Monday, May 15, 2017

Still More Collapse Cloth -- This Time on 8 Shafts

This summer, for me, will be all about collapse fabrics: I'm teaching a workshop at MAFA and a workshop at the Hartford Artisans Weaving Center, plus I will give a lecture on the topic to the New York Guild of Handweavers.

To prepare, I have been weaving up lots of samples and learning A LOT from the results. (Re-learning a lot, too -- for example, that sett can make the difference between a good fabric and a wonderful fabric. We all know this, but we need to be reminded, particularly if a project should be re-sleyed at a different sett and we get -- well, lazy....)

Anyhow, the samples I've blogged about to date have all been on 4 shafts, because that's the focus of my first workshop at MAFA. In Hartford, we'll be working on both 4 and 8 shafts, so now I've begun sampling on 8. Here are some photos. 

I call these "Before" and "After" shots. The photo above is a "Before" shot of fabric just off the loom. I got the draft from a workshop I took a few years ago in London with Ann Richards, author of Weaving Textiles that Shape Themselves. The warp in this case uses both wool/stainless-steel yarn (the taupe-colored warp, available from Lion Brand and from Habu) and 16/2 bamboo (in red and orange). The weft is 72/2 linen (to give the fabric stiffness) alternating with the wool/stainless yarn.

Here is the "After" photo:

In this case, you have two elements that make this a dimensional fabric: structure and energized yarns. The structure is plain weave with floats alternating weft-wise and warp-wise, so that the floats make room for the fabric to pleat in and out. The wool/stainless draws in and twists when washed, which encourages the pleats to form. Finally, the stability of the linen weft adds crispness to the fabric. Pretty clever, huh? All thanks to Ann, who approaches her art with the mind of a scientist.

Another fabric, this one an 8-shaft double weave, pictured in its "Before" state, showing both front and back views:

The red sections are 18/2 superfine merino from JaggerSpun, which fulls beautifully when hand-washed. The black is 24/2 superlamb from JaggerSpun, which resists fulling because it's a superwash wool. Here's what it looks like, front and back, after hand washing in warm water and agitating with dishwashing soap:

To be honest, the black squares on the front of the fabric don't "pop" the way I had hoped. I was looking for a real dimensional "pouf" in the cloth -- but still I think it works.

Here's another structure from the same warp, before washing, front and back, same yarns.

And after washing:

This sample had a lot more texture, thanks mostly to the floats on the back. It's very thick, suitable for a warm jacket or coat.

If you're interested in any drafts, let me know. It's great add texture to your fabric! And here's one parting shot, of another sample just completed, using the same warp and weft as the first sample in this post but with a different treadling. (This is the sample that you see in the close-up photo that begins this post.)

Happy shape-shifting, y'all!

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