Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Breaking the Rules

Because handweaving takes a long time to set up and get going there are only so many rules you can break. Or rather .... handweaving is a series of endless experiments and it is easy to break rules and never get a repeatable result, or for that matter, anything. Chenille is not an easy yarn to weave with. The best advice is not to create weaving patterns with more than two "floats" , maybe a three float maximum. A float is the number of warp or weft yarns that skip over the neighboring yarn(s). If you want to have a weave pattern that has longer floats you should use a "tie down" weft. That could be weaving a shot of tabby with a different yarn, end over end, between the thicker or more important weft. Done with a finer weft you can still see the pattern and you keep the chenille in control. This requires a 2nd shuttle and greatly slows the weaving speed. The problem with floats and chenille is the dreaded "worming" or looping of the chenille on the surface of the cloth. The "worms" can come out right away after wet-finishing or the "worms" can come out after the cloth is handled or worn. Not good. Chenille "worms" make for unhappy customers and handwoven chenille products can have a bad reputation, but not just from "worms". Unraveling chenille fringe is another pecadillo.

Still I break rules. My current weave pattern has 4 end floats with chenille, no tie-down weft. I completed finished one scarf and went traveling with it and so far it is "worm free". I think this is due to the fact that my warp is made up of the thick and thin rayon and some cotton yarns. The texture and weights of the yarn are controlling the chenille and I am only weaving the one pattern. Sometimes "worms" pop up between weaving pattern changes. So much for my theories and the unrepeatable warp that I have on the loom now.  My rotary temples are working very well. I have lots of chenille in some amazing colors. I weave on.

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