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More Soumak, Bigger Piece

I finished the thin piece but didn’t like it enough to make into a purse.  I was anxious to get started on a bigger piece.  For the thinner piece I had used “test” colors.  Just everything I had purchased but mostly the colors I was not thrilled with.  It was a process of elimination.  The color at the very top was one I thought I would not like (and so ordered only one skein . . . I have since ordered a bunch more) because it looked dull on the website.  Turns out it’s just a very subtle blend of beige and pink.  What I did like about this piece is the texture. I loved the whole process.

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The next piece is being woven on a 16 inch loom.  After weaving the smaller piece on an 8 inch loom, the 16 inch loom seemed enormous.  I didn’t warp the entire width, but close to it.  Again, I used C-Lon cord, which I think is the best warp for this kind of piece.  The warps get rubbed a lot when you wrap around them with the silk material weft and the C-Lon cord is strong enough to withstand the rubbing.  My first piece (there was one before the one above) is in the trash because I used hand-painted silk warp and it broke!  Lesson learned!  I then started searching all around my studio for something that would work.  Suddenly it occurred to me that the C-Lon (fine weight . . . could also be heavier) would work great.  Besides being strong, it’s very smooth and allows the silk weft to settle correctly.

So this is where I am at with the second piece (actually, the third piece, but the second one you are going to get to see).  I love these colors and they will be the ones we will be selling.  I haven’t used all of them yet.

You can see that I took a totally different path with this one.  I have woven shapes, instead of just stripes.  The fun thing about Soumak versus tapestry weaving is you don’t have to worry about being in the right shed because there is not shed.  You can begin a new piece of weft anywhere and go anywhere with it.  In a few spots I have woven the weft.  You can see where the blue and purple meet there is a little bit of weaving.  How can you see that?  Well, there is a little bit of “dotting” which comes from weaving a weft of one color followed by a weft of another color followed by a weft of the first color.

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I have a long way to go.  However, because the weft is so thick, even though Soumak technically takes longer to accomplish than weaving, it didn’t take me that much time to weave this much.  I wasn’t actually keeping track, but I did do it in one sitting and I don’t sit for very long.  So at most a couple of hours.

A little more information:  the ends of the weft do stick out the back of the piece.  So this will not be a two-sided piece. I imagine it will make a great larger purse or even a pillow.  If I were to weave a larger piece to use as a rug, I would have to line the back.  Or, I guess if I wove the beginning of each new weft for an inch or so before doing the soumak that would eliminate the tails on the back.  Hmmmm . . . . think I’ll give that a try.

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