Random thoughts of a fiber enthusiast - mostly fiber related, sometimes coherent

Month: May 2010 Page 1 of 2

4 Pleated Samplers and a Scarf

I’ve been busy. But there wasn’t a story to tell until everything was finished. So, this will be another long picture laden post. If you don’t care about the process/samplers, just jump on down to the end to see the finished scarf. Not the scarf, but a pleated scarf nonetheless.

As I said in my last post, I was fixated on Anne Fields’ pleated cashmere scarf. I have some cashmere/silk yarns spun and plied that I thought would be perfect for this project. But, I had only just enough to do one scarf. One shot. No sampling. If it didn’t work, then the yarn is gone.

If that isn’t enough incentive to sample, sample, sample, I don’t know what is.

I had in mind that the contrast stripes would be Crystal Palace Como used here and here. I bought several cones of that from Morgaine back in March, so all is well. Enough to sample. Enough for the project. But what do I use for accent stripes? It needed to be similar size yarn. I auditioned* several but finally settled on Jaggerspun Zephyr.

* Auditioned means that I fondled several. Wound the finalists into balls or onto cones. Fondled some more. Sat and stared at them for a week or so. Carried it around with me. Fondled some more.

The hand wringing included looking up all the weaving books I had that included pleated scarves or pleated projects. (Reference list at the end of the post.) The notes that I had from Anne were the following:

  • the structure is 1/3 and 3/1 reverse twill (8 shafts)
  • the stripes needed to be less than 1″ for the collapse to happen
  • the sett needs to be denser than normal twill
  • the weft needs to be finer than the warp (about 8x)
  • the beat needs to be more than the sett (about double)

Warp Set Up:

  • 19 stripes total of 16 threads per stripe
    • 10 stripes of Como (50/50 wool/silk tight spun)
    • 9 stripes of Zephyr (50/50 wool/silk softly spun)
  • 15 dent reed
  • sett: 30 epi
  • loom width: 10″

For the weft, I auditioned 4 different yarns:

  1. ColourMart High Twist Cashmere Single 1/20 NM
  2. ColourMart Wool/Lycra 2/30 NM
  3. Handspun Cormo Single (about the same grist as the cashmere single)
  4. Anne Fields High Twist Wool Single 40/1

I actually wove a baseline using Zephyr, but it did exactly what I expected it to do. Nothing. But what was disappointing was that while some corrugation occurred on some of the samplers when I cut them off the loom, it wasn’t dramatic. After a dunking in a hot bath, they came out flat. I had to coax them into pleats by scrunching them in my hand and lay them to dry.

In the photos below, the top sample is what it looked like off the loom (small sample), the bottom is what they looked like after finishing (and scrunching).

ColourMart Cashmere Single 1/20 NM. 32 ppi.This showed the most pleating straight off of the loom. Not surprisingly, this had the softest hand of all the samples. Due to the cashmere weft, no doubt.

ColourMart Wool/Lycra. 34 ppi. This did what I expected it to do. The lycra pulled it in and overwhelmed the pleating. I did this sample for another project I have in mind,.

Handspun Cormo Single. 34 ppi. This showed the 2nd most pleating off the loom, but as you can see, it's not much. It curled more though. This also had a pleasing hand.

Anne Field's Hight Twist Single 40/1. 32 ppi This didn't show much pleating at all off loom. This sample felt rough, even after washing. I think it's due to the commercially spun high twist wool.

Things I Learned:

  • I knew I wasn’t getting the beats that I should from this project, but I couldn’t beat it any harder. While I was able to get some pleating if I worked the wet fabric, it wasn’t what I expected. I thought that it should “just happen.” Obviously, getting more ppi than epi is the key here.
  • It was nice to see that the ColourMart singles and my handspun both worked from the perspective that they showed promise of pleats. This meant that I had a source of fine high twist singles for more collapsed projects. Anne’s 40/1 is impossible to find in the US. Always good to have options. But ColorMart has limited color selections for this. No white nor cream, for example. I used a light grey.
  • It was also nice to find that my handspun Cormo worked just as well as the commercial yarn and the hand is almost as nice as the cashmere singles. I have several pounds of this Cormo so I have a steady supply. It takes less than an hour to spin 2 weaving bobbins worth of singles. Each weaving bobbin weaves about 10-15″. The only downside of this is that the cormo is a warm tan color. The options are to dye the wool before spinning (loath to mess up a nice pencil roving from Morro Fleeceworks though!) or look at other wools that I can spin to this grist.

“What about the scarf?” you ask. Well, it’s a pleated scarf, but still not my scarf with the handspun cashmere. Why? I had a birthday present to make and I wanted to sample some more. So…

Scarf off of the loom.

The accent stripe is Lisa Souza’s handpainted merino lace, sett at 24 epi. The beat is still 32. While the beat is still not double the epi, it is higher than my samples. And looky what happened! It pleated right up off of the loom. I was so happy that it finally worked.

Why did I choose this yarn? This scarf was destined to be a present to my friend Penny, who gave me the yarn because it wasn’t doing what she wanted. I had wanted to give it back to her in a finished project. Yesterday was her birthday. So it all seemed to make sense. The fact that the scarf pleated up upon removal from the loom was a HUGE bonus. I didn’t have to manipulate it at all.

After finishing.

Here’s what the scarf looked like after a bath and a tumble in the dryer with a towel on low heat. It fulled up and shrank from 72″ on loom to 55″ fulled. I was so excited that it worked and forgot to measure it after I took it off the loom. The wavy part? Differential shrinkage between the Como (white) and the merino stripes. But I think it’s still lovely.

Next up, my own handspun cashmere pleated scarf!

Collapse Weave

I finally got around to taking pictures of  the samples from my 2 day collapse weave workshop with Anne Field. All I can say is WOW! I was just blown away with the technique!

It’s been three weeks since the workshop and my brain is still twitching with all the new possibilities. And this is one of the projects that I can’t seem to let go…

I am obsessed with this scarf of Anne’s. The brown stripes are handspun cashmere/silk. The white stripes are merino (commercially spun, I think). I don’t remember what the weft is, but I think it is wool/lycra. It is woven in 1/3, 3/1 reverse twill. The reverse twill in conjunction with the wool/lycra is what causes it to pleat up like this. High twist singles will behave similarly.

In fact, I already finished spinning some Spirit Trail Fiberworks cashmere/silk into a lace weight 2-ply for this scarf. I’m still trying to decide what yarn to use for the white — a wool/silk, 100% silk, or 100% wool. Then there’s the weft. I bought some cashmere/lycra from ColourMart that will do, but I’m could also use some hand spun singles. The effects, while similar, are slightly different. (More on this in the samples below.)

So, back to the workshop samples. I have 9 samples. Instead of overloading the front page with all the photos, I will put them “below the line.”  Expand to see the rest of this post.

Snot Rags

I have a love/hate relationship with facial tissues. They are handy to have around for various things…blowing your nose, wipe a teary eye, wipe a runny nose. Unfortunately, they are never around when you need them. Or they are a blobby mess at the bottom of your purse, bag or whatever. Those little plastic pouches that the travel sized ones come in just don’t do a great job of keeping them neat and tidy. Or you forget to take them out of your pocket before they hit the washer. Not pretty.

And then there’s the environmental aspect of facial tissue. You are spending quite a pretty penny for something that’s single use (if you even get to use it before it’s unusable). They are flimsy. Most of the time, they won’t even hold up to a single blow. Or, they are the triple/quadruple super-duper heavy duty aloe coated tissues that will not decompose even if you poured a bucket of water on it. (You end up just smearing your snot around. Sorry about the visual on that but it’s another pet peeve of mine.)

This has been an especially bad allergy season in the bay area. I’ve been wheezing through the past couple of months. And in place of facial tissue, I’ve taken to using men’s cotton hankies that I used to buy for Martin every couple of years. But they are big. Really big. Not exactly dainty. And good quality cotton hankies cost upwards of $40/dozen.

I came across this post on Purl Bee several years ago on making your own rolled hem handkerchiefs. In fact, I went straight out and bought some nice fine cotton fabric with small prints and cut them into dainty lady-like sizes (9.5″x9.5″) that are just a little bit larger than regular facial tissue. I even took it along with me to SOAR 2008 (yes, that long ago), thinking that it is the perfect project on the plane.

But the problem was that I never could get past the hump on making nice neat hand rolled hem. I even broke down and tried using my rolled hem foot on the sewing machine. (Didn’t take to it either.)

This weekend, as I worked my way through the dwindling supply of scratchy facial tissue, I thought about those squares of cotton again. I pulled them out, and gave it another go on my test samples.

These look pretty good, don’t they? I think I’ve finally got it.They don’t have the soft rolled edge because I used my fingernails to do a rough pressing, but it works for me. It was just a matter of finding a method that worked for me. The hems definitely are not as neat and tidy, nor as refined, as the ones from Nordstrom.

I have no idea what to do with these little squares, since they are only about 3″x3″ for practicing the rolled hems and corners. They are too thin for coasters. In any case, I’m now ready to stitch up my own hankies.

Of course, this begs the question of how to carry a supply of clean and used hankies.

Anecdote 1: One of the things I remember about Martin, back before we were dating, was that he always had a fresh, pressed hankie at the ready. This was really helpful to a young freshman gal who was always having drama with her then boyfriend. I remembered thinking that some girl was going to be really lucky one day.

Anecdote 2: A clean handkerchief was a required part of my kindergarten uniform. We had to have a clean one pinned to our little coverall/aprons each day. I think I still have a picture, somewhere, of me all dressed up in my kindergarten uniform.

Page 1 of 2

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén