May 22


Virtual Stash Tour + Mini Stash

By janet

May 22, 2020

live videos, stash, wal, wwjd

The calm before the storm, when I still thought things would go smoothly. HA!

Ho boy! Last night I did a live Virtual Stash Tour on Facebook and then the folks who participated helped pick out a mini-stash for my friend and guild-mate Kate d’Ettore. Kate wants to do the Weave-along that Tien Chiu and I are organizing (more about this in the next post, I promise, but for the time being you can sign up to get more info here!) for which she needs a stash.

Kate is a yarn whisperer — an amazing knitter and pattern designer, a beautiful seamstress, a fabulous spinner — but a fairly new floor loom weaver. Like many weavers these days she started out with a rigid heddle loom and for that her knitting and spinning stash were just fine. A year ago she got a floor loom (an 8S Mighty Wolf – never one to start small, Our Kate) and hasn’t yet built up much of a weaving stash yet. Enter the peanut gallery (three other guildmates of ours: Donna, Sandra, and Kari) and the Virtual Tour last night.

Kate’s final mini-stash in colour…
…and in black and white so you can see the value contrast.

I’ve done some live videos on FB before but they’ve been low key. This time I got FANCY and created an event ahead of time (so fancy!) and shared it to a couple of groups I’m in, plus Tien shared it with her Warp & Weave peeps. Which meant that over 100 people watched and listened and helped me and the peanuts pick out a mini stash for Kate — AND witnesses my many technical malfunctions live. SO FANCY! (Next time, I hope to be less fancy.)

You can watch the video on my Facebook page, or right here:

A couple of people mentioned pictures during the video – my friend Julie sent one of a Kaffe Fassett needlepoint that matched the colours in the mini stash we picked out really well, and my guildie (and also friend!) Kari sent one of chenille that had wormed out of its fabric. Here they are:

As I rewatched the video (with my hands over my face, between the cracks in my fingers), I realized that in spite of my best efforts I missed (or misunderstood) some questions as they went by. I hate leaving people with lingering questions, so I’ll answer the ones I know I missed(understood) below.

There were also a bunch of good questions about the physical properties of different yarns and considerations for using them that I DID address, but it’d take a long time to watch through the whole video to find them, so I’ll include them below too – you can see the time stamps so that’s the spot to go to in the video to see what I said. (The questions about the Weave-along in particular I’ll leave for the next post but you can get more info about that right here right now.)

If you’ve got more, please ask them in the comments below!

Linn McDonald · 22:29 I only have rigid heddle but this yarn choosing exercise is very helpful even if I can’t participate

Linn, even though the official WAL draft is for 4 or 8 shaft rosepath, you can definitely still participate! A TON of the information about colours and the physical properties of yarn is independent of structure and will be useful to you no matter what kind of loom you have!

Sharon Waddell · 29:51 I love the goose turd green silk

Okay, this wasn’t a question, but can I just say that “Goose Turd Green” is my new favourite colour name? Alas, the yarn in question was wool instead of silk, so it didn’t make the cut.

Marilyn Haas · 37:05 if these are older yarns do they break easily?

This is addressed in the video. Short answer: it’s always a good idea to test for tensile strength whether the yarns are old or not. Hold several strands of the yarn together with your hands maybe 3′ apart and give a tug. If they break easily even in multiples, that’s a yarn to avoid using as warp!

Chris DeRose-Chiffolo · 43:06 Can you mix the chenille with the cottons, etc? worming??

Part of this is addressed in the video and part will be addressed in the WAL and the course. Two short answers:

You can mix anything together if you’re unconcerned by the fact that things might shrink differently and cause a sort of crazy quilt of widths, textures, etc. For a scarf, that might be a really cool result! If you’re trying to avoid that scenario, though, it’s best to stick to combinations that will behave similarly when wet finished and have a similar degree of stretch while weaving.

As for chenille, the critical thing is to make sure it doesn’t have space to move around in, whether that space is caused by sett or by floats in the structure, because chenille that can move tends to worm. Acrylic and rayon chenille will worm more than cotton chenille, but all chenille should be sett more closely than the overall size of the yarn would suggest, and it’s best used in plain weave or other structures that interlace frequently so that it doesn’t have a chance to wiggle around. Another helpful trick is to combine it with yarns that have a lot of grippy texture of their own which will help lock the chenille in place. If you do that, a somewhat looser sett may still be safe. As with anything else in weaving, the only way to be certain of getting the result you want is to sample.

Judy Kavanagh · 45:35 What does worming mean?

“Worming” refers to chenille’s tendency to wiggle its way out of fabric. Long loops of the yarn stick out and then ply back onto themselves like wee little twisted fringes. Those are the “worms”. There’s a picture up above of what this looks like.

Marilyn Haas · 47:33 to prevent worming could you put rayon thread in between?

This is addressed in the video. Short answer: unless that rayon thread was very textured, I don’t think that would help. Rayon is slippery and wouldn’t provide any grip. When combining a chenille with a smooth rayon, you’d need to rely on sett and structure to keep the chenille in place.

Melanie Drake · 50:41 so use a close sett if your doing an all chenile plain weave?

Plain weave has the most interlacement of any structure, so you could use a more open sett in plain weave than you would in e.g. twill.

Melanie Drake · 53:16 can you mix cotton and rayon chenille?

I responded to this in the video, but realized later that Melanie probably meant “can you combine cotton chenille and rayon chenille” which isn’t what I talked about.

Yes, you can. With all the caveats about mixing fibres with different stretchiness or shrinkiness PLUS the caveats related to chenille.

We’ll be talking about stretchiness and shrinkiness in an evenly mixed warp in the WAL, and in a striped warp in the class.

Judy Kavanagh · 1:03:26 Will the sett vary across the warp with the different weight yarns?

I answered this in the video. Short answer: in the WAL we’ll be doing a mixed warp, so the sett will be consistent across the warp (and approximately the average of the appropriate sett for each thread in twill). For a striped warp, the sett might well vary across the warp.

Chris DeRose-Chiffolo · 1:03:54 That would affect the pattern consistency, yes? Might be interesting-

I discuss this in the video. Short answer: varying thicknesses of warp threads and/or changing he sett across the web may well deflect the twill diagonals from a straight line into curves. Fun!

One last thing: a bunch of people have asked on FB and by email about the webbing on the front of my blue crates. I’ll write a blog post about that soon!

Thanks so much to everyone who managed to find me last night in spite of the technical difficulties, who stuck with it in spite of the seasickness, and who asked questions and helped pick out yarns for Kate!

If you have further questions about anything that came up during the video or any ideas for future live videos I might do, PLEASE comment and let me know!

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  1. I love this video for so many reasons. The stories our stash tells. The potential we see in these yarns and the inspiration it creates. You set such a great example by keeping yoursense of humor through technical difficulties and forging ahead in spite of imperfection! But most of all the teamwork with your wingman- the two of you are such a team. I got to meet you both at the Folk School (so much learned at your Overshot class) and lovelier people cannot be found.

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