Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Weaving with the Bionic Eye

Okay, back to the looms! I finished the shadow weave scarves after the surgery, but didn't consider that the real test of my vision. I AM pleased with how they turned out, so before telling the tale of warping with new vision, here are the finished scarves!
Shadow Weave Scarf - Tromp as Writ
The first scarf is "tromp as writ," meaning that it is treadled exactly as it's threaded. In this case, it forms little boxes of alternating design. Shadow weave tends to be complex and this one was no exception. It's one of the few where I've had to keep the draft beside me to remember the treadling sequence. Having said that, I must say I love this draft!

Shadow Weave Scarf - Alternate Treadling
This is the alternate treadling for the threading I used. It's a simpler treadling and gives a kind of striped effect. It should have gone faster than the first treadling, but the surgery interrupted its progress, so it took longer to complete.

After twisting the fringe and wet-finishing the pieces, the chenille turned out soft and slinky. Very nice!  Chenille isn't my favorite thing to weave, especially in the warp. Several warp threads broke - some from Cat Assistance - but it wasn't a big deal to fix and they turned out well. I may tackle chenille again sometime.

Pinwheel Towels
Thread for the Towels
I'm participating in a handwoven towel exchange in the Warped Weavers Ravelry group. I came across the draft for color-and-weave pinwheel towels in Handwoven Magazine's  Winning Towels - an e-book with the drafts of the winning towels from their recent competition. The original towels were done in teals and white with a specific yellow accent.  I liked the colors, but I couldn't match all the colors the designer used. When I did finally choose colors - not quite as teal, more to the blue - I really wanted the specific yellow accent she used.  It's not too eye-bending yellow, but does provide a good contrast.  I finally found one supplier with a mini-cone of the yellow. After quite a search, I found the other colors I needed from the same supplier and so finally got the yarn ordered.

And now to warp!  Because of the color sequences, measuring the warp was a challenge, but it let me think out of the box and think how I use my warping board. This is the first time I've used the warping board for a long warp since we redesigned the weaving studio. I'm still not really happy with how it works, but it will do until I think of something better. Once the I started measuring the warp, it was time to sley it into the reed. In some ways, I was kind of scared, not being sure if I could see. The good news is that since my intermediate and close vision is improving in the "bionic" eye, it wasn't as difficult as I thought. I sleyed most of it without reading glasses.

Of course, threading the heddles is the tricky part, but again, no problems. I used reading glasses... and then found myself looking over them as I was threading.  So I took them off for part of the process.  I think I can say that my vision isn't hampering me in my weaving any more than it ever did, and in some ways is much better.

Pinwheel Towels on the Loom

These are turning out very well! The interplay of the colors with the pinwheel pattern is very interesting. When I was warping the loom, I wondered if it would be possible to see the pinwheels. Traditionally, pinwheel alternates 8 light colors and 8 dark colors. No contiguous eight colors are the same in this draft. But it works and you can see the pinwheels in areas where the weft color sequence is the same as the warp color sequence.  Hopefully, it can be seen in this detail photo:
Pinwheel Towels - Detail
The pinwheels are easiest to see in the lower left corner. I'll get more photos as the process continues.

I think I can say... I'm back in the weaving room!

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