Sunday, 1 October 2017

Online Guild Annual Challenge Lace for All Seasons

I decided to take part in this years annual challenge with the Online Guild of Weavers Spinners and Dyers  http://www.onlineguildwsd.org.uk/

The title of the challenge was 'A Lace for All Seasons.' The brief was broad - any techniques and skills as long as spinning, weaving or dyeing were included.

When I first started to learn to weave, I wove a silk stole on a table loom in the weaving class I attended.  It was a pattern by Sharon Alderman.  I loved her patterns and always looked out for any ideas and articles by her. This pattern appeared in Handwoven in Jan/Feb 1989 page 106

The silk lace shawl was woven in 2/20 white silk and is very long. the treadling sequence is 72 picks. For the class table loom, I had to have a detailed list of sheds and keep track of them very carefully.  I think that there is one small mistake in the treadling which I noticed when the shawl was off the loom.  I know the mistake is there but to most people it is invisible. In the weaving class we were encouraged to keep accurate records.  I have noted that the warp took me three hours to make, the threading on the loom took 4 hours and one pattern repeat took 25 minutes to weave! The final length was 79 inches and the width 23 inches.




The shawl is very long, warm and rather stylish. The pattern has open work areas but with a plain weave trellis in between.

I remembered that many years ago I bought some 2/30 gold silk which I had never used. The silk was very shiny and smooth and I did not know how it would weave. I realised that I would have to sample before I could be sure of the sett.

But first of all, I needed to design a lace pattern.  I wanted something that would have a lacy pattern but also have some areas of plain weave to hold the structure of the fabric together. The Best of Weavers: Huck lace was a good place to start. On page 8 there is an 8 shaft draft for a scarf. It was woven in 2/30 silk with a sett of 24 epi.  The huck lace pattern is in blocks of 5 ends where the base threads are alternately threaded on shaft one and shaft two.  I liked this idea but not the pattern.
I looked back at the 8 shaft version by Sharon Alderman.  I did not want to repeat the pattern and I wanted something a little different. The Fibreworks PCW program is very useful for designing patterns. I tried a number of different variations and the one on 9 shafts seemed very attractive. I wanted a pattern that would emphasis the open work areas.

Publisher: Alexis Yiorgos Xenakis  2000
This is a wonderful book edited by Madelyn van der Hoogt.

I devised a 9 shaft pattern of open work triangles inside a lattice. Here is my own draft. The treadling repeat is 60 picks.

Two pattern repeats showing the plain weave on the left side




One pattern repeat to show the threading and loom set up.
I was not sure that the sett of 24 epi would be suitable for this very shiny, slippery silk.  I made a warp long enough to weave a sample. I decided to use of sett of 27 epi using three ends per dent in a 9 reed.

Width at reed:  18.4 inches  approx 46.6 cm
Sett: 27 epi
Treadling is approx 25 - 26 ppi.

I wove a sample and cut it off the loom.  I washed and ironed it.

The sample and weaving on the loom
I was pleased with the result.  Although the sett was slightly closely than I would  normally have used, the open pattern displays well.  The lattice in between keeps the lace areas stable.  On the loom, the open lace areas do not open up.

Here is a close up of the weave structure.

It wove like a dream.  The tension and even beat seemed easy to do. The colour in the picture is rather too yellow,.  The silk is pale old gold.



close up of weave structure
The lattice surrounding the open lace area sets off the pattern and I think makes it more dramatic.
I found it very difficult to get a good picture of the actual colour of the silk.  It changes according to the lighting conditions.  In sunlight it seems to sparkle gold. On a dull day, it appears somewhat washed out, as you can see on this photograph.


White silk stole and new old gold silk huck lace scarf. 




close up showing the pattern of the stole and scarf

Finishing the scarf 

To finish the scarf, I hemmed the ends and then made short plaits along the width.The scarf was then washed.  The fringes were trimmed after washing.

The length of the scarf is 209 cm  82.25 inches
The width of the scarf is 41.5 cm 16.25 inches
The twisted fringes are 5 cm  2 inches.

I was very pleased with the result. I shall enjoy wearing this scarf.  The challenge was 'A Lace for All Seasons.'  This scarf can be worn as a dressy evening accessory or wrapped around the neck to keep warm.  It looks very good with a dark coat.


Happy weaving for all seasons.

Don't forget that my online workshop for the Braid Society starts in two weeks.


I have just returned from the Weave Fair in Vaxjo, Sweden.  I was thrilled to meet Madelyn van der Hoogt. The book about Huck Lace is one of the many invaluable books that she has written.



As you can see, I am wearing my lovely new silk scarf, after all, it was a Weave Fair!


Susan J Foulkes October 2017




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