The Yarn Lab is a unique feature of each issue, where a weaver samples yarns in different stitch patterns. The parameters are pretty wide open, which is both exciting and a little nerve wracking - It was nice to be able to experiment without much limitation, but I was a bit overwhelmed by the possibilities!
For the warp, I used Meadow, one I used previously in my Voltaic and Neige Scarves. Meadow makes an excellent warp, as it is very strong and has a nice, crisp hand that works well with the other yarns in the line. I ended up weaving five samples, exploring the possibilities of patterning with a 8-Harness straight draw.
My first sample was a simple twill using The Fibre Co. Cumbria in one of our new colors, Yew Tree, as the weft. The combination of the classic yarn with such an iconic stitch pattern really appealed to me, and I love the end result. As a bonus, the right and wrong side of the fabric looks identical, so it works well for a wide variety of applications. One of the best parts about many twills, too, is that you don't need 8 harnesses to create them - on most occasions, 4 harnesses will do!
MODIFIED BRONSON LACE
After working the herringbone, I spent some time playing around with some patterns I am fond of, including Bronson Lace. It wasn't possible to work a "true" Bronson Lace pattern using the straight draw, so I played around a bit with the tie up an treadling to create the floats over the fabric the laces are known for. Even with the very fine gauge of the Road to China Lace I used as the weft, the fabric I created has a lot of dimension and texture. It is also quite different on right and wrong sides, but both are really lovely fabrics.
BIRD'S EYE TWILL
For this really traditional Bird's Eye Twill, I used The Fibre Co. Acadia as my weft, a yarn with a really textured hand. In this color, Butterfly Bush, there is also a lot of variation within the kettle dyed skein, adding to the overall texture and less "defined" patterning. Of all the swatches, this one came out nothing like I expected, but I as really pleased with how it so clearly demonstrates how much yarn choice effects the overall end result.
MODIFIED BRONSON LACE (2)
Of all the swatches, this one is definitely my favorite. I "flipped" the patterning harnesses to be raised from the teal modified Bronson Lace pattern, which created a more warp faced fabric (you can see the vast difference between the front and back in the photo above). Instead of using just one weft yarn, I opted to use both The Fibre Co. Road to China Lace and Terra, which added to the texture of the pattern. I'm currently working on a scarf in this pattern in (predictably) some neutrals, which you can see here.
After all of the experimenting, I needed a little brain break. Much like stockinette or garter stitch when knitting, plain weave is a lovely, simple pattern that can be manipulated in a lot of different ways, especially when experimenting with color and texture. For this swatch, I paired the Acadia from the birds eye twill and Terra from the second Bronson Lace with Canopy Fingering in a simple plain weave stripe. Passing the Canopy Fingering through three times created a nice block of color that balanced well with the Terra.
You can purchase the issue of Handwoven here, or ask for it at your LYS!