Monday, March 16, 2009

Hot Off the Loom: First Twill Sampler

Things I like about samples.....
  • Quick on and off the loom
  • No worries about selvedges, treadling errors, uneven beat
  • Learn a lot and move on

I'm comparing point twill and straight twill in both threading and treadling. Plus, the exercise in Learning to Weave asks that you use 5 yarns:
  • Regular size
  • Thick
  • Thin
  • Bumpy
  • Variegated

Thank goodness for the yarn table at the New Hampshire Weavers Guild, where I purchased the warp and three of the wefts for this project.

The green yarn is cotton that has been dyed somewhat unevenly. It doesn't look especially uneven on the cone, but in the sample the slight differences in the green really stand out. And not in a good way I'm thinking.

This blue cotton slub has some very thick bits. To me, using it in this twill looks awkward and bumpy and primitive. There are probably some weave structures where these yarns could look good together....but in this case I think the structure and the yarn are fighting with each other.

For my thin yarn, I'm using 20/1 linen singles. At the start of this section I couldn't figure out the beat. I ended up beating it twice with the shed open, and then again with the shed closed to pack it in tight. This piece of the sample is very stiff, but I like how the linen and cotton slub look together - even if it's hard to see in pictures.

This bumpy yarn is Lion Brand Homespun left over from a charity knitting project. It's also variegated. The yarn looks surprisingly good woven. The variegation doesn't totally overshadow the twill.

This last yarn is variegated cotton left over from my days as a Big Sister (in the Big Brothers / Big Sisters program). My little sis and I made Easter eggs by coating this string in some kind of fabric stiffener, then wrapping it around a balloon. After it dried, we popped the balloons. This was years ago! Probably before I had a digital camera - so no pictures, sorry.

Anyway, the variegation in this yarn overshadows the twill design. All I see when I look at this are the Easter egg stripes, not the twill pattern. (Especially looking at it in real life, as opposed to in this close-up photo.)

Project Details:

Project Plan: Twill draft based on drawdown in Deborah Chandler's Learning to Weave pg. 135.

Warp : White Cotton Slub
Weft: Various yarns described above.

Sett: 18 epi (2-1-2-1 threads per dent in a 12 dent reed)
PPI: Green: 22, Blue 16, Linen 38, Lion Brand 12, Easter Egg 25
Total warp ends: Approximately 60

Width on loom: 3.5 inches (9 cm)
Length on loom: 13 inches (33 cm)

Finishing: Cut, tie a quick fringe.

What I learned:
  • Bumpy yarn often competes with a twill pattern making it disappear, or look more primitive.
  • Variegated yarn sometimes competes with a twill pattern, also causing it to almost disappear.
  • Subtle differences in dyeing can be more pronounced when using that yarn as weft.
  • It is really hard for me to get into any kind of weaving groove with a table loom.
What I loved about this project:
  • Samples: so quick and easy!
  • Interesting to see how the yarns interacted!
  • I could see that Easter egg yarn becoming something really cute.
  • Great having a table loom handy so I didn't have to disrupt my other weaving to do this sample
  • My favorite look was the linen with the white cotton warp.

Now I'm hoping to get one more sampler on and off this loom before I use it for a workshop in April!!

Related posts:

Start of this project: Learning to Like Twill


Debbie said...

Your twills look wonderful, my favorite is the green! I weave baskets (hopefully soon I can get my hands on a loom) and I love to weave twills. Some of them are more appreciated from a distance. Keep up the good work! I am loom weaving through you!!! For now, all I can do is dream! (and read your blog!)

OzWeaver said...

Wonderful sampling experience, and you have learned a lot and shared a lot with the rest of us!

You already have more crocuses than I can that be? I'm in NJ and you're in NH!


Janet said...

The samples look great! If you're interested in having another go at twill samples, try a twill gamp - I did one years ago and learned TONS. Still use some of the structures I "discovered" all the time.

Life Looms Large said...

Thanks for any and all sampler compliments!! I have to push myself to do samplers....because my natural inclination is to make something I like.

Fortunately, the book I'm following branches out into a couple of actual objects.....not just samples. So I'm looking forward to that!

The trick of my crocuses is that they're planted in the first place in our yard where snow melts. They're actually in the middle of a patch of mud, and only look good in extreme closeup in the camera. So don't be jealous!!! There are 8 or more inches of snow within 10 feet of those flowers!!

I've seen some of those twill gamps in various blogs. We'll have to see how long I can make myself weave twill!! It is a good idea though!

Thanks for commenting!!!


Leigh said...

Wonderful samples Sue. Very interesting how they turned out and what you learned from the whole project. Great experimenting.

I've never woven on a table loom, but I can see how it would be difficult to develop a rhythm.

bspinner said...

What a great reference!! Thanks for sharing all this information with us.

artemis said...

Thanks for all the great info you past onto us! I'm finding it really helpful and interesting too. I really like the white linen sample, lovely!!!

Peg in South Carolina said...

Yes, samples are fun to weave and they can be addictive. They are especially good for beginners because beginners can just have fun instead of worrying that what they are weaving is not going to turn out perfectly (whatever perfectly means!!) What book are you using?

Life Looms Large said...

Fortunately, as I weave more on the table loom, I'm getting better at keeping track of where I am. (Still vastly prefer a floor loom though!)

Artemis, your twill scarves are so-o-o-o much nicer than these twill samples!

My addictions definitely don't include samples! I can barely make myself do them....whether it's to design something, or just to learn. I am trying to follow Chandler's "Learning to Weave" and my samples so far are from that book.


Theresa said...

Stick with it, they look great. You can even cut the sample down the center, finish the edges and do wet
finishing on one and leave the other "unfinished" to compare and see how the fibers respond.

Chris Stusek said...

Great samples! I really like the variegated homespun, it looks soft. Samples are something I should do more of. An art teacher I once had said Art I make should have a functional purpose. Very hard to get over that. I would be weaving and thinking what can I use this for? You are very inspiring.

sheilabythebeach said...

What fun to see someone learning along the same lines as myself, thank you for sharing with everyone what you learned from an exercise. And even if you don't like twill, isn't it a thrill to see it emerge in the weaving??? Oh, look what *I'm* doing! - Like that!

Frida said...

The samples look great! Making samples can be so fun, cause it's just possible to try so many things in a short time.

Donatella said...

oh, I think I recognize that twill!
I love your samples - it's incredible how each yarn gives you a different result, and increase the knowledge for the next project.
Keep up the good work!