Gifts from the Washing Machine

I washed the rayon chenille that I took off my AVL.  As expected, some of it was completely unusable cloth.  Sacrificed to the gods of learning.

But here, completely pettable and respectable is four yards of cloth, 36 inches wide.  I washed it on cold/normal and then dried it with some towels on tumble-dry-low to beat it up a bit and soften the fabric.  (Woven chenille right off the loom feels a lot like cardboard.)

Respectable cloth

I’m thinking about using it in this pattern, Elements Vest 002.

Elements Vest 002

The fabric is substantial, somewhere between heavy shirt and light jacket.  I think the simple lines of the vest will work well with the strong patterning and texture of the fabric.  Right now I’m wrestling with the angels of my better nature to talk myself into making a muslin (as is proper and right) instead of cutting right into my chenille (which is what I’m aching to do.)

One of the things I love to do when weaving is experiment and play around on the loom, since you’ll never know what you’ll get.  The rayon chenille warp, by dint of it being a learning warp was full of adventure.  And even more things showed up after wet finishing.

lots of stuff happened here

This odd sample is an amalgam of things.  From right to left the weave structures and weft were:

Diamond twill pattern in 20/2 worsted green wool
I rather like this fabric.  The wool fulled a bit and made the diamond pattern pucker into a pleasing almost-waffle.  (I expected some deflection because the structure alternated warp-faced with weft-faced twill which in stripes creates pleats and here creates mini-waffles.)  The dark green color faded into the background pleasing and gave just a hint of irridescence against the maroon.  You lose the complete velvet “luxe” feel of the rayon chenille, but the rayon softens the wool in a nice way and the wool makes the rayon fabric warmer.   I could see this as nice fabric for a fall jacket.

Diamond twill pattern in 20/2 yellow merino
The merino also pulled up into waffles, but the softer fiber fuzzed in the wash and obscured the design and the rayon’s velvet touch.  I like it not so very much.  I’m thinking cut up, it might make serviceable coasters.

Plain Weave in 22/2 yellow merino
The merino fuzzed up and created a hazy over the cloth that is just nasty.  But yet I find this cloth oddly compelling.  It makes me think of rustic fabrics, distressed velvets, lichen on rocks.  Can you be both attracted to and repelled by a fabric?

Straight twill in 22/2 yellow merino
The ruching that occurred in this piece is interesting.  When washed, the twill line deflected in an organic way that reminds me of bustles.  It’s like a form of macro-tracking, where entire sections of pattern are deflected, not just individual threads as can happen in an open plain weave.  At first I thought it occurred because of random felting, but look at this piece.

Pretty fabric

Straight twill, mystery weft
I am in love with this fabric.  The crinkled effect reminds me of bark.  It’s soft and slinky.  The weft was a thin red yarn purchased pre-wound on a pirn.  I think it was either fine silk on a pirn I bought from Lunatic Fringe or fine cotton from a closed mill in NC(1).  I just grabbed it for something to weave with at the time, “hey, here’s a pirn with yarn, let’s clear it off.”  Now that I see what it does, I’ll have to unravel a bit of the cloth and research the fiber.  I want to be able to replicate this effect.

UPDATE: I checked and I’m pretty sure the weft is a 140/2 silk.  That and the 24 sett for the 2000 ypp rayon chenille gave me what Su Butler (rayon-chenille expert) tells me is a “collapse effect.”  Big thanks to her for the term, it’s a lot more elegant than “scrunchy horizontal lines thingy.”

(1) I’m unable to resist vintage pirns filled with yarn when I find them in a yarn shop or antique store.  I point and shout, “pirn!” and then go about finding out how much they cost, often having to stop and explain what they are when I do.  I’d probably get better prices if I looked less enthusiastic.

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