Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Recalculating! (Blue and green gradated handwoven ruanas)

I'm working on a new weaving again. I'd like to make another set of my woven ruanas, but instead of doing the hand dyed stripey warp, like this:

I'm going to gradate them from one color to another like I did for a good portion of my baby wraps, like this:

 I like that gradual color change, and I'd like to be able to wear it myself.

So, I did my calculations, and ordered 6 cones of 3/2 cotton from Webs. I figured that would give me about a half a pound over what I needed. And, I have colors of 10/2 here on hand that would go well as weft colors.

Then, I got to winding the chains on my warping mill. To do the blend from one color to another, I break up the warp into sections and play with fractions. For 20 threads, I do 3/4 the starting color, and 1/4 the next. Then, 20 threads that are 2/3 the original color, and 1/3 the new one. Then, 20 threads where the colors are equal in ration. The next 20 threads have 2/3 of the new color, and 1/3 the original. Then, the next 20 are 3/4 the new color, 1/8 the original, and 1/8 the next color further down the line. This kind of using fractions to fade from one to the next has worked quite well for me in the past.

Except.... Oops. I had calculated out how much yardage I needed total. But, I neglected to calculate out how much yardage I needed of each color. When I got to the last bit of fading out the second color in the line, I found that I was 5 threads short. I ran out. (Insert cussing here.)

I took some time and re-figured. I was going to have more than I needed of the first and last colors, but not enough of the middle colors. And, by the time I discovered this, I was already toward the end of the second warp chain. I figured I had two options. I could buy 4 more pounds of yarn, which would add about $100 dollars to the project. Ouch! Or, I could recalculate and make the project a bit narrower, to use a bit less yarn. Which is what I chose to do. I grabbed the calculator, pencil, and paper, and adjusted the numbers to be 18 threads per fraction section.

Of course, I discovered this when I was almost done measuring the second of 5 warp chains. Which meant my first batch was going to have too many threads. And some of them were in the wrong order for this new configuration. I kept going, and figured I'd straighten things out when I was at the sleying the reed stage of putting threads in their order on the loom.

Which is precisely what I did tonight. I juggled threads around to new positions, and pulled some out entirely. I've got the order right now, and it is looking pretty good. But...I am really afraid that I am going to have an awful tangle on my hands when it comes time to pull those threads through the reed while beaming the warp. I am going to have to go slowly and carefully indeed.

But I think I can do it. And, I have my correct calculations for when I do these ruanas again in the future.

Weaving is definitely an exercise in constant problem solving!

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