Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Creating Space, texture and soft handle

As you may be aware I am in the process of sampling for cashmere scarves.

It has been suggested to me that I should attempt to move away from the tight-heavy-beat steady flat fabric I tend to weave, twills, plain weave and all that. This in order to create a more sort of soft fluffy fabric which would be a more pleasing kind of scarf for someone to wear.

One possibility which was suggested to me was Honeycomb or, as our friends in the colonies call it, Waffle Weave. I'll be making a warp of this stuff later on today, after I get a lift over to the church (it's raining so I'm not walking and waiting around for a lift and using the time to do warp-planning and writing my blog and doing colour plans and arguing with people on facebook forums).

Anyway, this should create a sort of texturey feel, and add some thickness as well. I still haven't figured out how to finish the selvedges or the fringes. I think I'm just going to have to be old fashioned and walk the fabric in the bath. Do samples in the sink by hand, and all that. There isn't a finishing plant in this part of the country, and even if there was I couldn't afford it. Anyway, I have to felt the fringes just enough to keep the thing from unravelling. I don't want to mill it heavily. Does anyone have experience of hand-milling hair fibres like wool or cashmere, the only stuff I've really done myself had silk in it, which kept it from felting to itself.

Oh, I'm using a draft from Leigh's Fibre Journal

And secondly, the other thing I've been trying to do over the past week is to create a sort of spaced-out gauzy fabric with a really light beat. I tried doing this in plain weave, but it didn't really work out, because it wasn't dimensionally stable in any way at all, and you can't felt it just enough to hold it together without felting it so much that it shrinks so much that it isn't gauzy anymore. So that's no use. A bit of thought probably would've told me that would be the case. Here's it on the loom anyway, doesn't it look lovely?

Shame it shrinks so much when I wash it. Oh well, I've never tried finishing wool or cashmere before so now I know what not to do. Heyho.

Anyway, I'm not giving up, and someone had mentioned Leno to me, which I remember reading about some time ago. So I asked The Oracle about Four Shaft Leno, and The Oracle sent me to A Weavezine Article about Doup Leno. So yay! I can do it! Even though it's obviously a bit of a hassle, but I think it'll be worth it, if it does indeed turn out to be possible to create a dimensionally stable gauzy fabric.

So I'll be making those warps this evening, and after that I'll be going out on the hill with my dad and herringboning the peats. I can't believe this spellchecker recognises the word "herringboning" but not the word "spellchecker". That's brilliant


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