Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Collapse Weave Exploration

When I spin or work out, I need entertainment. Sometimes I listen to podcasts. But frequently I need something to look at. Spinning and weaving videos work well to entertain me. They inspire me, give me new tips, and reinforce older ones. Things that went right over my head when I was newer to spinning make sense now when I watch those videos again. Some of my favorites are by Sara Lamb, Sarah Anderson, Judith MacKenzie, and Patsy Zawistoski. The first three teachers have videos on Interweave and Patsy Z's are available via DVD on her website.

Anyway, I was watching Kathryn Alexander's video on Energized Yarns and she mentioned that they can be used in weaving. Then I watched Sara Lamb's video on Spin to Weave and she talked about weaving with them. I did some googling and found a book by Anne Field called Collapse Weave and most of the other information on the web was related to her book. There was a few independent blogs and artciles but not much. Knitty had a blog on it. I bought the book and read as much of it as made sense to me. But I am smitten.

The book is mostly about weaving on a floor or table loom and I haven't figured out my floor loom yet. Therefore, that was not an option. But some of the early stuff in the book is simple plain weave or tabby. I felt I could do something with that. The basic concept is that you spin singles and leave them as energized yarns. The energy goes dormant as the yarn sits, or you might have to tame it by wetting and letting it dry with a weight on it. Sometimes you even have to add sizing if you want to use it as warp.

However, after you weave, you soak it in water to finish it and the pent-up energy is released and it makes the cloth turn into a 3-dimensional work of art. I bet there are some works of horror too. But we won't think of that.

The next stage of this journey had to do with the Tour de Fleece. Someone on Ravelry asked what my plans were for the Tour de Fleece this year, and suddenly I thought about weaving singles for a collapse weave project. But I didn't want to spend a lot of time spinning something that wouldn't work. And that led me to the experiments in this post. I need to spin and weave some samples before I plan my Tour de Fleece spinning.

I decided to try 3 different types of energized singles. Maybe these distinctions won't make a difference but I have to start somewhere, right?

I spun these three yarns.
 From left to right: dyed Polwarth top spun worsted with a Z twist into a fine, highly twisted singles yarn; cream undyed Corriedale roving spun longdraw with a Z twist into a slightly thicker, highly twisted singles yarn; gray undyed Corriedale spun with a short backwards draw with a S twist into a slightly thicker, highly twisted singles yarn.
 The top 3 cones are my warp. I chose some linen/silk that I had on hand from Colourmart. I wanted something that wouldn't shrink to provide structure in the fabric. I also am not sure which of the colors will look good so i decided to try them all.
 I've warped the loom and put on a header and am ready to go. The warp is 4 yds long. I used a very wide sett - there is a lot of room between the warp threads to give the energized yarn room to move. I plan to weave 4 sets of samples. Each set is 2 identical samples: one will be washed and finished and one will remain unwashed for reference.

  1. A 12" sample with the dyed worsted fine singles as weft.
  2. A 12" sample with the cream woolen yarn as weft but make stripes of more closely packed weft and a balanced weft which will be spread further apart. 
  3. A 12" sample with the gray semi-woolen S twist yarn as weft
  4. A 12" sample with the gray yarn striped with the warp yarn
The objective of the two striped samples is to experiment with differential shrinkage. This is where one yarn shrinks a bit more than another one and creates a gathered or crinkly effect. If you remember seersucker fabric, that is achieved by differential shrinkage.

This is a search for collapse weave projects on Ravelry. This is another blog with some details of collapse weave. I provide these as references in case you are intrigued by my journey and want to follow along.
And now that I've finished that spinning, I am pondering my next project. I want color. I pulled these 4 braids out of my stash but I'm torn as to what to spin. I've asked on Instagram and on Ravelry and so far the Fiber Optic gradient has a slight edge although all 4 braids have received votes. What do you think?

The knitting is also making progress. I've finished the body and need to pick up and knit the pockets next.
Then come the sleeves and the hood. This is a mashup of Giorgia, Cross Pockets, and Rogue. The raglan shaping is from Giorgia because my row gauge matched that pattern more closely than the row gauge on Cross Pockets. The body below the armhole is mostly based on Cross Pockets because I wanted to see how that design looked on me before I went through the effort of figuring out the shoulder and armhole shaping at my row gauge. I also like the hood shaping on Rogue so I am going to adapt that for the hood. The color in this photo is a little washed out as I used the flash to eliminate shadows. It is a bit brighter than this. A rose color. The yarn is Rowan Calmer in the colorway Mandarin.

And that's all for now, folks!

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