Thursday, December 20, 2012

Part Four: Project 9 - Stage 3

Experimenting with Different Materials.
Having decided to continue with the same warp for this stage, I decided to roll the warp on and to add a new heading cord. (Image 1)
1 - Adding a heading cord
Although I used the correct technique, as outlined in stage 1 - here, I did not tie it to the sides of the loom or adjust the warp threads across the width so that they were spaced evenly. It did however give me a starting line to work to. The ruler was placed there to even out the weaving that had been rolled onto the bar below. I got the heading cord right in stage 4 and noticed the difference.

These were the yarns I chose to start my sample with (Image 2):
2 - A selection of yarns for my sample
These yarns were all similar in colour but had different textured finishes and thicknesses. I included coarse thick twine, thinner softer twine, coarse thick wools, eyelash yarns, boucle yarns, as well as other types.

The OCA course book says "For this series of samples you are going to work in a freer and more experimental way to create some interesting surface textures through the use and combination of different and perhaps unlikely materials." p.194

Image 3:
I started by weaving a few 'picks' (passes of the shuttle/rows) of pink yarn so that my weaving would have something to hold it firmly in place.
3 - Starting my sample
I then moved on to the fine cream rug yarn and the thicker, coarser brown wool.
These yarns were too similar in look when they were woven together. The only difference was the thickness and the colour of the yarn - the difference in texture was not noticeable in the woven sample.

Above the cream yarn I added a variegated, soft, fluffy yarn to weave in with the coarse, thick brown yarn.
The fluffy fibres got locked into the warp yarns - the yarn did not appear to be as fluffy once it was woven. The colours of the yarn look quite similar to each other in the sample. This could be a good way to darken an area of weaving - to add the odd row of a darker colour to a variegated thread

Image 4:
The top of the last image (3), and the middle section of the following image (4), show where I wove half the warp with the soft fluffy yarn, half with the brown yarn, interlocking the threads in the middle. The place where the threads interlocked formed a raised ridge. The different thicknesses of the yarns caused the soft, fluffy yarn to slope away from the darker brown area - I added a row of brown to even up the weave.

I then went on to create a curved weft - I outlined the section with a row of dark brown yarn and filled the curved section with the soft, fluffy yarn. This is a nice technique to create shapes in the weaving.
4 - Adding a curved section to the sample

Image 5:
Once the fluffy central shape was woven, I went to fill in the sides with dark brown wool - once I used the comb to beat the weft down, the shape looked a little triangular - more practise needed to perfect this skill.
5 - Filling in the shapes either side

Image 6:
After trying to interlock the brown yarn with the fluffy yarn for a few rows, (the section in the middle below the cream yarn), I realised that this was not an effective combination - there was not enough contrast, the places where the yarns interlocked were bulky.

I decided to try the slit tapestry technique - this is where the threads only interlock every five to ten rows/picks. This leaves the fabric much flatter when finished, with no bulky seams - the slit can be sewn up afterwards.
6 - Slit tapestry technique

Image 7:
I started to weave with the yellow ochre coloured thick yarn.
The OCA course book says that "Interesting effects can be achieved by combining yarns in the same pick eg: yarns of the same colour but different in weight and texture, or yarns of close tones twisted together to give subtle colour changes."

With this in mind I added some eyelash yarns.
The first rows are yellow ochre wool and a beige eyelash yarn twisted together. Then, I stopped the beige eyelash yarn and twisted in an orangey coloured eyelash yarn. Finally adding a brown eyelash yarn. The brown had shorter lengths of fibre than the other eyelash yarns.

I like the effect this had on the weaving, the colour of the yellow yarn changes with the addition of the eyelash yarns.
The rows with the brown eyelash yarn added are not as fluffy as the other rows, the shorter fibre seems to get lost in the weaving.
7 - Introducing the eyelash yarn

Image 8:
For the next part I added alternate rows of jute twine. The yellow wool still had the brown eyelash yarn added to it.
Having another texture worked well - the twine being rougher than the yarn. The colours blended nicely - the colours don't stand out as much as the photograph shows.
The twine was hard to work with, it was stiff and difficult to push into place with a comb or with fingers.
Working on a sample this size was fine - any larger and I think the twine would have been very rough on the hands.
8 - adding alternate rows of jute twine.

Image 9:
A row of Ghiordes Knots - Using the orangey eyelash yarn I created a row of knots, this time continuously. (More about Ghiordes knot/Rya in previous post here)
9 - A row Ghiordes Knots
For my sample in stage 2 (see link above photo) I used cut pieces of yarn and wrapped this around the warp in order to create a knot. 

This time I used a longer length of yarn and used the same wrapping/knotting technique moving from one warp thread to the next - the difference this time is that you make a continuous row of loops, the other method produces individual tufts.
To make the loops equal in length you use a guide rule to wrap the yarn around
I used a combination of the instructions from the course book and my "Handicrafts" book to follow this technique.

Image 10:
Mindful of the course book which stated, "Interesting effects can be achieved by using other materials such as cotton rags, dyed muslin, lace, stockings, leather, polythene, metallic cooking film, tissue paper.."
I dug out some interesting materials - this part of the sample uses strips of polythene cut from a dry cleaning bag, and some knitting ribbon.

Although I liked the natural colours and textures of the earlier parts of the sample - I love the way the knitting ribbon weaves - the bright, jewel-like colours really shine when snuggled between the polythene.
The polythene also sparkles as the light hits the surface, it's a much more interesting finish than when it was in its pre-woven state.
10 - using more unusual materials

Image 11:
Having woven a few rows of the polythene, I made a row using the Soumak technique. This became more interesting when the writing on the plastic made the colour change from 'clear' to a transparent blue.
I then made two more rows of plain weave with the plastic to secure the Soumak, followed by two rows of knitting ribbon.

I decided to see how the knitting ribbon would work as a row using the Soumak technique.
This method showed the yarn off at it's best, I made two consecutive rows before making two rows of plain weave with the polythene yarn.
The colours of the knitting ribbon look great when flat - they look even better when ruched like this.
11 - row of plastic soumak

Image 12:
The course book mentioned another interesting effect obtained by using "yarns of contrasting colour twisted together to give you irregular and unusual colour effects."
This was a cotton mercerised thread which had many different contrasting colours already twisted together to form the yarn.
When woven it created this part of the sample - the different colours make random patterns across the woven surface - pink areas appear next to orange next to green - the pattern is unpredictable.  
12 - twisted cotton yarns in a plain weave

At this point I decided my sample of "experimenting with different materials" was finished. It was ready to be released from the loom.
The sample measures approximately 7cm by 32cm.

The warp threads were cut, the edge was sewn using button-hole stitch - image 13, then the warp threads were tied together to make the ends secure.
13 - buttonhole stitch at the edge
There are so many techniques in this sample - I may have to go back and make a larger sample really exploring one of these techniques in detail.
I enjoyed making the Soumak and Ghiordes knot rows - I found some interesting images by Hundertwasser that would work well with these techniques (struggling to find a copyright free image to show). There are lots of movement and lines, one colour graduates into the next, the picture resembles a Rya Rug.

I also enjoyed the slit tapestry technique, adding shapes and areas of colour makes an interesting piece.

Stage 4 looms over me, having had so much fun experimenting it is daunting to think of designing a woven piece from source material.

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