Friday, January 17, 2014

Handspun Warp and Weft

I hinted last Friday that I was going to get back to the looms this week, and indeed I have, though not quite what anyone who knows me would have guessed.  Lou Ann let me borrow one of her Rigid Heddle looms to do some sampling of the miles of  Jacobs 2 ply fingering  yarn I finished last week.

I initially thought that I would weave a scarf as a sample, but I was concerned that the Jacobs might not be soft enough for around the neck use.  I also wanted to use as little yarn as possible.  I settled on warping a short 40 inch warp.  This loom, an Ashford, has two rigid heddles, one is 5 dents per inch, and the other is 7.5 dents per inch.  I intended to weave half of the warp using  the  5 dent and the other half using the 7.5 inch. ( I went over the half way mark on the first sample, despite my use of the tape measure!)
 I didn't have the warping peg that is commonly used when warping these looms, but I had seen somewhere on the internet, someone using a raddle, and I had one of those!  I took the smallest skein that I had, 114 yds, and got started.  I put in a strand or 2 of the "tweed" yarn, so that I could see how it looks in the fabric.  Warping was very fast, and winding on wasn't difficult at all.  Of course, I have been warping full sized looms since 2001, so I suppose that was in my favor.

I kept a generous angle on each throw of the shuttle.
 At the "half way" point I cut off the fabric and switched to the finer reed and continued weaving. I like the portability of this loom, I could weave in the warmth of the wood stove, and not freeze up in the studio!
Before you know it,  I had finished, and with very little loom waste.  Of the 114 yds, I had used a mere 60 yds, I was very pleased.

I took the fabric off of the loom, and laid the pieces side by side.  I thought then, that after finishing, I would probably like the looser weave.  I put the pieces to soak for a few minutes in hot soapy water, then I agitated them by hand for a bit, then I plunged them in icy water.  I went back and forth between the two temps several times.  Then I slammed them down on the counter to loosen things up a bit.  When I thought I had the fulling that I desired, I rolled them in a towel to absorb the excess moisture, and let them dry.
I am surprised by the softness of this fabric.  Both of the pieces are lighter weight than what I could have dreamed, but I like the hand of the tighter weave better than the looser weave.  Unfortunately, I switched the fabrics in the lower picture, but I think you can get an idea of what I have to work with.  I was not impressed with the tweed yarn however, it barely shows up in the finished fabric at all.  You may see it in the non fulled yarn in the picture above, but it almost disappears in the finished fabric.

Now comes the "fun" part,  I lost a lot more to shrinkage in the looser weave, than the tighter weave, which when I think about it makes sense.   I need to work out the percentage of shrinkage, so that I will know how long and wide I need to make my project warp.  Math, not being my strong suit, I must take my time so that I don't waste a yard of that yarn.  The project I have in mind is a poncho made from 2 rectangles of fabric.  Simple and straight forward, I can do this, I just need a wider loom.  I should be getting a loom that is wide enough in the near future, but until then I will brush off the calculator, and cross my fingers, and hold my mouth just so, and check it three times to make sure I have the math just right!

Until next time, Happy Spinning and Weaving, Tina


Bonnie said...

Very interesting. I like the tighter weave better. Calculations are very important. Good luck.

Maggie said...

Holding the mouth just so is the hardest. Thanks for sharing your journey on this!

LA said...

Oh, that math!!! Although the cloth is not "next to the skin soft" it is has a very nice feel to it. I think it will make a wonderful poncho!!!

Wiebke T said...

oh ich liebe Mathematik, ist doch ganz einfach..du rechnest in proportionen,
und sonst ich spinne einfach viel eGarn als ich brauche
ich will nun Babydecke spinnen, färben und weben..
viel Glück auch dir. gruß wiebke