Sunday, November 6, 2011

Collapse Weave Experiments

I've been fascinated with collapse weave for a long time.   You weave it flat, then wash it and Shazam!  it's crinkly.

Crinkly is cool.

Crinkly did not come easy.

I tried all sorts of things and it all pretty much came out looking like this.

Not crinkly.

Sort of crinkly, but not really crinkly.   It was thinking about being crinkly, but not actually doing the crinkly thing. 

I got a great book on collapse weave and it helped me think about it quite a bit.  Check out Collapse Weave, by Anne Field. 

For me, though, 'thinking' wasn't nearly as a good a teacher as 'doing'.   I had to warp the loom and try some stuff out before I could figure out how the whole thing worked.   I had to make some mistakes. 

This is what I learned. 

1.  Use a fine warp.   I've been playing with lace weight alpaca and gotten some nice stuff.  I've also seen nice stuff worked up on tencel and silk warps [shoot for 20/2 or smaller].

2.  Use a wide sett.   I liked 15-18 epi.

3.  Differential setts didn't crinkle.   I tried  mixing a 24 epi with a 15 epi in the warp and it didn't do anything.

4.  Wooly nylon thread is not a good weft thread.  It doesn't collapse nearly enough.   Don't bother.

5.  Overtwisted wool crepe was the best weft I tried.    It comes in great colors from Habu and it's worth the money.   If you're local, then you'll be glad to know that Yarns Unlimited has both this yarn and the Collapse Weave book.

6.  I tried both 1/3 twill and 2/2 twill and discovered that it really doesn't make a difference.   I got good collapse with both.

7.  Don't pack the weft.   Keep it a balanced weave even though the weft is considerably smaller than the warp.    Sample until you get what you like.

In the end, I got what I was shooting for.  It collapsed a full 50%.    By changing wefts, I could get a fabric that collapsed in some places but not others. 

I need to play with this some more.    What would happen if I mixed collapse weave with shibori?   Hmm....

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