Archive for March, 2008

With the sample spinning finished I went looking for some more fiber in the closet to work on. I pulled out something that has been sitting around a while to try to at least get all the fiber spun. I originally bought two packages of the Ashland Bay multicolor merino with the intent to make a scarf, woven of singles. I spun the first about three years ago and then it got put aside.

purple merino singles

I kept the little reference sample I was using, but in getting back to it I had a hard time keeping the same size. So the new skein turned out a little finer. This isn’t a disaster, I can measure the two ends together so they are mixed in the warp and evenly distributed. But still not exactly what I was after. I’ve had other yarns where one skein ended up very different from the others and sometimes there just isn’t much you can do about it but decide you were going to make a different project. My usual practice of spinning way too much yarn generally saves me but isn’t exactly the most efficient. Better is to work more on matching the existing yarn, or just finish all the spinning at once in the first place.

With that dubious success over with, I picked up another long-abandoned project and started spinning more of the merino from the county fair yarn. I have one full bobbin, two partial and tons of fiber. I figure I can at least get through the stuff already combed that has been sitting in a box for over a year. I’m doing better on matching the existing yarn, as I still can compare how it looks on the bobbin along with my reference sample. Plus this was intended to be a 3-ply, which hides a multitude of sins.

I’ve got half the warp measured and sleyed. Honestly, I don’t know which half. It doesn’t really matter as long as I keep the yarn from each ball together.
half the warp on the loom

I did it in two sections, sleying one group on top of the other. I tied a string above the first group to keep the second from getting tangled and make it easier to see what I was doing.

I’m working on a proposal for Maker Faire, the local geek extravaganza at the San Mateo County Fairgrounds the first weekend in May. With CNCH that same weekend, the usual suspects will be in Sacramento. The deadline to submit is 12 March, so I need to pull this together quickly. I have some equipment and some fiber and a few interested parties but I need people who can commit to spin and/or weave for one or both days so it’s not just me. That could very well be you.

Either way, I will be there. Because I always am, for one, but also The Boyfriend will be showing off the singing, dancing robots. But it sure would be nice to have a kick-ass textile demo.

So in measuring the warp, we learn a few things. First, it’s more sticky than I’d like. Yeah, I knew it was an issue but it was getting a bit annoying there. The amount of twist isn’t helping, either. Second, the yellow from the canary stain is a problem. When I got part way through winding the warp, I could see color differences that will turn into yellow stripes in the finished piece. Not good.

So I’m going to change the sett to 18 rather than 20, and interleave two sets of warp ends so every other comes from a different part of the ball. That will spread out the color changes and make it less noticeable. I’ll have to do it in the weft too, I think. Well, I can try it and see how it goes (as this involves two shuttles, in the sections where I’m using both yarns, four. Yikes.) It is just a sample after all, so I can do it several different ways.

Measuring the warp isn’t a big deal, make two smaller chains instead of one big one. In this case 76 ends each. (It is far easier to work with even numbers.) Sleying the reed is another matter.

For 18 ends per inch in my 12 dent reed, I need to sley 1-2. That is, one dent (slot) with one thread, one dent with two threads, repeat. But to get 18 epi from two chains interleaved, that means 9 epi each or 0-1-1-1 according to this handy-dandy reed substitution chart. So sley one chain at 9 epi and then sley the second on top of it so the final result is 1-2 for 18 epi. I’m going to have to chart that out so I get it correct. This is, btw, one way to put two colors in a warp. But it’s much easier to keep track of when you actually have two different yarns.

I briefly thought about winding the one ball of yarn into two smaller ones and measuring two ends together. That would solve the interleaving problem neatly. But measuring this yarn two strands together would be a different disaster as they tried to twist around each other and stick. It’s going to try to do that anyway, so why help it. Better to measure singly. I also sprayed the yarn with water and let it dry while still on the warping board, basically blocking it a second time to better control the twist.

I’ve got the second of the set drying on the warping board, I’ll sley them both before I start the other yarn so I can’t get them confused.

Posting mainly to have notes on the ongoing project. I’ve got the S and Z yarn wound into balls so I should get on with actually planning the warp. They came out in the neighborhood of 30 wraps per inch so I’m going to go for a sett of 20 ends per inch in plain weave. (I don’t have metric reeds, so I have to stick with what I’ve got for this part.)

I figure a 40 cm/15 inch wide sample is good, so that’s 300 ends total: half S and half Z. To use approximately half the yarn for warp that would give me 2 meters, of which about 1.25 will be usable. That’s a pretty good-sized sample. I’ll wind two sections of warp, 150 ends, with each yarn and then have about half left for weft.

I won’t need that much because the smaller warp has proportionally more loom waste, but I’m not going to worry about it. Too much yarn is far better than the alternative.

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