Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Collapse Weave with 60/2 Warp and Overtwist Wool Weft

Back to blogging! It's been 3 1/2 months since my last post. Sadly but not unexpectedly, we lost our Dad on October 5. He was laid to rest on a beautiful October morning, honored by a military bugler and flag ceremony, which he would have loved. I will always miss him greatly.

So I have not been posting, but I have been working. (My Dad, for one, would be pleased, since he was a painter and a woodworker and very, very handy -- and very happy when he was making or fixing things!) My main focus: a 42" wide warp in aqua and brown stripes of 60/2 silk.

Above: some yardage just off the loom. It measured about 42" wide and 58" long. I hand-dyed the 60/2 silk warp stripes, which were 1) shades of brown and 2) shades of light blue and aqua. The weft is a black wool overtwist from the Handweavers Studio and Gallery in London. And finally, the structure: alternating blocks of 3/1 and 1/3 twill. Both the structure and the weft make the fabric collapse after washing -- which you will see in the upcoming photos!

To achieve the collapse effect, you have to wash the fabric in hot water (that is, up to maybe 120 degrees Fahrenheit, which is just about as hot as you can get it straight from the tap). Some agitation is needed, too, to loosen up the overtwist and let it relax. For soap, I prefer using just a bit of Orvus Paste, which has a neutral pH and is great for fine fiber.
What I love about the washing process: First, I do NOT baby the fabric. For some reason, it feels good to know that this fabric -- as beautiful as it is -- is also quite sturdy and responds well to washing. And as for the response to washing: You can see the stripes collapse almost immediately. It's great fun, after spending all that time weaving, to have the instant gratification of creating texture within a matter of seconds.

Rinse it out, wring it out, stretch it out lengthwise to dry, and here's what you get!

Closeup. Unfortunately, some of the color is a bit off. (Seems the photographer had a problem.)

Above, the fabric from a distance. It had shrunk from 42" by 58" to maybe 14" by 48". Just the effect I had intended. For garments, this fabric is light, with a great drape, and it shapes itself gently over the body because of its elasticity.

Much more weaving to go, as I hope to weave another three panels using this collapse effect and then weave more yardage using 60/2 silk as weft, for a balanced weave structure.

Thanks for reading! And here's a photo I love, for everyone who has fond memories of loved ones:

Dad with Mom and his beloved Lab, Bear, at our old house in Penfield, NY, circa 1980. Love you, Dad! (And I hear him answering, as he always did, "Ditto.")


Kathryn Rudy said...

I'm sorry to hear about your dad. You weaving inspires me.

Denise Kovnat said...

Kathryn, you are so kind! It's wonderful to read comments like yours.

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