Latest woven words
This last winter, I decided that the third of the chairs should have a horsehair fabric with text. (Why horsehair? Oh - tradfitional, expensive and - today - uncommon) (Why text? Oh - because I can...)
After consulting the upholsterer it was decided that the horsehair should go from front-to-back on the chair. I also decided that the words should be in English. (Why English? - oh, hoping for worldwide fame... more people understanding English than Swedish?)
I felt that blocky letters (like for instance Arial) was too, I don't know, sinple-looking? - and besides, whenever I can, I use Garamond.
Decided on the words: SEAT, BACK - but what to put on the back side of the chair? CHAIR was one obvious option.
To make the draft, I used PCW: wrote the words in different ways and sizes, saved them as .bmp files, imported to sketchpad in PCW. The first thing was to get a draft that could "write" all my words in max 14 blocks (as I have a 16-shaft loom).
I soon found that lower-case letters were more block-hungry than upper-case.
After some experimenting I decided on Garamond 14 - that gave me 13 blocks, which meant I could use the 14th to put in the exclamation marks. I wanted them to give the surface a more "rounded" apperarance.
But... this time total size was very important - the words had to fit the chair.
So - sample time. Being adventurous, I wound the whole warp, but wider (to have room for making the sett closer) and significantly longer (to have room for many amples). I used a thin 3-ply merc cotton of unknown number (looks approximately the same grist as 30/2 cotton) in several shades of bluish pink - lilac. For the pattern warp I used it doubled and sett it at 12 "working ends" per cm.
For the first sample I used the draft exactly as it was.
The height of the letters was ok, but they were waaay to wide - . I tested using black and also one of the warp yarns for tabby.
As horsehair fabric can shrink a lot when the tension is off (the stiff hairs will force the warp to do all the "undulating"), I let the fabric sit without tension for 24 hours before evaluating the sample. The shrinkage was only about 8%, which meant I could now start to calculate the actual length of my letters.
I had to shorten the design. The letters had to be made narrower, the A could be made to start "under" the C and so on. I shortened the pattern area about 20%, and also softened some of the blockiness.
Lots of "fixing" later, I could start to weave. One pick with three (and only three) hairs, tabby pick in black cotton. Next pick three (and only three) hairs, tabby.
This may be one of the slowest projects I have ever woven... but, if I may say so myself, the result was worth it!