lava flow in progress

Back from future plans to current project… and the lava flow is taking shape on the loom. I did some sampling with the silk/stainless steel yarn, and with some ordinary silk, and with them both together (well, you know how I like to sample) and I found the silk/stainless steel much easier to manage than I expected. Having tried weaving with some other metallic yarns, I was prepared for the worst — but I needn’t have worried. The main practical difficulty I’ve had is that the Shetland wool is exceedingly hairy and I need to watch the shed to make sure none of the ends get caught where they shouldn’t be.

Off the loom the sample piece looked rather more lively than usual:

However, I think I overdid the washing. The wool fulled beautifully… and rather too much. As a result the stainless steel seems to have softened up more than I wanted, and the main surface shaping is just the bagginess from the differential shrinkage which is rather disappointing.

Sorry, that looks a bit out-of-focus. So I need to be much more gentle in the wet finishing. But I am pleased that the curved shapes at the sides are still clearly visible, with the bonus of some weft-based curves appearing as well against the dark wool. (The silk/stainless steel yarn is orange — the black weft in the lower part of the picture is plain silk.)

And I am delighted with the selvedges. I had thought I might end up with metallic loopy bits sticking out at the sides, but it sits beautifully with the least draw-in I have ever managed! I think it is because it holds its shape: once you have thrown the shuttle through the shed, the yarn is “bent” at the edge and has no inclination to be pulled any further, thank you. Even by my clumsy left hand.

After fulling, the edge turned out crinkly but still tight rather than loopy.

Altogether I am fairly pleased with how it is turning out, although I can think of all sorts of alternatives I would like to try. I have forced myself not to use the entire warp making samples, however, and am now in the process of creating The Piece. I’m not quite sure what to call it. Well, that’s not true, I know exactly what I am going to call it — its title will be “Lava Flow: Earth + Fire” — but not what category label to give it. So it is just The Piece.

lava flow in progress” was posted by Cally on 15 June 2011 at

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9 Responses

  1. Laura
    | Reply

    Wow – great results!

  2. Julia
    | Reply

    Ahem – the uneven shrinkage and the bubbly look reinforces the whole idea of LAVA. Cally, this is exactly what I was asking you about when you talked about working with the stainless steel – can you make it sculptural so it resembles LAVA more? You did exactly that. I think it’s brilliant and not a concept that other weavers that I know of are working with. Weavers are artists. You just made art. Can you make it more bubbly rather than less??

    • Cally
      | Reply

      I know, I know! I’m just being picky about the *cause* of the bubbliness – I want it to come from the liveliness of the steel and not from baggy silk and Tencel… Glad you’re liking it so far, but it will be better, oh yes indeed. I hope.

  3. Evelyn
    | Reply

    The Piece samples look wonderful so far, but I can see what you mean about the “bagginess”. Just off the loom there is some flow, but no softness, the washed has a little too much soft by comparison. Hope you can achieve the perfection you are looking for!

  4. Susan Harvey
    | Reply

    I saw the ripples in the cloth and thought “perfect lava!”
    The colours and physical shaping catches it….
    Artists are never satisfied and weavers always tell/ show you where their ‘mistakes’ are… but from the viewer’s perspective, I agree… its *brilliant!*


  5. Trapunto
    | Reply

    I love it too. Can’t wait to see the final “piece.”

  6. marionq
    | Reply

    I agree, the ripples look like lava but I can also understand what you mean.
    To bad you can’t ‘beem it up’ so we can see and feel the real thing 🙂

    But like Trapunto says; Can’t wait so see your final piece.

  7. marion
    | Reply

    Sorry, I wrote ‘ marionq’ but that must be; marion


  8. Shirley Treasure
    | Reply

    Looks stunning Xxx
    I like the rippling too, it gives it ‘movement’ and ‘flow’, intended or not it suits the whole ‘Lava’ theme.
    Well done.

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