Wednesday, 7 January 2009

So cool - geeky, but cool

Yesterday, after my few moments of self-indulgence, I had a couple hours before we needed to leave the house and I couldn't make a mess. So, I went to the loom room and finished warping up the #10 linen thread which I'd been puttering away at. I'd worked out the pattern for the float patterned tabby diagram in Lise Bender Jorgensen's book - Northern European Textiles Until 1000 AD., and I was using it for this linen project. I chose the pattern because I wondered what it would really look like in fabric. It has a fairly complicated threading pattern, but an equally easy treadling pattern. The warp is a short one, only 4 yards long to make 3 towels. The #10 linen is singles and a tad hairy, but the price is very good for linen. The handspun linen I'd done earlier this fall is spun about the same as the #10 linen, so I was able to use up a half bobbin leftover for sampling.

According to my calculations, a sett of 24-25 would be suitable for a tabby and since several other projects documented on the web and at least one on-line sett chart said twill would be 30, I figured at 24 epi, I'd be fine. I started weaving and after remembering to spritz both the warp and the bobbins of weft with water, the structure started looking much better than I thought it would. I was worried that the floats within the tabby stripes would either show as overly textured or as distinct stripes. I'm actually quite fond of the sample.

I wove off the sample piece - meaning wove it so I could cut it off the loom in order to wet finish it to see if my sett was suitable. This is done by weaving in two lease sticks with an inch of tight tabby weave before and after. You can then cut the sample off at the beginning of the first tabby band. You fold the lease sticks together and tie them on to the front apron rod. If you do this securely enough, you can finish up your weaving, with no change to your tension. It is a totally cool trick.

In the second photo, you can see the sample has been cut and the sticks, tabby woven to the remaining warp are just hanging there.

I washed up the sample, tossed it in the dryer and then ironed it damp. This is what it looks like. I was worried I'd need to re-slay the reed for a tighter sett, but this is pretty nice. Not quite as tight as it could be, but it works. It is an interesting pattern and the floats are floaty and a bit twisty. There aren't any crossed threads but if I let the threads dry out while weaving, this is what seems to happen - so I'm weaving with my spritzer bottle by my side!

Yep - cool, awesome and totally intriguing project. I fear I will miss it when it's off the loom.

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