Hey everyone....I know a lot of people have never woven with chenille, have had disasters, are afraid or reluctant to try etc.....let's start some discussion about what keeps you from weaving with chenille, what questions you have about it and how to overcome any difficulties......
OK - it's up to all of you to ask questions!
What do you do with a piece that turns out sleazy? I had a mixed warp of pearl cottons and chenille and the last shawl was woven with a soy silk weft, after taking the whole lot off the loom I found that this piece was not going to withstand finishing without worming. SO it sits folded up on the shelf mocking me! I've thought about using a tricot interface to stabilize it but would really like to get other opinions before any more time and money is spent recovering this 28x 84" "fabric". Thankfully the other shawls came out nicely and sold. Liese
HI Liese.......if the other shawls came out nicely, I must assume your warp was sett properly to prevent worming. So why did the soy silk weft create a sleazy fabric? Was was your sett and beat?
If you wish to use the fabric for something other than a shawl you can apply a knit interfacing to the fabric to help stabalize it. I often do this when I have woven rayon chenille to be used in a garment. I use the lightest knit fusible interfacing I can find. This tends to disturb the hand of the fabric the least. Before fusing the interfacing to your item, launder the item (you can just soak it warm water if you are worried about worming), dry it thoroughly and then apply the interfacing. Follow the instructions for application to the letter.......do not attempt to hurry the fusing process or it will not adhere to the fabric for long.
Another way to stabalize the fabric is to apply a layer of Sulky stabalizer, the kind that washes away with water. Then sew like crazy over the stabalizer and the fabric, maybe using a meandering stitch, like the popular stippling used by quilters. Make sure the piece is covered with stithing, playing with thread colors (cotton or rayon threads works well - no synthetic) and stitch placement until the fabric is well covered. Then wash the stabilizer away and the fabric will be much more stable that is was. You may even be able to use the fabric as a shawl.
Hope that helps....
This piece turned out poorly because of my beat...every time I look at it I wonder where my mind was!
Thank you, thank you for those ideas...the second one really hit a nerve and one I would never have thought of that on my own! Really appreciate the willingness to share your artistic talents. I will take before and after pictures and post when I've transformed this piece. Liese
Looking forward to seeing your pics Liese!
It's a bit late for questions, since I've already started my project and the loom is warped. I'm weaving -- or attempting to weave a chenille tube. I"ve already decided that I'm going to need to use a fine weft rather than chenille to keep it from being too heavy. Does anyone have experience in weaving chenille tubes?
Hey Beryl.....what is the end use of your chenille tube???
It's a narrow scarf. My idea was to weave a tube and tuck in the ends instead of using a fringe. Then I want to add a beaded fringe. At the time I wrote the note, I hadn't started weaving yet -- but weaving is now underway and things are looking OK despite the crowded warp (sett is 30epi).
Hey Beryl......so you are weaving a strip that will be turned into a tube?? Or weaving an actual tube? Either way, with a chenille sett of 30 epi, a really fine sewing thread would be a good weft choice, or a fine silk - say 60/2 or finer. That will allow the piece to drape and be far less heavy than a chenille weft......
Hope you'll post a pic when it is finished!
I'm weaving a tube - double weave on four shafts. Everything is going along pretty well and I'm using 20/2 mercerized black cotton for the weft which doesn't show at all. Since I used black chenille, I went with the black thread I had on hand -- however, the fine black silk would have been sumptuous. I'll post a picture once it is done, although black won't be the easiest to see.
Su, I am still having trouble beaming my rayon chenille warps. I am reading your cd to try to cure this as the warps are taking way toooooo long to beam! I beam back to front and tried to wind my warp carefully as you explained. Yesterday I bought the 3 dowels and was going to try that but couldn't figure out when I was supposed to add them...do you have to dress the loom front to back in order to use the dowels?
Are the warps easier to beam if you wind them as a single thread rather than 2 or 3? I appreciate any input on this as I love the scarves I make but hate beaming them! Thanks. Lisa
HI Lisa......the dowels will help a LOT to create a nice even tension on your warp as you beam it onto the warp beam. When you wind the warp, you can do 2 or 3 threads at a time, but the best tension will come from winding a single thread cross. If you want to use three dowels, you will have to wind TWO crosses at one end of the warp. To dress the loom back to front, insert the dowels into the two crosses and secure them behind the heddles and in front of the back beam. Once the warp passes over the dowels, try not to touch it AT ALL. The dowels will act like a "whole loom tension box" and distribute the yarn evenly onto the warp beam. I usually slightly weight the warp chain so it will not tangle too much in front of the dowels. IF it does tangle, usually a couple of quick snaps or "spanks" will clear the tangles. IF you dress the loom F2B, you can insert the dowels in the tabby shed behind the heddles and secure in place. The added separation of the threads from being sleyed in the reed and threaded in the heddles prior to beaming on can be quite helpful in getting a very even warp. If I am beaming a short warp (under 10 yards) I usually dress the loom B2F and a long warp, say 25 yards or so, I will do F2B (yes I DO realize this is kind of backwards logic), to maintain a really even tension on the warp while beaming.
Whichever way you choose to beam, make sure your dowles are sanded VERY smooth with fine grit sandpaper so the chenille yarn will not snag on them.
Hope that helps, but if you have further questions, don't hesistate to ask!
Thank you so much for all the good information. Next time I wind a warp I think I will wind one thread instead of the 2 or 3 I usually do. Also am going to beam F2B the next time and see if that helps. My warp yesterday took almost 3 hours to beam and was a tangled mess! Hopefully your tips will make it a more enjoyable experience. Lisa
If I am beaming a short warp (under 10 yards) I usually dress the loom B2F and a long warp, say 25 yards or so, I will do F2B (yes I DO realize this is kind of backwards logic), to maintain a really even tension on the warp while beaming.
Sue, My Glimakra has string heddles should I consider following your example if I weren't planning on changing them out to tex -solv? I've had issues in the past with one or 2 occasionally wearing the chenille unless I advanced very frequently so while your point make sense to me I wonder if I'd do more harm than good.
HI LIese......you might want to stick to B2F for your warps with string heddles......they can abrade the warp more than any other heddle......if the eye is small or they twist a lot. If you keep slight tension on your warp while you beam, the heddles should not cause any undue abrasion, but with string heddles, I'm not so sure.....all my looms have either Texsolv or flat steel heddles, both with large enough eyes that rayon chenille simply cannot get hung up in them. I personally feel the tension on the warp is the most important thing...it needs to be adequate, even and consistent, especially with Rayon Chenille....
I'm putting a chenille warp on too. I'm going to do a shadow weave, so I wound 2 strands at a time. Normally I do one strand at a time. And boy oh boy am I having trouble! The two chenilles are acting very differently. I've done shadow weave before and didn't have this problem. I wonder if I'm out of practice or if it's something odd with the yarn?
I like to use PVC pipe instead of wood dowels because they're smooth. Do you think the fact that they're so slick means they're not doing much to help even the tension? I've used them for years with other yarns with no problem.
Thanks Sue, appreciate your thoughts. Liese
HI Tina......are your two chenilles the same fiber and size?? Chenille tends to twist whenever the tension on it is relaxed, and perhaps your two yarns are twisting and causing you trouble?? If your chenille is rayon, it should separate pretty easily once tension is applied, but if cotton or other fiber, it may not. Did you check to see that the core yarn is twisted the same direction on both yarns prior to winding the warp?? If they are going opposite directions, that can cause some tangling.
There is nothing inherently wrong with PVC pipe used as the tensioning device for rayon chenille if you use sturdy enough pipes and enough of them. The point of using the dowels is to create some tension.....if the pipe is too smoothy, you will have to use more of them to create an adequate tension for beaming. When I use 1" wood dowles, sanded to be quite smooth, I often use three of them to create the required tension. If doing a full width warp, it may take four. It is kind of a fine balance between enough tension and too much!
I did get the warp on, finally. It's been a while since I put on a chenille warp, so maybe I just erased it from my memory. It's not tangling too bad, but there's a distinct difference in the feel of the 2 colors. They're mill end and are unlabeled. The colored one is just like my 1450ypp and behaves better. The undyed one seems stiffer. Maybe the chenille part is fuzzier. I used the undyed in the blue and white blanket I posted here and noticed then that I had a lot more trouble with the shed in the white areas than in the blue. I thought that I would have fewer problems doing shadow weave. I have woven a few inches and the weaving is fine, so hopefully there won't be any major tension problems.
I'm demoing weaving and spinning tomorrow at a festival. I wanted something that was fairly easy to treadle, but also had a distinctive look. I love shadow weave with chenille, so that's what I decided to go with.
HI Tina....your shadow weave looks great! You mentioned the two chenilles have a distinctly different feel. Did you do a burn test to determine the fiber content? Rayon chenille will always be a bit shiny (hold the cone in your hand and move it around and see if the color seems to change in the light). It will feel cool to the touch no matter now long you hold it, and will have a distinct, if faint, chemical smell. You undyed chenille could contain some dirt and oils, or it could be a different fiber. If it feel stiffer, I suspect either some synthetic content or cotton. To do a burn test, cut off a 6-8" piece of each. In separate ccontainers (corning ware works well for this) lie each piece in the container and, one at a time, light the end and let it burn. If it is rayon and or cotton, it will burn fast, and leave a very light ash. If there is synthetic, it will burn with a blacker, smellier smoke, form a little black ball that will be difficult to crush when cool. If you are using 100% rayon with a yarn that has cotton/synthetic content, you may not have issues while weaving but you might on wet finishing. However, since shadow weave requires alternating one yarn with the other, if you wet finish carefully you should be OK. If one yarn starts elongating faster than the other as you weave, remember that it will also retract (shrink) more too when you wet finish.
Have fun at the festival!
Su, One more question before I put on a new warp....What do you do inbetween each scarf on the loom? I don't weave anything where the fringe goes but I'm not sure that's the best thing to do. I use a knitting needle to weave the first pick of the next scarf to give a straight edge and then remove it. Should I be weaving something in where the fringe will be or is leaving it empty ok? Thanks. Lisa
HI Lisa......I often weave in 1" miniblind slats between scarves. That way I know precisely how much warp I have for fringes, it keeps the warp in order and allows a perfect straight edge to begin the next scarf. The blind slip out easily after the piece comes off the loom, but stay in place until I choose to remove them, which keeps the warp that will be used for fringes in order. Some people choose to use cardboard, rag strips, whatever. I like the mini-blind slats because they don't catch on the warp and are a consistent size.
I think weaving something to secure the warp width and straight edge is prudent......
Su, Now I am getting tired of plain weave so I would like to expand to twill...shadow weave looks too difficult! Anyway, in your book you discuss twills not being good for chenille. If I use a supplementary weft pick, is there a twill you would recommend to use for a first project with chenille beyond plain weave? I just bought some rayon sewing thread to throw after each pick. Also, should I use two shuttles or can you use a double shuttle for the supplementary weft pick? Can you recommend a VERY SIMPLE shadow weave to start with for the next project? Thanks for any input. Lisa
HI Lisa......shadow weave is not difficult.....the only thing that might seem difficult is getting the threading and color order perfect. If it is not perfect, it will show in the finished weaving. Log Cabin is a good, simple way to start exploring Color and Weave effects in weaving. It is a simple two shaft weave which produces interesting pattern, especially when you play with color. I have tried twice, unsuccessfully, to upload a draft of Log Cabin for you, but it is not working, so I will describe it here. Threading is 1-2-1-2-1-2-1-2 consistently across the warp. The color order is what makes the pattern......you can have two blocks on two shafts.
Block one is threaded: D,L,D,L..... (Dark, light, dark, light)
Block two is threaded: L, D. L, D
This means that where block A and block B abut, there will be two of the same color yarn next to each other......so a threading for a profile of ABBAABA would be
D L D L / L D L D L D L D / D L D L D L D L / L D L D / D L D L
I have used the example of 4 thread blocks, but they can be any multiple of two that you desire. The treadling is a simple 1-2-1-2-1-2-1-2 etc......where the blocks change you throw a second light or dark thread to make the pattern change, just as in the threading.
Twills in chenille are entirely possible, you just have to be careful about float length and use the supplementary binding pick. This is well outlined in my book, so I won't repeat it all here. The SBP should come from a second shuttle, not a double shuttle. I know it it can feel like a pain to use two shuttles, but when the SBP is used from a double shuttle, it does not lie properly in the shed to do the work it is designed to do. As with anything chenille, warp sett and beat are critical to success.
Hope that helps Lisa.....you might want to find Margaret Windeknecht's books on Color and Weave to find some exicitng yet very simple drafts for this type of weaving. There is also a book by Marion Powell "1000+ patterns in 4,6,and 8 shaft shadow weave", but for some beginning shadow weavers, this book can be a little confusing.
Wow! What a great amount of information. Thank you. I ordered Margaret Windeknecht's book on Color and Weave that you recommended...it sounds like what I need..simple patterns to explore color with. One last question...if I do shadow weave in chenille, do I need a SBP?
By the way, I have learned alot from your CD...very well explained. Thanks Lisa
Hi Lisa......you need a SBP with most structures that are not plain weave.....since Shadow weave is basically plain weave, with an occasional two thread float, you do not need to emply the SBP....however, sett and beat will still be critical to success. Have fun....
Very interesting Su. I made 2 shawls with a chenille who simply refused to shrink! I even put one of the shawl in a pot on the stove and boiled the leaving daylight out of it. It lost a bit of color but did budge at all. I will have to try your suggestions as the shawls look wonderful.
HI Maryse......what kind of chenille did you use?? If it was a rayon/synthetic blend, I would not expct much retraction (shrinkage) to happen. What weave structure did you use??
You must be careful heating rayon chenille to very high temps, as it can cause embossing, which can be permanent....this means you might just set wrinkles that cannot be washed or ironed out.
I'm anxious to know more about your shawls Maryse!
Just looked at my shawls, the chenille is rayon and woven plain weave. Nothing very fancy but I like the colors. Teal, rose, a touch of chocolate brown and peach with some variegated ribbons. I know about setting the wrinkles permanently but I was willing to sacrifice one of the shawls just because I was annoyed!!! Same yd/lb, same set, same ppi, so who knows! The rayon was a mill end and may have been treated with something or other. It really didn't "bloom" as chenille usually does after wet finishing. I do like the idea of swirling threads using the sewing machine all over and may try on one the scarves. I probably will stabilize the 3rd one with fusible knit interfacing and make vests. The first one will look lovely on my sofa as long as it is not looked at up close and personal!
Have a great day.
I'd like to weave material for a rayon chenille vest. As suggested in your book, I've used a supplementary weft before and this time I'd like to avoid using it because I find it so slow to weave. Throwing the second shuttle is so counter-intuitive to me, my muscle memory balks! So, my plan is to weave plain weave and alternate rayon chenille with either cotton or cotolin in the warp and use the cotton or cotolin for the weft. I've found articles in Handwoven that use various weights of cotton or silk.
How would the sett change if I used 10/2 cotton, cotolin, 3/2 or 5/2 cotton alternatively with the chenille.
Could I use wool? What would the sett be if I used a fingering wool (Brown sheep)?
Just for sake of wondering, could you use a 20/2 cotton in the warp alternating with the chenille? My thought is to put it on the same harness as the chenille but in it's own heddle. If you did that could you avoid needing the supplementary weft shot in other structures?
HI Janene.....if you are weaving plain weave, you do not need a supplementary binding pick......you could use an all chenille warp, or an all chenille weft, or the combo you are considering. The SBP is necessary when there are going to be floats in chenille items, to help the chenille keep from worming out of of the finished fabric. And I do understand about feeling the SBP is slow to weave, however, when you consider that is saves your hard work from worming, perhaps it is worth the effort?? <g>
If you are going to use a mixed warp, be sure you know what will happen when the item is wet finished. Cotton and chenille should "shrink" about the same, but the elongation rate of of rayon chenille and cotton is vastly different, so it will be important that the two alternate very regularly, as in every other thread.......
If you use 10/2 cotton, I would keep the sett for plain weave at about 20 epi. If you choose to use cottolin, probaby about the same. If you choose 3/2 cotton, which is normally sett about 10-12 epi and alternate with rayon chenille 1200-1900 ypp chenille, which should be sett about 20 epi for plain weave, you might want to try about 15 epi. And for 5/2 cotton, which is usually sett 15-18 epi, I would stick with 18-20 epi for a sett. This is all assuming you are alterning one thread of one fiber with one of rayon chenille.
Your idea of coupling the chenille with another thread sounds good in theory. If your sett is close enough and the weave structure creates no floats, as plain weave, then it is unnecessary. If you are doing a weave structure with floats, the chenille will try to worm out. Proper sett and structure is far more important than coupling the warp, or even using a SBP, but use of either will help insure the chenille will be tempered, a bit. I have not found, in my experience, coupling the chenille in the warp to be effective. But I have found the use of the SBP to be critical to success when weaving chenille in twills. I would expect the idea might work if you were weaving a balanced twill, but you would also have to use the SBP in the weft, which defeats the purpose of coupling the warps, eh?
Bottom line is is you want to have pattern with chenille, the best idea is to use a tied weave.....that tames the chenille and allows all kinds of patterning to happen without the worry of long floats, and without need to use a SBP - the structure of a tied weave makes the SBP redundant.....
Hope that helps Janene.....
This project (an unlined vest), I think I'll use every other warp thread cotton/ rayon chenille. Next chenille project just might have to be a tied weave.
Su, do you think the WAY the warp is wound on a warping board makes a difference? For example, when using a warping board, I start at the top, work my way down, and then back up again. So it's more of a back and forth method. Does chenille have a distinct nap like velvet? Is it better/different to make a circular warp? (Circular meaning starting at the top, and creating continuous loops instead of a back and forth warp on the board.)
HI Dave.....there is no issue with making a warp on a warping board. Chenille does indeed have a distinct direction that the pile is held into the core yarn. However, the key to good weaving with chenille is to keep the pile direction consistent....so if winding a warp on the warping board results in every other thread have opposite pile direction, that is fine. You would begin to notice a very marked difference if you wound 2 or more threads at a time. But for a one by one warp, the alternating pile will not show to any ill effect in the cloth. You must also be careful when you use chenille as weft - be sure the pile all goes the same direction or you will see color differences or little V shapes in the cloth that look like weaving errors but are not. If you want to read more about this, it is all in my book, Understanding Rayon Chenille, which is available on CD. Not a sales pitch, just a note so you know there is a more complete answer than can be provided via email.
I am not sure how you would accomplish a "circular" warp. I also see no need for one. As long as the pile is alternating regularly in both warp and weft, the pile in the finished cloth will look great.
Hope that helps!
How does rayon chenille do in tied weaves? I was thinking about trying out a double two-tie unit weave (once the Eternal Wedding Dress is completed, anyway) with 60/2 silk as the ground and 3000 ypp rayon chenille as the pattern weft. Is that likely to be successful, or would the rayon chenille floof out too much and completely obscure the pattern?
HI Tien....it works beautifully. The finsihed product often looks as if it is embossed with the rayon chenille pile filling in completely butn ot obscuring the overall pattern. The piece on the back cover of the hard copy of my book, as well as several on the gallery pages, were done in a similar manner. I have been weaving chenille in tied weaves for about 15 years or so, maybe longer. It is an excellent choice. You will have to play with grist of warp/weft/tie-downs to find the combination you like. Your combination sounds like it will work depending on the sett and pattern you choose.
Thanks! I'll have to give it a try once the dress is complete.
I was wondering about using clasped weft for a chenille scarf. I'm using 1300 YPP for both warp and weft. Will there be too much bulk or an increase in worming with two strands per shed?Should I beat them harder/ tighter? Has anyone tried this and have any tips? thanks
I just finished my first piece in Rayon Chenille on a counterbalanced loom (one of my first on this loom) and I've discovered a disappointing number of skips and large loops on my selvedges after wet finishing. I realize that there are a LOT of things I could have done better; I picked up Su's book about halfway through the project, a bit too late! Prevention aside, is there anything I can do to repair these problem areas now that it's off the loom?
I've been spending time with rayon chenille, and tried my hand at mixing rayon chenille with other fibers (rayon boucle, etc). I've acquired some cotton chenille (1450 ypp weight, various colors), which is easy enough to weave with. I guess my question concerns what to do with the fabric -- it seems too stiff to work as scarf material. What do folks do with the stuff? Does it mix well with other fibers to make drapier fabric, or will it's "cardboard-like" hand compromise tencel, bamboo, rayon, etc. Information about anyone's thoughts and experiences would be welcome!
I'm a new weaver and am wanting to experiment. I have some rayon boucle that is 750YPP and am going to use it for the warp and a 10/2 bamboo for the weft. I'm thinking the sett would need to be about 20. Would that work? Also would I need to use a SBP? If so is that thrown in the same shed as the weft itself? I'm wanting to do a twill pattern.
Scratch that! I just started winding the warp and realized that 20epi is way too close for this stuff. Now I'm thinking 16. Or would I be better off using the bamboo as the warp? If so then would I sett it at 16?
Tthe cotton chenille works up beautifully for towels if used on a tightly set 10/2 cotton warp - 24-30 epi - has a velvety texture and pleasing hand.
Thanks for repsonding. I set it at 16. It was a varigated boucle and it looked so pretty that I decided to use sewing thread as the weft. My pattern was a pointed twill. It really turned out very nice. Next time though I think I will use a stronger thread like a silk maybe.
I did want to ask you this. I had a warp on of 10/2 cotton and bamboo mixed about 50/50. The pattern was a braided twill sett at 30 epi. What I had planned to use for weft was awful so I tried everything else I had and nothing was working. Then I spotted some rayon chenille that is 1900 ypp. It worked beatifully. Now my question is this. I was almost to the end and the thought came to me that I maybe should have used a SBP. It seems awfully dense so I'm not sure it will be a problem. It's on 8-harnesses if that matters. I'm just wondering if you think it will worm. I beat it in very tightly.
Thanks for our help.