Monday, May 2, 2011

Project: Silk Shawl 'Zen'

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far, away,  I thought it would be fun to weave fine silk so that it would look like birch bark.    It was a good plan.   Eventually, it all turned out OK and this is what I made:
'Zen' Handwoven, Hand dyed Silk Shawl.    $500.

Inspiration:  Birch bark

warp: 60/2 silk yarn;  dividers and selvedges: 12/2 black silk yarn.  Wound in small bundles.
weft: 120/2 silk yarn, 12/2 black silk yarn for hems and dividers.
sett:  45 epi
width:  24 inches
length: 80 inches

weave structure: plainweave
loom: 8H Baby Wolf

I wound several small warps so that they could be mixed up as I put them on the loom.  The mixing separated the birch bark stripes and made them look more natural - like birch bark.   The warps were dyed with a tiny paint brush a few threads at a time.   I mixed up a half dozen dark colors in browns, bronze and golds to use for the birch bark markings.

The execution was kind of tricky.   Putting it on the loom took forever. Mixing the warps was delicate and then winding the thing on was even more delicate.   I managed not to break any threads.

I didn't have enough heddles on my loom, so I ordered new ones.   They came with no instructions.  I trusted the company - that was my first mistake.   I put them on the loom and they left grease marks all over my white silk shawl.    Now I know.   NEVER put new heddles on a loom without washing them off first with grease cutting soap and drying them thoroughly.  

I was kind of upset.   However, with patience, some grease cutting dish soap and my bare hands, I washed those stains out 2 square inches at a time.

Whew!  I was happy to get these done and off the loom.  I made two.

FYI:   Once this was on the loom, the weaving was easy and fast.    OK, not so fast, because we're talking 45 ppi.   That's 45 shots across per inch.   At 80 inches, that's 3600 shots per shawl.

I still can't believe I did it.

1 comment:

  1. It is INCREDIBLE and I surely can believe you did that because you are one of the most talented people I've ever met! And trust me when I say that if I had $500 to spend right now, I would buy that. :)


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