Friday, February 25, 2011


I wish you could reach through your computer screen and feel my cloth. It is by far my favorite thing I've woven just because of the sumptuous texture. It drapes beautifully and feels like a textured silk. All 3 1/2 yards of it!

Washing it was different than I usually treat handwoven items. I have sewed with machine made tencel fabric before and so I knew that if you let it drip dry it feels like cardboard. But if you put it in the dryer--voila!--it turns into the loveliest softness.

I tried to capture the iridescence in this picture. I can tell the fabric is a little warp-faced (meaning more of the warp is showing than the weft) since the brown is definitely in the "background" and the blue is dominant. I still would have liked a darker coffee brown better, but it's too late to fix that so... stop thinking about it, right?
Now, on to the sewing!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Winter has been busy! I've begun a new weaving project which will end up being yardage for a garment to be entered in this garment contest at Handwoven magazine. Whew... I'm worn out just writing about it. Considering I started working on this before Thanksgiving, it's taking longer than usual, although Christmas kind of got in the way of working on it.

I wanted to share some of the things I'm doing differently with this project to help it go more smoothly than the tartan did. First of all I got myself a lamp to clip on the loom, as you can see in the picture. Don't underestimate the importance of lighting!

This is a shot of the main cloth, it's one of the treadling patterns from a German Bird's Eye (in Marguerite Davison's book). The warp is this bold royal blue (the closest thing I could find to what I wanted--still not happy) in 8/2 tencel. The weft is a medium cardboard brown--the only brown tencel I could find anywhere! My original color ideas were completely different and I'm still not completely satisfied with this combination... but I didn't want to bore you with my 3 month thought process on colors. Do you ever have difficulty picking color combinations? Do you have trouble finding the color, that elusive perfect shade that does not exist? I do.

One thing that I learned from weaving the tartan cloth was making sturdy selvedges to prevent warp threads from breaking. Here you can see this green 5/2 perle cotton on my selvedge. I put a good 1/2 inch of it doubled up so there is no chance of the tencel being rubbed and snapped. With a 30 inch wide warp, this is essential since it will be drawing in to around 27 inches.

The other plan for this project is that I will be able to tie on to the warp threads again after I cut off the fabric. Basically that means I won't have to take each thread and put it through the reed and the heddles again, I'll just have to tie a new thread on to the old ones. Another reason why I chose the German Bird's Eye pattern--it has 5 different treadling patterns. In the picture above you can see what you get when you do the plain weave treadling. It's sort of a plain weave with a group of 3 every 1/2 inch or so.
More on this soon!