Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Weaving for Me, Weaving for You

I finished the long piano topper in a red and cream checked pattern.
I like the look. For some reason it is tighter on the side edges and therefore puckered in the cloth, but that would probably go away if I washed it. But I was eager to put it on the piano, and I'm really not picky about the puckering. I'll wash it when it gets dusty.
Frankly, I'm not picky about the stuff I make for myself. I shrug off errors and set something on top of mistakes and don't stress about it. It makes little difference to me. However ... however ... I'm extremely picky about stuff that I sell.

This piano topper has a couple of weft floats visible. See that gray one below? I had to hand-feed the gray yarn because I only have two shuttles. That's why I made mistakes on the gray weft.

When weaving, if you make a mistake with your weft threads, you can't always see it on the top of the weaving, and you have to lift up your loom and peer under to see the bottom of the weaving. Who does that? The "top" of this weaving (where you work) has many little thread ends showing. Usually I would wash the piece and snip those ends flush to the fabric so they wouldn't show. (There were so many this time because I had to change colors so often for the plaid.) Instead of washing and snipping, I simply turned the fabric upside down, so the ends are underneath. But ... that means that the weft float errors are showing. I set my metronome or piano light on top of them and went my merry way :)
I'm more of a gray/black/melancholy-colors kinda gal, so this bold attempt at
 red/white checkered in my home is a challenge to the inner woman.
Now I'm working on another scarf. I spent time online looking at projects other weavers make. I love, love, love the look of some scarves in which the warp threads are varied in color and texture. It takes time to warp the loom with all that, but I felt it would be worth it. And look at the loveliness I warped up:

 If I could've kept the scarf looking  just like that, without any weaving at all, I would've. Unfortunately, strings alone do not a scarf make :(
Here are the yarns I chose from my varied stash for that warp:
A blue theme with lots of texture and shine variation.
This one has sequins and silver.
A simple, silky baby blue
A thicker (but not bulky) variegated yarn with silver and a good bit of bounce in it.
Ribbon yarn I bought at a temptingly dangerous yarn store in New Bern.
One more: The darkest yarn I chose was just a wad of thrift store yarn, two strands together with lots of blingy interest. When I warped only two slots of this yarn ... this is all I had left.
Okay, so I warped all that on, and I started to weave.
Ignore the beige yarn and the early thicker blues.
 I chose this 3-weight baby yarn for my weft. I was hoping it would just blend in with the gorgeous warp yarns, letting them dominate and being a background.
It did not comply as much as I'd hoped. It's more blue and less silvery.
 It is pretty, Adam said so. And I like it okay. I was just so enchanted by the warp look that the blue was a bit of a let-down. I want the warp threads to stand out, so I decided to begin integrating lots of deliberate floats, like this:
 That's three strands of the sequin yarn.
You use a "pick-up stick" to do floats like this. I'm using an old plastic ruler as my pick-up stick. I insert it behind the heddle, lifting up the yarn strands I want to stand out and sliding the pick-up stick right behind the heddle. See?
Those sequin strands are lifted up. I do this only when the heddle is in the "up" position.
Here's the look it's giving to the scarf. If you search you can find lots of patterned floats in there. On the reverse side of the fabric, the floats go the other way -- they are weft floats.

I hope to finish this scarf today. I'm wondering exactly what color of weft yarn would have produced the look I wanted -- accentuating the warp selections and down-playing the weft. Not sure how that works yet, but I'm doing a lot of reading online. There are articles and videos dedicated just to yarn selection.


Pom Pom said...

I am SO impressed with your skills! Smart! Red and white check is my favorite!

Kezzie said...

It is truly amazing! I am FASCINATED by your loom!

melissa said...

Girl. You have definitely discovered a new passion. Well-done. I don't understand half of what you're talking about, but for those who can learn from you (and they will) go to town! :)

gretchenjoanna said...

Impressed and amazing are the words I need to use as well - How can you already know and do so much? What a happy new year you are having!

Gumbo Lily said...

You go girl!!! I like the red & white check. And your new weaving is wonderful too. I like it all!

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

You are doing fantastic for a newbie at weaving. You amaze me and inspire me.

Happy Weaving ~ FlowerLady

Lisa Richards said...

It seems like you're making something new almost daily! Love the scarf idea. I've wanted to knit something like what you describe. I like the blues and the blingy yarns. First I have to finish what I've started already. Keep it up! You're doing amazing things!

Ida said...

I like it too. Looks like your new project is going to be nice as well. Blue is my favorite color.

magsmcc said...

I have only now summoned sufficient courage to comment! I am so impressed by your accomplishment- so beautiful. I love the piano runner especially! (There, not even very sufficient words!)