Sunday, May 04, 2008

This...this is a PIA.

Sample piece for an idea I'm working on. Copper wire warp, 16 epi. Weft, randomly selected from my stash of thread bits, cotton I think. First attempt at using wire as warp.

I've used wire as weft before, in pattern weaving, but due to the nature of metal wire, I haven't had much success with it in tapestry. In order to get the wire to bend around the warp, instead of the warp bending around the wire I needed to pass it under only one warp at a time and I ended up using wire so fine it takes forever. And it still didn't cover the warp.

Not really what I was going for. Sigh. But I need something to create solid structure in a 3D piece, without using something chemical.

Not surprisingly, it's a pain in the butt weaving with a wire warp. Surprisingly, not as big a pain as I feared.

I always use needles for weaving in the weft with my miniature tapestry pieces, at least so far, so I'm already used to it. And my warp is usually under the highest tension I can manage, so I'm not used to a flexible warp anyway. The biggest difference is that I don't want to bend the wires as I pass the weft under, so I have to go a lot slower and pass it under fewer warps at a time. Still, less of a pain than using it as weft!

The biggest two annoyances are the fact that the warps are shiny, and not very straight. No matter what I do, I can't get them straight, and with the light glinting off the wires, it's often difficult to see when two have gotten crossed or to get them uncrossed, sometimes until after I've pulled the weft through.

Since it is only a 2" x 2" sample, I'm doing it precisely the way I was told not to, by people with better knowledge of the properies of metal than I. Fixed at both ends, I have to bend the warps a little to get the needle between.
But if you warp up the wire with a little give (which actually makes it easier to weave anyway, I've noticed [one side is tighter than the other]), and you're careful to keep the needle as perpendicular to the warp as possible, it shouldn't be a problem for a smaller piece. Copper, at least, has just enough elasticity to when not pulled tight to bounce back from the amount of bending needed for the needle to go under it. On a larger piece I can see how what I was told about bending them too often and risking snapping the wire might be a problem. Though really, I think a lot of the problem there would be a problem of impatience and not wanting to take that much time when the piece was larger.

The other option would be to pass the needle from front to back, and back to front between each warp pair, which really would take forever.

I wonder if leaving the top of the warp loose would work?

Also, 16 epi was too high. I need to try this again at 12.

This....this is not helping either.

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