Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Mohair For Kay

Here are the mohair scarves/shawls for Kay. They're quite huge. The blue ones are 21 inches wide - by 72' long. The pink/yellow ones were both supposed to be 18' wide by 72' long, but one came out being closer to 90' long. I know how it happened though, so I promise, it won't happen ever

This project was quite a challenge. I have never used mohair before. It's quite messy - it loves to grab hold of itself and does not like to let go. I had a few broken warp ends, but thank God they were just inches from the fell. I pinned them in place and when I took the scarves off of the loom I just took the long end and threaded it next to the short end and then took the short end (fringe side) out. Voila! No one will ever know. shhh...

I'm supposed to deliver them to her on Tuesday Dec 16th, along with three bamboo scarves for her husband. The warp is wound for the bamboo and I'm heading downstairs now to dress the loom and start weaving.

And here are a few pics of the bamboo scarves - they are all the same.

Monday, December 8, 2008

They're Bugs, They're Dye, They're Gross!

They're Cochineal, a type of sap-sucking bug (actually a scale insect) from Central America, and other warm regions of the world. They are a parasite - and their host is a type of cactus. Interesting, huh? Well, I do feel a 'little' sorry for the buggers, but I gave it a try, and... I love it! Beautiful reds and oranges. I used a method which does not require a mordant - a small amount of white vinegar in the dye bath to bring the color to an intense orange/red. As I was heating the fibers in the bath the smell from the cochineal was roaming through the house - not a horrible smell mind you, but different.

The fibers in the dye pot are a yarn of 80/20 Alpaca/wool and some silk roving. The instructions in the book said this method was for animal fibers so the silk should be able to take the dye as well.

I'm loving this. The yarn and silk are now 'resting' in the pot. I'm leaving them overnight and will rinse/wash/rinse them in the morning...

Here are the results of the dye bath:

The Alpaca/Wool blend is a deep burgundy/wine color.
The silk absorbed more purple. I like them both!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Great Scarf Exchange

I am a proud member of the Weavers Guild of Greater Baltimore (WGGB). This year is the guilds 60th anniversary and we're hosting an "inside" scarf exchange at tomorrow evenings meeting. Basically we've had a year to work on at least two scarves each (they want to receive at least 60) and we have to turn them in tomorrow night along with the paperwork with all of the details (yarn requirements and sources, patterns, warp length, shrinkage etc.)

After we turn them in, they will be photographed and the top 60 will be featured in a book. Then the scarves will be on exhibit at the Howard County Center for the Arts. I'm not sure how long they will be there, but after that (Jan 2010, whew!) we'll then get the scarves back - but the scarf I get won't be the scarf I wove - scarf exchange! Exciting, huh?

The first scarf here is a bamboo warp (crocus purple) and rayon weft (natural). I came up with the pattern using a demo version of a weaving pattern program. It looks rather complicated, but the threading and treadling were pretty easy. I was able to divide the treadling into 8 sections per repeat and then weave from that. After each 'section' I would check my work for mistakes. I had to unweave a few times, but not too often. It took about 2 nights to weave it off.

The second scarf is a warp of Jojoland Superwash Wool and Bambu 7 for the weft. You may remember the Colorful Warp posting... And here is the finished scarf: