I pulled a rainbow off my loom this weekend:

The two basic color gamps are done. One is woven in plain weave, and one in twill. Here’s the plain weave version:

And the twill:

It’s kind of fun to compare the two pieces, because you can really see how weave structure changes color dynamics in the finished piece. It’s not as obvious on the screen as it is in person, but the warp stripes (horizontal in the pictures above) are much stronger than the weft stripes in the plain weave version. The twill gamp has much more defined vertical stripes. The plain weave has a beautiful iridescence to it that I couldn’t quite capture with my camera this time (I’ll try again once it’s wet finished – the weaver’s equivalent of blocking), but it’s the glow of the dark purple section in the twill gamp that really caught my eye. It looks like sunset, especially when viewed at an angle.

You can really see the difference in how the colors play together as you get closer to the fabric (again, plain weave on top, twill on the bottom).

(You can’t really see all of the little color squares in the zoomed out pictures above, but the whole fabric is made up of 1 to 1 1/4″ squares of different colors crossing. For each stripe that you see in the warp, there is another of the same color in the weft, so that I have a sampler that mixes all of the colors in my stash…a practical reference piece as well as a decorative one.)

I finished the ends of both samplers last night, so they’re all ready for a vigorous washing to settle the threads into place, and then I need to figure out how I want to mount them for display. I also need to figure out how I want to weave the rest of the warp.

I immediately gravitated toward the twill sampler when I took the cloth off the loom, but I was surprised to notice that the fabric really felt like it should be two separate pieces; the primary rainbow stripes on one side, and the darker purples and browns on the other. I had more similar colors in the purples/brown section, and I really like the more subtle gradient that the closer shades produced. I spent quite a long time walking around the office looking at the pieces from different angles, and I think I want to split the warp into two separate projects rather than finishing it in a single run. This is kind of a pain in the neck, since it means that I need to take all of it off of the loom, chain one of the halves for storage, and then re-thread the one I want to use.

I’m a little disappointed about splitting the warp, since one of the things that I liked best about this project was the width. It feels better as separate pieces, though, so split it will probably be. I suppose I could add in extra threads on the re-warping to make the piece wider again, but I’m not too excited about that option.

I feel like the primary colors section needs something different to make it work as a fabric instead of a sampler, but I’m not sure yet what that might be. Black stripes to offset the colors, perhaps? That would be even less fun than adding extra width at the edges, but sometimes the finished object is worth the price. I think I have between 3 and 4 yards of useful warp left on the loom, so it’s enough to be worth doing well.

For now, the project is waiting. I want to wet finish the gamps first to see how they look when everything has settled into place, and then hopefully the decisions will be clear. There must be something that will make those primary colors dance…