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Happy Summer and Silk Noil Test Run! :)

     Happy Summer😍🌅! 
     New York State has moved on to phase 4 and most everything is open and running with social distancing in place and masks required.  Since my job had no funds for summer programs, I’ve been able to really buckle down and make a HUGE dent in the stash.  I’ve got absolutely no problem not leaving that house, there’s so much to do here!  My love for Shibori has never faded.  I love every step in the process.  From choosing which yarns or threads to use, their fiber content, the types of dye and colors, to weaving and ripping out those supplemental weft threads.  Magic every time!


     I purchased some silk noil eons ago with the intention of weaving Shibori scarves.  This silk is very delicate and I’ve been quite hesitant in putting it on the loom.  It does very poorly on the ‘break test’.  With little to no pressure, it snaps almost immediately.  


     Since it’s super delicate, I didn’t want to count the warp ends under a lot of tension.  


     I counted out ends for only one scarf roughly 8” wide.  The sett in the reed would be around 24 epi.


     Since I wasn’t sure if I would have a lot of breakage along the way, there was a lot of stop and go.  I figured that once I had everything tensioned properly, I would really be able to test the strength of all of the threads together.  Quite nerve wracking...I just kept thinking...please don’t break, please don’t break.


     Each thread was carefully threaded through the heddles in a straight draw.  Please don’t break, please don’t break!


       Absolutely no breakage so far and the ends are then threaded through the reed ready for the tension to be set on the front beam.  Please don’t break, please don’t break!


      Header woven with barely any tension.  I’m a structure weaver so normally, I weave under very high tension.  I like a nice clean shed so, this was a bit of a change for me.  Please don’t break, please don’t break!


      Here we go! My personal standard for Shibori is a supplemental weft every four picks.  I find that the pattern shows through nicely giving just enough space in between for the dye to take to the fabric.  Please don’t break, please don’t break!


      I don’t know if you’ll be able to tell from the photograph above but, if you blur your eyes, you can get an ideas as to how the dye will take on the fabric.  This is something much easier to see in person but, this particular scarf will have a long diamond-ish pattern.  Please don’t break, please don’t break!


      So with all of this ‘please don’t break’ stuff, I’m happy to say that I only ran into one!  I used a bit of the warp at the end to test the strength of the silk under tension.  I was surprised to find that it actually fared quite well!


     So here is the repair of the break.  No biggie and I was very happy to find that I can use this yarn again for a longer run.


     Time to twist fringe...I was careful again to make sure that I didn’t have any breakage here as well. 


     Lookin good!  No breakage in the fringe twisting!


     Here’s where the magic starts to really happen!  Binding!  Pulling the supplemental weft to create a resist.  It’s important to make sure that the knots stay relatively the same tightness across each side and that the fabric doesn’t bow under the pressure of the knots.


     Tah dah!  


     Now for the soak in preparation for the dye bath.  Since this is silk, I’m going to dye it using a heat set dye in cobalt blue which was the closest that I had to indigo. 


     As I was painting on the dye, it was soaking up right away!  I really like the way the fabric took to the dye and when I use this again, I’ll be sure to concentrate the dye mixture a little more.

Here’s a sample of the final product before washing and pressing.  I’ve been using the ‘final photograph’ as the first because of the way blogger layout shows up.  
Here’s a thought about things being a mess.  Weaving sometimes gives me some serious insight to life, which is probably why I love it so very much.  Sometimes when we ‘think’ we’re a mess, it just takes a little bit of patience and light handed endurance to get the final result.  Patience and endurance🌅❤.


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