'Patience... and the mulberry leaf becomes a silk gown'
This old Chinese proverb comes to mind when I weave. It seems like such a long journey from winding a warp to finishing a garment.
Well, at least I am not reeling the silk from the cocoons... to make the strands of fiber... and then to spin and ply them into yarn.
What I enjoy most about working with the merino is that it fulls beautifully, making a sturdy and forgiving fabric and emphasizing the pattern made by the cotton. Here's a detail photo.
Here's the draft, showing only one repeat. There are lots of variations, and the back of the fabric is just as interesting -- but very different -- from the front. This is characteristic of deflected double weave.
So, days or maybe weeks later, I had about 9 1/2 yards of fabric to wash and then full. I started in my bathtub, stomping on the fabric much as I would do if I were stomping on grapes to make wine ;o)
Then I put it in my front-load washing machine, on a rinse, drain, and spin cycle only. That's all it took to become a nicely fulled fabric, making the cotton pucker into an interesting pattern.
It's hard to cut into fabric that you have spent hours (seems like years) weaving, but it is essential if you want to create a garment. Unless you want to make a toga, I guess. I adhere to the Nike slogan, "Just do it." One suggestion: it helps to weave way more than enough yardage, so you know that you have extra fabric in case you make an error.
Suffice it to say that I wove enough fabric for a jacket, using a wonderful pattern by Marcy Tilton (Vogue 8693). (Applause here for Marcy, as her patterns work so well for handmade fabrics.) I won't show the photo yet, because I am entering it into a juried fashion show and I don't want to tempt fate!
But -- at the top of this post and below -- here is a glimpse of a simple vest I made, using my leftover yardage. The pattern -- this one is Vogue 8713 -- is so very easy that I sewed it up in an afternoon!