Playing with the fan reed, part II

Some time later, I decided to try the fan reed on a Morse shawl warp.

I had a white cotton warp, on which I had woven some pastel-coloured shawls using linen singles for weft. So I re-sleyed to the fan reed, decided to stay with the linen weft.

As usual, I started with the bottom layer. All was ok.

Started the top layer. All was ok. Or...? I realized I could not see the left selvedge of the bottom layer. Of course, I can never see the left selvedge of the bottom layer - but for a straight selvedge this is not a problem. However, with the fan reed - when the selvedge begins to widen, you have to allow for that by leaving the weft slightly slacker...
Oh well, it was an experiment, after all.

Soon the web reached the breast beam. As usual with the fan reed, the cloth makes small folds where the wider parts (where the "fan" makes the web wider due to the more open dentage) have to be accomodated to the narrower parts.
Would that become a problem?

To make the message connected to the experiment, I had chosen "wriggling". And wriggle it did! To get the best wriggles, I found I had to move the reed every 10 picks (10 per layer, that is). I also found I had to advance the web at the same rate. So I wove 10 picks, advanced the web one or two "clicks", moved the reed, wove 10 picks...

The tension problems I had anticipated did not occur (or maybe I did not notice them - the fell looked all wriggly, too)

When it came off the loom it looked... like this. The bottom left selvedge wasn't a total disaster, but not very good either. Many folds, and sharp. Well, it was good enough to finish, anyway.

Fringes done, wet-finishing not.

Done - fringed, washed, pressed.

A detail of the bottom left selvedge (that was bottom left on the loom, that is!) - it could be better!

But... all of a sudden this occurred to me: it is always said, about knitted pieces in museums, that they have "evened out" by time. All knitted pieces look more than perfect - but "don't despair - they probably knitted with uneven tensio, too - it has evened out by time". And I have always been reassured by this - maybe my knitting will look perfect in a hundred years time, too.
And, as if this is not enough, myself, I have always said that minor unevenness in woven pieces will come out with successive launderings.
So what happens if I combine these thoughts with a fan-woven shawl in plain weave?
Will the wriggles still be there, in a hundred years? Or should it have been woven in a gauze structure, to better lock the warp/weft intersections?
Does this mean I have to put this shawl in every wash I ever do for the next, what?, year, 5 years, 10 years to find out?

And - even more important: is it interesting enough to bother with? I can't decide...


Playing with the fan reed, part I

I bought my fan reed after having seen some very interesting upholstery fabric.

To get "waves" from the fan reed you have to change the height of the reed in certain intervals, forcing the warp to change postion. As I have a traditional Swedish countermarche loom with a traditional hanging beater, that was not very difficult to achieve. The swords already had a number of holes with which to adjust the height of the beater. I drilled a few more holes, with a hazy idea that I'd be able to "fine tune" the changes.

Below are pictures of the reed in its highest and lowest positions.

After some not very successful samples I decided to try a combination of cotton and horsehair, making a couple of sun screens.
First, I had the idea that it would be "interesting" if I shifted the reed in some irregular fashion, making irregular waves, so to speak.

Apart from not liking the irregularity very much, once the piece was off the loom, I also found I had beat it very loosely.

So, for the next piece, I a) counted the picks between each moving of the reed, and b) concentrated of the beat. I found that the fan reed needs a lot harder beat than what feels "natural" - not very strange, if you think about it: the sett is an average of 10 ends per cm, but in reality it varies from more than double to less than half. And of course you have to beat according to "more than double".

I also had to find some system to remember if the reed was on its way up or down. It was not as easy to see as I had thought... And it soon became apparent that the "sweet spot" was very short. I ended up making 20 picks, change the reed position AND moving the warp forward 2 "clicks", 20 more picks AND 2 clicks and so on.
AND concentrating on the beat, all the time.

The two sunscreens side by side - I sure know which one I like!
- oh, and the clear stripes are fishing line.


The sequinned chair

- a double weave with pockets including sequins

The chair itself is a sister to the one with text - all four sisters can be seen here.

So: the fabric was meant for upholstery, with pockets including glittering objects (in this case ordinary plastic sequins). Thus, the base cloth had to be "the same" in the pocket areas as in the plain areas - which made me do the pockets with a supplementary warp/weft.

I wanted to create a structure that showed the stitching of the supplementary threads as little as possible on the face of the cloth. To see the result better I chose to use different colours for the pocket warps/wefts. The sample and detail pictures shows that the construction worked fairly well.

When wet finishing the sample I learned that plastic sequins do not like a hot wash – they loose their sparkle. They also do not like a hot press – they get flat and sticky enough to adhere to the fabric.

The final cloth was wet finished at a lower temperature, and was mangled rather than pressed.

Note: I often use several colours when constructing a weave just to make it easier to see the structure(s).

Below is the draft, and a picture of the sample.