Monday, June 24, 2013

Weaving with 60/2 Silk: Pictures from a Workshop

Last weekend at a conference in Scranton, Pennsylvania, I taught a 2 1/2-day workshop titled "Three Fabrics, One Warp: Weaving with 60/2 Silk." The idea was to take the fear out of weaving with such a fine yarn -- and to learn how to weave three very different fabrics with one very colorful warp.

In the photo above, you see the first fabric we worked on: a 3/1 and 1/3 twill on 8 shafts, in a balanced weave sett at 48 ends per inch. Students had already warped their looms with warps that I had handpainted, alternating in black and multi-colored stripes. The weft yarns for the balanced-weave fabric were also 60/2 silk in an array of colors.

Here's another beautiful twill fabric woven by one student.

At the top of the photo you see a crinkle-woven sample -- this from the same warp. It was the second fabric we were weaving in the course. On the second day, students wove a 4-treadle twill using a 52/2 overtwist wool weft. (The weft was purchased from the Handweavers Studio and Gallery in London, by the way -- a wonderful place to buy supplies, despite the shipping charges!)

More collapse-weave fabric, with the top of the piece using a higher-twist black weft and the bottom of the piece using a lower-twist white weft:

On the last day we created a sort of rag-rug fabric, using silk ribbon as weft. The texture was enhanced when we alternated with another yarn -- for example, a woolen handspun -- in a similar color. This fabric would work well for a jacket or a coat. The colors were gorgeous.

So many advanced weavers in this class -- and so much design talent! I feel as though I learned even more than they did.

At the top of the photo above, you see a collapse-weave fabric which then ruffles and opens up into the twill weave. This could work beautifully in shaping a garment on the loom -- say, a dress or top that goes from a body-hugging bodice to a loose ruffle below the waist.

Below is another design that wasn't even part of the course -- created when a student used a cotton-chenille yarn as weft. Note the black "shadow" on the left side of six of the twill blocks in the row of lavender and olive stripes: It was a counting error that created a wonderful pattern and some new design possibilities. The color changes and structure make for a striking design.

Many, many thanks to my students -- Janeen Bates, Elaine Campise, Meridith Entingh, Peggy Howell, Hedy Lyles, Sandra Petty, Sherry Powell, Elyse Rogers, Anne Sanderoff-Walker, Josephine Su, Colleen Tanzy, and Uarda Taylor -- for taking my class and for making it such a wonderful, colorful experience! Thanks also to the MAFA (short for Mid-Atlantic Fiber Association) committee who put together such a fun conference.


Sun Fontaine said...

This shuttle is so gorgeous, what kind of wood is that?

Denise Kovnat said...

Sun, I don't know! The photo shows the work -- and shuttle -- of a weaver in the workshop. The type of shuttle is known as an "end-feed delivery shuttle" and they are the BMWs, you might say, for weaving shuttles because they give you smoother selvages. I agree with you that the wood is beautiful!

Denise Kovnat said...

I'll venture a guess that it's tiger maple, just looking at the "stripes" in the wood.

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