The good thing about Project Three was it was such a long timescale. The bad thing about Project Three was it was such a long timescale. I left college on track, but with nearly five months to sample and then produce the collection of 8 fabrics. I knew I was going to produce some scarves with distortion from the block weave, I knew it was going to be in greens, so I needed to find the greens I wanted.
Actually, scrap that. The easiest thing to do would be to dye the green myself asd there was no way I would get a wide enough range otherwise. I decided to work with some British yarn, a 2/16 from Wool City Wool yarns by the now defunct Texere. I also decided to dye some fine silk (60/2/2 I got from Jim Laycock), as I wanted to create distortion by differential shrinkage – when washed during the finishing process, the wool would shrink whilst the silk would not.
Now, the astute amongst you might have noticed (I certainly didn’t until the feedback in the group crit when I was presenting it!) that the last two colourways are really too yellow for my artwork. I think it needed something at the yellower end, but not two colours, and on reflection, not as much as I used!
Next up was yarn wraps to decide on the warp.
I loved both the random stripes (which put me in mind of Macclesfield Stripe – a popular pattern in boiled silk produced in Macclesfield from the 1930s) and the graduated warp – although I note that I recorded that the final too colours were very similar. Shame I didn’t act on my own advice!
Then we were on to sampling. My first sample warp was a two colour stripe as I was investigating the block threading, an outlined cell to mimic the ripples and I was determined to make some pleats.
I played around with sett to find out the best ways to vreate that ripple and I did like the effect, although ultimately it didn’t fit with the rest of the collection so I didn’t persue it. I suspect I will come back to it, though.
My pleats also didn’t get included, although it was on its way. I actually have a warp in different green strips and some fine grey weft dyed up ready for when I get a free moment (ha ha!)
My next sample warp was just blocks of colour, in wool, then silk, then wool, then silk, then wool, so I could also use it as a colour gamp as well as investigating lots of shrinkage and distortion effects. Here’s the first sample, bith off the loom and then after a was and quick tumble dry
Definite ripples going on there. Another sample I tried was a selection of different yarns in the weft, including colcolastic and a high twist, both of which react when the sample is washed in hot water.
I loved the way the colcolastic (two metallic green stripes and the high twist (the thicker band below them), pulled in to make a gathered fabric. However, not everythig when swimmingly. The apron (the cloth at the fromt of the loom that joins the front beam and the front warp stick) ripped and I needed to get hold of a new one so I could continue. That took a while and when it came actually wasn’t wide enough, so I had to MacGyver it a bit. Then my parents came for Christmas and I needed to turn the space back into a house with a functioning spare room and dining room. The only way that was going to happen was the way I did it – gather everthing up and lob it into the office/weavery space, so it actually completely covered the loom. After Christmas I didn’t have the heart to face it for a couple of weeks…
But face it I did, and I got my collection completed (OK, OK, so the last couple of samples were woven in the Halls of Residence the night before and washed and tumble dried at about 1 o’clock in the morning. It’s a good job my flatmates were also on the course and very tolerant…)
So here they are – some with warp floats, some with weft floats, some with shrinkage distortion (although not as much as I would have liked) and some with distorion due to the use of colcolastic or high twist yarns. At the time I liked them, but during the group crit the comment was made that the graduated warp contained too much yellow and my mood board hadn’t been alterd to reflect this and it bugs me, because it’s true!
Looking back on the collection now, nealry nine moths after they were submitted, I think some are nice, but some are meh. The stripes of silk and wiool didn’t distoprt as much as I had hoped in that bottom sample. But I still love the random stripe and the top left sample on the bottom board, that has all weft completed in a high twist yarn with some weft floats, is so bouncy that I love it. I think though, that next time I try weft floats I’ll use a closer sett and tlet the wool really pull in to full nicely!