As I mentioned the last time I posted, I am weaving curtains. Using carpet warp works best for this because these curtains are for the lodge on top of Mt LeConte in the Smokey Mountains. I can see the mountain from my home and it's kind of cool to know that for about the last 35 years the curtains up there were woven by me. Now for the last few January's I've been replacing them. This will be the last year. I will be done with it according to the manager that I deal with. It will be nice to be done.
Carpet warp is good because the whole place is rustic. The only way to get up there is to hike the trails. The quickest way is 3 miles straight up via Alum Cave. The longest is about 9 miles. The way we usually went was about 6 miles. These curtains will be air lifted via helicopter early in March with the rest of the annual supplies. Carpet warp fits in with the primitive construction of the cabins. Carpet warp is also almost indestructible!
When I started to weave almost 40 years ago, the color on yarns was color fast. Then about 20 plus years ago some yarns weren't color fast the way they had been. Laws had changed. So if you were weaving white or natural pieces and added, say, a band or color, when you washed it, the color would bleed to the natural fabric. That's a real disaster for a production weaver and some people didn't prewash the items because of that, before they sold them. However, that's just not right. So, when I was weaving the curtains, I would skein the red carpet warp and rinse out excess dye before letting it dry, reball it and then use it to add color to the natural curtains. It took extra time to get this done.
Then a year ago I realized that the red skeins were not running red water at all! What a relief! I should be able to just weave with the red and not have to prewash the red. This year I almost didn't. I'd prewashed 3 cones when I started to weave this year and all clear there. Then yesterday I prewashed 2 more half pound skeins. The first was great, water clear.
The second skein....not so clear!! I don't know if this is just a cone that's been around for a long time or what the deal is, but I am so glad that I decided to rinse the red again!!
Lesson learned!! I will still use color catchers when I wash the curtains later on, but hopefully they will just be as white as before!
I have a good third of them woven and I just started another warp of them. By the end of the week I hope to be well over half done. It'll all depend on life!
I hope to have pictures of the designs next week. I haven't changed the patterns or placement of the designs from the originals I did. They seem to like what I did so I continue to do them this way.
The next few weeks I'll continue to focus on these curtains. It's keeping me busy.
Until next week, keep weaving!