Eureka!

Well, I was somewhat disappointed in the last (Quick Tencel) scarf because of all the warp thread breakage.  The edges weren’t completely unsightly after wet finishing, but not great.

 

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I was tempted to blame the yarn, except:

  • Lots of people weave with tencel with no obvious issues
  • Most discussions of how to fix a broken warp thread start with something like: “Once in a while, a warp thread will break…” – which is nothing like my experience of 5 times in one scarf
  • In the customer reviews of this tencel online, no one mentioned warp breakage

So, there was nothing for it but to conclude that this problem had something to do with my weaving skill, and I set out to figure out what it might be.

I jumped right back on the horse and warped up another scarf with the same yarn, but reversing the warp and weft.  (Structure is Dixon book, p. 198 at the top – undulating 2/2 twill.)  I was very careful with the warping process, and didn’t note anything that could be abrading the yarn.  When I started weaving, I was a little tentative about it, because the yarn seemed so fragile, so I was not beating very hard.  In fact, my beating was so light I stopped to measure the picks per inch (not something I have been too focused on in the past).  Lo and behold, I was weaving a balanced weave!

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Could the problem have been that I was beating too hard (and me such a pacifist…)?  I went to my previous scarf to measure ppi, and sure enough the weft turned out to be packed pretty tightly.  Who knew?  Could this be the answer?  I could hardly wait to see, so I forged ahead, beating lightly and measuring often, and got the scarf off the loom in 2 days – with no breakage!!!  Yahoo!

Still, there are things to learn.  I was pretty amazed at the very slight difference in pressure that would take me from 20 ppi to 24 ppi.  Also, with this slippery yarn and long weft floats, the weft got pushed around while going around the breast beam, and left “holes” of warp showing.  I’m going to try to fix that in the dry finishing, but am not sure how stable the structure will be in the end, or whether this will turn out to be a design element.

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The adventure continues!

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