The Impetuous Weaver Plays with Texture
No longer able to resist the siren call of the Weavers Texture Sampler, I recently set out to make a simple, gauzy length of fabric featuring this array of many-textured yarns. Fuzzy, twinkling, slubbed, crisp, and diaphanous- it was going to be an adventure!
I also decided this would be the *perfect* time to learn how to use a warping paddle and make stripes of the five yarns. (Experienced weavers may already be chuckling at my folly.) My plan was to use one strand of each yarn in the paddle, and just keep winding warp until one of them ran out. It was a fine plan, but oh, boy did the mohair want to tangle in front of the warping paddle! The slubs and sequins didn't help that situation either, but I'm stubborn, and don't like to let yarn be the boss of me.
I still maintain that the warping paddle made the work quicker overall, and a more organized system of yarn-ball-seclusion would have helped further, but warping paddles are probably best used with smooth, uniform yarns. Lesson learned!
It was the Risoni slubby silk (dark grey) that ran out first, giving me a respectable 170 ends to work with (the warp was about 4 yards long). At this point, I decided to space my warp at 10epi, which was the size reed already in the Wolf Pup loom, and would give a 17" wide warp, nearly the full width of the loom. That worked out well!
The textured yarns gave me much less trouble than I had imagined during the sleying and threading. The tiny sequins in the Cotton Gold fit through heddles and reed without a struggle. The biggest troublemaker was the Gima, crisp and wiry, trying to jump over its neighbors. Despite this, it was still easy to keep the threads in order, since the yarns were in the same repeating sequence of five. I threaded for a straight twill over four of my eight harnesses, planning to probably weave tabby, but it's nice to have other options just in case.
For the weft, I decided to use the remaining Awayuki bouclé (med grey) at the beginning and end of the piece, and use the Sensai fine mohair (ivory) throughout. Really, this was the most difficult part, since I have a tendency to beat the weft with Great Fortitude, and I was aiming for a light and gauzy fabric. Progress was slow as I repeatedly reminded myself to gently. set. the weft. in. place.
Eventually this became more comfortable, and resulted in anywhere from 8-12 picks per inch. The sequins would occasionally cause a little pinch or bump in the weft, which added lovely character, in my opinion. Good thing I never expected this fabric to be precise and uniform! I did end up needing one more ball of Ito Sensai to complete the length, and used about half of it.
The finished length of fabric, after machine-stitching the ends and washing by hand, measured about 82" long and 16" wide, not including the small fringe. And it's delightful! Gauzy, crisp, drapy, and shimmery- it's everything I was hoping for, and had a lot fewer complications than I expected!
Because of the gauziness of the fabric, it was beautiful as a light, voluminous scarf. But I wanted to turn it into a cape-ish, poncho-ish garment, too, without compromising its use as a scarf. A simple poncho plan is to fold a rectangle in half and sew two side edges together, leaving an opening to pull it over your head. I did this, but gave the piece a half-twist before sewing the edges, resulting in a pretty moebius twist at the front, with a longer length in the back. I can still put the folded piece around my neck, and pull the fringed ends through the neck opening to keep it in place as a scarf.
Ta-Da! It's a scarf, and it's a cape!
- used one Weaver's Texture Sampler Pack + one additional skein of Ito Sensai
- warp was 170 ends at 10 epi, and about 4 yards long (which was more than enough)
- wove tabby (plain weave) throughout, about 8-12 ppi
- finished fabric measures 16" x 82" (41 cm x 208 cm)
P.S. There was leftover warp. I used 3/2 Organic Cotton, and wove a piece of twill with Great Fortitude. Pretty!