Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Just do it

Sometimes we get so sure of ourselves, we forget the basics our weaving teachers taught us. Take sett for example. I threaded a l034ovely variegated alpaca and tencel blend on the studio loom for two scarves. A little stretchy, it was hard to get a good reading by winding on a ruler. Looking similar to Zephyr (JaggerSpun’s merino/silk blend), I decided to start with 24 epi for a broken twill. For the first scarf I chose a purple wool/kid mohair yarn that was thicker than the warp. I beat it very lightly, knowing it would full and not wanting it to hide the warp colors. I struggled a bit to keep the beat even and selvages nice, but I liked the overall look. Here it is on-loom.

For the second scarf I wanted to try another treadling with a weft that would weave more balanced. In my stash I found a wonderful blue untwisted cotton I had found during a visit to Habu Textiles in New York. It is just slightly thinner than the warp. The tension was working well, so I just rolled the first scarf on the cloth beam, left some fringe and started the blue one. About three repeats in, I noticed my beat was getting harder, even though I was trying to keep it balanced. I took out the last repeat and tried again, then kept weaving, checking the ppi after each repeat. After weaving about 8 inches (at what was averaging 28 ppi), it dawned on me what I should have done, sett the warp closer.

Yes, I knew this. Yes, the need to sometimes adjust your sett is one of the first things I tell new weaving students. But the prospect of cutting this Habu weft out, cutting the first scarf off, resleying and retying was just not appealing. I ate my ltwill scarf zoomunch and walked around for a while, before finally deciding that I would be much happier weaving this scarf if I followed Nike’s advice. So I just did it. Here’s the purple scarf after being cut off and the warp ready for resleying. It’s now sett at 28 epi and is weaving much easier. However, if I use this yarn again for twill, I’ll probably try it at 30 epi.

Lesson RE-learned. 

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