Although I've mostly been concentrating on the alpaca projects lately, I haven't given up on my Christmas afghans, and am in fact still contemplating how to incorporate the zig zag twill with the commercial space dyed yarns.
My first afghan, used the space dyed yarn as weft. I was semi-pleased with the results. There are possibilities there, but I was more interested in exploring space dyed yarns as warp. My first experiment with this was the summer & winter place mats.
When I warped my Mighty Wolf loom for those place mats, I cut and measured each warp end individually, trying to start at the same place in the yarn's color sequence. That was not only very time consuming, but I ended up wasting a lot of yarn. Not to mention that I wasn't really satisfied with the results. So I decided to try something different for this next afghan.
I actually had two things to consider. First was space dyed effect, but also I wanted to figure out how to center my twill zig zags within the color stripes. From that first afghan, I realized that this wasn't as easy as I thought I'd be.
One option for centered zig zags was to widen the warp color stripes, which I did here. I had to spread the stripes out however, because the very nature of twill lends itself to the overlapped effect that I was trying to avoid. My second option was to treadle narrower zig zags, which is what I planned to do this time.
First though, I had to figure out what I can do with the space dyed stripes. Since cutting the individual warp ends by color was a drag, this time I decided to get eight skeins and see if I could match them all up to start the color sequence at the same place. Then I could start measuring the warp from there. I used eight skeins, because my threading sequence is a straight twill using shafts one through eight.
I don't have a warping paddle, but I figured I could measure the warp from all eight skeins together without one.
Once I matched up the color sequence for all of them, I started to measure the warp on my warping board. However, I discovered that the dyeing is inconsistent amongst the various skeins, so that the colors get out of sync every several yards. I compensated for this by making my bouts very small. Still, there are some odd color threads here and there.
The next thing I had to figure out was which treadles to use in order to keep the zig zags within each color stripe. After a little experimenting I discovered that in order to keep the zig zags within the color stripes (which are eight warp ends wide) I needed to treadle it 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 1, 8, 7, 6, 5, and repeat. If I were using my jack loom, I would simply change the tie up so that the treadling would start on the first treadle. But since this is a countermarche loom, it is easier to change the treadling sequence(!)
I found, however, that it was easy to keep treadling in the same direction instead of reversing where I needed too. After confusing myself several times and having to unweave a few mistakes, I finally thought to use rubber bands to mark the treadles I am not using.
Since I treadle bare footed, this made it easier to keep track of where I was.
So, here's how it is turning out. The weft is a solid blue.
The zig zags themselves are a tad narrower than the ones on the previous afghans, but that's okay. However, I am still not satisfied with the space dyed effect, because of those maverick threads that didn't follow the color change sequence evenly. So I just won't point this out to the recipient, who will be none the wiser for it. I'm very curious to see how the underside is turning out, but I will have to weave a little more before I can find out.
Posted 26 Aug. 2007 at http://leighsfiberjournal.blogspot.com
Space Dyed Twill Afghan
Finishing the Unfinished Afghan