Painting in cloth

At the beginning of the year I ordered a brand new loom: a Spring II by Louët! I’m soooooo excited for it to arrive, but even though it was due to ship around July, it’s now September and it’s still not here.

Well, that’s a bummer, but what can I do?

I decided to join the Jane Stafford School of Weaving and learn as much as I could from her excellent video lessons, and prepare for the day when my loom finally arrives.

But this just means I want to weave right now, dammit!

So I did!

Last time I pulled out my table loom, I had taken off two of the shafts to experiment with converting it from a Jack loom to a Counterbalance.

That experiment was enough of a success for me to detach all the remaining shafts from their springs and install a not-completely-dodgy roll bar for just two of my shafts.

Now I have a two-shaft counterbalance table loom that works 1000% better!

I honestly can’t believe how well this worked!

I have an even tension on the threads when they the shed is open, and no sagging threads.

And the size of the shed is huge!

(I’ll show some better pictures of the modifications in a separate post.)

The inspiration for this warp came from a painting I have hanging on my wall.

It’s a beautiful pastoral scene painted by Bronwyn Bellchambers, an artist who lives up the coast near my parents.

I wanted to see if I could capture the colour vibrancy in cloth, as well as the strong vertical lines of the tree at the left of the painting.

So, I wound a sample warp! This is Maurice Brassard 8/2 Cottolin.

The colours (from top to bottom) are Brun Chocolat, Stone, Slate, Seaton, and Pale Limette (green).

I wanted to see what happened when I blended pairs of colours, so the warp includes a gradation from the blue to the green as well as mixing brown with stone, brown with blue and blue with stone.

I started weaving with a colour gamp Tromp-as-writ (so, weaving colours in the same order as they appear in the warp to make a square piece of weaving).

Then I started playing with striping sequences to get the hang of using my new boat shuttles. I found this so much faster and easier to use than stick shuttles, and I love being able to change colour whenever I want!

I started to get better with my selvedges after I tried some clasped-weft technique, although I clearly need a lot more practice.

Regardless, I think this looks amazing!

My daughter said it looked just like a city, and now that it is off the loom, I have to agree.

The last part of the warp I used up sampling with some dark green wool I had purchased to make viking leg wraps.

I still plan to come back to this project, once I can weave again with more than two shafts!

In the meantime, I wanted to see how the different fibre in the weft would affect the piece after washing and fulling.

I chose to beat at 14 ppi since the wool was a little thicker than the 2/8 cottolin.

The reed is sleyed 1-1-2-1-1 to fit 18 epi into my 15 dent reed. As a result you can see reed marks in the right hand side of this photo, and in the city-scape picture above.

Okay, so how did it all turn out?

  • Weaving samples pegged in a line
  • Weaving sample showing striping sequences
  • A vibrant weaving sample with orange and peacock colours
  • Woollen weaving sample showing vertical stripes
  • Sample of clasped-weft weaving technique

Verdict: extremely awesome.

Once I washed, pressed and hemmed the cottolin pieces, I found that my selvedges had neatened up considerably. And remarkably, the width of my weaving was pretty consistent even though I didn’t use a temple!

The exception here was the wool sample, which I fulled by hand, and which was rather higgle-de-piggledy once it had shrunk down. I need to do more sampling in wool, preferably using the wool cycle on my washing machine to get a consistent effect. Now I’m thinking about the next warp!

The reed marks disappeared from all pieces except the woollen sample, in which they were surprisingly (and beautifully) enhanced. The wool sample has an amazing richness of colour and texture, and I love the effect from the reed marks in this piece!

All the samples were a little stiffer than I’d like (18 epi in the reed, beat at 18 ppi with 8/2 cottolin). The wool sample feels like a good weight for light upholstery, which is something to remember when I want to re-cover my weaving bench. 😎

Next time I’d like to try 15 epi to see if I can unlock more drape from my samples (and with a 15 dent reed, that’s easy-peasy).

Until next time, folks!

I really love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment! :)

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