May 23



By janet

May 23, 2020

stash, stash busting, weavealong

I had planned to do a cool series of posts leading up to “TA DA! WEAVEALONG!” but time and energy got away from me. (You think you’ve got all the time in the world ’cause your shop is closed but it turns out that going through a global pandemic takes a lot of energy, even when you’re one of the very lucky ones.) Not to mention that the Live Stash Tour the other day rather let the cat out of the bag so… here we are. Ta da!

“Here” being registration day for the Weavealong that Tien Chiu and I have been plotting and scheming over for the past six weeks. The idea is that weavers from all over will all choose yarn from their stashes (since we’re all stuck at home with the yarn we’ve got on hand) and weave a scarf. Sounds simple, huh? Except that we don’t know what YOU’VE got in your stash, so we don’t know what colours you’ve got, or what fibres your yarns are made of, or what size they are, which means we don’t know what sett they should be used at, or how many ends you need, or how they’ll look together, or whether they’ll work well together on the loom…

And we can’t figure that out, ’cause we’re not there in your stash, so YOU’LL have to figure that out.

THAT is what this weavealong is really about: us giving you the tools to figure that stuff out for yourself. How do you figure out if yarns will work well together? I’ll tell you! How do you wind the warp so that you don’t get into a big mess? I’ll tell you that, too! How much yarn do you need for a mixed warp scarf of YOUR chosen dimensions? I made you a calculator! How do you know whether colours will look good together, or whether your choices will showcase or obscure the twill? Tien’s will both tell you AND show you with the nifty new online tool she made to do just that!

Got Stash?

THAT is what this weavealong is really about:
Us giving you the tools to figure stuff out for yourself.

To help with planning (and in order to be able to take pictures and videos of the process), Tien and I have had a month long playdate been hard at work! Three times now, we’ve used Zoom to “shop my stash” together and pick out yarns I know will play well on the loom, in colours that showcase things Tien wants to demonstrate. She’ll say, “How ’bout a yellow?” and I run around collecting bright yellow, light yellow, buttery yellow, and metallic, then she pares down the selection to the best of the best.

This has been such a fun process that the third time I recorded the whole Zoom so you could be a fly on the wall and see how we do it. Alas, I had the wrong camera recording so the result was 30 minutes of Tien talking to a static wall of yarn and my disembodied voice asking “What about THIS [thing you can’t see]??”

(If you’re interested in the process and want to watch a different video, The Virtual Stash Tour/Mini Stash event the other day was sort of similar, except in that case the group wasn’t trying to nail down a collection of four colours to use in a warp but an entire mini stash for someone who doesn’t have her own yet.)

In place of the blooper reel video for the third warp, here are some pics of the second colour combo Tien and I put together, and the warp it turned into. SO PRETTY.

I put this warp on the loom and threaded it as 8 shaft rosepath with the colours/threads in random order. I tied up according to the drafts in the Project Specs for the Weavealong…

…and started weaving. I did ~3″ bands of a bunch of different wefts, then changed the tie up and wove some more, changed the tie up and wove some more, changed the tie up… You get the idea.

One of the things we’ll look at in the weave-along is the impact of the tie up on the density of the cloth. We’ll also be looking at how different tie ups blend the warp and weft colours more or less than others.

Then I cut off and rethreaded with the colours in a particular order (GNPRRPNGGGNPRRPN, if you’re curious), went back to the original 3/1/1/3 tie up, and cycled through a bunch of the colours again, changed the tie up, wove, etc. The results with the colours in a planned order were completely different – both from the random order samples and from each other.

This is the best example of the differences. The top fabric is using the 3/1/1/3 tie up, a black 6/2 mercerized cotton weft, and an 8T rosepath treadling. The bottom fabric is using a 2/2/2/2 tie up (which means this fabric can be woven on four shafts!), an burnt orange 8/2 unmercerized cotton weft, and a 4T straight treadling. The fabrics would coordinate perfectly, say on the front and back of a pillow, or two pieces of an outfit, or two panels of a pencil skirt.

Speaking of skirts, my friend Kate (who’ll you’ll meet in later blog posts) has really fixated on that top fabric for a Chanel style skirt. Here’s a closer close up of the front and back of that (still loom state, not yet wet finished) sample:

It’ll be interesting to see if it retains its Chanel-like properties after wet finishing!

The next step was to measure all those bits of samples so that I can calculate dimensional loss once the fabric is wet finished. I wasn’t planning on calculating it for each individual slice (there are over 40!) but when Kate wanted to weave the “Chanel fabric” as yardage I realized that we were going to need all the details – and if I’m doing one, I might as well do 40 others, right? Fortunately, Ron helped by writing down the measurements as I called them out:

I’m really curious to see how the various wefts (mercerized cotton in 2 weights, unmercerized in two other weights, tencel, silk, Orlon, etc.) all behave — AND what that chenille in the warp does when they all get wet. I’m hoping for Magic in the Water, as Laura Fry puts it.

Here are the yarns we picked out for the next set of samples. You’ll be seeing more of these in the Lessons and in blog posts to come!

Apologies for the disorganized, stream of consciousness post: I’m writing it in one window while also doing all the “aaiiieee, the weave-along is LIVE!” last minute (and after minute) stuff that needs doing in three others, AND while Tien keeps sending me updates in yet another about how many folks have signed up (350! 380! 413! 501! 552!).

Oh my gosh, we just hit 600 and we’re still climbing!


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  1. Oh, so not fair! I think I have pretty much ALL these yarns and colors in my stash. I could just follow your lead and warp the same, LOL! But no, I will behave….

    1. You go right ahead and weave the same fabric if you want! Or put that idea on pause and weave it after the WAL is over. 🙂

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