Design with me: Kathy’s Snow Dyed Warp – Part 1

Hi Weaving Friends!

I have had a warp sitting in a bin for a while (OK, I will ‘fess up, I dyed this warp in February 2023), and I FINALLY have time to weave it up.  I thought that it would be fun to have you join me, as I go through the design process for a project like this.

Now I don’t dye that often, and my results can be a little….unpredictable, so I usually go into a dye project with much less of a plan than other projects, but I like it that way!

I knew that I wanted a scarf or a shawl, so I chose how I was going to wind the warp accordingly. 

This time, I measured 8 chains of tencel that each have 48 ends in them. 48 ends, at my usual sett of 24, gives 2” bouts that fit into my sectional beam, and eight 2-inch sections would give me 16” in the reed. If I needed to change the sett, the width might change slightly, I’d still get a reasonable scarf or shawl width. 

Of course, I didn’t take the notes that I normally do for this warp. Probably, because I INTENDED to weave it up right away, and of course I would remember all the details, and not get distracted with other projects. 

SPOILER: I did NOT in fact remember the details OR weave it right away. This is why I am generally a large proponent of taking good and detailed notes for warps, as they are made, including all pertinent details.  These notes should be kept with the warp, until the warp is used, thus enabling the weaver to quickly figure out just what the heck they had planned for that warp.

So I searched the photos on my phone. (phones with cameras are GREAT ways to document things for later memory lapses.) 

I had dyed it with Imperial Purple, Electric Blue, and Lime Pop FR dyes, from Dharma. Blue and purple are favourite colours of mine, and I remember that I took a quick look at my colour wheel, and saw that yellow would make a split compliment colour relationship. BUT I don’t love yellow, and I knew that when dyeing, yellow and blue will end up making some green, so I short cirucuited that idea, and chose a green. Lime pop is a bright colour that I like a lot, so that is what I picked.

Image of three containers of dye sitting on the edge of a kitchen sink, the containers have had written labels with smiley faces on them.

 I scoured the chains first, then soaked them in a soda ash bath. 

According to my photo log (let’s hear it for smartphone cameras!), I laid them  in the bottom of a clear bin, and generously sprinkled dye directly on the top of the chains.

A clear bin with chains of warp covered by powdered dye

I then covered the chains, and dye, with a generous amount of fluffy snow from my back deck, (living in Canada does have a few benefits, like snow, for what seems like 16 months a year) and set the bin in a corner of the kitchen floor for 24 hours.

(Most of the time when I snow dye, I layer yarn, snow, THEN the dye, but I recall feeling a little rebellious that day, and decided to do it a different way.)

When I opened the bin, this is what I found:

a clear bin, with chains yarn in it. The chains are in a slurry of dark dye water and there are parts of the warp that still have lime green dye powder on them

I saw that I had gone a little overboard with the Lime Pop, as some of the powder hadn’t dissolved, but I had intentionally put a bit more than I thought was necessary, because I really wanted that lime to show up in the final warp.

I rinsed the chains, and was VERY happy (not to mention surprised) at how many colour variations I had achieved!

warp chains that have dried, hanging vertically. They are a random mix of shades of blue, purple, black, yellow, lime green, and some deep rusty red

The time has come for me to weave it up, and I invite you to join me along the way!

This week, I will be considering what draft I want to use, and also considering what colours of weft might be good choices. I know that I will want to use wefts that I already have in the studio, but honestly, that doesn’t narrow it down a whole lot!

The warp makes me think of images of the galaxy, and the northern lights, like these:

Collage of four photos showing nebula, the northern lights, and the night sky. all images have blue, green, purple, and yellow in them.

I have a 10 shaft loom, but I think for this one I will stick to 8 shafts or less.

What draft you would choose for this warp?