making_stuff: (Handwoven)
[personal profile] making_stuff
Inspired by pictures I've seen recently of some gorgeous knotted pile work (carpets and some astonishing silk handbags) I warped up the loom with some sturdy multi-ply cotton seine twine (very like butcher's twine, but a little thicker) at 8 epi, 2 yards long, 12" wide in an 8-dent reed.

I plan to make a bag. 36" of fabric will wrap around to make a bag 12" high, 2" deep, with an 8" flap. For the sides and strap, I plan on tablet or inkle weaving a continuous strip.

Played around with Excel to get a cartoon. (set row height and column width to match – I use 20 pixels – and then color the cells, just like using markers on graph paper only faster and so much easier to tweak) and came up with a four-color simple design of interlaced diamonds that looks interesting.

Then I pulled down the bags and bags of rug wools I've had stashed on the top shelf for a million years. They are mostly browns and burnt oranges and a really lovely maroon that makes me think of oak leaves in the fall. (I want to do a tapestry of oak leaves with this stuff at some point.) Best of all was a bag of a slate blue that looks like it's been dyed with indigo.

Lots of pondering ensued, and finally I picked the blue, the maroon, a chestnut brown and a dusty salmony pink and got to work. Sixteen rows of Ghiordes knots later, it looks like this:

The lighting does terrible things to the colors in this shot, but at least the knots are clear . I'll get some natural daylight pictures as the weaving progresses.

It's weaving up at 10 rows of knots per inch. That makes 17,280 knots in the planned 36" of bag fabric. Meep. This is pretty ambitious, considering that the only other knotted pile I've done was a 6"x8" sample for a spinning/weaving demo, but the knotting is going very smoothly – I got into a rhythm right away – so it should be fun, especially when I get to the more complex bits of the pattern.

I've cut a bunch of each yarn, using a nifty jig that's marketed to the latch-hook crowd, and keep it in mugs, sorted by color, next to the loom. Knotting with pre-cut yarn is much speedier than the traditional method of passing the ball of yarn around the warps (and around and around) and then cutting the pile for each knot. Eesh. Tradition is lovely and all, but that's way, way too slow for me. I'll ditch it in favor of efficiency, thanks.

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February 2010

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