Friday, March 19, 2010

Hand Dyed Warp

Before: two inch-wide warp chains of a rayon mill end that resembles tussah silk.
After: gorgeous color.

The process so far: I wound two or three-inch wide warp chains of the rayon, which is an 8/2 weight, and a rayon-linen blend that I had on hand, which is a 5/2 or 3/2 weight. (I hardly have any stash in weaving yarn, and I think that it helps my design approach to have some - I seem to think a little more out of the box.) Following the directions in Teach Yourself VISUALLY Hand-Dyeing for painting a bamboo yarn, I mixed various dilutions of Procion MX in lemon yellow and fuchsia.

The goal was a predominantly orange scarf with touches of hot pink and a golden yellow. Inspired both by Randall Darwall and my love for hand-dyed twill block scarves.
Because I have a 4-harness loom instead of an 8, I can't do the typical twill blocks that most weavers use for this kind of warp - the ones where the color changes with the angling of the twill toward the right or the left. (Take a look at a pair of jeans - that's a twill, and you'll see how the threads seem to march in one direction at an angle.) So I'm going with a pattern called Large Herringbone from Davison's Handweaver's Pattern Book. We shall see. I didn't sample this project; I have been doing a lot of sampling the last few months and just wanted to weave Something.

This is definitely a labor intensive project. Just winding the warp onto the loom took much longer than usual. During dyeing and rinsing out the yarn, threads will get tangled. I wound and paused, wound and paused, and finally gave up and cut one warp end that kept strangling its neighbors. You can see this pesky thread toward the right in this photo.

This is a giant verboten in weaving: you're never to cut any thread but one indicating where the cross is at the end of the chain, and you don't do that until everything else is secured. So far: about seven hours invested in winding the warp, dyeing, and starting to put it onto the loom. Today: hopefully finishing threading the heddles as I listen to Captains Courageous. It's The Secret Garden, but for boys.

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