Friday, December 26, 2014

Bother Number One

The first thing that annoyed me about this draft was the way the corner pattern blocks compressed. To my way of thinking, that corner ought to be perfectly square. Since I was using the same combination of yarns and the same sett as I had been on other Overshot projects, I expected the pattern to weave to square. Wrong.

Too compressed!
This corner block did not weave to square.

Then I tried using heavier pattern warp yarns to force the issue. In the photo above I switched my pattern weft from 10/2 mercerized to 8/2 unmercerized cotton. The problem persisted. Changing the sett from 30 e.p.i. to 36 or 40 e.p.i. would also be worth trying but then the towels would be narrower. That idea was quickly dismissed.

Another strategy would be to throw more shots for each treading block. I admit to being a purist on this idea -- with the right yarns, setts and beat the design should square itself. Once you manipulate the draft in this way other areas of the design tend to go out of whack. So I discarded this idea almost as soon as it came to mind.


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A Christmas Conundrum

In my earliest weaving days a draft in the classic Marguerite Porter Davison "A Handweaver's Pattern Book" caught my eye and my imagination. The draft, called "Norse Kitchen" is on page 186 of the chapter Squares with Borders. The draft is simply stunning: a lovely center ground with classic, intricate borders.

First few "Norse Kitchen" towels.
Pattern Wefts:
Red - 10/2 perle cotton
Green - 8/2 unmercerized cotton
Blue - Cottolin
Lately my weaving adventure has led me to several projects using Miniature Overshot. You will find a few of them here on my blog. As I was considering this year's Christmas, overshot was definitely on my mind. Norse Kitchen's time had come. Using the same set-up as those Miniature Overshots I've been weaving I set out on November 10th with excitement both in the project and in my early start. There would be no midnight oil this year -- no, not for me.

I warped 10 yards of bleached white 20/2 cotton sett at 30 e.p.i. and set to work. That's when Norse Kitchen began to sour. Something about this draft was different. All along I had been using 10/2 perle cotton as pattern wefts at 30 e.p.i. But it quickly became clear that 10/2 cotton would not work as the pattern weft for Norse Kitchen. It wasn't heavy enough to square the design. What to do . . . ? I would either change the sett or change the pattern weft. Choosing the latter I wove a green towel using 8/2. Still the design would not square. It didn't square when I used a royal blue cottolin, either. Rats!

My first "Norse Kitchen" towel using 10/2 perle cotton as pattern weft.
I don't know how it goes for you, but it is near agony when my weaving goes wrong. For days I pondered the puzzle -- how do I make this work?

There were a few other issues with this draft that really bugged me. I knew for certain I could not continue weaving as it was. How would I ever meet my Christmas deadline?