17/11/2014

Picture perfect - but I forgot :-(



Meg (over here) called all weavers to publish "beauty shots" of something woven.

I decided to participate, but... I forgot. What can I say? Old age, other things to occupy my mind, or just hopelessly sloppy?

Anyway, too late or too late, here are my contributions:

A "sun screen" with cotton warp (fishing line for accent), horsehair weft, fan reed:


Scarves with differential shrinkage:




More differential shrinkage ('cos it photographs well... or, at least, looks interesting)




Even if I am too late, kudos to Meg, and get over too look at the other contributors! (link at top)

12/11/2014

Double damask?


Last year, when Laura and I were in Macclesfield, England, we saw a small piece of cloth described as "double-sided damask", also said to be "the same technique as used for cloth of gold". I had never heard of "double-sided damask" - to my mind, the nature of damask is to be double-sided. Jean gave me a tip: Murphy's "A Treatise on the Art of Weaving" (1824), but it is too complicated for me to understand. (Yes, I *have* tried several times :-) So I just dropped the problem, after all we have all seen strange labels in museums, yes?

However, yesterday someone posted a link to an article in NYT (or something), I went on from there and landed on the site of Thomas Ferguson Irish Linen - and they have a definition of "double damask" (link goes to the definition of "ordinary" damask, but both come up on the same screen).

I'm copying some of the text, and want discussion:
Linen damask is a figured fabric made from one warp and one weft in which, generally, warp-satin and weft-sateen weaves interchange. Twill or binding weaves are sometimes introduced.

I have no problems with this - sounds like "ordinary" damask, which incidentally is double-sided, or maybe I mean reversible.

But:
What is the difference between Linen Damask and Linen Double Damask?

Double damask is different from ordinary damask in that it has a lower warp thread count than weft thread count; this allows a dense high thread count fabric to be produced, as the weft yarns are beat up tight in the fabric. However, it is a much more expensive way of weaving because it takes longer to weave a given length of fabric. Also, to allow this dense packing of yarn a looser twill weave is used than in ordinary damask.

(there is some more text, but this will have to do for now. You can always use the link above)

So: ordinary damask is a warp-faced structure contrasted with the same structure, only weft-face, regardless of "thread count" or "balance" (same # of ends and picks) - but double damask is UN-balanced? And therefore better, because it has more picks than ends? And it is (always?) woven in twill? Because twill is a "looser weave" than satin? Huh?

Further down, they mention that they use finer yarns for the double damask, which gives better pattern definition. I am OK with that, of course finer yarn give better definition, but...

Another quote:
As stated earlier, to allow the dense packing of yarn, a looser twill weave is used when weaving double damask than in ordinary damask. This requires a high thread count to stabilise the fabric. With a low thread count this was not the case.
These poorly made fabrics were sub standard, and normal damask was in many instances a better buy. This forced the hand of the Irish Linen Guild and they brought in a minimum thread count for double damask.

(Unfortunately, the Irish Linen Guild does not tell what kind of counts they used for their definitions - at least I can't find them.)

Conclusion: still confused, perhaps more than before (when I could still blame the museum label).

Or: can it be another of these different culture, different language things again?
I sometimes discuss fabrics with my neighbour, the cloth merchant: he is a textile engineer, trained in industry. We can usually (but not always) agree on plain weave, but in industry there are (apparently) so many more parameters in industry a "trade name". (Edit to make sense!)
Sometimes they (he) use a structure name when they mean to include a lot more information: fibre content, weight...
And sometimes they use a structure name for something quite different: "cord" comes to mind. At least here I Sweden a "cord" in a fabric shop is what we weavers usually call "corduroy".
In the UK, a "corded silk" (at least in conjunction with academic dress) is typically a warp rep, very seldom woven of silk. (Yes, I have analysed a piece, and burnt it.)

05/11/2014

Words and their meaning

or: can a dictionary ever be enough?

This is going to be difficult - trying not only to write in English, but also trying to understand whether cultural differences also influence the meaning of seemingly easy words.

I have been hanging out on different internet forums since '96 (I think) - most of them using English as the common language, most of them with a majority of participants from north America.

"Today I bought a [used] spinning wheel, which is not complete." A simple enough sentence, one can think. Until the next sentence: "It doesn't have a drive band".
While I agree that a spinning wheel has to have a drive band to function, it has never occurred to me to call an, especially "used", wheel without a drive band "not complete": a drive band for a spinning wheel is just a piece of string. (Simplifying here; I do own a wheel that needs a special plastic band in the exactly correct length)

Thus, I now understand that "complete" can have different meanings. Is that because of the different cultures, or because of the different individuals involved?

On to the next word. "I am restoring this new-to-me-loom - it isn't complete, so I'm going to buy a reed."
I (the Swede) understand "restore" (in conjunction to things, such as spinning wheels and looms) to mean essentially "repair", "mend". The first online definition I find says "bring back (a previous right, practice, custom, or situation); reinstate", and the first 8 synonyms are "reinstate, return, repair, reinvigorate, regenerate, mend, restitute, reconstruct".
Not one of these words indicate (to me) "buying a reed", ie get a piece of equipment that, while being essential to the functionality of the item, is something not "native" to it. There are so many different reeds out there that I would never consider using (and many of mine that a rug weaver would never consider using) that to me it becomes apparent that a reed is not "native" to a loom.

I have come to understand that "restore" is another word with many different meanings. Cultural differences or individual? (I'm not talking about sawing off a rotten piece of wood, to replace it with a sound piece, here.)

Or - a "principle": to measure a warp. Whether it is done by using a mill or a board (or a myriad other "methods" used around the world) is a question of "method". Or?

I have written about "weave structure language" before, here and here, so now I will only include five "very different" tieups.


Question of the week: are they different, really?


















16/10/2014

Fanning for the future?


Before I had discussed fan-reed ideas with Pat, it had not even occurred to me to strive for straight edges. I mean - when you can do curvy, when in fact the whole idea is to make curves, why not do curvy edges as well? Oddly enough, Pat said the same, only opposite: fabric, whatever the use, should always have straight edges.

So I cooked up something radically different (from what I had tried previously): an advancing point threading with an advancing treadling - neither threading nor treadling "evening" with the reed:


To accomplish straight edges one has to sley from one "middle-of-the-fan" to another "middle-of-the-fan". With my reed that means the warp has to be offset a bit. As there are 26 dents/fan, and I sley double, I made the colour code on the draft above (click to biggify!):
from the right, from start to first red line, the 26 ends go in the half-fan; next fan gets 52 ends (to second red); from second red to first yellow, from first yellow to second; from second yellow to first green... I simply ended where I had the last half-fan filled.

The treadling repeat is 40 picks, I move the reed every 10 picks, and use 6 positions. This means the reed movements/treadle sequence do not coincide until after 8 complete reed movements.

Finally, I had found something that looks promising on the loom! In my experience, all fanned cloth looks streaky on loom - so did this:


After fringeing, wet-finishing including pressing and mangling, it looks like this:


Most (but not all) weft streaking evened out with wet finishing, and the edges are tolerably straight.
But something funny happened when it was still damp: I was pressing, and dragged it along the ironing board. Look what happened:


My first thought was that I had somehow "ruined" the straight edges, but it was just a passing phenomenon. When it was completely dry, it stopped doing that.

Someone suggested a fabric like this could be a nice yardage, for a jacket maybe.
I like the thought, but have no idea what yarn to choose.
The reed is a nominal 50/10cm, which means the most open part is somewhere 3-3,5 dents per cm, the closest end has about 12 dents per cm. For this piece I used cotton 16/2, and it is a bit too open in the open parts, I'm afraid it will easily snag.
But with a thicker yarn... how would that work in the close parts?

A yarn with more tooth, like linen, would perhaps work better structurally - but my first (ever) sample had linen warp. It got cut off after many, many mended ends and some 30 cm. Maybe it would work with linen weft only?

Or should I try wool? With a carefully monitored fulling?

12/10/2014

It makes me sad

to learn that the National Guild is going to abandon the Weave of the month after five years. The reason is, I heard, lack of contributions.

This idea was mine to begin with. Or, to make the story somewhat longer: in 2004, my (then) guild decided to compile a calendar. The idea was not mine to begin with, but I ended up doing most of the layout work. The calendar was a success - we (almost) sold out at the Glimåkra days when we first presented it. (It can still be read online - follow the link above, then click on the pictures to see them bigger.)
After that success, we talked about doing it again, but somehow, it never happened. (Ours was a small guild, only about 30 members, of which some were not very active.)

A little later, I suggested that the National guild should add some "weaverly" content to the new website - like, perhaps, a monthly "weave" (could be a recipe, an idea, something inspiring weavers both new and old - and, perhaps, inspire more weavers to become members.) After lots of discussion the idea was turned down, with arguments from "nobody wants to share their secrets" to "but if it is 'open', why should ppl want to become members, as they get the benefit for free". (This last is a valid argument, it is always a thin line to walk: how much do we want to give away to "anybody" as compared to our members, who, after all, pay. Not always easy, to find a balance between "inspiration" and "free learning".)

Anyway, the idea took root, and 2010 the Weave of the Month started. As it was an idea from my guild, we took it rather too seriously - we (still only 30 members) contributed 4 weaves that first year. It was an immediate success, but the willingness to contribute was rather smaller than I had anticipated. With some persuasion and some more contributions from us, 2011 went by. For 2012, we agreed to publish several weaves from a handwritten notebook one of us owned - that saved 2012. (To see all contributions from us, look here.

Since then I have left he guild (for reasons mostly personal). And now I see that W-o-t-M is going to be abandoned. Apparently that first argument ("nobody wants to share their secrets") was so much more valid than I could ever had imagined. (The National Guild has some 1600 members total.)

It makes me sad that so many weavers do not want to share... sharing does not have to mean a complete "recipe", including colour numbers.

Some inspiration:

Wristwarmers, sewn from a piece of differentially shrunk fabric with fringes:

A dräll "flower". As I only have 16 shafts, it is constructed of five blocks of 1/2 twill. Note: the repeat ends at the red line(s).
What it can be used for?
Well - by expanding the blocks, and using fat yarn, it could perhaps be made into a rug?
Or, with fine linen (and several repeats), it could make a tablecloth? Or a towel?
Or...


29/09/2014

Doodling for Halloweave

Well, that is not the whole truth.

By February I have to have something for an exhibition. That something has to be hung from a dowel, it can be max 80 cm wide and 160 cm long. It can also be some 10-15 cm deep.
So of course I want to weave something with a little depth :-)

The first thing that came to mind was a three-layer structure with offset layer-crossings, sort of like this: (never mind the colours, I have to see what I am thinking, here)


But... if that is going to be hung from the top, it will fall to be all flat. (Unless: maybe some strategically placed wires? But then: would wires survive packing?)

So I thought that maybe the outer layer(s) can be made longer? That way there will always be some depth, admittedly not much.

Hm. *Could* the outer layers be made longer?

As my scanner is out to lunch I tried to do all this drawing on the 'puter. (As you can see, I wasn't entirely lucky, but I think I can understand what I mean, at least)
By some cutting and pasting I think I have it, sort of:


Of course, this would require three warp beams, but perhaps the third can be improvised?

New try, only requiring two beams (I think):


But the middle layer would not be visible. Is that a good or a bad idea?

So I tried yet another idea, where all layers would have their "length of fame":

(yes, I just "painted over" the old colour... it is but a sketch, after all)

... and I am back to three beams, again.

What this has to do with Halloweave? Oh, over at Weavolution Sarah started a "Halloweave House" about 3D weaving...

23/09/2014

The innards of one table-top mangle



(Sorry, the workshop is too narrow, and the assembled mangle is too heavy to move for just a "beauty shot")

This one is different from the one pictured here, in that it doesn't have a protector sheet. Instead, this one is made to just send the mangle goods through - if you want harder mangling, you will have to send it through again. (And, possibly again, and again...)

It came to me in need of some tinkering. Here are the pieces, "top-down":


When all the detachable pieces are taken out, what remains is the frame and the table (in two pieces, hinged to make it shallower. Under the front table, there is a "manual" and an admonition to store it safely:


On the right-hand side there is a gear of sorts, to make the bottom roller go faster than one wants to crank. (I had it off to clean it, but mounted it before I thought to take pictures)


Next, the bottom roller (the one with the gear and crank at the right-hand side) is dropped into place. The gears mesh with a bit of jiggling:


Then the top roller goes in, on top of the bottom one. The gears at the left-hand side mesh.


Two smallish pieces, one on each side, to press down on the top roller, go under the heavy cross piece. The spring just sits on top of the cross piece.


To complete the assembling, the top piece is put into place. It is fastened with 4 screws, two on each side.


(The whole shebang has five screws only - one for the bottom gear, and 4 to hold the top.)

To control the pressure, you use the top screw.

A detail shot of the "manual" (click to make bigger):


An attempt at translation:

Manual
Grease the wheel screw an all bearings. Turn the wheel screw to the right, to make the rollers press hard against each other.
The clothes should be folded with seams, buttons, monograms [embroidered, my note] to the inside. Let the rollers take the clothes over the whole width. The clothes should not be let to go around the rollers. The mangling ought to be done over the whole width of the rollers, that is not on one side only. Dents in the rollers that can occur because of seams, buttons etc will even out over time and will not impede the good [quality, working?] of the mangle.
When mangling is done, turn the wheel screw to the left.

Ystad [town is south Sweden] Foundry & Mechanical Workshop [ltd]

These old mangles are slightly simpler than a spinning wheel - and only marginally more complex than a traditional (Swe) loom (mechanically, that is). And they work as well...