Monday, August 8, 2011

Silk washed and ironed and the next thing....

I finished weaving the samples last night and washed and ironed (yes, ironed because I wanted to show off the luster of this lovely silk) the samples today.  Here is how the experiment turned out:

The colors are vibrant and I think you can see the luster of this beautiful silk.   This piece is going off to Redfish Dyeworks as soon as I can get it packed up and addressed. I promised Elf and Sandra a sample and I keep my promises
 When I taught at MAFA in 2009 (Mid-Atlantic Fiber Association conference) I stopped in the A Touch of Twist booth.  While I was looking around I found some naturally pigmented cotton for sale.  They had a 10/2 green and a 12/2 olive (a darker green once washed).  I know that the cotton fiber in the boll is covered with a sort of waxy covering.  Unless you are spinning cotton yourself, that coating is usually removed before the cotton comes to handweavers as yarns.  In the case of the naturally pigmented cottons, no bleaching or dyeing is performed so the yarns come to us with that waxy covering intact.  The color of the yarn once that coating has been removed is very different for these naturally colored cottons.  I particularly like the olive green and decided that I would like a simple cotton top for summer wear.

The cotton, 12/2, woven across itself, even plain weave (which produces the lightest fabric for a given yarn) would be heavier than what I wanted.  I bought a very fine, very refined, cotton (~36/2) some years back.  It is what I would call oyster-colored, a very light, neutral gray and I decided it would be good with the olive color.  The plan is to alternate them in the warp and perhaps use just the fine cotton in the weft or perhaps use two shuttles, on pick of each, alternating.
The little winding on the right is the color on the cone.  The darker color on the left is what the yarn looks like when it has been scoured.  What I did was put some hot water in a little pan along with washing soda and just a little dishwashing liquid.  I simmered the yarn briefly and presto! the color was revealed.  Yes, you can wash the resulting fabric several times to develop the color, but using washing soda isn't harmful to cotton and is the quick way.

On to measure out the warp!

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