Heritage Weaving Project 2009


Work is progressing on that replica of Elzéar Goulet’s sash.
After matching up the colors in January, respinning the yarn all February, I started weaving in March. Elzéar’s sash was very loosely woven, only 6 wefts per inch in a very fine wool. My theory was that this could be produced using the false weave, creating two sashes at once. I calculated 13 feet to produce the 10 foot sash. Twice this, 26 feet of warp, was tied between two pillars in the Atrium of the St Boniface General Hospital where I work.
The original sash has some fill-in at the top of the sash, to mitigate the pointiness at the upper border (I sometimes call this the fish-tail effect).

Flattened upper edge of sash

Flattened upper edge of sash

Note the ‘short rows’ that make the first green lightnings start much lower than the first blue lightning.

So I did this bit of weaving before taking the warp to the Atrium, tieing off each row carefully.

Installed in the Atrium, I attempted to shove each false row twenty feet down the warp. I have to confess failure. A certain amount of mixing up of threads happened in transit from my warping mill to the Atrium site, what with the slight elasticity of the threads and small differences in lengths between individual threads, and perhaps insufficient tension on the whole, it took me over an hour to clear the first shed. I worked on it all afternoon, figuring that once I got it all lined up it would start working more smoothly.

I then realized that as I cleared the shed, the threads were jangling around behind me.
I am thinking that a team of several people working on this, one shoving the shed, and two others, stationed on either side of the first person, assisting, could do the job.
But this would seem to defeat the purpose. This would be much less efficient than weaving two sashes.

In the end, I cut the 26 ft warp in half, and now am weaving two sashes, one tight and the other loose.

Two sashes, one tightly woven, one loose

Now, I’m not yet ready to totally abandon the theory of the false-weave sash. I’m rethinking this. I figure I’d need several things:

-measure out the warp IN THE SAME SITE as I will weave, no releasing the tension, folding it up and transporting

-much more tension on the warp

-lots of warp sizing

-extra personnel to keep the threads from jumping around

-shorter lengths for experimentation (indeed I have been successful shoving the false weave 4 feet, why not 20???). My next experiment will attempt to shove the false weave 10 feet.


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