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Submitted by tien on Sat, 04/09/2011 - 13:44
I love linen but it can be canterous as a warp the first time. It has no elasticity so beaming on needs to be nearly perfect, but I think you use a trapeze so that should not be much of a problem. Kati Meek of trapeze fame, has done a lot with linen.
The other obstacle are kinks from being on the cone/tube for a while; a bit of moisture lets the curls relax so a spray bottle is your friend.
Finishing on linen is a bit different too, it responds well to mangleing and gets more beautiful with age/usage.
Thanks! I'll probably beam it on using the warping wheel, which also gives very even tension. I'll ask Kati for advice, too.
It will be interesting to see how the cross-dyeing works on linen...!
I have recently been weaving on a linen warp, 14/1. I found that each time I rolled forward I had to clear the shed behind the heddles, and I had to clip the little collars (build-up of fiber around a warp) and cuffs (buildup of fiber around two or more warps). Then I sprayed with hair spray and before it dried I combed it using a hair comb. Also with every warp advance I cleaned the reed -- there would be a sizable pinch of fuzz on each side.
One warning -- my weaving area got covered in an extremely fine fiber dust. A blanket-sized tapestry I have hanging behind my loom had a layer of about 1/2" of fuzz that, when picked off, rolled into a pea size ball. It was so unbelievably fine and it got everywhere.
This yarn is a lovely quality, smooth and evenly spun. Here is a shawl I wove using it as both warp and weft:
It sounds like you got a tow linen instead of a line linen. A line linen should not give you these problems.
Your linen works out to a 40/1 weight - quite fine.
I would definitely not try to use something this fine if I did not know or trust the seller - eBay sends up several red flags. Mostly these sellers just find cones of yarn and sell them.
As fine weft, any time, but you'd need to purchase a cone and do a snap test, try to determine if it is long fiber or tow, and definitely size your warp before beaming. I've woven often with linen up to 20/1 - but I'd not trust something at 40/1 unless I knew how old it is and which mill it comes from.
14/1 sounds like Euroflax. They do something to the yarn to "soften it up" for knitters and I find it is NOT the same quality as the 16/1 or 20/1 Swedish linens.
I use 16/1 frequently and if sized before beaming, remains smooth til the bitter end.
I agree with Sara, I purchased some wetspun singles in the 20's count. It is not bad but not as smooth as the Swedish linens. Has some definite "lumpiness" to it. It is worth paying the extra for the Swedish linens. Linens are very different in count and weight and are a little more difficult to work with initially. Linen needs tension and moisture. I love the sturdiness and sheen and I love fine yarns - it is worth buying from a reputable dealer!
I love linen, but it varies greatly in quality. Irish, Belgian, Swedish, and (I think) Czech were the ones I had that were highest quality. Some of the old linen (like Fawcett) can still be wonderful. There has been some good quality fine linen from a recently closed mill in Ireland on Ebay over the past few years.
Don't start with linen using a yarn this fine. Try a 40/2 or 20/1 or finer as a warm up. You may want to use a flax warp dressing, and keep high humidity in the room. You can also spray with water as you go. The lack of elasticity makes linen wonderful for laces and other patterns with definition, but very different from silk or cotton. Both silk and cotton are more forgiving than linen because of their higher elasticity. I find spun silk stronger, but cotton weaker in general.
If you get a good batch, I expect you will love working with linen.
Well, I put in an order for it, figuring I can always use it as weft. I will definitely do a snap test on it before trying it out as warp! I also have some 40/2 cotton, so maybe that will be better as warp for my cross-dyeing purposes.
Thanks all for the advice! I'm looking forward to getting the cone and testing the yarn!