We are having so much fun playing with the new Lyte Hemp. Warps are going on and flying off our looms as we test drive this fabulous new product! We now know that both the Lyte BOLD and Lyte FINE work beautifully in the warp. Both are incredibly strong yarns and once the fabrics are washed, the fabric has a wonderful, soft hand.
We jumped right into hemp as weft yarn!
We were far too impatient to wait until we had wound a warp to start playing with the hemp yarns. Our first weaving with the Lyte Hemp yarns was on the warp for our lovely Peaceful Periwinkle Towels. The warp is 10/2 Tubular Spectrum, mercerized cotton sett at 24epi.
We made one napkin using the Bleached BOLD yarn with about 22 picks per inch. Shown on the left is a swatch from that napkin. The bleached yarn lightened the look of the fabric, and gave it a nice crisp texture.
Weaving that one was so much fun, we used the bleached FINE hemp yarn to weave another napkin, with about 28 picks per inch. After washing the fabrics, we can’t decide which we like better. The napkin woven with the BOLD yarn is a bit thicker and more durable, and the napkin with the FINE weft has a more elegant feeling. Both fabrics benefit from a light iron and have that lovely, crisp feeling that you only can get with bast fibers.
We are working to get the napkin instructions written up, but if you want to get started NOW, you can start with the instructions for the Peaceful Periwinkle Towels and use either the Lyte Bold or Fine hemp yarn for the weft. Click here for the Peaceful Periwinkle Towel instructions.
Hemp does have an opinion
We found that the Lyte Hemp yarns have a definite opinion about how they want to behave. It feels a bit stiff, but selvedge edges hold firmly and we needed very little weft angle to give good selvages as we were weaving. We did find that when hemp is wound onto boat shuttle bobbins, the dry yarn can be a bit squirrelly. Hemp yarns, like other bast fibers, want to be straight, and when it is curved around the bobbin, it wants to free itself at the most inopportune times. This is easily solved by soaking the bobbins for the boat shuttles for a few minutes in a container of water before weaving. Squeeze them dry as you insert them into your shuttle.
If you don’t want to soak the bobbins, this is also the perfect time to use a Schacht end delivery shuttle. The yarn comes off the ends of the pirns with a minimum of fussing because you are pulling it straight off the pirn.
We got Warped!
Next, we sampled the BOLD Hemp as warp in our Enchanted Windowpane Towels. These towels use hemp yarn in the warp and American Maid naturally colored cotton yarn in the weft. We wanted to make sure that the new Lyte Hemp yarn worked as well as the Romanian hemp yarn that we used to stock. After weaving the whole warp, we found that we liked the Lyte Hemp as well as or even better than the previous generation of 2-ply hemp. For this warp, we sett the hemp at 20 epi and the resulting towels have a very nice hand. The 10/2 American Maid cotton yarns blooms beautifully and we wouldn’t want to sett them any closer. The color change on the American Maid Naturally colored yarns is wonderful in contrast to both the Natural and Bleached Lyte Hemp.
Next time we put on a warp for these it will be a LONG one. We have more ideas about using Tubular Spectrum colors on this same warp!!!
Watch this space! We will be writing in more detail about these wonderful new yarns. We are currently putting on a warp with the elegant Lyte FINE Hemp yarns. We’ll keep you posted!