Does anybody have an opinion on how small I can make a sample and still have it be useful. I want to sample what I think is reeled silk. My loom and warping reel are large and I figured that the shortest length I can use is about 55". To sample 1" at 30epi will require 46 yards of silk. 4inches will require 183 yards. I want to make one sample with 100% silk and one sample 1 thread silk and 1 thread tencel according to advice I have been given. That is a LOT of silk lost to sampling. The fabric I want to make is for vestments and I need to find out how it will wear.
This is a very good question. I would think about how wide the final fabric will be. For cloth I sample at least half width, if I need to get a feel for drape. Is this what you mean by needing to see how it will wear?
Thank you for your answer. Yes, drape is the correct word that somehow did not come to mind. The finished width of the fabric need to be two panels about 34" wide and 112" long, so there is no way I will have enough silk for two different samplings and to finish the project. I am tempted to wing it.
I know it can be tempting to wing it in these situations, but my advise from having gone that route, is don't wing it, especially with expensive materials.
It is tempting to think of sampling was wasting materials, but when you compare the amount of yarn needed to sample at half the width, for say maybe a yard or so, to that of the materials to weave the entire project to find out it has all gone wrong, not suitable for purpose or just not quite what you wanted, you'll see that sampling is the less costly route!
If you do decide to wing it and it works out, good on you, but the mantra sample, sample, sample comes from years of many experienced weavers who have not been so lucky! :)
One concern about sampling is that the setts can be tighter when the fabric is narrow and may have to be loosened when weaving a wider piece. Hence the advice to sample at at least half the width. Though if you wanted to warp up for the final fabric with extra yardage on the warp, you could sample on it for several inches. Then cut off and wet finish the sample. If you need to re-sley, you might get something a bit narrower or a bit wider than planned but still could use the warp you have on the loom and only have to re-sley.
Do you know about the two stick heading for minimal waste when cutting off? Peggy Osterkamp has instructions in her tips and tricks. Here is a link to that info.
What I did when I wanted to sample several different setts with expensive warp was to beam and thread the warp. Then I sleyed the reed with three different setts. I wove three inches, taped the warp ends securely, and cut the sample off. I zig zag stitched the edge, wet finished, and resleyed the warp at the sett that worked best. Very little warp and weft were wasted, and I knew what I would be getting. If you are wanting to see what the difference between all silk and mixed fiber, you could try a mixed weft.
Thank you for the good advice. I think I will do as suggested to thread the loom and cut off after a few inches. I have used a stick heading when cutting off, but two sticks seems to be much better as last time I used the method some threads slipped out.