Saturday, November 9, 2013

Shifty, a saga

This warp has been on the loom for entirely too long. I wasn't happy at first with my weft choices and it sat until I found a weft that was thin enough to show the pattern well, but not too thin that the fabric is sleazy. "Sleazy" is a weaving term that is used to describe a fabric where the warp and weft relationship is too loose and the threads can shift, ruining the structure of the fabric. A sleazy fabric is not a sound fabric. My fabric is just straddling the sleazy/sound line right now. 

Shifted warp being woven with end-feed shuttle and pirn filled with thin weft.
Woven fabric on the loom

The weft is a very fine coned yarn of unknown origin that I discovered in my stash. It is probably a 30/2 unmercerized cotton. The color is a very pale lavender and I have a huge cone of it that weighs close to 7 lbs! It works to give a gauzy effect to the cloth that I am liking at the moment. And if I can use up some of that huge cone, I'll be happy.

Detail of spot "floats" on fabric

The weaving started okay and I like the effect of the Spot Bronson lace threading on the ikat pattern. But my tension brake on the loom was too loose and every time I beat in the weft, the entire warp would advance a little. It became very frustrating and I put a time out on the weaving until I found a solution.

Aerial view of shifted warp fabric, waiting to be woven

More spots on ikat fabric

I figured that I had to weight the back beam so that the tension brake would hold better. This is the temporary fix.

It uses ankle weights and an old antique iron tied onto and hanging off the back beam.  I have an antique loom in Paris that uses ropes and weights on opposite sides of the back beam to provide tension to the warp. This is a variation of that idea.

No, it's not particularly pretty, but it is effective. The weaving is going much faster! According to my notes, this is a 9 yard warp, so fast is relative in this case. 

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