Thursday, November 30, 2006

Lace Sampler – Spot Bronson

By Leigh

My 4th set of lace weave samples for the Beginning Lace Weaves Workshop, is off the loom. These samples are Spot Bronson which, although aren't technically lace, gives us the background for Bronson Lace.

The draft is from Marguerite Porter Davison's A Handweaver's Pattern Book. It is the Rose Point Pattern in the Barley Corn Weave chapter, page 86. Barley Corn is another name for Spot Bronson. I used the same 12/2 cotton warp, but experimented with two different weft yarns. The rose point pattern has 2 variations, so I ended up with 4 samples.

For the first weft, I used a 3/2 mauve cotton for the pattern and the same 12/2 cotton for the tabby weft.

A spot Bronson sample with white cotton warp and a heavier colored weft.Then I tried it using only the white 12/2 cotton. It's hard to see the pattern......

Another sample of the same pattern in all white...... in fact, I like the backside better........

The reverse side showing a more sculptured look in all white.I used the same weft yarns for the 2nd variation:

Second sample with white warp and colored weft.Front in all white:

The same draft in all white.And back:
The back of the 2nd white sample also looks more textured.What you can't see in these photos is the sculptured effect the white samples have, which I think is very nice! In fact it is this texture which has given me some ideas of where to place stripes of color, giving plenty of experiments to store away for future use.

Related Posts:
Lace Sampler - Beaming the Warp
Lace Sampler - Huck
Lace Sampler - Huck Lace 1
Lace Sampler - Huck Lace 2
Lace Sampler - Lace Bronson

Monday, November 27, 2006

Rare Breed Sweater Update

I have completed the back of my Rare Breed Sweater.

The back of Leigh's rare breed cardigan.I am a fairly slow knitter, so for me, this is good progress!

It is being knitted entirely of rare breed yarns. The body (both the white and the green) is Ryeland, and the blue in the seeding pattern and peeries is Hog Island.

The sheep are intarsia knit and each one is of a different rare breed sheep wool.

Top row, starting at the left: Tunis, Ryeland, Karakul, Jacob, and Wensleydale.

Bottom row: North Ronaldsay, Hebridean, Soay, Manx Logthan, and Lincoln.

I will embroider in the eyes and facial outline later.

It is interesting to knit a row using 6 different types of yarn. The differences are very pronounced.

Next, I will knit the fronts. I'm entertaining the idea that I might actually finish this before the cold weather is gone, but I know myself too well to take myself seriously. :)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Colored Huck Lace

Little Catzee paw on huck.By Leigh

One thing about me and weaving, is that I can't not think about color. As much as I loved weaving the white huck and huck lace samples, my mind was constantly rehearsing "what ifs" with color.

So before moving on to the Spot Bronson and Bronson Lace portions of the workshop, I tied on some colored cotton and experimented a little. These are all in 8/2s cotton, sett at 20 epi. The warp alternates stripes of orange, green, and gold. The weft is black.

Huck warp spots:

Huck warp spots in color.Close-up:

Close-up of the huck warp spots.And I was just as intrigued with the back.......

The back of the huck sample, looking nice too........ as the curves are even more pronounced.

In order to show off the lacy holes, the huck lace was a bit more difficult to photograph, particularly a close-up.

Stepped back:

Colored huck lace sampleFirst close-up:

Huck lace close-up, looking like a solid fabric.Against a solid background, it looks more like solid cloth, but against the window, which allows in the light, I needed to use the flash, which washed out the color:

2nd huck lace close-up, taken against a window.Well, I'll have to add photography to the list of things I plan to study some day. [And I did! Follow this link to take a peek at Leigh's Photography Journal.]

With our American Thanksgiving tomorrow, a house full of company, and a family birthday this weekend, I won't be online much. But I've finished knitting the back to my Rare Breed Sweater and hope to show you that on Monday. See you then!

Related Posts:
Lace Sampler - Huck
Lace Sampler - Huck Lace 1
Lace Sampler - Huck Lace 2

Monday, November 20, 2006

Lace Sampler – Huck Lace 2

By Leigh

These are the rest of the photos from my huck lace sampler. All are woven in 12/2 cotton, sett at 24 epi.

On the loom:
After washing:

On the loom:
After washing:

This last one was a bit of a challenge for me. One of the lessons in the workshop involved an introduction to designing huck lace. The assignment included figuring out the treadle tie-up for a couple of drafts. Having never learned how to do this, I was stumped! After quick plea for help to the Guild's message board, I was able to work it out and was rewarded with a very nice design. Here it is on the loom:

And after washing.

As intrigued as I am with this weave structure, I can't stop my mind from wondering "what if...." about color. So my plan is to take a brief detour before moving onto the next lace structure, and try a couple of color ideas with huck and huck lace.

Related Posts:
Lace Sampler - Beaming The Warp
Lace Sampler - Huck Lace 1
Colored Huck Lace

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Lace Sampler – Huck Lace 1

By Leigh

My first lace sampler is off the loom.

As fascinating as it was to watch the patterns appear before my eyes, little did I know the transformation that was in store for me. And all because of ....... washing.

When I first started weaving I was terrified to toss my handwovens into the washing machine. But I gradually got braver, and with much relief discovered that depending on the fiber content of the yarn, things actually hold up quite well.

All these samples are woven in cotton, which responds to machine agitation, and wow what a difference it makes with huck lace.

After weaving sections of huck warp and weft spots, I wove a section of huck lace. Actually I wove two sections, as I was worried that I beat the first section in too hard.

On the loom:
Huck lace on the loom.
After washing:
Huck lace after washing.After washing, I was surprised that my first section (bottom) looks the best. I beat that one as for a balanced plain weave and it definitely turned out better. The one on the top wasn't beaten in as hard, and the integrity of the lace looks compromised and sloppy. Chalk one up for sampling first!

Here are more before and afters.

On the loom:
On the loom.
After washing:
After washing

On the loom:
On the loom.
After washing:
After washing
For the rest of my huck lace photos, click here.

Related Posts:
Lace Sampler - Beaming The Warp
Lace Sampler - Huck Lace 2
Colored Huck Lace

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Rare Breed – California Variegated Mutant 2

I spent two pleasant days carding and spinning my CVM fleece.

Since the staples were about 5 inches long, I used my drum carder to prepare them. Whenever I prepare fleece for woolen spinning, I automatically think "hand cards," but really, anything over 3 inches in length really isn't suitable for hand carders. Then when I use drum carded batts for longdraw spinning I think, well, this technically isn't prepared correctly for a true woolen yarn. However I never let that stop me!

Most of the 2 ounce sample measured 6 crimps per inch, I decided to spin it with 6 twists per inch. Since I wanted to spin it longdraw, I consulted one of the appendix in Mabel Ross's The Essentials of Yarn Design for Handspinners.

The formula for calculating the number of treadles needed for an 18 inch draw is:

18 (inches) x twists per inch required ÷ wheel ratio = treadles

So in this case that was:

18 x 6 ÷ 10.5 = 10

Well, actually it equals 10.28, but who's going to quibble about that!

The particulars:

* Fiber Weight, 2 ounces
* Fiber length, 5 inches
* Occasional neps
* Spinning ratio 10.5:1
* Spun woolen method
* 10 treadles per 18 inch draft
* Singles, 28 WPI
* 2-ply, 16 WPI
* Yardage, > 112

This stuff was lovely to spin. It is soft, lofty, and delicious; full of subtle variations of gray and just enough luster.

I don't have anything specific in mind for this yarn, but it makes me want to spin more of it. It would make a fabulous sweater of vest. And since Cathy has offered such an encouraging comment nudging me in that direction, I probably won't wait too long to indulge myself!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Rare Breed – California Variegated Mutant 1

My knitting (Rare Breed Sweater) and weaving (huck lace) projects are in progress but without a spinning project, I feel like somethings missing. So with rare breeds on my mind, I have been anxious to work with the California Variegated Mutant fleece I purchased at SAFF.

I really don't need any more rare breed samples for my sweater, and I really don't need any more fleece, but when I saw the baskets of CVM and fondled its luscious softness, I couldn't help but buy a couple of ounces.

My sample contains a variety of staples which show a range of color and crimp. Length seems to be fairly consistent across the sample, about 5 inches. It's not especially lustrous but very clean with no VM or 2nd cuts. The staples are tapered. The crimp is well defined and I have some locks which measure 6 crimps per inch, and some which measure 2 waves per inch.

There is a lovely range of color, from pale gray to a medium charcoal. The tips are light colored and range from white to tan. The tips are sound.

It is soft enough to wear next to the skin.

It had been scoured before I purchased it, so I can't comment on the amount of grease or the percentage of weigh loss before and after washing.

I did a little research about the breed, I learned that it was developed from colored Romeldales. Perhaps someone thought that the Romeldale color genes mutated to produce a wide range of natural colors (????) I'm not sure about that, but I do think it is some of the loveliest fleece I've gotten my hands on recently. I plan to handcard it and spin long draw from rolags. I think it will make lovely yarn.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Lace Sampler – Huck

By Leigh

Yesterday I was able to start weaving on my sampler. The workshop is going to explore five weave structures. Besides huck, we will learn huck lace, spot Bronson, Bronson lace, and Swedish lace. The five yard warp I have on the loom will give me an opportunity to learn and explore these. It will require some cutting and rethreading, but that will be better than dealing with separate warps for these!

First on the list is huck. Huck is not technically a lace weave, but it will lead into huck lace, so it's a logical place to start. Also known as spot weave, it is actually a loom controlled textured weave which creates spots of either warp or weft floats. Harriet Tidball (The Weaver's Book) classifies it as a grouped thread or linen weave.

Helene Bress has an entire chapter on it in The Weaving Book: Patterns and Ideas. From her book and the workshop notes, this is what I've learned about traditional huck so far:
  • It consists of short warp or weft floats on a plain weave background.
  • Warp and weft are the same or similar yarn.
  • It requires a minimum of four shafts; two for the pattern blocks and two for the plain weave.
  • The blocks are treadled the same number of times as there are warp ends.
  • How and where the spots form depend on the treadling.
My first two samples (just to get warmed up). These are 12/2s cotton set at 24 epi.:

Huck woven warp spots.
Huck woven weft spots.And my third:
Alternating spots on both blocks A and B.The pictures are not exceptional. The flash washed the pattern out and natural light doesn't show it off that well either. We've been assured that is will look better once they are off the loom and washed. You can see how the different times of day effect the color.

I really enjoyed weaving these and can't wait to try the next samples. There are several variations to explore. I'm envisioning blouse fabric and curtains. It is fascinating to me to watch the pattern reveal itself before my eyes. It's almost as much fun as experimenting with color! (Oops, I can't believe I said that. Do note the “almost” :)

I admit that I can't help but wonder how color would effect these. But I'll save those experiments for later. For the moment, I'm content to follow the plan.

Related Posts:
Lace Sampler - Beaming The Warp
Lace Sampler - Huck Lace 1
Lace Sampler - Huck Lace 2
Colored Huck Lace
Huck Towels 1

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Lace Sampler – Beaming the Warp

By Leigh

This month the Online Guild is featuring a lace weaving workshop. Having spent the past several months exploring color-and-weave effects (specifically log cabin and shadow weave), I think it is a timely change of pace for me. Fortunately, my computer problems haven't put me too far behind in the workshop schedule.

Besides exploring color-and weave, I have been learning how to warp back-to-front. After years of warping front-to-back and struggling with compromised warp tension, I am delighted that b2f warping has made such a difference in my weaving. I can't really lament not having learned it sooner, as it seems to me that f2b is pretty much the American standard these days. I've read that the reason for this stems from the American settlers, who didn't have neighbours close by to help with their warping. But b2f techniques have been developed (or perhaps they've existed from the dawn of ages) which allow a weaver to warp this way alone. It's these techniques which I have been exploring, and with happy results.

I think that being largely self-taught claims most of responsibility for my tension problems. True, I did learn the basics at an excellent one day workshop sponsored by The South Mountain Handweavers Guild, and true, I did take two classes from an excellent weaving teacher. But lets face it, the perfecting of any skill is a process which only emerges from hours of diligent practice. It is the fruit of one's own labor.

I'm not saying that I have the whole thing down pat and could warp a loom b2f blindfolded, or in my sleep. No, I still have to keep my reference materials and notes handy. And I'm still fine tuning. In fact, I was tempted to try some more experimenting with this warp, but decided that perhaps it would be best to get one method memorized before I try experimenting any more. Otherwise I will always feel slow and awkward with the process.

So I've gotten the warp beamed and am ready to thread the heddles. Not without help of course.

Rascal, helping me weight the warp.  At 16 pounds, he's quite good at it.
Catzee keeping an eye on things.  She takes care of anything that moves.
The ring works better than a shoe string.I am beaming about 5 yards of 12/2 cotton. It is an unbleached natural color. I did make one small improvement in how I weighted the warp bouts. The ring is so much easier to deal with than doing this.

It is a sampler, so I only have 204 ends to deal with, plus floating selvedges.

That said, I'd better get back to work. Hopefully I can get the heddles threaded and my first few assigned inches woven by tomorrow. That's when the good stuff starts.

Related Posts:
Lace Sampler - Huck
Lace Sampler - Huck Lace 1
Lace Sampler - Huck Lace 2

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Last Shadow Weave

That's “last” as in for awhile, not “last” as in forever. :)

I wanted to try one last shadow weave idea before setting shadow weave aside for awhile. This one further explores texture.

I chose these two yarns:

2 white yarns for shadow weave, chosen for texture contrast.

A mercerized 5/3 cotton and a mill end novelty yarn made of who knows what , from who knows where.

I tied on to the same warp as before, keeping the same sett of 16 ends per inch.

Shadow weave design in whites.This is fresh off the loom. Somewhere along the way I had a warp thread disappear, which I didn't notice until I was quite a ways along. This is a distinct disadvantage to working shadow weave in only one color; it's difficult to see mistakes. The lighting makes all the difference in being able to see the design.

I am intrigued enough to be willing to explore this idea more, at a later date. Today however, I begin the Online Guild's Lace Weaving workshop. Something I've been looking forward to for awhile. It will be a pleasant change of weaving pace.

© 2006 Leigh's Fiber Journal

Related Posts:
Shadow Weave: Doing The Triple S - My introduction
Shadow Weave Profiles - How to interpret
Shadow Weave Samples 1 - Begins a series of samples