Experimenting with Hand Dyed Warps and Wefts

For me, weaving is such a journey. I absolutely love this adventure in fiber arts. Lately I’ve been seeing so many beautiful creations from other weavers using painted warps and I couldn’t wait to give it a try. After painting my warp using the ice dyeing technique (see the Experimenting with Ice Dyeing blog post), it was time to figure out what I was going to use as the weft.

For this project I’m using 8/2 Tencel. The warp is dyed using MX reactive dyes from ProChem again using the ice dyed method. I used the following colors for the warp: Nickel, Olive, Kilt Green, Pearl Gray, and Curry.

The picture above maybe isn’t the best picture of the warp and it was taken once I started weaving, but you can see how the colors meld into each other. The colors are just amazing and it was so much fun watching the them change as I was weaving. Once I had my warp on it was time to experiment with different weft colors. I knew I wanted to experiment with the colors I used in the warp as well as some solid 8/2 cotton I had on hand, but first I had to dye my weft yarn.

Dyeing Yarn for the Weft

I had six skeins of 8/2 tencel already wound. I first soaked them in soda ash over night.

To make my dye, I first had to mix the urea water. I measured 9 Tablespoons of urea and mixed it with 1 quart of water.

Following directions from a friend, I decided to use 3 teaspoons of dye for 2 cups of water. I mixed the dye in a measuring cup and then transferred it to squeeze bottles. I made sure to label each container (lesson learned from a previous project). For future projects, I may want a little bit lighter shades so I may opt for 1 1/2 teaspoons per 2 cups of urea water.

Now with the dye mixed I had to decide what to do with each skien. For three I wanted a gradient feel to it. I wanted these three skeins to meld into each other so I kept one color constant from skein to skein. The curry color I used sparingly as an accent in each skein. The first skein used the colors kilt green, nickel and curry.

I kept the kilt green as the constant for the second skien and added olive.

For the third skein, I kept the olive and added nickel again using the curry as an accent.

I also the dyed a skeins of solid nickel, solid olive and solid curry. Each skein was wrapped individually in Saran Wrap and set overnight.

Once rinsed and dried, we were all set to start weaving!

Sampling with Weft Colors

As a beginning weaver I absolutely hated sampling. Now a few years later, I actually like it. Well, maybe I’ve grown to appreciate how important it is. This time not only was I checking to be sure my sett was correct, I wanted to play with different colors on my painted warp. Here’s just two pictures of my sample. The first picture uses solid 8/2 cotton in burgundies and the second picture a few different blues. It’s amazing how different it looks.

Here are a few pictures of the sample when using the tencel.

Weaving with the Painted Warp

I decided to weave two projects with my dyed warp- a shawl and a scarf. I started with the shawl because it was going to be wider. Each project was sett at 22 epi. For the shawl, the warp was 22 inches in the reed and used 484 ends. I wanted to add an embellishment the shawl so I hem stitched using the curry, wove approximately 2 1/2 inches of pattern using the solid nickel yarn, hem stitched with curry, left a 1 1/2 inch space and then hem stitched with curry and began weaving using yarn with the first skein. Here’s what it looks like on the loom and then after finishing.

I wove the shawl to be a little over 80 inches (not including a six inch fringe) and it ended up being 72 inches in length and 19 1/2 inches in width. A third of scarf was woven with yarn from the first skein, a third from the second skein and a third from the third skein.

To weave the scarf, I simply removed about three and a half inches from each side of the warp. I didn’t take a measurement of the warp in the reed, but after finishing the scarf measured 13 inches wide and 83 inches in length. I actually like this length for a scarf. Some may think it is a tad too long, but I tend to like my scarves on the longer side.

Thanks to my daughter, Lizzie, for modeling.

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