Thursday, September 1, 2011

Bamboo challenge is challenging

The bamboo challenge is challenging. Actually, it isn't just the challenge that is challenging - I have three bamboo projects going and they are all challenging.

Challenge Number 1 -
In the spring, I put a black bamboo warp on my table loom because my daughter wanted a black scarf. I put on enough for two scarves. I decided to use a dark olive bamboo for the weft.  I am pretty sure that the first scarf is going to be way to stiff as I am pretty sure I beat it a bit to hard. The second one will be looser - I just need to get back to it. I really like how it looks. 

Summer has been very busy. The weaving I have done has been on the floor loom for baby gifts or on a rigid heddle while on vacation. This week starts football season in Tennessee so it will be a good time to pull that little loom up in front of the TV and get weaving. So the challenge here is to pick up where I left off and finish the scarf.

Challenge Number 2 -
Last week I wrote about another bamboo scarf that I was planning to embellish. I tried several things to soften it up. I steamed it - not much success. I soaked it in fabric softener for a day, rinsed it, threw it in the tumble cycle, and then steamed it again. That combination worked and it is much more pliable and has better drape. 

The front
The back
So now the embellishment - I don't like it. I was so disgusted with it Monday night I didn't even take to the Tuesday Weavers on Tuesday for advice - maybe next week. The issue is that I used cording to give myself a space to put in the  ribbon. The front where you can see the ribbon looks okay - not fabulous - but okay. The back looks like a ladder and is ugly. I think the structure is too loose. The issue is probably that the cord that I used for the spacers was too big. Here are front and back shots. Any advice from blogger land? I will report back on progress after I see what the TW collective wisdom says.

Challenge # 3
The Tuesday Weavers have a challenge project every year that comes due around Christmas time. This year the challenge is weave two bamboo shawls - one to gift and one to keep. In June, I put on a warp long enough to weave three shawls because I needed one for a gift in late July. 

Being a fairly new weaver - I decided that simple was good. I did not want to try lace or overshot for this big project. So I looked through my Davidson pattern book and selected a "textured weave" called linen weave - simple yet elegant. After listening to the conversation at the center I decided sett of 17.5 epi. It took 460 threads (Yikes if I ever contemplate that again shoot me).

Ready to go????
I did natural on natural. It wove up beautifully - nice and airy - perfect, I thought, for a summer nursing shawl. Then I wet finished it and it contracted into a very dense weave. It is still very pretty but it is no longer airy and light - more like a heavy late fall/winter shawl. (Oops I gave it away before I took pictures of it).

Hummmm,  so do I remove 100 threads and re-thread my reed to 13 epi or am I okay with a dense weave? Yesterday, I had convinced myself to re-thread and now writing this I am leaning the other way. If I choose not to re-thread I can jump back on the loom and whip them off in the matter of a few days. Then I could start weaving rugs for the fall show.

Yes, I am finding plenty of challenges weaving with bamboo.

Until next time - be well,


Tina J said...

Ann, You might try tapping the weft in, so that it is really loose on this next shawl. Do you have enough onto do a little sample?

LA said...

I was thinking to re-sley the reed. Yes, it will be a little wider than your original design, but it will give the bamboo more room to expand. Just a thought. Then, weave like Tina suggested!!! (She's pretty smart about things like that!)

Bonnie said...

Decisions, decisions.

Maggie said...

Well, I personally like the looks of the scarf with the ribbon running through it. Everything has a backside, no? I was also surprised at how stiff bamboo is before you wash it, and how lovely and drapey it gets after abuse in the machine!