The latest things off my loom are the results of other plans gone awry. But sometimes you succeed despite yarn and color challenges. I am still experimenting with beiderwand and how to turn the draft for faster weaving and more drape. While at the Southeast Animal Fiber Fair last month, I stopped in to see our friends at Just Our Yarn, looking for some pattern threads to go with some of their hand-dyed tencel skeins I had on hand. We pulled out this gorgeous deep red violet color of a very soft cotton from Habu that I’ve used before. It would make a beautiful pattern weft for the next beiderwand scarf. I snapped it up, without another thought.
Back at the studio that afternoon I couldn’t wait to wind the warp. It dawned on me briefly that when turning this draft, the pattern weft would now be in the warp, alternated 1 on 1 with the tencel. I gave it the old “Is this strong enough for warp?” test, before winding the two yarns together. Mistake Number 1. What was glorious on the warping board turned into a nightmare when trying to wind it on the beam. The cotton was just too fluffy, the double-weave sett too dense. I persevered (stubbornness mixed with the thought of wasting this hand-dyed beauty) and once on the beam, it threaded fine. I started weaving the beiderwand pattern and it was beautiful. But about 8 inches into the scarf, the cotton fluff started clogging up my 15-dent reed and those devilish little cotton warps started breaking. One, then another. I fixed them and kept weaving. Then a few more, and finally two snapped in the space of a quarter inch. I gave up on the turned beiderwand for now, but was determined not to waste either the cotton or tencel.
I lifted the pattern shafts, put a cross in all that cotton and pulled it away from the tencel, winding it on a kite stick on the floor under the warp beam. Then I decided to just weave the remaining tencel in plain weave. Probably would have enough for two scarves. I used the remaining cotton on the ball for weft and started weaving (very fast I might add). After about 48 inches of scarf, I ran out of the cotton. I toyed with the idea of using some of the warp ends I’d been saving, then thought better of it. Who says a scarf has to look the same on both ends? I used some stripes of the warp yarn and a little bamboo I had on the shelf to weave another foot or so. It’s a bit short, but I liked it so much I decided to keep it for myself.
The fun thing about those JOY colorways is that you can weave almost any color into them and they look good. I pulled out some turquoise and blue silk I’ve had for a while and decided to weave them together in an ombre pattern. Here is the result. Happy accident number 1.
Happy accident number 2 was the result of not wanting to move heddles around on my teaching looms at the studio to accommodate that beiderwand project. (I wove that at home.) With an empty studio loom and time, I decided to stop planning and figuring and just wind a warp out of leftover bobbins. Because they came from Barb’s stash (thanks, Barb) they were mostly silk and bamboo. I gave only minor thought to the order and started winding stripes. As soon as one bobbin emptied, I started another. Here’s a pic of the warp on the warping board. I thought it reflected Meagan Chaney’s tiles pretty nicely.
Barb dubbed it the ugliest warp she’d ever seen. You can’t see the audacious pink stripe in this pic. Again, I persevered. After our first sutherland Weaver’s Study Group meeting last month, I decided to weave some honeycomb in this scarf which I threaded into twill blocks. That looked nice but was a bit heavy, so I wove the center portion in 1/3-3/1 twill to make pleats. Then I finished off the other end in honeycomb. Barb still wasn’t convinced. So I washed the thing, which made both the honeycomb and the twill pleats do their thing. Then I decided to stitch the honeycomb ends into tubes to more closely match the width of the twill pleats. Ta da! Happy Accident number 2.
As for the short scarf, I haven’t photographed it yet. It’s around my neck today.