Sunday, February 16, 2014

Collapse Weave Coat in 60/2 Silk Twill Blocks: Before and After Washing

Here it is before washing...

And after! The fabric "shrinks" width-wise by more than half. (OK, the closure
was not a result of the washing, but you have to have an embellishment, right?)

Here's the back view before washing...

And after.

It's almost as if you can wear this coat two ways. If you want it flat and larger, all you have to do is iron out the pleats. If you want it smaller and elastic, just wash it in warm water and a bit of soap. No iron, of course.

Collapse weave, in this case, is a result of both structure and materials. I used a 60/2 silk weft, threaded on 8 harnesses in 3/1 and 1/3 twill blocks, so that the weft floats pull the warp in lengthwise, just as a matter of physics.

Usually you have a weft that is much finer than the warp, which gives the yarns "wiggle room" to move readjust and collapse warp-wise. In this case, I pushed the collapse effect further by using super-fine weft yarns of overtwist wool, which twists and turns every which way, even before it's washed. The two yarns varied a bit in their effect. I purchased an overtwist wool from Habu Textiles in New York City and a Z-twist wool from the Handweavers Studio and Gallery in London.

Sounds technical, but it's easy to see when you weave it. On the loom, these fabrics look normal (as with the two "before" photos) and flat. But in washing, they change almost immediately. 

Here's a closeup of the fabric after washing.

I added a lettuce-edge by sewing a three-thread rolled hem on my serger around the shawl collar, hem, and cuffs to emphasize the collapse effect. The warp is hand-painted in two color ways, sort of a dark chocolate and a pale blue/aqua/sage. To my eye, the color changes add to the ever-shifting stripes. I call this coat "Fascinatin' Rhythm" in honor of George Gershwin's song.

The flower closure was added later on. It's a hand knitted flower using a hand-dyed bias-cut Habotai silk ribbon from Dharma Trading. Czech glass beads from Let's Bead in East Rochester, NY -- right near the Weaving and Fiber Arts Center. How many links can I get in here?!

1 comment:

Heidianna said...

Gorgeous! Love the musical name, too! :)

Notes from CNCH, the Conference of Northern California Handweavers

  Let's start with the photo above: a series of samples woven on eight shafts in deflected doubleweave by Marta Shannon. It's just o...