Friday, June 24, 2011

More Teddy Bear fabric

I got back to weaving bear fabric again after returning from Muskegon and Grand Rapids.  The second fabric was woven with a turquoise mohair in the same weaving pattern as the first one, John Murphy"s Bird's Eye, version VIII, pg. 14 of Marguerite Davison's pattern book.  Since the mohair is so fuzzy, the pattern will not be as distinct once it is wet finished.  This yarn came from an estate sale, and the photo is pretty close to the actual colors.  I tried it first with plain weave, but my warp was sett a little too close, and I didn't like it.  A basket weave may have worked better.
After finishing the turquoise mohair, I started the third fabric.  This one is from pg 13 of Davison's book, version XI of Traditional Bird's Eye.  I chose a plyed white wool and angora yarn for this version, also purchased at an estate sale a while ago.  I'm hoping it makes a nice soft bear once it is wet finished.

The blue fabric at the bottom is the turquoise mohair shown above and is quite a bit darker in the photo than the actual color.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Teddy Bear Wool Fabric

This project is destined to become Teddy bears.  All eight grandchildren have gone home, so I had a little weaving time tonight. The overdyed brown wool is on the loom, all threaded with the help of granddaughter Hailee, and the samples are woven.  The brown wool is sett at 16 epi.
The twill variations are from Davison's book, pg. 13 and 14.  It is threaded 1-2-3-4-3-2 and repeated.  The burgundy and brown sample is version V on pg. 13.  The selvedges weren't to my liking, but I realized we hadn't doubled the last 4 warp threads in the reed, so I fixed that, and the edges looked a little better.  I don't really have to worry about having good edges, since this is just fabric that will be cut, but I usually try to improve my skills while weaving, so I am trying to make them look decent.  The burgundy yarn is size 9/2 wool with 10% nylon. 

The second sample is woven with 100% wool, which has slubs of dark throughout.  It is another yarn I picked up at an estate sale.  This sample is from pg. 14, version VIII.  It is easy to treadle and memorize the sequence.  This one seems to be a bit firmer fabric, and the edges looked better.

After weaving about 6", I ended the sample with some plain weave, and coated the inch with glue.  I'm letting it dry overnight, and then I will slip a rod in the shed, cut off my samples before the glued area, and then reattach the glued area and the rod to my apron rod with texsolv cord.  I like this method for cutting samples, or completed projects off the loom without much loom waste.

I am going to cut my samples in half, keep one half unwashed as a reference, and wash the other half until the fabric feels stable.  It should be felted enough to keep me from poking a fingernail through the weave.  Once I check for shrinkage, I will be able to figure out how much to weave for each bear.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Secret Message Bag

I finally finished a bag I started quite a while ago.  I didn't have straps for it, so that was what kept me from finishing it.

The bag has a light green rug yarn warp, and the weft is old video tapes (where the secret message comes from).

The straps for the handles were woven on my homemade CPVC inkle loom.  I finished the second strap last weekend while tending my friend's greenhouse and plant sale.  The day started out a bit slow, so I was glad I took the loom and a chair.

Another UFO finished!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Dyeing Day

Yesterday started out with a sad day at church, since one of our well loved members passed away suddenly the day before. 

When we got home, Bob and I did a little garden prep and put in a few tomato plants, and some giant zinnias.  Bob worked on getting a fence up around the area to try and keep the munchy critters out. 

After we finished all of that, I got to start on a dyeing project. 
I bought some ugly yellow wool yarn at an estate sale and thought I would try to turn it into a brown.  I wound off almost a pound into four skeins, and soaked it, to prepare for the dye bath.  I figured I could start with purple, since it is opposite on the color wheel from yellow, and would get some sort of brown. 

My first attempt ended up being a little toward the purple-plum side, so I asked a friend if I should try adding a bit more yellow to the mix and dye it again.  Back to the dyepot with the yellow added.

Thank goodness Bob was around to pull those hot, heavy skeins out of the dye bath.  As the steaming picture shows, I did get a brown after adding lemon yellow.  My conclusion to this dye experiment is to use a lot less dye.  The directions I found said to use between 1-5 teaspoons of dye powder (fiber reactive Procion MX).  I used about 1 1/2 teaspoons of the purple, and added 1/2 teaspoon of yellow.  That was directions for dyeing a pound.  My yarn weighed slightly under a pound (14.4 oz.).  Under a teaspoon would have been plenty.
They are out on the golf cart, drying in the nice breeze right now.  I can probably get out in the studio quite soon and start winding warp.   The plan is for this wool to become fabric to make some Teddy bears.  I'm thinking of using some treadling variations of traditional bird's eye and John Murphy's bird's eye, from Marguerite Davison's book, pages 13 and 14.  I will do a five yard warp, sett 16 epi, 24" in the reed.  I only need a little over 1/2 yard per bear, so I will have fun playing with the variations. 
The two small skeins on the right are a different color brown, and are a different yarn.  There was still dye in the pot after finishing the first four skeins, so I took some dirty yarn, washed it, and dyed a bit of it with the remainder in the pot.  That will be added to my "someday this will become a wool rug" stash.

I ended my evening with a walk with Bob, marveling at the beauty of new growth on the blue spruce, looking for yellow lady's slippers, and then chasing around a swallow-tail butterfly feasting on our lilacs.
It was a wonderful day!