Thursday, June 25, 2015

From cone to cloth: weaving tweed yardage with Harrisville Shetland yarn

Hello, friends. Happy summer!

I finished my first length of wool yardage this week and am pleased with the results so far. I used Harrisville Designs Shetland yarn for both warp and weft. I chose Harrisville yarn partly because I like their palette and partly because I wanted to support a local New Hampshire mill!

I'm going to use this blog post to share some of my findings about the yarn and how it turned into cloth, partly for my own records and also to pass along to my weaving friends.

Warp: I wound a warp of 4.5 yards long and threaded 1 per dent in a 15 dent reed, using "Ginny's Coat" pattern from Davison. I wound 360 ends + tabby selvedge threads. This warp measured 24" in the reed.

Harrisville Shetland, "Silver Mist"
The weaving proceeded smoothly. Adding the tabby selvedges was a big time saver, allowing me to throw the shuttle efficiently (no poking the shuttle under or over floating selvedges). When I came to the end of a bobbin, I allowed the "tail" to hang out of one of the sides of the cloth and started a new bobbin in the next shed in the pattern, also with the tail hanging out of the side selvedge, to eliminate a bulky weft in the cloth. There were only two warp threads that needed repair throughout the weaving.


I had very little loom waste on this warp. Weaving a cloth that had no long repeated pattern allowed me to squeeze out as much as I could out of the warp. All told, I used all of one 1/2 lb cone of pine green for the weft and just about all of the 1 lb (2 cones) of silver mist Shetland yarn for the warp.

Here is the cloth after cutting it from the loom. See the lovely pine-y colored cone? I love this yarn; there are flecks of yellow and light green throughout the darker shades of green.


Finishing the cloth...I placed the yardage in the washing machine on the gentle cycle, cool water, and washed with a mild detergent. I then decided to "full" the fabric a bit by placing it in the dryer, along with a small terrycloth towel, for just 10 minutes on the delicate cycle. I removed it after 10 minutes and while still slightly damp, the cloth had softened and fluffed up and felt really nice. I hung the cloth to dry the rest of the way.

Finished cloth dimensions: 21" wide x 104" long or 2.9 yards. Wool shrinks up quite a bit but that's part of what makes it so cozy, right?

So now I have to be brave and stop looking at the lovely small folded bundle of cloth that is resting on the table and start thinking about cutting! The men's vest sewing pattern pieces are cut and ready.

I think that this cloth would look really pretty in a heathered purple or blue in the weft, right along with more of the silver mist in the warp. Maybe someday.

Thanks for reading, friends! Happy weaving.
Be well,
Kate


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Scarves for the 82nd Annual NH Craftsmen's Fair

Hello, friends. It is summertime. How do I know? I know because the loom is sticky and the woodchuck has started to gorge himself on the vegetables in our garden. Yes, we have a fence. Yes, we have raised beds. Alas, the varmint is cagey and crafty and has managed to ravage the broccoli, kale, peas, spinach, and parsley.

And all the while, I'm trying to focus on weaving. I'm really excited to be weaving for my first NH Craftsmen's Summer Fair (Sunapee, New Hampshire). I have a dozen scarves to weave (3 different patterns/styles) plus the exhibition piece. (More on the exhibition piece in a future post). Here's my first scarf style:




I'm using mercerized cotton (5/2) in the warp and alpaca/silk for the weft. I've got several color variations on this scarf and will do a herringbone scarf and a shadow weave scarf. The shadow weave scarf will use no mercerized cotton, just the alpaca/silk blend.

The wool for the men's wool waistcoat arrived and I'm very excited about that.

Happy weaving. And if you have any woodchucks near your garden, do not underestimate their intelligence and determination. At least they don't have thumbs. Yet.

Be well, friends.
Kate

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Weaving to wear

Hello, friends. I'm taking a leap this summer and entering a one-of-a-kind piece in the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen Summer Fair. Instead of a scarf or shawl or other loom-controlled wearable piece, I've decided to weave fabric yardage and then cut it all up and sew it!

I've cut my handwoven fabrics before:


and it has worked out okay. (This is one of my little kiss clasp purses, the fabric is a herringbone variation).

My entry for the summer fair is a men's wool waistcoat. Today I started to nail down some of the details (i.e. yarn selection and pattern). I don't want something too visually "busy" for what I hope will be a classic piece but don't want it to be boring, either. Here's one plan, a herringbone plaid variation:


Well. Maybe not.



. Maybe this would be more appropriate:


This draft is from Davison's "Handweaver's Pattern Book," "Ginny's Coat." I think I'm leaning more toward this design. Of course, I could make life easy and just weave a plain weave fabric, using the same yarns in warp and weft:



Happy weaving, friends.
Be well,
Kate