Year Of Projects: week 6

Craftingwise, this week has been both very eventful and very uneventful – uneventful in the sense that I can only measure progress in terms of fixing previous mistakes, but eventful as it was a lot of work, and I learned an awful lot, all to do with weaving, which is my current and not that transient crafting obsession!

I mentioned in last week’s update that I had found a serious mistake in my warp, basically tension was off, and by a good measure, I found out later.

When you look up info on how to fix this, the overwhelming consensus seems to be: don’t try. After having gone through it, I can see why! It did take me a good 5-6 evenings to undo and re-do my warping, but spurred on by the thought of the money I would have otherwise sunk into this project (there’s over 5km yarn in that warp!) and by the excellent advice and encouragement received on Ravelry (see this thread), eventually I managed to unroll and re-beam my warp (I’ve described the process here for future reference, though I do hope I will never ever have to refer to it!)

Now this did have some rewards, as I did manage to weave a bit, and here are the first two repeats of the pattern!

It is a reversible fabric, once I’ve woven some more the other side should be visible on the cloth beam (the one at the front of the loom), which will become a reversible casual men summer jacket, though the recipient has now been told that in spite having started on this back at the beginning of July, of course I meant summer 2021! 😜

It is woven using a technique called “overshot patterned doubleweave”, and amazingly for double weave, it can be woven on a four shaft loom, or at least in principle on a rigid heddle loom with three heddles. Why “amazingly”? With doubleweave you weave two layers of the cloth at the same time: you can make a double wide piece, extending the capacity of your loom; you can make a tube, for a pillow say; you can exchange layers, and you can do loads of other things (check out Jennifer Moore’s “Doubleweave: Reviesed and Expanded” to see all the amazing weaves doubleweave enables you to do). However each layer needs two shafts, which means you can’t weave anything more complex than plain weave. But with this “overshot pattenred doubleweave” technique, you get mileage from picking up threads from the bottom layer, which adds to the patterning abilities.

If you aren’t a weaver all the above will probably come across as gibberish – but I still hope you’ll agree that woven cloth is looking great (for which I claim no merit, see the November 2018 issue of Heddlecraft, which is where I took it from). Happy week!

This is a year of projects (YOP) update. YOP is a Ravelry Group, and an idea – make a plan for the year ahead for all your fibre activities, then update your blog every week if you manage. The objective is to keep track of progress on any fiber crafts with maximum flexibility: post, don’t post, follow your list, change it – so really it is just an opportunity to get to know of more blogs and activities of those who share a passion for anything fibre crafts. My YOP graphics “nicked” with thanks from Backstageknits!

Summer waves on three heddles!

I am very much enjoying weaving with three heddles on my SampleIt loom, and although I already suffer from shaft envy and really need an eigh shaft loom, there is so much my 40cm Ashford SampleIt has to offer. So I embarked in another twill weaving – this time straight draft twill, but playing with colour. I wove yardage that will eventually become a summer dress. You can jump straight to the summary, or read on!

Goldilocks samples

I was unsure which pattern I wanted, so I started off with a sample – and did that turn out to be a good idea! Since I was using a sports weight knitting cotton yarn, the very lovely Lana Grossa Landlust Sommerseide, I thought 10dpi would be the right heddle, and since I was going to wave a twilll structure, surely 12.5dpi was the heddle set to use.

Well, the first sample turned out stiff as a board – not sure why, maybe I did not have enough tension, but it came out quite compressed. So I thought I’d go for a second sample with 10dpi heddles. Well this was way too lose, really see-through fabric, so that was out as well. What to do? I tried again 12.5dpi, this time being careful not to beat too hard, and it came out just right – I like how the fabric draped, and the texture is just about close enough to be not see-through.

From left to right: 12.5dpi with hard beat, 10dpi, 12.5dpi with normal beat (or higher tension on the loom?)

The extensive sampling did dent my stash for this project, and so I had to make compromises on the background colour – though I liked it in natural best, I had to warp with the natural but weave with the grey green.

I also had to decide which pattern to use – so I folded the third sample so as to isolate the pattern:

From left to right: waves, bumberet, flowers

I did not quite like the Bumberet, and I feared that the flowers would be too large and visually “heavy”, so I concluded I’d have waves, alternating those with more blue to those with more red – I do like the resulting yardage a lot!

Yardage off the loom!

Warping woes

With a lot of odd ends, I decided to indirect warp. The consequence was that without a lease stick of the right size to attach to my back apron rod, I had to leash at both ends. Chaining was kind of allright:

I was using the rather lovely and soft Lana Grossa Landlust Sommerseide, a knitting yarn which blends in equal parts cotton and silk. It really is lovely, but hans’t got much of a twist so rather springy tension wise, winding on was a challenge, and I considered giving up several times, here is why:

What a tangled mess!

I did eventually manage to tame it, and wind the whole lot:

YAY, success!

I warped 199 ends and two floating selvedges, in the following colour order (where N stands for “natural”, R for “red” and B for “blue”):

  • 24 ends in N
  • 3 repeats of *RRRNBBBNRRRN – block of 16 N – BBBNRRRNBBBN – block of 16 N *
  • 7+1FS natural

Well, then it was just the matter of threading, and weaving. Threading was a straightforward point twill:

Threading the full width – note that the last warp ends have to to be arranged a bit differently

For the weaving I used the following order for each repetition:

  1. I & II up
  2. II & III up
  3. I & II down
  4. II & III down
  5. I & II down
  6. II & III up

And here is the draft:

One word of advice on weaving yardage – I generally hemstitch the ends while on the loom, but I wasn’t quite sure this was the best course of action with yardage. So I followed the advice picked up on the net to weave four picks with sewing thread at both ends, as below:

The picks with sewing thread after weaving a header – this DOES prevent unravelling in the wash

Then I washed and pressed – and the ironing did make a difference, the cloth became much more reflective of the light.

I can’t wait to sew it up – before I do so, though, I must weave the cloth for the bottom band!

SUMMARY 
Warp ends: 199+2 
Sett: 12.5 epi, 12.5 ppi 
Width in reed:
Width off the loom before wet finishing: 34.8cm/13.7” 
Width off the loom after wet finishing: 32.3cm/12.7” 
Width off the loom after wet finishing and pressing:33.2cm/13” 
Horizontal shrinkage: 5% 
Length of woven fabric off the loom before wet finishing: 345.5cm/136” 
Length of woven fabric off the loom after wet finishing:331cm/130.3” 
Length of woven fabric off the loom after wet finishing and pressing:335.5cm/132” 
Vertical shrinkage: 3% 
Loom waste:about 40cm/16”. However variable, because of the tangled mess that indirect warping was with this yarn; with hybrid warping it should be less.

Twill houndstooth check on the rigid heddle loom

Shepherd’s Check, Pied de poule, houndstooth – this is a classic, which I now note is quite trendy this year, and I decided I would weave it exaclty in its classic form, namely alternating groups of 4 warp threads in two contrasting colours, and alternating groups of four picks in each colour. To better manage the carrying of weft along the sides, I started each colour on a different side, and followed Madelyn van der Hoogt advice of treating the inactive weft thread as a floating selvege: weave over it when entering the shed, and under it when exiting the shed.

Is is a simple weave, and pretty straightforward to thread and weave with three heddles, but I found it so effective! This is yardage which will eventually turn into a skirt.

The draft for the Rigid Heddle Loom is below, where as previously I ∧ stands for “raise” and ∨ stands for “lower” the corresponding reed, while in the threading “I” stands for “thread through hole in heddle I, and slots in heddles II and III”, “II” stands for “thread through hole in heddle II, and slots in heddles I and III”, “III” stands for “thread through hole in heddle III, and slots in heddles I and III”, and “S” stands for “thread through slots in all heddles”

So the threading is a straigth twill threading.

To actually thread the three rigid heddles, I used this diagram, where the long rectangles stand for slots, and the small squares represent a hole. The colours are to make it easier to follow the threading, but as in the draft above, I alternated groups of 4 threads each in the two colours.

With 204 ends, I had 51 repeats. In addition there are two floating selvedges, one at each side, separated from the rest of the threading by an empty slot.

The yarn I used is Titus, from Baa Ram Ewe. I had used it as weft in my previous tabby houndstooth project, and I thought that given the Wensleydale content it would also work well as warp – and it did! Almost three metres of warp, and not a single broken warp thread! It is beautiful, and at the sett I used (15 both as epi and ppi) it is a nice firm fabric which is however still soft. Hope not too soft for my ends!

For the actual weaving the repetitions are as follows: 
Each repetition is:

  1. I & II up
  2. II & III up
  3. I & II down
  4. II & III down

I was aiming at 30cm with of fabric, and ended up with 30cm width, art of living dangerously! I really have to improve on that draw in!

SUMMARY 
Yarn: 204 ends +2 floating selvedges, each 3m long; 278.4 m/304.5 yds for each colour
Sett: 15 epi, 15.5 ppi 
Width in reed: 34cm/13.38” 
Weft crimp percentage: 9.8% (3/30.5cm)  
Width off loom before wet finishing: 30.5cm/12″
Width off loom after wet finishing: 30cm/11.75″
Wet finishing take up (horizontal)
3% 
Length of woven fabric off loom before wet finishing:
277cm/109” (approx, fabric shifts around!) 
Length of woven fabric off loom after wet finishing:  269.5cm/106″
Wet finishing shrinkage (vertical):
 3.3% 
Loom waste:
 36cm/14.2”

4 shaft lace/spot on the rigid heddle loom

I happened by chance on Kate Gagnon Osborn’s beautiful LeCorbusier Scarf, and it was love at first sight, I had to weave this!

I have since discovered Bronson Lace – the November/December issue of Handwoven Magazine has a feature on it by Madelyn Van Der Hoogt on Bronson Lace on 4 shafts.

Lace and spot weaves consist of weft and/or warp floats on a plain weave base. Lace produces holes in the fabric, while spot weave produces closed (as opposed to lace’s open) spots. To my untrained eye, Huck, Bronson and Swedish lace look all the same in terms of drawdown; what I think changes is the threading, that will assign the plain weave to one or more shaft, but this all gets lost when you are weaving on a RHL. A very interesting article by the Guild of Canadian Weavers is pretty illuminating on this issue.

The lace spots have weft floats which are 5 warp long. The way I understand it, the Le Corbusier scarf modifies this increasing the distance between two consecutive floats. It also uses different colours and yarn weight in warp and weft to great effect.

I wrote down the draft making sure I noted down properly which picks where in DK weight and which in laceweight.

So I really do not know how I managed to swap those warp yarns! The effect is quite different then – the floats in my version are thin, while in the original they are thick, but I have to say that I quite like how it turned out:

undefinedcundefinedThe original design is on the right, my version on the left-it happens to invert not just the thick/thin dessign, but also the colour contrast.

Still I find it quite nice – so I’ll have to weave at least one more version, possibly two: one with the same colour combination, but as for the original pattern, and another one in earth tones… and perhaps a fourth!

The threading did take me the best part of an evening, with the second evening used mostly to sort out crossed threads, but in fairness once the warp is up and tensions, most of the job is done!

The threading – all warp threads are in the same colour, here the colour code is to show the threading more clearly

Actual weaving goes as follows:

Tabby (in case you want a few picks at the beginning and the end for hemstitching):

  • II & III down
  • II & III up

Pattern:

  1. I up
  2. II & III up
  3. II & III down
  4. II up
  5. II & III down
  6. II up
  7. II & III down
  8. II & III up

However start and end with one 2-8 step sequence. I used the lace yarn in picks 1, 4 and 6, and the DK weight yarn in picks 2, 3, 7 and 8; the original patter instead calls for swapping these.

SUMMARY  
Yarn: 
181 ends+2 floating selvedges, each 1.90m long; 342m/373 yds Meadow (heavy lace) for warp, 163 m/178 yds of Acadia (DK) and 90m/98yds Road To China lace (lace) for weft. 
Sett: 
15 epi, 15.5 ppi 
Width in reed: 
30cm/12” 
Width off loom before wet finishing: 
26.5cm/10.4” 
Width off loom after wet finishing:
26.5cm/10.4” 
Wet finishing take up (horizontal):

Length of woven fabric off loom before wet finishing:
150.5cm/59.2” 
Length of woven fabric off loom after wet finishing:
143.5cm/56.5” 
Wet finishing shrinkage (vertical):
4.6% 
Loom waste:
37cm/14.5”

Bumberet galore on the Rigid Heddle Loom

I’ve had a bit of an argument with Bumberet on my Rigid Heddle Loom – not that it is their fault, it is just that it did take me a while to warp my first Bumberet scarf, and I managed to screw it up in some mysterious way: for some reason the warp threads where closer together on one side than on the other. 

I suspect this was due to one of the heddles not being properly aligned. I had to finish it quickly, and so against my better judgmenet I persevered. The recipient loved it, and possibly I am the only one to notice, but obviously it does bother me a great deal. 

Bumberet scarf – the back is lovely too! 12.5 epi and ppi, The Fibre Co Cumbria worsted for both warp and weft (Derwentwater and Windermere).

And so I knew I had to have another go. 

My first scarf was both simple and not-that-simple: simple in that I went with the “plain vanilla” Bumberet, which looks like a daisy chain in two colours, but also not-that-simple because warping requires groups of three thread warps, and direct warping odd numbers is a bit of a pain. 

Incidentally, my threading for this draft on three heddles is this:

Threading the Three heddles for “plain vanilla” Bumberet

In the meantime though I’ve taken some time to play around with Bumberet, and it is a really lovely structure, so I am sure I will be getting back to it again and again, at least as much as twill!

So, what does a Bumberet family look like?

I am pretty sure that weave structure means something much more detailed on a shaft loom – the way I understand it, it stands for a point twill threading which however differs in tie-up from twill. I have found very clear explanations here and in Madelyn van der Hoogt her article in the Jan/Feb 2017 issue of Handwoven Magazine – if you are not a subscriber, a publicly available version is here. These two sources also explain other drafts in the same family, Bumberet family (namely Thickset, Velveret and Doucape) – Marcy Petrini’s draft is worth a thousand words!

Translated to a Rigid Heddle Loom, I see the Bumberet family as playing around with combinations of sheds that produce three-warp-thread-wide floats.

For a Rigid Heddle Loom with three heddles there is the additional complication that not all sheds are born equal, and I prefer to rethink the 4 shaft drafts so that I can avoid as much as possible having to raise or sink the first and last heddles together. So even sticking to “just” Bumberet I have found that you need three or four sheds.

I have found inspiration also here and here, and then play around a bit more – I put here a few drafts to show what is possible – these are easy to implement in my favourite setup. The four sheds that are used are as follows:

Translating a 4 shaft tie up to translate for a RHL with three heddles

So first of all the easiest draft: one colour for weft, and one colour for warp!

This I find very very pretty! If you want to make your life only a bit more complicated, then you can use two colours (or more) for the warp, but in blocks of six, rather than 3, to avoid the odd number problem:

And playing around with the lift plan, I found out thathe blocks of six can also be used to produce a “Bumberet Houndstooth”

Bumberet almost-pinwheel!

Having said that, odd repeats can be avoided also by using the warp thread doubled – if so, very nice patterns can be obtained, which are also colourful:

If doubling the warp thread, than even “going solo” won’t be too much of a problem, and again can generate very pretty patterns, which again you can find elsewhere, but here I have arranged them so that the lifting/sinking is convenient with three rigid heddles

Now the blocks are separated – and it did not take me long to see that they can also be alternated with stripes, as here:

Which one to choose? Ah, decisions, decisions…

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