Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Rules of Engagement
to this - in about 40 minutes.....
Just beamed another of my 'scary' painted warps. These warps are made up of one strand of soy protein and one Tencel wound at the same time and painted. The soy protein shrinks significantly more than the Tencel and the warps get very beat up and tangled. They are about 10 yards or so long, 9 inches in the reed.
While I was beaming it I thought about the "you can't's" associated with weaving. One of the first ones I heard was "You can't use a brush on your warp."
Since I'd been successfully using a brush on my warps for about 2 years at that point I was a bit perplexed. Why can't I? It was working just fine for me.
So I thought about the yarns that were being used in the loom room, and realized that the fine singles linen and the softly spun woolens they were using would not react well to being brushed. I had already figured out using a brush on the brushed mohair used as an accent yarn for a couple warps wasn't a good idea because I realized very quickly that brushing just made the mohair more unruly. I also learned very quickly to not use a brush on a textured yarn that would allow the brush tines to catch and pull at those yarns.
But to not use a brush at all? I knew from experience that I could. And using a brush on these painted warps is essential if I'm to get them on the loom in any kind of efficient manner at all.
Yes, I could just finger comb them - but it would take hours, not minutes.
Other admonitions came to light as I continued to weave and meet weavers from different cultures/regional areas.
"You can't weave on an all black warp." Well, I did that for years, about 200 yards a month weaving fabric for a fashion designer. The secret there is to have sufficient light so that you can see what you are doing so I had lots of supplemental light in order to thread, sley and tie on. After that I found that I didn't need much more than the usual lamp I have on for every warp.
"You can't use textured yarns in the warp." Well, that depends on the yarn. If it has been spun so that the rubbing of the reed doesn't affect it, it's just fine. The only thing to watch for is that the lumpy parts go through the eye of the heddle. Even then, being careful when advancing the warp will allow the yarn to pass through.
"You can't use a singles as warp." Once again I'd been successfully using singles wool as warp, and certainly used singles linen for warp. If it passes the snap test, it should be okay as warp. Except for the linen - if you live in a very arid climate, using a singles linen might be a bit dicey. When I'm using linen for warp here, I always run a humidfier near the loom. If you wet the yarn, wet it for the whole length of the warp. A dry linen can tend to beat in differently than a moister one. I found that out by starting to weave a singles linen warp/weft on a rainy day, then tried to finish it on a dry day - the cloth beat in differently when the humidity changed dramatically.
"You can't get good selvedges without a floating selvedge." I never use a floating selvedge. I choose to not use weave structures where such a selvedge would be necessary. There are so many different weave structures that can be woven without a floating selvedge I'd rather choose one of those.
"You can't get a good selvedge without a temple." I use a temple when the weave structure calls for it. Using a floating selvedge and/or a temple slows down my weaving rhythm. If I don't need to use them I don't. (see above) However, if a temple is necessary, I will use one in order to get the results I require for that particular cloth.
One "you can't" that seems to be pretty much gone is "You can't use a fly-shuttle/auto-cloth advance/dobby/computer and call your weaving 'hand' woven". I don't think I need to comment on this. I'm just grateful that people are getting over this one.
"You can't weave an unbalanced (1:3) weave structure on a counter-balanced loom." If the loom has 'horses', you can weave any weave structure you want. If the loom has rollers, the shed isn't as large if you are pulling 1 shaft down while 3 go up, or vice-versa. But if you are willing to deal with the smaller shed, you can weave these on a roller counter-balanced loom, too.
I'm sure there are other "you can't's" that just don't spring to mind but those are the ones that I thought about today.
My list of absolute rules in weaving are four:
1. Never use a knot where a bow will do.
2. If you can't be perfect, be consistent.
3. A thread under tension is a thread under control.
4. It isn't finished until it's wet finished.
All else depends.