Tuesday, May 17, 2011
In Praise of Plain Weave
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