Love trying new yarns but don’t know where to start? Then make sure to check out the Yarn Lab feature in every issue of Handwoven. In the March/April 2018 issue, Jenny Sennott plays with Halcyon Yarn’s Block Island Blend on both her rigid-heddle and floor loom. —Christina
Reading the description of Halcyon Yarn’s Block Island Blend yarn, I was intrigued by the unique fiber content and curious to learn how it would weave on both rigid heddle and floor looms. This yarn is a three-ply construction with a ply each of cotton, rayon, and hemp. Because each of the fibers takes up dye differently, the yarn has a subtle textured appearance. For my sampling, I put warps on both my rigid-heddle and floor looms and experimented with a variety of weave structures.
Block Island Blend Fine, sportweight, 1,575 yd/lb, 37% hemp, 35% cotton, 28% rayon.
Although it is a mix of fibers, Block Island Blend has the feel of linen as it comes off the cone. I found it behaved much like linen as I measured warp and set up the looms. It is easy to work with but, like linen, it is inelastic, so a firm, even tension is important while beaming on the warp. I wet-finished my samples by handwashing in cool water with Synthrapol and then tumble dried and steam-pressed them. Gentle machine washing would also be suitable for fabrics without long floats. Because of its thickness, Block Island Blend is a good candidate for rigid-heddle projects.
Sett: 12 epi Warp colors: 1260, 2100, 1230, 2090 Weft color: 1260 Dimensions: Width on loom: 10"; width off the loom: 9.25"; width after wet-finishing: 9"; draw-in and shrinkage: 10%. Woven length: 10"; length after wet-finishing: 9"; take-up and shrinkage: 10%.
For my rigid-heddle warp, I used pale blue (1260) singly in the warp and used double strands of the contrast colors for greater emphasis. Steam-pressing the wet-finished sample gave it a crisp, linen-like hand. This fabric would make attractive and durable napkins and kitchen towels.
Warp and Weft Floats
Sett: 12 epi Warp colors: 1260, 2100, 1230, 2090 Weft colors: 1260, 2090, 1230 Dimensions: Width on loom: 10"; width off the loom: 9.25"; width after wet-finishing: 8.5"; draw-in and shrinkage: 15%. Woven length: 10"; length after wet-finishing: 9"; take-up and shrinkage: 10%.
For this sample, I used pick-up sticks to create alternating warp and weft floats. I doubled the accent wefts on the shuttle to highlight the floats. The floats created a lot of sheen on both sides of the fabric. The two sides are different, but both are attractive. I think this fabric would work well for table runners and simply styled vests.
To see more samples of weaving and learn how Block Island Blend wove up on a floor loom, check out the rest of Jenny’s article in the March/April 2018 issue of Handwoven.