Tuesday, May 17, 2011

In Praise of Plain Weave

The next warp is beamed, ready to thread.  I'm too tired to do that tonight, however, so I'll leave it until tomorrow afternoon.

It's interesting that what drew me to weaving was complex patterning on as many shafts as I could afford.  And yet for the last two years I've been weaving a whole lot of plain weave.  :)

Plain weave is quite a wonderful weave structure.  It has the maximum number of interlacements which means that if you set the cloth densely you can make a very sturdy cloth.  OTOH, because it has the maximum number of interlacements, you can also set it more openly and create a lighter weight cloth that still has stability.  Much as I am doing with this run of shawls.

The warp, as I mentioned in a previous post, is quite thick - about a 5/2 cotton grist, or 2100 yards per pound.  When I used the same yarn at 16 epi/ppi for weft the result was quite thick cloth.  Nice enough in it's own way, but thicker than I really wanted for dressy shawls.

Leaving the set at 16 which is what I'd used for the same weft as warp in a twill structure, I changed to plain weave and used a much finer yarn for weft.

The results so far are pleasing even though the webs have not yet been wet finished.  I know that the webs that are fairly stiff - the alpaca wefts for instance - will soften considerably and should make a cloth with a light hand and a nice drape.  The singles alpaca will also likely track, giving the cloth  a great deal of textural interest.

Of course until the fabric hits the water that is only an educated guess, so I've started fringe twisting in hopes that this weekend I can run a batch through the washer/dryer and get them hard pressed.

Whether or not I get to that will depend on how I feel after cycle #2 which begins at 8:30 am tomorrow.

Currently reading The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag by Alan Bradley


Rhonda from Baddeck said...

I'll be thinking of you today - hope the session goes well and you have minimal side effects.

Boomer Knows said...

That warp has a lovely denim visual feel to it. I bet they will be easy sellers:)

Joybilee Farm said...

Plain weave is my favorite weave structure this Spring. It seems so versatile. And seems to get me weaving more often. Thanks for the post.

Thinking of you and hoping your session goes well and you weather it with no serious side effects. ♥hug♥

Laura said...

So far so good - I'm tired due to the Benydril and will be heading for bed soon. But I did weave one shawl today and it looks so pretty! I'll be sorry when this warp is over. :}