Tuesday, 5 August 2008

A small cotton chenille sampler

After my twill sample blanket was off the loom, I had a couple more metres of warp to use. I'd been quite generous with allowing extra - the sample blanket is 3m long, loom waste on my Toika Norjanna requires 1.5m and I'd made a warp of 6m just in case anything went badly wrong and so there was plenty to play with.

After a couple of days of thinking about trying different patterns, or a different colour weft, I just picked up the nearest interesting yarn which was a cotton chenille from Traub (via Fibrecarfts, UK stockist of Traub yarns).

It's a white yarn, and my warp for the sample blanket is a natural cotton (nearly white) with a couple of green threads diving the different weave threadings. White on white was not going to show the patterns the same as the blue weft I used before, but I wanted to explore texture, so white was going to be fine.

I wove the first 9 sections of Janet's twill sample again, which include plain weave, 2/2 twill, point twill, 3/1 and 1/3 twill. Then I wove a couple of patterns from later on in her sampler - bedford cord and a weft faced rib.

The result was at least as interesting as expected, and has a lovely soft towel feel. Close up there's some very interesting textures. I thinking now about weaving patterned towels with coloured chenille (or whtie plus coloured bands) on a warp of either the 2/6 cotton (which works very well) or a cotton/linen yarn.

The textures look a little like soft snowfall over fields or the garden, you know that soft bumpy look as it lies over plants, hiding them from view?

It feels so soft, this is the first time I've woven anything soft to touch and I love it.

I'm now winding a warp for a colour and weave sampler, in the same 2/6 natural and royal blue cottons I used for Janet's sample blanket. But I thought you'd like a peak at the colourful yarns I have lined up for the following project, which will be a sampler to look at colour interactions.

The following pictures are for Peg. I think I was astounded to discover how low humidity is where Peg lives as she was to discover how high it is in Derbyshire, England. I just checked our humidity meter, it is 82% at the moment. It has been fairly cool today, only 15.3 degrees centigrade when I went out just before 1 p.m. today. We did get temperatures up in the mid 20s last week, when the sun shone for a few consecutive days, but on the whole this has been a cool, wet summer.

We live on the west side of the southern end of the Pennine chain of hills that run like a spine down the centre of northern England. Much of our weather comes from the west. The prevailling winds blow air from the Atlantic across the Cheshire plain and then the air reaches our hills and is forced to rise (we live at around 700 feet above sea level.) As it rises, the air cools and there is condensation. Similar climates are found in Ireland and Wales, western Scotland, New Zealand and Japan.

Hence this view from my window one morning last week, fairly typical weather:

We were in the clouds that day, so it was misty, and raining as well.

This photo (above) is one I took last October. This was a morning that started hazy, with cloud resting down in the valley (sometimes we are in sunshine, looking down on the cloud). The sun is coming through now and the haze is evaporating, later on it would be a clear, sunny day.

The following pictures are all taken when I was out on walks in summer 2005 in the Peak District National Park (all within about 10 miles of home).


Leigh said...

Lovely photos! Reminds me of the scenery from the "All Creatures Great and Small" series. :)

I'm really interested in the cotton chenille. I've heard it's wonderful for weaving towels so I am tempted to get some and try it. I love the textures. They make the white interesting!

Peg in South Carolina said...

Thank you for posting those lovely pictures. I know they are not the Cotswolds but we are planning a trip there next May, and you have certainly whetted my appetite. I did know that England is damp, which is part of what makes many parts of it such an ideal place for gardens. But also so many of the 19th century novels mention the "damp" and people dyeing from the damp cold. All this before central heat and air conditioning, of course. The humidity in the south here is really quite high in the summer--80-90% much of the time with upper 90's not uncommon. Combine this with temperatures hovering around 100 degrees fahrenheit..... But the air conditioning drives down not only the temperature, but the humidity even more. Without humdifiers we couldn't keep the house above 20% in the summer.

Geodyne said...

The chenille looks simply amazing. You're inspiring me - I can picture some absolutely luscious handtowels for the bathroom using this.

By the way, I bought Janet's book based on your recommendation. I've been overwhelmed by how useful and itneresting it is. I only have four projects to run through the loom before I can start playing with the blanket, but I'm already making plans!

Anonymous said...

I love the chenille - agree with geodyne. I have some chenille that is going to be a plain weave scarf - what is a good epi? I wrapped around a stick - looks like 8-10 - does that sound right?

BTW - pictures are gorgeous! You are so lucky to live in a beautiful space!

Dorothy said...

Hi Jerseygirl, the warp is 2/6 cotton at 20 epi, the cotton chenille is working out about 20 ppi - but varies depending on the particular weave structure, i.e. the weft rib pattern packs in more picks.

This chenille is a Traub yarn, other chenilles may be different and need a different thickness of warp thread. I have a sample of cotton chenille from William Hall & Co. which is a significantly thinner yarn.

Your chenille is probably very similar to mine, as I wrap it at 8 threads to an inch on my ruler, but remember the core of the yarn is much narrower than the full width, so it behaves like a thinner yarn.

I haven't tried chenille as warp, only in weft. Have fun with your weaving!