Typically this time of year, I am knee deep in dye pots. Well not really, I don’t dye myself, just yarn, but truth be told, there isn’t anymore room to put dyed yarn, even though I’ve amassed an embarrassing amount of yarn that needs to be dyed. Even last year, with a broken shoulder in a sling, I figured out how to lift heavy dyepots and rinse yarn.
But this year, it didn’t seem like the thing to do, since I have to use what I’ve already dyed, which is in the works…(at least in my head). Meanwhile, I have a large basket of the leftover mohair that didn’t get used for the blanket extravaganza last year. Many of the colors weren’t appealing, a white, bright pink, and a purple that just didn’t appeal to me.
In addition, I had a few undyed skeins of soy Chenille a friend gave me way too many years ago. These are skeins I had already dyed. Too many years ago…
Both mohair and Soy are protein fibers, so need acid dyes, I decided to make use of my crock pot (the one in the studio, not the one in the kitchen) and toss in some of the not exciting colors of mohair and a skein or two of soy chenille with some random acid dyes I have in my small stash. Mostly I use fiber reactive dyes, since I dye mostly cellulosic yarns, but I spent a few mornings winding skeins, mixing dyes into some pleasing color, and having fun.
I calculated really carefully, (well almost, I did make one stupid mistake, but nobody died!) and came up with a warp based on the yarns I had dyed, and some black mohair in the basket.
I wound multiple chains and tied them onto the front beam to get ready to sley the reed.
I threaded the mohair…
And I beamed the mohair, easiest warp I ever put on. I decided because the mohair was so sticky, that I would place the tensioning rods above and below instead of in a shed, which worked swimmingly well, and I beamed onto the lower warp beam which was a sectional. I had the six yards on in about 20 minutes.
This warp is a bit narrower than the blankets, 38″ in the reed, I had thought shawls, but I may just end up weaving the whole thing as yardage. Because that is what I do!
Meanwhile, I’ve mentioned before that I have 49 shaft looms in the studio. 15 are small Structos reserved for an Annual Learn to Weave class through my guild, and anybody local who wants to come hang for the day and try their hand. Another 15 are being restored and prepared with various structures, partly for self exploration, partly because I can take them outside in the summer to weave (which I never seem to do) and partly because it would be cool to do a round robin with my guild where participants rotate through various structures. I’m learning a lot from this exercise, and am prepping another 8 shaft Structo for a Summer Winter study, exploring different surface textures by adjusting the tie-down sequence, something that makes Summer Winter pretty cool. It is a variation on a draft I got when I studied with Madelyn van der Hoogt, but I cut it down and adapted it to an 8″ wide Structo with 20/2 cotton.
Meanwhile, I had a few cones of a painted looking chenille in three colorways, one of my monthly purchases from Peter Patchis Yarns. That place is addictive. Or rather the once a month email. I typically just get one of everything.
And I have about 6 oversized cones of a black tweed chenille from Silk City Fibers bought from their outlet back in the day. Discontinued color? I have a lot of it. It is in the upper left in the photo above.
So I decided to figure out something to do with the chenille, I don’t typically weave chenille yardage, just was never my thing, considering the history of rayon chenille way back into the early 1980’s. It just wasn’t my look. But hey, there were these cones calling to me, that didn’t fit on the shelf, so off they went into calculation land.
I wound the warp…
…sleyed the reed…
…threaded the chenille…
…and then beamed the chenille. I think another 6 yards? Sounds like a nice round number. I calculated carefully to use up the Peter Patchis chenille, using the Black Tweed from Silk City as the dark in a light/dark alternating patterning.
And I started to weave. I wish I could see more of the pretty painted colors of the chenille, but chenille has to be sett dense so it doesn’t work its way out of the fabric, and so the subtleties of the colors are lost. But still, this fabric is gorgeous.
I mentioned that 30 of my 49 shaft looms are spoken for, but that leaves 19 others. My goal this winter, or what’s left of it, was to get what was naked warped up with something fun. 5 of the looms have warps that my daughter is working on, and one of the naked 12 shaft looms is also hers. Now that I have the looms with the mohair yardage and the chenille log cabin set up, I have plans for my 8 shaft Macomber, (some of those dyed yarns perhaps), and one of the naked table looms. (A Zanshi fabric from my tied together thrums.) That will leave only three more looms for me to figure out what to do with, since the rest are all warped up with interesting projects. Then I can just weave… and weave… and weave. (I failed to mention the half dozen or so inkle looms with projects on them, mostly set up for teaching, but I can definitely clear them as well…)
Perhaps I shall clear a loom a week…
Stay tuned for more winter adventures…
I don’t have as many looms but I enjoy using different ones. I have 10 5 are floor looms 2 table looms and various others.
I love that log cabin fabric, it’s one of those ones that you can just let your eyes wander along it looking at all the color variation, very soothing.
FYI, you can use fiber reactive dyes as acid dyes on protein fibers, just use vinegar/citric acid instead of soda ash. I try not to use blues this way as I had bleeding in my test samples, but the other colors work great for me and I use them interchangeably.
I love everything I’ve ever seen you weave. I wish I had your eye for color choices. Is it something that can be learned or just born in you?
Where do you get the tensioning rods?
You go girl! Wow! Wish it was easier to get to my looms! They are surrounded by dining room furniture and it is a challenge stepping over and around stuff to get seated! Until we get countertops in the kitchen, I am in weaving limbo! Can’t get comfortable and so just weave 30 minutes at a time. When power went out last week, Fred and I slept in pure warmth under the wool and mohair queen blanket I wove 30+ years ago. I now call it the Uber-blanket!
Hello! maybe you remember many moons ago someone contacting you via email to help me assemble a tools of the trade loom that I was gifted in many many pieces and you so kindly took pictures of your loom and we exchanged emails several times so that I could successfully assemble my loom, I have always been grateful! You were instrumental in launching my weaving career!
I haven’t been on FB in a long time, seemed to have lost my mojo, but I’ve been working my way down your posts and can feel it coming back! You’re always such a motivator, love your posts!