Category Archives: twill

Adventuring Into Woven Shibori

My first woven shibori sample is woven and off the loom.

Woven shibori – twill sample #1.

As the loom was set up for 10 shaft twill from the last couple towel warps, I left it as it was, deciding to start my woven shibori samples with the same twill setup.  After 1.5″ of plain weave, I began with 4 rows of plain weave, Row #1 of twill, 4 rows of plain weave, Row #2 of twill, and so on, through row 10 of twill.

Then I changed to 8 rows of plain weave, Row #1 of twill, through all 10 rows; then changed again to 12 rows of plain weave, Row #1 of twill, through all 10 twill rows, ending with 1.5 inches of plain weave, then removed it from the loom.  I wanted to see the difference between the closely set twill rows and those set further apart when it is dyed.

Why take it off the loom?  Before weaving more samples, I needed to know if the sett was going to be too close and need to be changed, and if the seine twine I was using for the gathering thread, would actually allow the cottolin to gather.  

Beginning to pull the gathering threads.

I’m just beginning to pull the gathering threads, starting where the twill rows are closest together.  This is where I thought the seine twine might not work, but as far as I can tell, it is working.  Of course, the proof will be when it is finally put in a dyepot, whether I am able to pull and tie them tight enough to prevent dye from penetrating, but I’m not there yet. 

This evening, I’ll pull all the threads, and figure out how to knot them all.  I’m already thinking of the next warp, likely finer threads, which means a finer gathering thread, perhaps perle cotton.

I’ll be weaving another 3-4 twill samples, then re-thread/re-tie the loom for a huck weave, then again for Monk’s Belt.  Then a new warp, different size thread, probably a little finer, and more samples.  Then I will be warping the loom for some scarves.  First, though, samples, to gain a little experience both with the weaving, the gathering, and dyeing.

I have to tell you, this is SO COOL!  I fully expect to spend several years exploring woven shibori.

Catching Up, Part 2 (Weaving)

All-over twill towel, cottolin warp, linen/cotton flaky blend weft.

Yes, it’s true, I haven’t done much weaving of late.  And yes, that is that same stripe half-bleached/natural cottolin warp.  I’ve woven a few more towels on it, some shown here.  There were a few I forgot to photograph before they were sold in June, darn!  A friend asked for a plaid towel so I’ll be working on that later today and tomorrow, and hopefully there will be enough warp for one more plaid towel, I would like one for myself, it was my favorite.  Several of these towels were sold at Art in the Yard in June. 

I enjoyed coming up with variations on borders, and/or using different cotton or cotton/linen blend wefts.  I have three very large cones of a cotton/linen flaky blend from WEBS, so sometime in the future, I’ll need to weave a raft of these for myself, and likely a couple small tablecloths, too.

These are pics of a few towels from this 10 shaft twill warp.

Completed towel (from pic above).

These were Christmas gifts, towel on the left for my SIL Trina, towel on right for my sister Julie.

This time, a teal weft for the border pattern.

Two more border towels, cottolin warp and weft.

I’ve been weaving the same types of things for a long time, and really need a change in my weaving.  Because of needing to move back to southern WI, and total uncertainty when it will take place given the work I have to do on my home, and the economy, I am no longer participating in a nearby gallery.  Outside of the upcoming CranberryFest guild sale, I have no local/area places to sell my work. 

I am hungry to learn new things, learn some new skills, then put them together in my weaving.  This would seem to be the ideal time to move in a new direction, and so I finally am, both in my weaving, and my life.

More Towels ~ Variations on a Theme

These are the latest two twill towels off the loom. The blue border towel turned out very nicely, I feel, with a much wider border and smaller solid twill center. I was getting low on that particular tube of natural cottolin (same as warp) and needed to stretch it so it wouldn’t run out before the towel was done. Now I’ll simply switch to natural in another brand of cottolin.

The red border towel is the one I wrote about the other day when red dye bled into the adjoining white/natural. After two washes in hot water and Retayne, then one wash in hot water and Synthrapol, you would have to look very closely to find any red except where it IS supposed to be. Nevertheless, I will be adding the dye magnet sheets, recommended by four weavers, to my laundry room supplies.

There appears to be enough warp left for another one or two towels so it’s time to seriously start deciding on the stripe layout for the next warp and do the math. I’ll be at the warping mill before too long.

This is one of the latest pairs of sock machine (CSM) socks made, and also turned out nicely. The violet color is one I didn’t have before, and combined it with eggshell and moss for a nice “Springy” pair of socks.

Love Blue, but I’m Seeing Red Where I Shouldn’t!

Tonight I’m working on another twill towel, and have gone back to a Swedish Berga cottolin in another shade of blue and treadling it differently as I have for each towel, so though they are all coming off the same warp, each towel is one-of-a-kind.

As I wrote awhile back, this is a 10 shaft twill. This time treadling is 1-5, 10-6, varying the repeats so I can change sides I begin and end colors on.

The other day I was working on another twill towel, this time with Borgs red cottolin for the accent/border color. However, when I washed the towel, the red had run, in spots, into the white along the edge of the border. It looked okay when it came out of the washer, but when removed from the dryer, there were definite pink spots. This red was definitely not colorfast.

Tonight, the red border towel became an experiment. It went into the washer with Retayne and hot water. When the cycle was done, I looked and though there was still a bit of pink it did look better. After a second wash with Retayne, it again looked a bit better. With the third wash I added Synthrapol, again with hot water. Soon I will check it again and hopefully toss it into the dryer. I’ll let you know how it comes out.

As the labels on the Synthrapol and Retayne bottles suggest possible cancer issues, I had not wanted to use it on a towel that might be used in a kitchen. When it became an experiment to see if the towel could be saved, I set those concerns aside. This particular towel will not be sold because of what was used on it. The Borgs red cottolin? It’s in the trash. I do have some Berga red cottolin and will try that on the next towel and will report on that, too.

Playing at the Loom

Yesterday another towel was begun, this time adding some blue into the mix as I was really feeling the need for a bit of color. Red will likely come along next. Though this was threaded as a ten shaft twill, none of the towels have been planned out ahead of time. Each one is started with a different weft or an idea, then sit down and start to play. Other weaving I have done, and the socks in particular, are planned out to the row and stitch, so this has been a little much needed fun.

While I finish up this warp, I am now choosing colors for the next warp, probably along the lines of hunter green/cranberry (or wine)/copper/navy (or med.) blue/gold. The loom will likely be left set up for plain weave and ten shaft twill. Coordinating rug warp colors will also be pulled from my stash for a few rugs. While weaving towels and table runners, I’ll be cutting and sewing weft strips (hunter/cranberry/navy/gold) from sheets I’ve been collecting. It will be nice to work with color again.

This weekend there will be some shifting around done in the weaving studio. I’m looking forward to things finally being settled in a workable layout. It’s not a huge area, but is accessible, pleasant, has a fireplace, more windows/light, and in winter, close to the woodrange for adding wood to the fire. The only storage room is two large shelf units, but that helps keep me focused on present work. The laundry room is on the main floor and will become a sewing, cutting, pressing area before long, adding to convenience. This is working out well.

Coordinating Towels

At last, a twill towel, now part of a nicely coordinated set. A the moment, I am tieing the warp back on to begin another towel, and debating between plain weave with a border, twill, or a white cotton slub weft. All will be woven shortly, and today I’m feeling like I want this warp finished so I can move on to another.

In researching information for the drawloom, I’ve been paging through back issues of VAV and am drawn over and over to drall towels so starting now to make notes of sett, cotton and linen sizes, and thinking about colors.

Progress has temporarily slowed on the drawloom. I have ordered two colors of 12/6 cotton for the drawcord warp, and have reached a problem with the reeds, primarily the difference in size, width, and thickness of the new reeds compared to older ones. In particular the reed for that hangs over the pattern heddles needs to be narrower in width, and the outer long edges need to be flatter to fit into the reed holders. I will be talking to two reed companies in just a bit to see if what I need can be made.

Meanwhile, I have been researching drawloom weaving projects, looking primarily at size of thread (cotton) and sett, and that must be ordered now, too.

I am also working on the CW Double Harness Study Group newsletter and updated mailing list. Life has provided quite a number of interruptions the past few days, so completing items on my Task List has been a challenge. Some are now done, some (research) are hard to photograph, and thankfully, things are moving along again.

Twill Towel #1

After a couple days of making progress on drawloom setup, I’m back to weaving today, working on the first of three or four twill towels. Warp is unbleached cottolin at 24 epi, 2 threads per dent in a 12 dent reed, threaded as a straight draw on 10 shafts. I am using 10 shafts for the twill treadling, two shafts, on the right, are for the plain weave hem.

Today I am treadling 1 to 10 and back down to 1, then 10 to 1 to 10, and keep repeating, giving a zig-zag look. Because of frequent interruptions ~ woodburner needing more wood, dogs needing to go out, etc., I have a clipboard next to me so I can check off each repeat. I also have two pins at the right selvedge so I can see where each repeat begins/ends. I just keep moving the pin closest to me, and place the temple right over the pins. This towel will have a sewn hem; the weft is the linen/cotton slub thread, for both hem and body of towel.

I have noticed that despite a 3″ plain weave hem and a few inches of twill woven, there is no rippling on this towel as there was on my samples, where I had used cottolin for the hem. I’ll assume there is no rippling on the loom because the hem and body of the towel are woven with the same thread. It is the only difference between the current weaving and the samples that were made.

From Towel to Sample

Years ago, I wove a blue and white “plaid” twill towel, with 1/2″ or so of plain weave on each end, and hemstitched on the loom (above). I didn’t recall any issue between the plain weave hems and the twill body of the towel. Both warp and weft were Swedish cottolin.

I recently read somewhere about tabby and twill together causing twill to ripple. When I began the first twill towel on this striped unbleached/bleached cottolin warp, that is exactly what happened. Ripples, probably more noticeable because of using different wefts for hem and body of the towel, and using one of them doubled. I had begun with a cottolin plain weave hem (to turn up and sew later), then changed weft to the linen/cotton slub, using a shuttle that holds two bobbins. I thought a bit coarser, rustic look would give variety to this series of towels, but felt the double weft would not make a nice, sewn hem.

Not pleased with what was happening, I decided this morning the beginning of this first twill towel was now a sample (above), as I needed to discover what was going to work best for hem and twill. The cottolin hem was woven so I wove a couple inches of twill, then wove another hem using a single strand of the linen/cotton slub, woven in some string and removed it from the loom.

Since I still had the sample (above) from the very beginning of the warp, and both samples had ripples, both were tossed into the washer (regular cycle, warm water) and drier (normal cycle), removing them while still slightly damp. When they came out, the ripples were more pronounced. When pressed with an iron, the ripples pressed out. Selvedges were still a bit of an issue where plain weave and twill changed. Edges were rotary cut, and photos taken.

Tomorrow morning, I will begin again, using a single strand of the linen/cotton slub for both hem and twill, which should alleviate some of the problem. I expect if I weave 1/2″ or so hem and hemstitch on the loom, there would be little or no ripple effect. We’ll see, on this towel, or the next.

Simple Towels

Today was again spent at my loom weaving another towel, this time “plaid,” following the simple stripe pattern in the warp. I’m enjoying weaving each one up differently and looking forward to group photos of the towels to show the variety. Although they are plain weave or twill, a nice variety of looks can be achieved.

Six more tubes of natural/unbleached cottolin arrived today so those, along with the several tubes of bleached I already have, will keep me in weft for awhile yet. Also in the package were two more tubes of seine twine so I can go back to making heddles whenever I am ready.

New Beginnings for 2009

The New Year seemed a good time to begin the new warp, a 10 shaft twill with stripes of bleached and unbleached 22/2 cottolin, sett at 24 epi, 2 epi in a 12 dent reed. This afternoon I tried out a singles slub linen, first with one strand, then with two, both as plain weave and twill. Ideas for borders are going through my head as I weave. In a bit, I’ll begin weaving the first towel or runner on this 15 yard warp.

Also this afternoon, my son Noah made a heddle jig for me, cutting and sanding a board and setting in the nails for the long-eye heddles I need to make for the drawloom. There is a heddle on the jig, though the seine twine is difficult to see here.

This sock pic was taken this summer, on a sunny day, on the lakeside porch. I enjoy taking photos of my weaving, and socks. I photograph my work outdoors in summer, to get as close to the true colors in the yarns as possible. Taking pics indoors in this log home, where the logs absorb all light, is a challenge anytime of year, and something I continue to work on.

This is a wonderful time of year for setting goals for the coming year, re-prioritizing, listing what needs to be done, and later the feeling of accomplishment of checking things off as they are completed. This is also a good time to consider marketing, looking at the big picture of the year ahead, making choices for venues, and remembering not to over-commit. And as always, continue to take care, ensuring fine finished work.