tasks, because I'm not completely bloody mental

Oh, and I have to tidy up around my loom.

Y'all can vote on which weaving task I do. I may very well ignore you. I'm already inclined toward warp pile as I have an idea in my head of how gorgeous it'll be (viscose feels niiiiiice) but I could be swayed towards cashmere or woollen rugs.


Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Process: Scotweave Sampling

It took me a little while to wrap my head around this program, but now that I have it's certainly saving me a lot of time. I can throw idea out on the screen so quickly, and play about with bracketing and weft variations with the greatest of ease and not spend all that time at the pegging table cursing and weeping as I hammer out peg-plans for the Dobby.

This is especially important methinx as I am attempting to combine colour and weave effects together into double weave. I am trying to go for either dots or stripes but am kinda playing with wavy patterns as well. If I use plain weave for the different faces then I can have 4 different interchanging blacks but not so much variation in shade, but if I use 4-shaft twills I can only get two interchanging blocks but get a lot more variation in shades to play with. It's a trade off really

Here's some of what I've come up with so far, all on the same warp of 1 pink, 1 blue

Straightway I'm noticing that the last two (which I did today) are different from the rest (which I did yesterday on a different computer). I'm guessing that's something to do with the settings of the image export dialog box or the preferences in the setup program on this computer. At the end of the day when I print them out though it makes no odds because All these yarns are associated with carefully selected printer colour codes so I know exactly what I'm getting when I print. And to be fair it's close to what I've got in the last two there

Sunday, 20 November 2011

process: sample selection

Ugh, the light in here is terrible.

Poor photography, once again. A combination of poor light and the camera on my relatively cheap phone.

Anyway, you still get an idea.

These are the colour combinations I'm going with from the pink and blue warp.

So yeah. I'm using doubleweave. Planning to use doubleweave, I should say (I'm not doing doubleweave yet. I'm sitting at the computer typing. And I don't have doubleweave on the loom at college. What I have at college is a silk warp that's probably going to get turned into a brightly coloured cord or something because I can't afford to waste any more time on it (woe betide me!))

Brackets inside brackets, now my writing is going down the drain.

Ho hum, fairly happy with the combinations. I figure I can get a lot of different combinations from which to choose finals from a 2 section warp with only 2 colours in each. hmm.

To do tomorrow: Lots of stuff not on the loom

I'm a little behind with my CAD work, so I have to import a bunch of black and white designs into Scotweave Jacquard software. Then I have to carefully pick exactly the right colours I need for my yarns and enter them into the yarn program, then use these yarns to make 3 or 4 different colourways of the 5 or 6 (god, i don't know how many) different designs I'm presenting for Jacquard cloth.

Also, I have to come up with the outlines of an essay for tuesday.

Hand-in is in 3 weeks. Well, for the main colour project anyway. I think hand in for everything else is a week earlier.

Friday, 18 November 2011

My new toy

2 shaft Dryad Rug/Tapestry loom. Bought in the 70's, never used, stored in a garage for 30-odd years then sold to me today with the demonstration warp still on. Cleaned up and ready to go. The bearer doesn't slide, but I doubt it ever did. Anyone got any experience with these? I'm going to put up a post on weavolution later, see if anyone knows how to get this bearer moving smoothly

Thursday, 17 November 2011

It's not really working out

Lots of broken ends. Like, more than 40 in the first 5" of weaving. And mostly clustered in particular places, indicating that this is due to rough heddles or reed. I've not given up on 60's silk, but I won't spend any more college time on it as these looms aren't up to it.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Finally tied on.

1600 ends of 60nm silk at 90epi.

Been at this all week. Couple of little errors, but nothing that can't be fixed once weaving is started. Just have to pay more attention and take greater care in my checking is all. Also, threading through yarn this fine is not easy.

The next warp will be knotted on. Blatantly. Because the technician found a wee machine for the job, about which you will hear more later.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Under the weather

But only a little bit.

It's been mad busy over here the last few weeks, been in late every day and on saturdays too. I've finished weaving the first viscose colour sampler and got it cut up into samples. Think there must be something like over 100 samples from that warp, they're only little. Really pleased with the amount of different shades I can get from one warp colour simply by changing the structures and colours about. Going to choose my favourite shades and combinations then try mixing them together in double weave on the next viscose warp, from the previous post. While I'm thinking about that I will be continuing to work on a warp of silk as detailed below

Silk 60's, 16 shafts in eight shaft blocks of about 1.5" each.

1600 ends at 90epi, sleyed 4 ends in a 42 reed (scottish system)

I've been at the threading for a little while now and it's starting to do my brain in, but I'm nearly through. Should get it finished tomorrow afternoon, then I can take some pictures and send them off with a request for more yarn because It's just gorgeous and I really think this fabric's going to be truly beautiful.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Bag of skittles

So delicious and sugary. Sadly this warp was rather slack down the side. Rubbish.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Dead wasps on my warp

You know It's winter when this falls onto your warp. That was clue #1, clue #2 was the fact that it was f****g freezing last night when I was walking the dog

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Process #3 - listen and learn

I've been obsessively weaving these big massive samples when I don't need to do so. It's been pointed out to me by my tutor (for the second or third time, but I'm too stubborn to listen to anything the first time because I always think I'm the first person that was ever correct) that I should be concentrating more on variety in colour and weaving more smaller samples on one warp than what I am doing now. Basically I'm making work for myself and it isn't necessarily going to be that helpful at the end of the day.
This is probably the most important part of the design process, taking feedback and allowing others to challenge your preconceived notions. It's probably the only way anyone ever moves forward artistically or philosophically.
If we don't allow ourselves to be changed by others then we stagnate and drop out of creative life or else become an obstacle in the way of those who wish to change things for the better.
So I've changed my approach to this project as of today. I think my work will be better for it.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Using a temple

And though my selvedges aren't much better, I haven't had to retie a single selvedge thread in 2 full days of weaving that included much cursing as the shuttle kept attempting to break orbit. This I think is being caused by the fact that the upper shed is pulling the lower up just a wee bit on the right hand side. It wasn't an issue with the last pegging plan I was using, but it is now. I'd spend more time adjusting the levels but it's impossible to get anything just so as the shafts are held up by ancient cotton string that's all ragged and every shaft is different. I'm considering requesting that the uni invest in Texsolv to tie up the shafts on the George wood looms. What do y'all think?

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Statistical anomalies

Here's an interesting thing.

So those of you who use to throw portions of your brain at the internet may have noticed that they've changed their layout and suchlike for the account settings page.

I hadn't of course because I'm a bit slow and I've also posted all my recent blog posts (the ones that are basically a photo and caption) from my phone, which is a very convenient way of throwing images at the web but not much use for writing long screeds of text because of it's tiny little keyboard. I plan to buy a bluetooth keyboard for the thing sometime in the future when I have some money, but don't hold your breath, that day may never come.

Anyhoo, that's enough rambling introduction. Here's the thing I noticed. They have statistics on the main page. And mine are fairly expected, it's hardly a high-traffic blog, I don't promote it anywhere and I rarely comment on other people's blogs (and that's where most of my visitors and commenters come from). So we're talking like 10 visits one day, 20 another. maybe as much as 30 in a day when I put up a halfway readable post. Nothing exciting, I'm certainly not going to install AdSense and live off that.

But I looked at the all-time stats, and in November 2010 I (apparently) got 5681 pageviews after a slow and steady climb to 580 the preceding month and then reasonably steeply declined to a normal level after that. What I'm wondering is what on earth happened in November 2010? Did some high-profile blogger or popular forum poster link to my site? Was my usual rambling and out of focus picture post hitting some kind of zen spot in the internets somewhere, or was I simply visited by the Internet Fairy, showering me with good gifts of visitors and Karma and so on?

Bloody weird anyway. That one month accounts for about a quarter of all page-views EVER, in something like 4 years. Can it be that long? Please, Infinite Universe, tell me it hasn't been that long.

I feel old now.

I turned 30 the other week as it goes. I didn't feel old then. But I hadn't just spent 10 straight hours threading through while sitting on a wooden board then. My rear end felt like a lump of dead meat by the time I left college today

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Process #2a - first colour warp

After building up a selection of colours I'm happy with, I then decide to myself it's a lovely idea to test these colours in various warp and weft combinations and weave structures.
This warp is the pinks and the blues which together make up my first colourway. I am threading them in a block draft on 12 shafts, in 3 4-shaft blocks. Primarily I intend to combine various 4 shaft twills, but will also experiment with other combinations of 4 shaft weaves, such as hopsack or honeycomb, bearing in mind that I have no intention of resleying as I am being economical with my time.
Which brings me to the other thing. Depending on time factors this will be the first of either 3, 6 or 9 identical warps, the next being tied onto the last in much the same manner as Blossom (The Weaving Monk) does in production. I expect this to save me about 8 hours of labour for each warp. Spread that out over 6 warps and its an entire working week.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

And again, after a press

Yes, definitely worth the effort.

Luscious pink scarf

It's finished now, see what you think. It has just the.most wonderful handle and drape. I can't believe I've never woven with fine silk before. All the extra work is absolutely worth it.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Wavy multi-twill

Ok, so I drafted the pink silk in blocks of 4 shafts each on a total of 8, and I set the lift plan to have the first 4 shafts doing 3/1 twill and the others 1/3, so sect and warp face, and then alternating. And I wove that for q while to get a sample, then it occurred to me there was a bit of q curve where the blocks meet, so I've been weaving a whole scarf length in solid stripes (it's taking ages) and I've got this very interesting wavy effect when I remove the tension. I'll have to make an extra wee sample to see what happens when I steam press it.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Pink Silk

672 ends of 33 Tex silk. To weave 1 sample and 4 yards at 56 epi. Varying twills, to hopefully create an interesting shimmer. Weave plans to follow this evening when I get back from the CAD lab.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Process: Collage

This is the first post in a series, in which I'll be illustrating my design process, now that I'm taking it properly seriously. As I can't the now find the images to illustrate my inspiration source, the first list shall instead show you some collaging.
I have made 3 books of collage for this semester, 50 tpages each. The first two are explorations of colour and basic proportion, and in the third book I take my favourite colour combinations and experiment more with placement and angle, sometimes creating a subtle effect, sometimes a lively and even violent one.
in the next post I shall illustrate what I have been doing to attempt to get a feel for illustrating fold and (the all important) drapes in my sketchbook.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

The lovely shawl V1.1

Hey there

I've taken some pictures of that shawl I was going on about last week. I'm just being a little impatient. I should probably have waited to get a model or use a tailor's dummy or something. Sod it, I'll do it on monday.

Anyway, the sun's almost out today, so I took these pictures on the dining table and hanging off the end of the mop handle

What ya think? My photoing skills gettin better? I think so. More of this thing next week, when I get back to college