Sampling again

One of my favourite scarves is rather fragile – it’s viscose and very finely “woven”. I don’t think I could reproduce it if I wanted to but I’d like to use it as inspiration.  

I’ve just finished a sample on the 4-shaft table loom.  I chose ‘Dynasty pure Chinese Bourette silk’ from Texere Yarns  for various reasons.  It’s very good value and when I was discussing the project, one of the weavers in my class brought in a scarf she’d made from the same yarn. I was impressed with the feel and drape. This lady’s sister was also about to visit Texere in Bradford and kindly offered to include my order thus saving postage and packing!

Rather than just rely on the warp to provide texture and interest, and weaving plain weave, I decided to experiment with a different construction. I chose one I haven’t used before – canvas weave.  My source is Marguerite Davison’s A Handweaver’s Pattern Book, p66, Threading No. 1.

Given that I only required a short warp for the sample, I was persuaded to use a raddle and the ‘back to front’ warping method instead of my usual ‘front to back’ using the reed. This was in order to minimise wastage.  Shall we just say it’s not my preferred method… and leave it at that!

Looking from right (beginning) to left (end) in the photograph of the sample below, I started with version I of Threading No. 1 (Monk’s Cloth).  According to Davison, this is a popular drapery cloth and is used if you want an interesting surface.

Silk scarf sample

Silk scarf sample

I experimented with various colours of the same yarn in the weft and doubled it for a small section.  The white yarn isn’t Dynasty – it came from my stash and being silk/wool is thicker.  As a result, using it in the weft as well as the warp has made quite a difference to the look and feel of the cloth where they intersect.  I’ll be limiting my use of the white yarn for this particular project but I do like the effect. This demonstrates why sampling is so essential and useful.

Towards the end of the warp (left of the photo), I switched to version V of the same threading to alter the scale and definition of the pattern.  I restricted the weft to the darker colours as I’m not keen on the salmon pink, sky blue or the white.  I also wanted to be able to compare different approaches: vertical stripes dominating; a plaid effect; horizontal bands.

Silk scarf sample detail

Silk scarf sample detail

Version V and darker colours in the weft (maroon, berry, navy and French navy) is closer to my original idea.  However, the colours in the sample are much less vibrant than I’d originally envisaged.  They’re much more subdued in reality than the images on the Texere website would have you believe (as usual, buyer beware).  So I’ve ordered a spool of ‘cornflower’ and a ‘scarlet’, to add to the warp on the basis they’ll also be somewhat muted.  I’ve also gone through my stash and could potentially use a bit of this sari silk – it would definitely brighten things up!!

Sari Silk

Sari Silk

Mmm… maybe not!

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