Saturday, May 8, 2010

Making Choices

...and weaving commences

One of the things a beginning weaver needs to learn is how to make choices. Learning how to choose appropriate fibres for the job at hand, choosing the design (stripes or solids, weave structure, etc.) and how to wet and dry finish their textiles.

And so here is me, a lover of complex weave structures, once again weaving plain weave (on my 16 shaft AVL, yet!) because it's the best weave structure mechanically and esthetically for this texile. (And yes, I threaded the ends over all 16 shafts.)

A straight twill would have made the textile heavier and thicker than I wanted and a complex twill in addition to being heavier than I wanted would have visually fought with the very rigid stripes in the fabric.

There are other textured weave structures I might have used but in this instance I wanted the very clean lines of the stripes to dominate. Not to mention that the weft already has texture. If you click on the photo you may be able to see the boucle weft more clearly.

There is one other thing about twills. A straight twill can, during wet finishing, turn a rectangle into a parallelogram. In other words, the cloth can elongate in the direction of the twill line.

This skewed line can be corrected during wet finishing if you know it has the potential to happen.

After the cloth has been scoured, agitated and dried until damp, check to see if the fabric is still true. If it has skewed along the twill diagonal, gently pull it against the skew. Then during pressing, make sure that the grain stays straight.

As for making good fibre choices, learn as much as you can about fibre characteristics, how the preparation for and spinning of the fibres affects those inherent characteristics and how your choice of density and weave structure will also affect the cloth.

A quick guide is Judith Mackenzie McCuin's The Intentional Spinner. A more in-depth study is A Guide to Textiles for Interior Designers by Dixon and Jackman. I also teach a seminar called A Good Yarn.

Currently reading God of the Hive by Laurie R. King

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