Learning versus wasting

At this point in my weaving, I can honestly say there is a lot I know.  I know how a loom works, I can read a draft, I can make cloth.  Yet there’s so much more that I don’t know.  There are some things that I have been afraid to try.  Not because I’m afraid I can’t do it, but because “that would be a waste of perfectly good yarn”.  Things like – What happens if I use X weight cotton at this sett versus a different sett?  What happens when I mix fibers?  What if I change the tie-up from plain weave to twill, just how much difference will the sett actually make?  Things like that.  I have plenty of yarn so it’s not like I’m going to run out any time soon.  I just have to get over the “waste of money” thing.  It’s not a waste if I’m learning something new, right?  It’s no different than paying for a class, other than I get to do it on my own time.

So, I’m going to do a sampler of sorts.  There are so many possibilities with what I want to see.  Let’s say I used 10/2 cotton as the warp.  I’d like to sett it at 24 for a couple of inches, 28 for another couple, and 32 for another.  For each of those different setts, I’d want plain weave, straight twill, point twill, and satin.  And for each of those, I’d change the weft to use different weight cottons, maybe throw in some wool and/or tencel, just to see how different they look and feel.  I want to do the same for the 20/2 cotton, the 8/2 tencel, and so on but I don’t think I can fit all the different yarns into one warp and not have some tension issues. It has to be big enough that I can keep samples of different methods of finishing, too.  There’s straight off the loom, there’s handwash/dry flat (it’s been babied), handwash/dryer (is this abuse of the cloth or is this a good thing), washing machine/dryer (here’s the worst that will happen if it gets mixed up with regular laundry).

This is all going to take some planning, and it may take multiple warps for all that I want to test.  I still have this little voice telling me that I should do the other things that I want to do first.  Come on, you know you want make a shuttle holder so they’ll be nice and organisedAnd what about those curtains you want to make for the bedroom?  And the bags you want to make for groceries? And the list goes on.  I’m trying to tell that little voice that I’ll have more success if I do the sampler(s) first.

Then there’s the color issue.  That’s another ball of wax. I’m going to get the setts and fibers down first, and work on color later.  There’s only so much my brain can handle at once.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lynn
    Nov 26, 2010 @ 14:56:31

    I think this is a very good idea – one that I’m too undisciplined to carry out, however! Maybe you could switch off in-depth swatching with weaving the curtains/grocery bags/shuttle holder?


  2. Ellen Turner
    Nov 27, 2010 @ 11:47:58

    I know just what you mean. I wish I were as disciplined. I really need to be working on being more bold with my colour choice, and I am trying on and off, – then reverse to black, white, grey, maybe unbleached… and the odd red for accent.


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