Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Back to shawls

Today my digital camera died, so I dug my brother's camera out. I can't get the flash to work, but I hope this is clear enough to be seen.

Someone emailed me, asking how/why I make design decisions for a project. She noted that this warp is wider than the last one, and wondered why.

Dimensions for a textile are a range, not set in stone. So when I decide to make something, I already have a width range in mind.

The next decision is which weave structure to use. In this case, it is twill blocks. Then I decide how large a block I want. The unit for twill is generally 4 ends - how many repeats will set the width for the block - IF you want all the blocks the same size.

Once I've set the scale of the block, I start generating progressions. Do I want the design to be symmetrical? Asymmetrical? Do I want the design to repeat across the textile, or be non-repeating? When I've got the general look of the design, I start number crunching to fit the design into the general dimensional range.

For shawls, my general width is between 20 and 30 inches in the reed. In the case of the previous warp, the width in the reed was 22". The bamboo yarn shrank a lot more than the Tencel, and since I wanted to use the bamboo more often for weft I wanted to start a little wider in the reed, so the width of 24" in the reed should work out to a nice finished width.

The actual threading is mirrored in the centre, and in this case, the threading worked out precisely to fit the 24" width in the reed. If it hadn't, I might have added a border, or if I had planned a border, may have adjusted it if necessary to make it fit.

As for length, I weave shawls between 84 to 90 inches under tension on the loom, plus 12" for fringe (6" on each end) so roughly 3 yards of warp per shawl. With a 30 yard warp, I should get 9 shawls.

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