Sunday, January 19, 2014

Finished Faux-rugia towel, finally

The faux-Perugia towel is finally, after long last and much swearing, gnashing of teeth, moving of the loom, and tearing of hair, done!  It's off the loom, washed, and I am actually pretty happy with how it turned out.  Yay!  This has been by far the most difficult and possibly overly ambitious weaving project I have done so far, but I have learned a lot.  I can't honestly say the result were quite worth all the agony, but adding in the educational piece and the fact that it's off the loom and I can now get on with my life it's all good.

The original plan had been to weave a length of plain
weave to do some embroidery with on the same warp, but somehow I ended up not having quite enough warp to do it or enough patience, so I have what you see.  The towel was 53 inches long and 29 inches wide before washing, and 50 inches long and 23 inches wide after washing.  This is right in the low to middling range of extant Perugia towels, and in looking at it a very useful size.  I will be able to use this as a small table covering, a large lap napkin (large napkins are really good for covering garments made of expensive, hard to wash fabrics), or for using while serving at table.  It also works nicely as a head covering.  The 40/2 linen was a huge PITA to work with (mostly warping), but the end result is a lovely fabric with a nice hand that drapes well and is thick enough to make a good napkin but still fine enough to look like real fabric and not a rug.  I'm a little sad about not being able to do proper pick-ups but the end result looks more like what you see in the art work actually being used by servants and more middle class people than what has survived in museums, most of which seem to be have been used as part of church vestments.

A couple of critical things I have learned about weaving with linen for next time -
1 - wet/damp linen is much easier to work with.
2 - sizing is your friend!  I used boiled flax seeds.  It's much easier to apply this diluted in a spay bottle than attempting to brush it onto the warp.
3 - For whatever reason my floating warps kept snapping.  I was able to fix this by soaking the warp thread in the sizing then reinforcing it with a thread of fine beading wire.  Fishing line would probably work better but I didn't have any on hand.  Next time I am working with a fine, inflexible warp, I will get some fishing line.
4 - I need a better cushion on my weaving bench.  Ouch.

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