Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Border Collie from the "Woof" Collection Sampler Part 2

Finished Cowl
Now if I only had a border collie, we could coordinate!
When I finished the first sampler scarf, I had a lot of yarn leftover. I had no idea how much so I decided to make a short warp the same width as the first project and just see what I'd get.

I warped the loom, lining up the blocks of black and white just like I had done in the scarf sampler.
You can see by the shuttles how much of the black and white yarn I had to work with after warping.

Here the black weft begins covering the jagged edges of black warp threads
where it begins to moves to white.
Almost immediately the little patterns begin to emerge.

Looking down at the jagged area
where the section of white gradually becomes black.

Next, I mixed it up by weaving with two shuttles in the white section; one pick black, one pick black and white. That was interesting.

White stripes appear wider apart than if I was using only one shuttle. 
I switched to one shuttle to weave with the last of  the black and white yarn.

Once again those little lines appear in this section

I finished it out with a section of black weft.

So there it is. Just long enough to make into a cowl. I loved this project on so many levels. Just going with the flow and playing with techniques is always my favorite way to work. And then the yarn. This Ancient Arts Yarns superwash, 3-ply fingering/sock yarn in merino was soft and yet not too stretchy to use in the warp. After wet finishing it was even softer. The fabric drapes nicely. I will definitely weave with this yarn again.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Border Collie from the "Woof" Collection Sampler Part 1

In January I traveled to the San Diego TNNA (The National Needle Arts) Trade Show where I hoped to find inspiration for new designs. I wasn't disappointed!

At the Ancient Arts Fibre Crafts booth I discovered a line of yarn inspired by rescue dogs and cats called  the "Meow and Woof" collection. Colors are dyed to match various breeds. And even better, a portion of the proceeds of this yarn is donated to charities benefiting stray and abandoned dogs and cats. How cool is that!

I decided to experiment with the Border Collie color way in 3-ply fingering/sock yarn; 80% Superwash Merino, 20% Nylon. And experiment I did! I loved working with this yarn and my sampler scarf turned out beautifully. If you're interested in how I did this, keep reading. Keep in mind, none of this was planned. It just happened. This is my favorite way to weave/play.

After leaving San Diego, we headed out to the Arizona desert in our motorhome. Under the big blue sky with desert creosote and palo verde bushes in the distance, I set up my temporary desert studio.

Winding the skein into a ball.

Setting up my Cricket Loom
As I placed the warp threads on the warping peg, I adjusted them so the blocks of black and white would line up as much as possible. As you see, it's impossible to get straight lines between the black and white sections, but that's what makes those wonderful little jagged areas much more interesting than straight lines anyway.

I've woven many projects with this ikat-like effect using color blocks in the warp, using a solid color in the weft. But this time, I used the same yarn for the weft as the warp because I was curious.

As I wove, uneven sections of stripes appeared due to the different lengths of black to white in the weft threads. Keep in mind, the striping effects will be different depending on the width of your project. This was sett at 12 epi and 6 3/4 inches wide.
And here it is in the white section.
When I got bored with this stripy pattern, I pulled out Jane Patrick's The Weaver's Idea Book, for inspiration. I chose a pick-up pattern with warp floats in groups of three from Page 97. 

And then I couldn't help myself. I went a little loopy! I picked up these long loops with the width of my pick-up stick. You'll find the description of how to pick up loops on Page 44 of Jane's book.

Long loops at the top and warp floats in groups of three.

And here's where it got really interesting. . .
Plain weave at the top where the warp color moves from black to gray to white.
Center is warp floats in groups of three in a white section of warp. 
When the weft yarn crossed the jagged areas in the warp of black to white, it created vertical and horizontal lines. If you've ever woven a color and weave pattern such as a log cabin, you've seen how this happens with much planning, I might add. When the alternating dark and light warp threads are crossed with alternating dark and light weft threads, changing the sequence of the color order you get visual lines. This is exactly what's happening here with no effort on my part, and using only one shuttle. It looks like a complicated plan, right? But it's all in the progression of color in the yarn. So easy!
Here is what it looks like through the jagged area where the warp color moves from black to gray to white.

I really love this section where the colors in the warp threads were very uneven!
And then I wondered, what would this look like if the weft was a solid black? I didn't have a black yarn with me on the desert so the project waited several weeks until I was in a real town with a real yarn store where I purchased my compatible black yarn.
I started  weaving the solid black weft about half way through the scarf (where the scarf folds in the picture below) and wove until I got bored with this. I added another row of loops, more of the black and white weft, and finished it with the solid black weft on black warp.
I loved the simple effects I was getting with the black weft so much that I decided to use what was left of my Border Collie yarn (yes I still had some left) and make another scarf. Well actually it turned out to be a cowl. I'll write about that in my next blog post and tell all about how lovely this yarn was to work with and my wet finishing results.