Yarn Lab: A Yarn of Distinction

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.

The Yarn

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.

Yarn Lab

Block Island Blend woven in plain weave on a rigid-heddle loom.

Plain Weave

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.

yarn lab

Block Island Blend woven with floats in the warp and weft on the rigid-heddle loom.

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.

—Jenny Sennott

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.

Featured Image: Cones of Halcyon Yarn’s Block Island Blend yarn.


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.

 

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