Monday, February 10, 2014

Finished Queen's Shawl

Hurray for a finished  project!  I've been running through my list of Things To Do and getting a bit freaked out this week or so (ok, more than a bit freaked out, more like I look at the list and run away and hide) so it's super nice to have a Very Big Thing Indeed crossed off.  And with time to spare even!  I decided to buckle down this weekend and marathon watched Season 3 of Downton Abbey and the Olympics while I got it done.

I think warping the shawl took longer than actually weaving.  The weave is the same diamond twill used for the Preugia towel, set at 16 EPI.  There are a total of 524 warp ends.  This seemed like a paltry number of warps after the 1200+ I had to deal with for the linen towel, but still it took more than half the season of DA to thread them all.  Once that was done the weaving went very smoothly.  It was a lot of fun to see how the colors in the hand spun changed, and how the different skeins of hand spun varied since each spinner dealt with the color variation a little bit differently.  I am mostly pleased with my selvages, there are some places that are better than others but I think I have an idea of how to improve that next time.  I just need to figure out where to get fishing line.  Twisting the fringe took awhile but it's nice and mindless and I got a nifty little fringe twister from an etsy seller that made the processes a bit easier.  It's not hard to do this by hand but after awhile it's murder on the fingers and the tool helps with that.  Plus the twists are much more even where I used the tool.

The fabric was finished with a cold water and Eucalan soak to preserve the sheen of the hand spun wool.  HRM will need to hand wash or dryclean this going forward but I think she can manage that.  The sample I wove was lightly fulled and it looked ok but lost a lot of the beautiful shine that the mohair in the hand spun gave the piece, so I went with a simpler finishing.  If she does accidentally full it a bit it won't damage it any, the thing is pretty big and she's not a tall woman so it will still look nice on her.

Overall this was a really fun project.  Not being 100% sure what sort of yarn I was going to get from the spinners was both fun and stressful, but I really enjoyed the collaborative aspect of the project.  Now that I have a better idea of what to expect and how to plan, I am looking forward to doing this again in the future.  I've already got some ideas for future project percolating away in the back of my head!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Queens Shawl, full sized!

As much as I loathed worked on the linen for the faux-rugia towel, I think it improved my weaving by leaps and bounds.  Nightmare projects tend to do that, which always makes me grateful for them after the fact.  In looking at how my first Queens Shawl project is coming along, things are going much more smoothly, my selvages are looking much better (not perfect, but better), they are more symmetrical, and I am finding it easier to following the treadling order and see where I am when I walk away from the loom.  Plus I'm not finding as many funky floats.  So yay for getting better!  I'm not mistake-free yet, but I will not be in any way ashamed to present this to Important People.

The hand spun yarn is subtly variegated with purples and blues and a tiny bit of teal blue, all peacock colors to pull in the personal heraldry of our queen.  That color variation didn't show up well in the photos, but in person it adds a very pretty shimmer to the shot fabric.  Not a period shimmer, but a pretty one.  It will look really pretty out in the sun when we present the finished shawl (assuming of course that we have sun on the day, one can only hope!)

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Pounce win!

Just a note to declare victory over the pounce!  After much gnashing of teeth and tearing of hair (and paper) I have won!  I can't post pictures yet, but I was able to transfer the Pelican design for the morse onto velvet beautifully with pounce and then paint over it perfectly.  Yay!

It turns out that my problem all along has been the paper I was using to make the transfer.  Silly me, I was using regular printer paper.  Somewhere (and I can't remember where) I read that I should be using vellum.  I don't have any vellum so I printed the design onto card stock, and what do you know the whole thing magically worked!  Happy day!  My paint is now drying and I will able to frame up the cloth this afternoon and finally get started on this thing.  I am very excited.

Monday, February 3, 2014

First attempt at overshot

How I am loving my little table loom!  Warping still takes forever, but it's so much easier to set up a short (ish) length of something to play around with for napkins of towels to try something out.

I've decided to finally give overshot a try as the technique is similar to what I suspect was used to weave Perugia towels, the main difference being that overshot is done on a ground of tabby whereas Perugia towels are done on ground of some sort of diamond twill.  To weave the Perugia designs (or at least the geometric ones) efficiently, you can set up a series of secondary heddles using what's called ophamta weaving.  I wasn't able to do this when I did my towel as I have small eyes on my heddles, and the secondary tie ups need extended eye heddles on the main shafts to work.  What we see in the Perugia towels are bands of patterns woven over a tabby ground separated by diamond twills.  Overshot basically works the same way, but with fewer shafts.  The pattern weave is threaded into usually 4 shafts and woven on a tabby ground.  Working with 2 shuttles, you then weave the pattern using a contrasting color that floats over the tabby.  The patterns used are different, as are the fibers, but the basic principals are not at all dissimilar.

Anyway, overshot is far easier than I thought it would be!  And fun!  I'm not 100% happy with how this first pattern section turned out, I think a heaver pattern thread would look better, but for a first attempt it's much better than I thought it would be.  The ground is 10/2 pearl cotton set at 24 epi.  Nothing fancy but it will make a nice, functional towel that people will be will to use.  The blue is cottolin.   I have enough warp to do 3 good sized towels, and I plan to do all 3 with different fibers for the bands.  One will be a heaver linen, and one will be cotton.  I can do at least 2 different patterns with the threading I have as well, so that should add some additional interest to the weaving.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Another elevation cloak

I've been asked to do the embroidery for another elevation cloak, this time for someone I know well.  It's a secret so no further details than that until after the fact, but I am planning on doing the order insignia on a morse rather than on the cloak itself, as this is more appropriate for the persona in question and will look less like a football jersey than a lot of the cloaks that are out there.  Plus I think the person will actually wear the blasted thing if we do it this way.

Anyway, the cloak will be wool.  I was thinking I would do the morse in velvet, partly so I can incorporate more of the personal heraldry and also it won't stretch as much.  Plus I won't need to do tons of underside couching to cover something ugly (yay for that!)  The thing I am wondering is how best to transfer a fairly intricate design onto the velvet?  The best suggestion (ok the only reasonable one really) is over at Needle'n'Thread and suggests using a combination prick-n-pounce and paint.  This seems like it would work but also sounds like a huge PITA.  Is there as easier way?  If not, that's what I'll do, it just seems like we would have come up with a magic pen or other transfer device that was simpler than this by now.