Weaving with Gradient Yarn
My weaving bug is back! Inspired in no small way by the fact that I am taking night classes in the 8-shaft loom, my rigid heddle is getting a good workout too :) A few folks have asked for the particulars, so here you go:
- Yarn: 2 skeins of Killarney Sock in “Copper Slate”
- Loom:24″ Rigid Heddle Ashford Knitters Loom
- Heddle – 10 dent
- Length – 8 feet
To use a gradient you’ve got to consider a few things; my piece had to be long enough that, on a 10 dent heddle, I would get to use up all of the gradient. If it’s a shorter piece, you might find yourself having to cut parts of the yarn out in order to see the entire progression, Secondly, when you are wefting, be aware that your weft will be shorter than your warp was, so again you will want to tweak things to get the entire gradient.
I started by warping on my dining table, which was luckily the right length. I knew the dark brown was where the copper and slate overlapped, so I made sure that was in the middle. If I was uncertain, I would have divided the yarn into two equal sized cakes, and started warping from the centre outwards using one cake at a time. This would ensure that the transitional parts of the yarn were intact.
When I was ready to start weaving I took my second skein, and I used my ball winder to divide it into 12 little cakes. I found 60 hand cranks on my ball winder gave me the right amount. This is because I prefer to use bobbins and a boat shuttle; for those of you using a stick shuttle you can get away with a little more.
Here’s the important part; when you load up your shuttle you need to wind from the outside of each cake. Starting in the bottom right, I wound each cake from the outside in; this ensures that when I start weaving each sequential part of the gradient will show up in the right order.
I eliminated the first 2 and the last three of the cakes to get a sequence that would get me from copper to slate without an excess of either colour. This is totally guesswork on my part; I’ve done enough shawls on my doing table that I have a rough idea how much yarn I need for my weft. On average, each foot of warp took one bobbin.
After a few inches of weaving, I hemstitch my ends. Here is my hemstitching tutorial for those of you who are unfamiliar :)
At the end I hemstitch again. I do love a good bit of hemstitching.
The result is a lovely long scarf where I see the full expression of the gradient both across the warp and the weft. And that’s all it takes :)
My latest warp (stay tuned for more pics!) is using 4 sock twin sets in Longbeach, Purple Rain, Feather and Berry Vanilla:
Greedy for an even longer piece, I extended my dining table by another 2 feet. A piece of plywood and two strong clamps; worked like a charm!