Chenille-Beginner

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pjack wrote
on 7 Jan 2011 10:34 AM

Hi there,all.  I have bought some chenille to make scarves with, but I think I should warp with something else.  I am very inexperienced, so I am going with my gut here as someone very experienced with fabric, just not weaving, yet.

So, my questions is, what should I use for warp when I am weaving with rayon chenille, specifically, 1450 YPP Rayon Chenille.  Do I warp with the same, or something stronger.  Any suggestions would be most appreciated.

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Su Butler wrote
on 7 Jan 2011 12:15 PM

HI pjack.....like so many things weaving, the answer begins with "it depends".......you need to decide what you want the finished product to be.

If you want a scarf that is really lush and thick, then rayon chenille as the warp is entirely appropriate.  However, it can be a tiny bit tricky to work with.  The key to making it work is wind your warp with as little tension as possible on the warping board....enough to keep it on the board, but not tight at all.  Then, carefully do your choke ties with plastic bags cut in strips instead of yarns to keep from damaging the yarns.  Beam the warp in one sesison, and don't pull too hard on it when beaming.....even tension is much more important than tight!  When you weave, keep the tension high enough to beat the weft into place, but not really tight.  Rayon chenille elongates under tension and can cause problems if left under tension too long.  More info can be found in my book, UNDERSTANDING RAYON CHENILLE,  if you can find a copy.  (It is still available on CD - write me privately for more info)

If you want a little lighter weight scarf, but one that is still lush, silk makes a great warp for a rayon chenille weft.  It is lightweight and drapes very well.  You can also use rayon as the warp - the smooth spun kind. 

Whatever you use for warp, be sure your sett and structure are appropriate for chenille.  If you use the chenille for warp, do not sett less than 16 epi.....20 is better for plain weave.  If you choose to do a twill, you will need to sett even closer and use a supplementary binding pick (A tabby pick of VERY fine thread after every pattern pick.).  If you use silk or rayon as your warp, sett a little closer than you might for the weave you plan to use.  If you choose a warp yarn and don't know an appropriate sett, just ask. 

When you beat the chenille in place, strive for 16 picks per inch or so....avoid the temptation to beat loosely....rayon chenille has a core yarn about the size of an 8/2 cotton, so think in terms of how you would beat that......too open and the chenille will worm.

Hope that helps.

Su :-)

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rkoz wrote
on 25 Jan 2011 2:19 PM

I have the same question as pjack.  I would like to make a scarf using rayon chenille (1450 ypp) as the weft.  Will 5/2 or 10/2 perle cotton work as the warp?  I have a lot of that, as opposed to rayon or silk.  Might not give such a nice drape, but I thought it would be OK.  If so, what setts would you recommend for plain weave?  Thanks!

 

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Su Butler wrote
on 25 Jan 2011 2:31 PM

HI rkoz......you can certainly use cotton as a warp for a chenille scarf if you choose.  I personally would lean towards the 10/2 over the 5/2 because 5/2 is pretty thick and won't interlace as well with the 1450 ypp chenille - i.e. you might end up with worming.    You are correct in your statement that the drape won't be as nice as it would with an all chenille piece, but it will still be ok and the more you wear it the softer it will become.  

  If you want to weave plain weave, I would recommend a sett of 24-26 epi for the 10/2.  You don't want it too close, as the piece will end up feeling pretty stiff, but too loose and the chenille might worm.  You might want to consider doing a 1/2 twill instead of plain weave to get better drape.  If you thread the loom 1-2-3-1-2-3 and weave it by raising shafts 1&2, 2&3 and 1&3 you will have more chenille on the surface and a more supple cloth that will still hold together.  To do the twill I would recommend a sett of 26-30 epi.   You could do a 2/2 twill if you thread 1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4 and treadle 1&2, 2&3, 3&4, 1&4, but if you do this you should use a supplementary binidng pick of very fine silk or rayon thread either in the SAME shed as the pattern pick (on a different shuttle - throw the pattern pick, in the same shed throw the second pick then beat) or in the tabby shed right after each pattern pick.  The second method will be the most secure.  You could use the same sett for the 10/2 cotton regardless which twill you choose to weave.

Hope that helps....

Su :-)

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rkoz wrote
on 25 Jan 2011 7:25 PM

Thank you for the prompt response, Su.  I hadn't thought about using a twill weave, but maybe that would be better.  I appreciate your advice!!

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pjack wrote
on 26 Jan 2011 9:50 AM

Su, thanks also for getting back to me.  I haven't started the scarf yet(too many quilting projects to finish), but I'm about ready to.  I dont know how to get ahold of you privately to ask about your book.  I've not found it anywhere online.  I could sure use some help.

I'm so glad I found this forum.  I live in an area where there doesn't seen to be a lot of other weavers.  If anyone reads this and lives in the Binghamto, NY area, let me know that you exsist!

I will probably make the scarf out of all rayon chenille, since, as a beginner, thats all I have.  But I have lots of that, and my daughter and I like to wear my mistakes, so its all good.

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Su Butler wrote
on 26 Jan 2011 11:02 AM

HI pjack.....you can reach me through my website at www.subudesigns.com   Click on Contact on the upper tool bar and your email will come to me privately.

I am going to be teaching a Rayon Chenille workshop in Buffalo, NY in April.  If you are interested, I can send you contact information privately.  I am sure there must be other weavers in the Binghamton, NY area!

An all rayon cheinlle item will be soft and luxurious.  Be sure to keep the tension even but not too tight...just tight enough to weave, but not super tight.  Beat firmly.  The piece will feel stiff when it comes off the loom, but once washed it will be soft and yummy.

Best,

Su :-)

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Nancy2204 wrote
on 2 Feb 2011 4:51 PM

I'm so glad I decided to check this forum!  I'm a relatively new weaver as well, and have been weaving rayon chenille scarves for a few months.  I've been using 1450 chenille for warp & weft.  Su, thank you for the great information.  I had no idea that I needed to be careful of the yarn being damaged!  Or that it stretches under too much tension.  I've been using yarn as choke holds, probably been pulling to hard while warping, and using too much tension while weaving!  Thankfully, none of this bad behavior seems to have been a problem thus far, as all of my scarves have turned out well.  My biggest question that I have now is the correct way to finish them!  I used to hand wash them with a mild soap in cold water, then roll between a towel, and air dry until damp, and then press - hard!  The scarf is pretty; it's takes on a sheen, and it drapes well, but the fringe would almost disintegrate.  Then, I read that one should spray with water, place in a plastic bag until completely damp, and then put in dryer.  Well, I love the way the chenille responds to the dryer - soft and yummy - as Su says it would.  And to offset the fringe issue, I used my fringe twister.  Unfortunately, the twisted fringe didn't remain completely intact, so I untwisted it and left it "crinkly".   So, I decided I would experiment...I wove two scarves, same color of chenille, warp & weft.  I sprayed both until damp, and threw both in the dryer.  One I left as is, the other I pressed.  I can't decide which I like better!  The one left unpressed is soft & yummy - a bit more casual; the one that is pressed is has a sheen, and my husband says it looks flattened, which it is, but it looks a little dressier to me.  The fringe is the problem.  No more twisted chenille fringe for me!  I had no idea I could go on and on like this.....Any input or advise as to the finishing of chenille would be greatly appreciated!  I'm weaving scarves for all my friends this year for their birthday's, so I want them to be finished properly!

Thank you!

Nancy

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Su Butler wrote
on 2 Feb 2011 5:33 PM

HI Nancy.....glad you find the info useful!  Rayon chenille can work exceptionally well as warp and weft, and when woven this way makes the most luxrurious pieces!  Whether by luck or by great combination of doing things the way the chenille wants them done, I am glad you have been so successful.  I think one key to success with rayon cheinlle is to go at it without fear.  Sometimes the problems that come from improper handling will show up later - sometimes months later.  When they do you may find you need to modify your techniques a little.  I once had a student in a chenille workshop - a bright, accomplished weaver in her own right.  We butted heads about sett - my advice was that sett needed to be similar to what an 8/2 cotton would require.  At that time, and unfortunately still happening, vendors were telling people to sett their chenille at 12-14 epi.  While that can work **IF** your cheinlle has some sythetic content, it will NOT work with 100% viscose chenille - the latter will worm under such conditions.  My student was insistent and we opted to end the conversation and carry on.  Many months later, maybe even a year, I got a large package in the mail.....when I opened it up I found a horribly wormy chenille piece and a note.  The note said something to the effect of - rayon chenille CAN react over time, as you said, and here is the proof.....the item I had received was a chenille throw woven by this past student, at the less than recommended sett...the item had been cleaned and stored in the cupboard all summer and when retreived for use in the colder months, came out of the cubboard in the undesireable state.  I only tell you all of this so you will know that chenille *can* and will react over a period of time if handling technique is not attended to. 

Fringes *must* be finished in some way.  If they are not, the pile will fall out of them in very short order and you will be left with ugly strings at the ends of your scarves....or worse yet, your customers will be.  Unless your chenille has synthetic cores that have been melted to retain the pile, it WILL fall out if the fringes are left unfinished.  Braiding is an excellent choice, plying works well if the plies are very, very tightly applied and in equal number of twist BOTH directions.  Equal tension on the bouts is essential to fringes that will not worm later.   Lately - i.e. the past few years, manufacturers have begun to put synthetics in the core yarns of chenille, even though we purchase it as 100% viscose.  This has resulted in worming problems in the fringes despite the best efforts to ply or braid tightly.  If you can determine that the core yarn has some polyester, pressing the fringes with a quite warm iron will help make them more permanent and help avoid worming.

Pressing rayon cheinlle has the effect of flattening the pile and making the piece have an overall flat appearance.  It *can* permanently "emboss" the pile. if the temperature is right, and that can have the effect of lessening worming.  However, I personally prefer the look and feel of chenille that has not been pressed.  It has a more luxurious feel, to my sense of touch, and I prefer the feeling next to my skin.  Either way works though, depending on what you want as a finished item.  If you do hard press your chenille, make certain your iron temp is about 300 degrees F or you might damage the rayon - it will being to disintigrate at 350 and again, the damage shows over time.  I have seen pressed chenille items fall apart a year or so after being made and the only thing I can attribute that to ( knowing how the item was laundered and used for that year) is the initial pressing that damaged the fibers and caused them to fall apart over time. 

Please, please, avoid the spraying and sealing in a plastic bag method of supposedly finishing rayon chenille.  Rayon mildews in the right temps and when wet, and treating it in this manner will only accellerate the problem.  Rayon needs a little heat, some agitation and time to retract and become the beautiful fiber it is.....so fully immerse the piece, let it toss around a bit and then dry it on LOW in the dryer for best results. 

That's about all I can put in an email...my book UNDERSTANDING RAYON CHENILLE is still available as a CD....write to me via my website if you wish to obtain a copy.  (www.subudesigns.com)

Hope that helps Nancy....

Su :-)

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rkoz wrote
on 3 Feb 2011 7:22 PM

Hi, Su,

A question:  if I do a 2/2 twill, why do I need the supplementary binding pick?  Is it to help prevent worming?  I found a scrap piece of chenillle fabric that looks like it is a 2/2 twill (I didn't weave it myself), and it doesn't have any weft other than the chenille itself going over and under 2 warp threads.  Warp looks to be a mix of 5/2, 10/2 and maybe even 20/2 cotton.  The drape is nice.  I'd rather not bother with this "binding pick" if not necessary!

Thanks!

 

 

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Su Butler wrote
on 3 Feb 2011 8:41 PM

HI rkoz........... The SBP helps secure the core yarn of the chenille into the weave structure and almost totally prevents worming.  Many times cheinlle is woven as if it is very heavy yarn - i.e. too few picks per inch to properly and securely interlace the core yarn or it is woven on a warp that is too openly sett. both of these scenarios cause worming.    But if the warp is sett densely enough and the weft is packed in tightly enough, it is possible (although I do not think it is wise) to weave a 2/2 twill without using the SBP.  I cannot guarantee the piece will never worm though.

 IF the weft is 100% viscose chenille, it's going to worm eventually without the SBP, particularly when exposed to proper wet finsihing, but if the chenille has some synthetic content or is cotton chenille the problems will not be as pronounced.  I cannot comment on your particular sample as I am not able to examine it.  SBP are sometimes woven in the same shed as the chenille and can be very hard to detect without pulling the fabric apart. 

I would rather be "bothered" by the small effort it takes to add the SBP while weaving than be disappointed by worming after I had put all the time and effort into weaving a piece. 

Hope that helps...

Su :-)

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Katie L wrote
on 10 Feb 2011 6:34 PM

Hi Su

I'm weaving rayon chenille (1450 ypp).  The piece I did with chenille warp and weft (warp at 18 epi) came out nicely.  I now have 10/2 Tencel warp on at 24 epi, crossing with the 1450 chenille.  I'm getting 25 ppi without a heavy beat, and although it's still on the loom (only a few inches long at this point) it appears very dense.  It may well loosen up in the wet finishing, but I thought the Tencel warp would result in a lighter weight piece.   Is this density typical with Tencel warp?


I'm weaving some sample scarves in preparation for weaving a purple stole for my priestly brother.  I thought I'd give him a choice of chenille or tencel warp. 


My question is:  is my 10/2 Tencel sett correct?

Thanks for your help.

Katie

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Katie L wrote
on 10 Feb 2011 6:37 PM

Sorry, forgot to mention structure - it's plain weave.

 

Katie

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Su Butler wrote
on 10 Feb 2011 8:16 PM

HI Katie.....Your choice of 18 epi and ppi for an all chenille item is spot on. 

For your Tencel/chenille piece:

I think a sett of 24 epi for 10/2 Tencel is fine, but a little closer sett would mean you wouldn't have quite as many picks per inch of the chenille.  My own choice would be to sett 10/2 Tencel at 28 ends per inch for plain weave when using a chenille weft.  That would allow me to beat in about 22 picks per inch of chenille and, for me, that would be ideal.  But you can play with the sett, either reducing it to 26 epi and beating in an extra weft or two or increasing the sett to 30 and reducing the number of wefts per inch by one or two.  It depends what you are making.  For cloth that will be tailored into garments or accessory pieces like scarves and shawls I would opt for the higher warp sett.  Garments hang a little better when the warp is a slightly dominant.   For the stole for your brother, I would think a sett of 30 epi for Tencel or 20 epi for chenille would work. 

Remember that the chenille has a core yarn about the same size as an 8/2 cotton, so aim for the number of ppi that you would expect with 8/2 cotton. 

Chenille will feel very dense on the loom, and even a bit stiff when first removed from the loom.  With proper wet finishing a piece woven with a Tencel warp and cheinlle weft will become luxuriously soft and wonderful!! 

Tencel is a modified form of rayon - it means it is stonger when wet than regular rayon is when it is wet.  But in the end, Tencel *is* rayon.  Rayon weighs a lot and pieces made from 100% rayon can tend to feel heavy when compared to pieces made in silk or wool or cotton.  But the luxurious drape of rayon is the compensation you get for tolerating the weight. 

Hope that answers your question Katie!

Best,

Su :-)

 

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Katie L wrote
on 11 Feb 2011 6:10 AM

Thanks, Su!  I'll try setting the Tencel a little closer and see what happens.  My all-chenille scarves are always beautiful after wet finishing, but the density of this piece with Tencel weft was filling me with doubts!

I appreciate you sharing your knowledge!


Katie

 

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