Saturday, October 20, 2012

Bliss: My answer to the 2012 SCHG Challenge

Fall, leaves, fall; die flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
- Emily Bronte

For our Guild's challenge for 2012, last spring we each chose a paper bag and got a card with these rules to follow:
1. use at least 50% green
2. use a twill and/or tabby weave
3. incorporate a circle
4. may be folded, bent etc. and must fit inside and be returned in the bag/sack
5. the size of the sack you choose will determine your entry size

Here's my finished project which I turned in last weekend:

I wanted to try some warp painting, using sprang to form a frame for my painting.  I untensioned the dark green warps and pushed them aside.  You can see at the bottom of the image that I should have either stopped weaving sooner before starting to paint, or else rotated my image so that it didn't overlap fabric already woven:

I used fluid acrylic paint, thinned with GAC 900 medium which is meant for fabric painting.  I found this much easier to control than when I've tried to paint with regular dye.  The finished feel of the fabric is a little stiff, but since the finished product isn't meant to be worn or touched and just stays in two dimensions, I think it works fine.  Underneath the warp I used a laminated placemat to provide a surface against which to press the brush and yarn.

After the paint dried throughly, I resumed weaving.  I really liked what the woven twill pattern was doing to the colors in my image:
As you can guess, this is why I was experimenting earlier to see if I could do sprang using weft as well as warp.  Here's the sample I was working on:
The major purpose of the sample was to see if I had the proportions right to make the four sprangwork curves form a circle.  You can see above that I didn't.  So in the final piece I expanded the middle section to make the curves longer.

One thing I learned in this project that was exciting is the relationship between the simple twills I used.  The 3/1 twill in the corners, when every 4th warp is lifted out and left unwoven, becomes a 2/1 twill.  And when every 4th weft is either omitted or left unwoven, it becomes a little 2/1 point twill.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

New Life for my "Circumnavigational" Yardage

What ever became of the yardage I was cutting to pieces?
Just in case you've been wondering, the answer is...handbags:

Piles of them ! :

Look for them at the Southern California Handweavers' Guild's Weaving and Fiber Festival, Sunday November 4th, 2012 in Torrance, California.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Sprang in the Weft?

A design idea has presented itself where I want the sprang to run in the weft direction instead of the warp direction.  (Why don't I just work as usual and turn the piece 90 degrees?  Because in the same piece I want the sprang running in both these directions.)  Here is a sample I put on the loom to see if this is possible.

One thing I didn't think of before I started in on the sprang work was that since in the wefts are not under tension, the middle section started to buckle and pull in as soon as I'd done a couple rows.  So the tension on the yarns being worked had to be kept fairly loose.

To get this required ease, the wefts that have been worked in sprang were left longer than the width of the fabric.  They are hanging down off the selvedges at each side of the fabric, not visible in the photo.  These were left hanging out so that they could be pulled through the weaving on either side of the sprang, to give the ease needed as the work was progressing.  This was not easy to do as the yarns had to be pulled through 3 inches of weaving on the sides.  In fact, it had to be done one thread at a time, so it was difficult to control how much each was pulled, and hence the resulting sprang work is not as neat-looking as when worked with the warp.  But I think this will work.