Collapsing Cloth

The 8 & Beyond Study Group is the first study group to be featured in the 2015 series of RMWG study groups. Look for more study groups to be featured in this area in the next few months.

During 2013-2014 the RMWG Eight and Beyond study group investigated the concept of collapse weaves using available books and magazine articles. Ann Richard’s book, Weaving Textiles That Shape Themselves, was our main study guide. The study was to culminate with a fall, 2014 RMWG workshop let by Marcia Kosmerchock, one of the world’s leading authorities on collapse weaves. The workshop was delayed due to health issues experienced by Marcia but has been rescheduled for fall of 2015. We’re all looking forward to weaving some of Marcia’s fascinating applications. For the 2014-2015 year we are working through Weaving with Echo and Iris by Marian Stubenitsky. The weaves presented in this book build upon the concepts of network drafting as applied to echo or parallel threadings and delve into color studies, woven iridescence and various weave structures such as multicolor double weave, double twill and turned taquete. Explanations for four to 24 shaft looms are included.

Warp Collapse Scarf
by Edna Devai

Our last study with the 8+ study group was about collapse weaves. Originally I planned to weave a project with over-twisted yarn both in warp and weft, but I was not quite pleased with my samples. I decided to use my handspun singles yarn, 44 wraps/inch, in the warp only, and cross it with a 60/2 silk in plain weave. The difficulty in weaving was keeping an even spacing of the weft yarn at a warp sett of 11 ½ epi.

The real time consuming part of the project was preparing the yarn. First I combed my roving to be able to spin a fine worsted yarn. After the initial spinning, I re-spun the yarn to add the extra twist. Sizing the yarn was important in preparation of using it as the warp. I used a cold size of 1 cup water beaten with 1 table spoon of xanthan gum and applied it by hand while pulling the yarn from a tensioned lazy kate and wrapping it on a skein winder. After proper drying, I made yarn balls and prepared the warp from those.

Of course, for collapse the magic is in the wet finishing. It is amazing to see how the over-spun yarn is worming its way to some kind of stability in response to being immersed in hot water. The shrinkage of the over-twisted yarn is dramatic: in this case it was 50%. The shrinkage weft wise was only 13%.
The airy warmth, soft hand and bouclé like appearance make this scarf one of my favorites. As an added bonus, the stretchiness keeps it effortlessly on my shoulders.
If you want to learn more about collapse weave, join us for the Kosmechock workshop in September.

Edna’s warp collapse scarf

Detail of Edna’s Scarf

Collapsing Scarf, Shibori Style, by Joy Jensen

More of Joy’s Collapsed Scarves