Thursday, 9 July 2015

What is on my loom in July.

July has been a very busy month but I have managed to do some complex weaving.  I wanted make a special gift so I wove another version of the Ravenna silk block damask pattern.  Do look at my blog for September 2014 for more details about Roman block damasks. Click here for the link. Roman Block Damasks

My previous scarves have all been woven with 60/2 silk so that the pattern blocks are small.  This time I wanted something a little more dramatic so I wove the pattern with 30/2 silk at 36 epi.

The pattern repeat is much larger and looks amazing from a distance.  I used ivory and a gold silk so that it would look like the Ravenna mosaic.

The Ravenna mosaic silk on my loom.

Off the loom I make the tassels using the braid twister shown in a previous blog.

Using the braid twister to make the tassels.

To finish a woven silk cloth.

Once the tassels are complete, I will then wash the silk.  This is a delicate process.

I put a small amount of liquid soap in a bowl of warm water. I agitate the water and then add the silk material.  I lift and dip the material several times and gently squeeze it.  

I leave the silk in the water for about 10 minutes.  Lift and squeeze again and then take it out..
Now the silk is ready for rinsing.  To ensure that all the soap is removed from the silk, I add a very small amount of clear vinegar to the next bowl of warm rinsing water.  The material is lifted and dipped several times.  I take it out and then rinse it again in a fresh bowl of warm water with no vinegar.  The vinegar is only used on the next to last rinse.

Once it is thoroughly rinsed, I roll the silk in a towel to get rid of the excess water.  The material can be left to dry slightly by hanging it carefully on a clothes rack.

I iron the silk using a steam iron on the silk setting.  For this silk which does not have a raised pattern, I press it on a hard surface.  I have a marble pastry board which I only use for ironing. This helps to bring out the shine of the silk.  Do not rub silk or it will lose its lustre. 

The tassels can be pressed flat and any final adjustment to the length can be made. I find that getting tassels all exactly the same length is difficult.  If anyone has any tips to share do let me know. 

I store my silk scarves rolled around a cardboard tube lined with tissue paper.  In this way they do not crease and look fresh when I want to wear it. Folded silk shows the fold lines. 

Band Loom

On my band loom, I have a narrow band in 16/2 linen.  I love cooking and my apron straps have worn so I thought that I would weave a new set.

The warp colour order is as follows:

White          10     8         8      10
Buirgundy        2      26      2

The band is 2.3 cms in width.    Here is a close up of the band.

Close up of the band

Using a standard heddle.

You can also weave this type of band with a standard heddle.

Stoorstalka have a new YouTube video showing the technique.

Introduction to band weaving with STOORSTÅLKA Band weaving kit Small

Click here to view it.

Happy weaving

Susan J Foulkes July 2015


  1. Hi Susan,
    just came across your Youtube video and than to your blog. So interesting and beautiful handcraft !
    If you one day come to Oxford, please vizit the Pitt Rivers Museum. There you can find a great collection of waving staff. I found fine haddles from Scandinavien, France and so on.
    All the best for you. That the tread never runs out for you!

    1. Hi. I am pleased that you liked my blog. I visited the Pitt Rivers Museum in June to see some examples of Sami weaving. The Sami heddles are lovely.
      Susan J Foulkes


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