Hand-dyed Twill Scarf on 4 Harnesses
The finished scarf:
The final effect was close to what I was striving for: beautiful color, movement from shade to shade across the width and pattern structure of the twill blocks, as well as movement of color across the length of the scarf. Even with my 4-harness loom, there's some good color-and-weave structure happening. (With more harnesses, and thus more options, you can more clearly delineate the twill structure being accented by the color change.)
I believe that the color owes a lot to the fact that I wound two and three-inch wide warp chains, then dyed two or three together, handpainting on similar lengths and colors at the same time. This meant that I both had repeating colors - stripes, if you will, across the width and length AND contrast between sections bumping up against each other. This is a very labor intensive process. Not only did I have to wind off several small warps. Then I had to dye them in batches, and then, the most challenging part - wind all these warps, some a bit snaggled from the dye and wash process, onto the loom.
The result is glorious. But I'd recommend starting small - with an 8" warp of 2 and 3" chains - and maybe one color of dye at various dilutions of the stock solution.
For the edges, I duplicated the finish on a hand-dyed silk shawl that a friend brought back for me from Chennai. I hemstitched the warp groups, then knotted at the base of the hemstitching, moved down about a quarter of an inch and did a second row of knots - this group using half of each previous bundle, and then a third and final row, another quarter of an inch below, again knotting the original ends together. The groups are 3 ends for the heavier warp thread and six ends for the finer warp, which I alternated in groups of two and three inches across the width of the warp. (More on this in the Details below.)
I love the colors of the piece: soft peaches, bright fuchsia, mustard yellows, reds, golden yellows, and bright orange. I used a base of stock solutions of Procion MX lemon yellow or fuchsia. Then I played, mixing various amounts of the two together, and occasionally adding a drop of black to change the tone of the color. I did a lot of washing and rinsing after the dyeing, including using Synthrapol in the last wash. But to be honest, the scarf ran again when I finished it by handwashing, and I imagine that it will continue to run. It's very difficult to get cellulose dyes completely out of the fiber, and I probably used a heavier hand with the sponge brush when I was dyeing the warp than I needed to. Probably not a good idea to get caught in the rain with this scarf.
Here are the Details:
Warp: 8/2 rayon slub millend, 3/2 linen-rayon millend (Novitex)
Weft: Rovings Polworth silk-wool, natural soft brown color
EPI (ends per inch): 24/12
PPI (picks per inch): 12
Warp length: 125"
Shrinkage: 10% in width and 15% in length
What I would do differently the next time: the sett is a little loose - I can see this getting snagged, warp or weft pulling - the next time, I'd do either a closer sett or more picks per inch to make the cloth more stable; also, next time, dye some extra threads so that when warp ends break, I have something to use for repairs (this time I had to make do with a not matching thread, and ended up pulling it out because it looked worse than a small gap in the cloth)